Flowers speak the language of love
By Dawn Pettinelli - UConn Home & Garden Education Center
Featured Article - posted Wed., Feb. 6, 2013
Valentine’s Day finds many of us givers and receivers of beautiful floral bouquets and arrangements. We may select our floral gifts based on their color, scent and design, but especially in Victorian times, flowers were chosen to express certain feelings and emotions. A book entitled “The Language of Flowers” was published in 1884, containing darling illustrations and a list of plants and the feelings or sentiments they were believed to represent.
Writings of Shakespeare, in particular, are noted for language rich in plant and garden metaphors. Some modern-day enthusiasts have even created Shakespearean gardens filled with the plants he mentioned in his works.
Little nosegays, referred to as tussie-mussies in Victorian times, were a popular way of expressing one’s feelings. These small bouquets were filled with flowers and herbs, each selection carrying an underlying sentiment.When choosing flowers for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, perhaps those romantically-inclined can pick selections reflective of their true sentiments. Be sure to include a card with the flowers’ symbolic meaning. Most of the following flowers and foliage selections can be found at a local florist’s shop:
Roses, ever-popular Valentine’s Day selections, speak with their color and form. Red roses signify love and desire; white roses, love and unity; pink ones represent gracefulness and loveliness; yellow roses may mean either friendship of jealousy, while a bouquet of sweet heart roses is a confession of love.
Tulips symbolize love as well, with a bunch of red tulips taken as a confession of love and yellow ones declaring hopeless love.
Lilies represent purity; freesias, innocence; eucalyptus leaves, temptation; gladiolus, generosity; and baby’s breath, a pure heart.
Spicy carnations are another popular Valentine’s Day floral selection. Red carnations impart feelings of admiration, pride and beauty. White ones stand for pure and ardent love. A mother’s love is equated with pink carnations, while yellow ones signify disdain, and striped ones, refusal.
Flowers can express a wide array of both loving and not-so-nice emotions. While most of us would opt for the former, there may be someone deserving a handful of Michaelmas daisies – a beautiful way to say “good-bye!”
If you want information on gardening or home topics, call, toll-free, 877-486-6271, visit the website www.ladybug.uconn.edu, or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.