The Secret Language of Flowers

Secret Language of Flowers

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Say it with flowers”? Most of us have either given or received flowers to say a number of things: “I love you”, “Congratulations”, “I’m sorry”, “Welcome home”, “Thank you”, and more. Almost everyone knows that red roses symbolize romantic love, and many know that red poppies represent remembrance. But did you know that daisies mean “innocence”, lavender means “devotion” and magnolias mean “nobility”? As it turns out, there’s a Secret Language of Flowers, and every flower has a meaning. So before you pick up that bouquet of yellow roses, make sure you know what it’s saying!

People have been using flowers to express emotions and convey messages for thousands of years. The custom first began in the Middle East in the 17th century, and became popular in the West during the Victorian era. The Victorians, with their strict social customs, turned to flowers to help them say what they couldn’t say out loud.  Learning floriography, the Secret Language of Flowers, became a popular pastime. Hundreds of floriography guidebooks were published during this time. Although definitions varied depending on the source,  the most common ones still survive today.

Below is a list of common flowers and herbs and their meanings. Flowers listed in bold represent flowers that bloom in Gamble Garden!

Flowers and their meanings

Basil: Good wishes
Bay: Glory
Basil: hate
Camellia: my destiny is in your hands
Chamomile: comfort
Chrysanthemum: honesty
Daffodil: new beginnings
Daisy: innocence
Forget-me-not: remembrance
Gardenia: secret love
Goldenrod: encouragement
Heliotrope: eternal love
Hollyhock: ambition
Purple hyacinth: please forgive me
Hyssop: cleanliness, sacrifice
Jasmine, white: Sweet love
Purple Iris: royalty, wisdom, respect
Lavender: devotion
Lemon balm: sympathy
Lily-of-the-valley: Sweetness
Marjoram: Joy and happiness
Mint: Virtue
Morning glory: affection
Oregano: joy
Pansy: thoughtfulness, remembrance
Parsley: gratitude
Peony: anger / bashfulness
Purple crocus: youthful happiness
Red poppy: remembrance
Light pink rose: grace
Peach rose: modesty
Orange rose: fascination
Yellow rose: infidelity
White: a heart unacquainted by love
Ivory / cream rose: charm, thoughtfulness
Purple rose: enchantment
Red rose: love
Rosemary: remembrance
Red tulip: love
Rhododendron: beware
Tarragon: Lasting interest
Thyme: Courage, strength
Sage: Wisdom, immortality
Sunflower: false riches
Verbena: pray for me
Violet: loyalty, devotion, faithfulness
White Jasmine: sweet love

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