The Language of Flowers
On Valentine’s Day, the phrase “say it with flowers” takes on new meaning thanks to a Victorian tradition: the language of flowers. Though many cultures have assigned symbolic meanings to specific blooms through the centuries, this practice reached its peak during the Victorian Era. Also known as floriography, the language of flowers was form of hidden communication that assigned emotions to individual blooms, then combined them to tell a story through a bouquet. While Victorian social norms prevented most forms of outward flirtation, these gathered stems sent subtle and complex messages of affection. This year, we're taking a closer look at some of our favorite living gifts for a contemporary take on this charming tradition.
1. Ornithogalum: This charming perennial is also known as Star of Bethlehem thanks to its clusters of tiny, star-shaped blooms. Its dainty flowers are most commonly considered symbols of hope, with purity, innocence, and honesty as additional meanings.
2. Succulent: Thanks to their hardy nature, it should come as no surprise that succulents symbolize enduring and timeless love. A heart-shaped garden of our favorite pastel varieties emphasizes this message with its long-lasting beauty.
3. White Hydrangea: The sentiments conveyed by hydrangea blooms vary by shade. White hydrangeas are used to symbolize grace and abundance; like Ornithogalum, they can also represent purity.
4. Purple Hydrangea: For hydrangea blossoms with an alternate meaning, choose a saturated purple shade. This rich hue is a symbol of deep understanding.
5. Lily of the Valley: A favorite flower thanks to its sweet scent and delicate, bell-shaped blossoms, Lily of the Valley has a variety of symbolic interpretations. It can be used to represent humility as well as luck in love.
6. Lady's Slipper Orchid: Elegant and singularly beautiful, orchids traditionally symbolize love and luxury. The second meaning is especially well-suited for our take on this tropical favorite, which arrives in a luxe copper pot.