There’s more to a flower than just its scent.

We can thank the stiff Victorians for the flower code we use to send love in blooms today. Their reserve back in 19th century England prevented them discussing emotions, so flowers helped men to tell women how they felt about them. Although the history of flower symbolism and sentiment dates back to the Chinese dynasties, its spread through the British Empire is due largely to Queen Victoria who was said to be enamoured of the language of flowers.

What your lover was saying

In the 19th century, tussie mussies (a small flower bouquet) placed inside of a doily were designed to share a message between lovers.

A young lady after receiving a tussie mussie from her suitor would discover the meaning of the bouquet by consulting a book called the Tussie Dictionary. She could then choose one flower to save as a keepsake or to return to her gentleman caller in response to the message the tussie mussie conveyed. Today, there are hundreds of flower dictionaries all over the world.

Flower meanings

Kate Middleton’s stem of myrtle in her wedding bouquet came from a plant started with a sprig of myrtle given in a nosegay to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert’s grandmother. Flower meanings carry particular significance for wedding bouquets. Calla Lilies signifies magnificent beauty. Stephanotis is a traditional bridal flower, shaped a little like a trumpet, symbolising marital happiness. Chrysanthemums signify wealth, abundance and truth—welcome in any marriage. Orchids mean love and beauty.

Tulips mean undying love and passion and daisies signify innocence. If you are superstitious, avoid larkspur, meaning infidelity and lavender signifying distrust. A red carnation is saying “alas my poor heart” and red poppies symbolise consolation.

Loving thoughts you can say with flowers:

• Aster – love and daintiness
• Carnation – pure deep love
• Clematis – love vine
• Freesia – trust
• Iris – wisdom and hope
• Ivy – marriage
• Jasmine – amiability
• Lily – purity
• Orchids – love and beauty
• Poppy – imagination
• Rose – love
• Red rose – passionate love
• White rose – innocence and pure love
• Red and white rose – unity
• Tulip – perfect lover
• Red tulip – declaration of love
• Yellow tulip – hopeless love

What’s your favourite flower to recieve? And do you think we should still give flowers as a gift on Valentines Day? Let us know in the comments below.

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