In Victorian times, flowers and herbs were used to convey messages that often could not be communicated in other ways.  The language of flowers, known as floriography, expressed complex sentiments.  According to Victorian Bazaar, “Flowers would convey messages of love or dislike depending upon which ones were given, their sizes, how they were held, or also grouped together. They had a silent meaning of their very own, and could “say” what was not dared to be spoken.”

Lovers or friends might send small bouquets, known as “tussie-mussies” which were wrapped in a doily and tied with satin.  Some of the flowers used to convey special meanings were:

  • Red rose – True or passionate love
  • White rose – Eternal love; also, purity, chastity
  • Red poppy – Pleasure
  • Coriander – Lust
  • Grass – Submission
  • Yellow tulip – Hopeless love
  • Blue violet – Faithfulness
  • Willow – Love foresaken
  • Ivy – Dependence
  • Lavender – Devotion or distrust
  • Lettuce – Cold-hearted
  • Olive – Peace
  • Magnolia – Love of nature
  • White lily – Purity

Today, although flowers and herbs are seldom used to convey sentiments of an emotional nature, they are used to bring about psychological and physiological well-being.  In the next two posts, we’ll explore the subject of aromatherapy, which is one of our specialties at Wickedly Sent, and how certain flowers and herbs are used in the area of health.  

Photo courtesy of Carol White Llewellyn, taken at Hurd Orchards.