Floriography and flowers that mean thank you
We all have favourite flowers and floral smells that we love and associate with special people, special times and memories good and bad. My beloved Nanna loved bright red/orange montbretia, part of the iris family, and grew loads in her garden.
Personally, I love simple bouquets containing flowers of all the same colour or similar tones, with wild greenery added like ivy and laurel. I usually pluck greenery straight from my garden and experiment with different vases and arrangements until it looks good. Twigs too, they add great structure.
It’s impossible for me to pick one favourite, but I do like tulips, lilies, gladioli, roses, agapanthus and thistles. We had amaryllis for our wedding … oh and I love the scent of freesias and eucalyptus.
I also love it when daffodils are in season because they symbolise a real change in the weather as they welcome in spring, and the yellow pops of colour brighten any table, shelf or corner. They’re cheerful flowers that make me smile.
Flowers make a great gift
Flowers really can make you happy and brighten your day. They make a popular gift, appreciated because they make a difference. It’s thoughtful of someone to send flowers and showing a sharing gratitude has positive benefits for both the sender and receiver. They create great vibes between people and in the home, with contagious reactions.
But did you know that there’s a language of flowers? And that you can communicate, cryptically through the use or arrangement of flowers? It’s called floriography.
Floriography - the language of flowers
Meaning has been attributed to plants and flowers for thousands of years, with some form of floriography being practiced in traditional cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Shakespeare was well known for using floriography in his work, associating plants and flowers with character traits and using flowers to symbolise emotion and intent.
Floriography was popularized in France during 1810 -1850 and interest in floriography soared during Queen Victoria’s reign, and in the US during the 19th century.
Have you noticed or read recently, about the royal family sending coded messages through their choice of jewellery, clothes, bouquets or corsages? The Queen and Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, is often thought to communicate in this way, often to reference and celebrate the positive influence Lady Diana still has to this day.
Hidden meanings, secret messages
So now, just as in times gone by, gifts of blooms, plants, and specific floral arrangements are used to send coded messages. It allows the sender to express feelings which maybe can’t be spoken out loud, or which were historically forbidden in society. When the rules of social etiquette stifle communication, the clever use of plants and flowers was, and is still used with symbolic meaning.
Victorians often exchanged small "talking bouquets", called nosegays or tussie - mussies, which contained carefully chosen flowers dependent on what they wanted to communicate. Armed with floral dictionaries, recipients would decipher the symbols and codes.
These small but meaningful bouquets became so popular, they were also worn as fashion accessories. A great way to recycle!
I think tussie – mussie is a fab phrase. I always smile when I hear it or say it!
Flowers and colours
Red flowers are one of the most popular flower colours to gift. With a meaning of passion, love and affection, they should definitely be included when you’re sending a bouquet to someone you love deeply.
Red flowers are also used to symbolise courage, respect and desire and at Christmas time, they’re used in decorations because red is the universal symbol of Christmas cheer.
Pink flowers have many different meanings in different cultures. Typically, they represent grace, joy and innocence. In Thailand, pink flowers are a symbol of trust, in China, they represent good fortune and in Japan, they symbolise good health.
But, in Western cultures, pink flowers are used to represent femininity and playfulness. They’re a wonderful colour to send to either friends or romantic interests.
Yellow flowers are perfect way to cheer someone up, with the bold colour meaning joy and light-heartedness, happiness and friendship. Yellow flowers are a fantastic way to brighten up any home and their cheery meanings will make for a lovely gift.
White flowers are considered simple and beautiful. They mean purity, humility and innocence and are perfect to use for weddings or to send to someone who has recently welcomed a baby.
Be careful though when sending white flowers to people in Asian countries, as over there they symbolise death and mourning, so sending white flowers for an Asian wedding would not go down well at all.
Flowers that say thank you
If someone has consistently shown you support through difficult times, been your biggest fan even in adversity, and shown kindness beyond saintliness, why not say thank you. If you do this advertently or inadvertently, here are some options to consider.
Pink roses are the perfect way to say thank you and show your appreciation and admiration to someone who has helped you through a tough time.
Hydrangeas are a beautiful, full flower that expresses sincere, heartfelt sentiment and represents gratitude and understanding.
Sweet peas are fragrant and look lovely when they’re included in a bouquet. They’re known for having a meaning of gratitude and are the perfect way to say thank you.
Iris' have a meaning of hope and trust. The iris flower is great to send when you want to say thank you to a friend.
The above is great advice when in western cultures but be sure not to offend by running a quick check as to what they may mean in other cultures. Don’t let your best intentions be caught out.
And remember that there are secret messages everywhere - in gardens, florist shops, window displays, at grand events and church ceremonies – which you can now decode.
But what was in the last floral gift you sent? And received?
Regards and have fun,
Jodi – Chief Thanker