Our affinity for the natural beauty of flowers has brought about a tradition of giving blooms to mark special occasions, including Valentine's Day.
We use bouquets to express our emotions- given in love, celebration, sympathy or simply to indulge and lift our own spirits. Floriography, or the language of flowers from the 1800’s, can be traced back to traditional cultures throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.There was already a language of flowers in Ancient Egypt, where flowers were preserved and buried with their Kings. In the 1700s European visitors to Constantinople brought back flower symbolizm and started using flowers to communicate secret messages and express forbidden feelings. By 1818, the first flower dictionary was published by Mme. Charlotte de la Tour in Paris and was so popular it was re-printed 18 times.
Flowers could not only symbolize emotions but could express entire phrases. Marriage could be proposed and accepted without ever exchanging actual words. It became so intricate that the way a flower sat in the bouquet could change the meaning. These deeper and important meanings may be lost today, but those retained, and how they came about, might just help you choose your next bouquet, or fragrance.
We've compiled a list of some iconic flowers and what they symbolize to this day.
Jasmine is given in moments of happiness, a symbol of love, beauty and sensuality that goes back to the ancient Egyptian ‘language of flowers’. Its powerful fragrance is as intoxicating as the feeling of being in love. In addition, as a meandering vine, jasmine symbolizes the ups and downs of romantic relationships, which can withstand the test of time and continue to blossom. White jasmine is a symbol of new beginnings, which makes them a popular choice for brides in many cultures. Because it’s also a symbol of feminine power, jasmine is often used to honour goddess figures, including the Virgin Mary, the Buddhist goddess Tara, the Hindu goddess Shri Durgadevi, and others.
If sensual Jasmine is your choice this Valentine’s Day try…
Delicate white, star-shaped orange blossoms are the absolute symbol of eternal love. They are extremely profuse, and bloom on the tree at the same time as the fruit, so represent good luck, health and fertility. In Victorian England a bouquet of orange blossom was interpreted as meaning, “Your purity equals your loveliness.” Queen Victoria wore a crown of orange blossoms on her wedding day to Prince Albert in 1840, creating a craze throughout Britain and its empire for their use in bouquets and wedding decorations.
The pure white blossoms are actually strongly fragrant with citrus notes yet have intriguing sweet, baby-soft, soapy undertones. It is a fascinating and complex floral note loved by both men and women.
If you’ve fallen in love with Orange Blossom try…
From frescos in Italy to Salvador Dali, roses have been used in art to symbolize beauty and love.
Yet the rose can also represent power and mysticism. Roman emperors awarded them to men for great acts and used masses of petals to shower guests during lavish dinners. In China they have been grown for over 5000 years and symbolize longevity. Throughout history roses have been associated with royalty and are themselves known as "the queen of flowers”.
How to Send a Coded Message With Roses
Red roses are for romance, beauty and courage; a thornless red rose means love at first sight.
Red rosebuds denote beauty and purity.
Yellow symbolises friendship, joy and new beginnings.
Orange petals will signify fascination, desire and sensuality.
Dark pink roses are for appreciation and gratitude.
Light pink roses show admiration or sympathy.
White is the color of innocence, purity and reverence.
If roses are the way to your heart try…
Tuberose symbolism is the most passionate, with facets of lust and obsession but also long-lasting attraction.
The Victorian language of flowers assigned Tuberose the meaning of intense, dangerous passions. People believed the flower could be overwhelmingly erotic. Young women were forbidden to visit tuberose fields – to stop them being driven to un-ladylike behavior by the intoxicating scent!
In India, where they are grown intensively today, they are more a symbol of fidelity because their intense and beautiful fragrance lasts even longer than the cut flower.
If your passion lies with Tuberose try…