The Fancy Language of Floriography - The Victorian Language of Flowers


Dear Henry,

I have been reading (surprise!) about the Victorian era's language of flowers, or floriography.

While I knew, vaguely, that different roses had different meanings, I hadn't realized how complex and rich the language was until now.

For example, I have an abundance of gladiolus flowers.  Gladiolus can represent strength and integrity and so,  I am almost happy they are taking over the yard.

Of course, the language of flowers is not precise.  Gladiolus can also mean infatuation.

Can you imagine, during the heyday of floriography, how many secret and ambiguous messages were passed back and forth this way?  I also imagine that many hours were spent interpreting bouquets and planning responses, and if anyone is anything like me, this would be a tortuous process, because I read into everything.  Given the detailed nature of this research, the time spent arranging flowers, and the time spent decoding messages, I suspect this was an upper-class activity.

It does seem like a fun language to learn, although I don't know if I could ever find the time, or muster the patience to try and pull off anything other than the smallest arrangement.

But I may start using floriography to plan flower beds.......

xoxo a.d.

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