Jan 10, 2008

Say it with flowers

Following up on my earlier article, I would like to present a list of flowers with their meanings. In Victorian times, various flowers had a meaning assigned to them and what could not be conveyed by speech, could easily be conveyed by a bouquet of carefully chosen flowers. So be prepared to learn the language of flowers and convey it with a bouquet!


The time to say it with roses is soon approaching. Come Valentine's day, one will have the opportunity to express all the love one feels for that special person. Roses are the ambassadors of this universal emotion. Legend has it that in Roman empire an exquisitely beautiful woman called Rhodanthe was pursued by many suitors. To get away from them, she went into the Temple of Diana. Breaking the gates of the temple, her persistent suitors followed her into the temple. This angered the deity, who turned Rhodanthe into a lovely rose and her suitors into thorns. From this legend, rose has been accepted as the symbol of love and beauty. A red rose, though a cliche, is still the best expression of love. A red rosebud conveys the giver's admiration for the receiver's 'purity and loveliness'. A white rose is indicative of purity and innocence. In the romantic world, it conveys the emotion 'I am worthy of you' and a white rosebud is a symbol of virginal purity. A white and red rose symbolizes 'unity'. In between the passionate red rose and the innocent white rose lies the pink rose that speaks of gentle love, perfect happiness, grace and, sweetness. The purple rose has been associated with impermanence and for romantics this rose conveys 'enchantment' and 'love at first sight'. To convey all the burning passion one holds for the loved one, an orange rose fits the bill perfectly. These flame colored flowers are indicative of passion, energy and enthusiasm. The Victorians were not very pleased with the color yellow, as they associated yellow with unhappiness. Not surprisingly then, a yellow rose indicated such negative emotions as jealousy, infidelity and decrease in one's love. People in 21st century have been more liberal towards this sunshine color and the yellow rose today is better associated with friendship and a congratulatory note. For a more detailed information on roses and their meanings and some very beautiful free rose clipart visit the Pierre-Joseph Redouté site.
If you feel roses have been done to death and want a fresh way to say it this Valentine, try some of these flowers. Red Chrysanthemums say- "I love", Coreopsis conveys "love at first sight", lilac says "first emotion of love" and Heliotrope says "eternal love" to the receiver. A yellow Iris conveys "passion of love", whereas a double red pink (Dianthus), also known as carnation, says "pure and ardent love". A single red carnation conveys "pure love" and a red tulip is a "declaration of love". The nervousness of a giver may also accompany this declaration of love. A Christmas rose pleads by saying " relieve my anxiety" and a red columbine says "anxious and trembling".


Just as the giver seeks to convey the difficult thoughts through flowers, the receiver may also use flowers to convey the acceptance or refusal with a flair. A single aster conveys "I will think of it", a garden daisy conveys "I share your sentiment", pansies indicate "you occupy my thoughts", red salvias say "forever thine", ambrosia says "love returned", Shepherd's purse says "I offer you my all", pasque flowers say "you have no claims", and a striped carnation says "Sorry! Not interested".


Flowers offer cryptic one liners, ideal for mild flirtations too. A cowslip says "You are my angel", an ice plant says "your looks freeze me", lady's slipper says "win me and wear me", a migonette says "your qualities surpass your charms", peach blossoms convey "I am your captive", ranunculus says " you are radiant with charms", an Austrian rose says "thou art all that is lovely" and a blue salvia conveys "I think of you". Praise the 'beautiful eyes' of your sweetheart by giving her striped tulips and her 'innocence' with daisies; tell her she is 'charming' by giving a cluster of Musk roses. Convey your 'fascination' by giving fern plant


Of course, flowers were not just used to convey the emotion of love. Gratitude was expressed by the use of campanula, agrimony and small white bellflowers. This mother's day, try to put together a bunch of cinquefoil flowers which are representative of maternal love due to the fact that when it rains, the leaves of this plant bend over the flower to protect it, just as a mother would. Star of Bethlehem is a symbol of purity and the water lily represents 'purity of heart'. Snowdrops represent 'consolations' and 'hope' and scarlet geraniums convey 'comfort'. The lesser emotions such as shame, anger, deceit, envy, pretensions can also be expressed using peonies, whin, Venus's trap/apocynum, crowsbill/bramble and spiked willow herb, respectively. Only one may not want to use such obtuse methods for these emotions. Shouting one's head off when angry is an easier and a much more satisfying vent.

I must warn you against one pitfall in use of this novel method of communicating. You must realize that not everybody is aware of this secret language. So be sure to specify what your flowers mean.

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