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Floriography

Hi there, Mackenzie (HHF’s resident floral designer) here! As I’m writing this, it’s a snowy day here in Weyers Cave, Virginia, so our whole team is staying warm and cozy working from home. That means it’s a perfect opportunity for me to dig a little deeper into a flower-related subject I’ve always been curious about: floriography, aka the language of flowers 🌷🌼🌸

If you’ve ever heard that red roses mean true love, while yellow roses represent friendship, it may not surprise you to learn that meanings have been attributed to all different types of flowers for thousands of years around the world. The idea of sending a message with flowers was especially popular in the 19th century in Victorian England in the US, when “talking bouquets” called nosegays were used to express feelings that couldn’t be spoken and could be worn as a fashion statement - even the placement of the flowers on your body could give it different meanings. Placing a nosegay over your heart could indicate romantic love, and placing it elsewhere could mean friendship, so if a suitor gifted a nosegay to a romantic interest, she could wear it on her dress in a specific area as a reply. To make it even more complicated, a single flower variety can have multiple meanings, especially when factoring in all of the different world cultures who have their own flower languages, like in Japan, where it’s called Hanakotoba. Peonies, for example, can mean shame, bashfulness, and anger in Western cultures, but mean prosperity and honor in Chinese culture, and mean bravery and masculinity in Japanese culture. Sometimes, the meanings are related to the physical properties of the flower themselves. For example, the mimosa flower represents chastity due to the way the flower’s petals close at night or when touched. There were even flower dictionaries so people could keep all of it straight! Cool, huh? 

Here at Harmony Harvest Farm (hey, did you know that phlox means “harmony”?), we don’t grow a lot of the most common flowers you might already have heard the meanings for, such as roses, carnations, or even tulips (although we love the tulips we get from our local friends at Bloomia!). But your girl here took a little trip to good ol’ Wikipedia and found out the meanings for some of the flowers that we do grow, and thought I should come up with some of my own “talking bouquets”. Keep in mind, most of these don’t all bloom at the same time so I can’t make them into real bouquets, but hey, it’s just for fun! (Or, you can come pick up a bunch or two of just one of these varieties - mono-variety bouquets are great too!)


First, some kind "talking bouquets":


“I Love You”

Red Mums (Love)
Dill (Passion)
Gomphrena (Immortal Love)
Stock (Lasting beauty, a happy life, bonds of affection)
Aster (Talisman of love)
Daisy (Loyal love)
Sunflower (Adoration, longevity)

“You’re so beautiful!”

Calla Lily (Magnificence, beauty)
Dahlia (Elegance)
Stock (Lasting beauty)
Gomphrena (Unchangeable)
White Mums (Truth)

 

“Good Luck!”

Bells of Ireland (Luck)
Basil (Success)
Bachelor’s Buttons (Good luck, wealth)
Wheat (Wealth, prosperity)

 

“Best Friends Forever <3”

Zinnia (Thinking of you)
Delphinium (Fun, joy)
Freesia (Thoughtfulness)
Alstroemeria (Friendship)

“I’ll always remember you”

Amaranth (Immortality)
Anemone (Eternal peace)
Chinese Forget-Me-Nots (Don’t forget me)
Rosemary (Remembrance)
Zinnia (Remembering absent friends, sentimentality)

 

But I also had to throw in a couple mean-spirited "talking bouquet" ideas:


“You betrayed me 😠”

Columbine (Deceived love, unfaithfulness)
Yellow Mums (Slighted love)
Lavender (Distrust)
Marigold (Pain and grief)
Mint (Suspicion)
Scabiosa (Unfortunate attachment)
Snapdragon (Deception)

“You’re such a loser!”

Peony (Shame, anger)
Larkspur (Fickleness)
Foxglove (Insecurity)
Columbine (Ingratitude)
Sweet Pea (Farewell) 

 

Don’t worry, if you receive columbine or snapdragons in a bouquet, it doesn’t mean it was meant as an insult (probably 😉). Flowers are so incredibly special because the simple act of giving them really boils down to one thing: “I’m thinking of you.” However, if you really want to drive a point home and make a statement to someone, you can always say it with flowers 💐

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