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Exploring the Language of Flowers

The “language of flowers” or floriography, as it is otherwise known, is the study of how flowers can be arranged to convey messages. Floriography grew in popularity in Victorian times, because it allowed reserved people to express themselves without words. Flower arrangements could communicate in a way considered far less scandalous than something said out loud. A popular book during this period was a “flower dictionary,” which provided readers with a list of the meaning behind different types of blooms.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel, “The Language of Flowers uses word pictures to convey the power and meaning of flowers as it follows the life of a foster child who grows up to become a floral designer. Several characters in the book are deeply invested in flower identification and study, using flowers as metaphors to describe their moods.

The power of flowers and their scents is confirmed by studies which link floral scents to improved mood, which leads to more meaningful social interaction and elevated happiness. Diffenbaugh has also written a flower dictionary, which she modeled after one published in 1859, since conflicting flower meanings were previously published in hundreds of books, dozens of languages, and on countless websites. She endeavored to consolidate opinions in order to produce a definitive guide.

Few would argue that one of the most iconic flowers is the red rose. A single stem universally denotes love, but few understand the reason the association. Red roses grow in a variety of climates, and played a role in early Egyptian and Greek/Roman history and mythology. The rose is so infamous both red and white roses were featured in a 30-year conflict called the Wars of the Roses, between the Lancaster and York houses in England. Both houses chose to use red and white roses in their family crests.

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But roses are far from the only blossoms that convey hidden meaning:

  • Daffodils = Chivalry. Linked by Victorian-era text, daffodils (especially yellow ones), represent chivalry. So this variety is a great choice for someone who is trying to make a good first impression.
  • Yellow Rose=Jealousy or Infidelity, referenced in Henrietta Dumont’s dictionary.
  • White Orchids = beauty and innocence. These beautiful flowers are ideal for baby naming parties or showers. Orchids can also live for quite some time as long as they are well taken care of.
  • Calla Lilies (especially white ones) = beauty and purity. These are simply brilliant for wedding bouquets because their brilliant white coloration goes well with virtually any gown.
  • Gerber Daisies add vitality and happiness to a room. These flowers are perfect for celebratory occasions and sympathy bouquets where someone needs a moment to smile.
  • The meaning of some flowers, such as the Iris, varies depending on color and geographic origin. For example, in Japan, Irises are said to purify evil, while in Greek mythology, the Iris is a sign of eloquence.

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Flowers convey more than “condolences” or “congratulations.” They boast a plethora of sentiments, from love and tenderness to courage and strength. So, the next time you order a bouquet from Riverside Flower Club, remember to choose your arrangement or bouquet carefully, to make sure you send the right message.
Since 1996, the Riverside Flower Club has offered a stunning selection of bouquets to residents of Riverside and the surrounding area. Flowers are available for any imaginable occasion such as “get well,” birthdays, anniversaries, sympathy, new baby celebrations, weddings. Custom bouquets can be expertly arranged and delivered quickly. For more information, visit www.riversideflowerclub.com, email contact@riversideflowerclub.com or call (951) 784-0960.

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