Letter #1: The Language of Flowers Pt. 1
Thanks for stopping by for my first letter update! Let’s hop right into it, shall we?
I’ve been curious ever since I heard about the concept of flower meanings a few months ago (specifically the Victorian language of flowers idea). So I took some time to hop down the rabbit hole that is this delightfully quirky custom that I kinda majorly wanna bring back. Here’s what I found:
Interestingly enough, you could tell someone a “yes” or “no” by giving them a bouquet of flowers with different hands (Boeckmann). Delivering flowers with the right hand signified “yes” while handing a bouquet over with the left hand meant “no.” (Is this related to the left hand = bad misconception? Another question for another project!)
If flowers were given upside down, they meant the opposite of what the bouquet typically signified. (Hmm, so, hypothetically, you could make an “I love you” bouquet to make it look like you were devoted to this one person to the outside world as you walked down the street in your lovely gentleman’s coat, but upon presenting it to your lady in private, you’d turn it upside down to signify your disdain for her? Man, don’t need glasses with all this shaaade.)
Okay, seriously? The ribbon meant something too! If it was tied to the left, the symbolism applied to the person giving the bouquet; if tied to the right, the sentiment was towards the receiver. (So in my hypothetical Victorian quarrel situation, I suppose the ribbon would be tied towards the left to indicate how the giver felt? Or, or, tied to the right to signify a question at the receiver? Like a “Hey, do you still love me even though you be cheatin’ on me, m’lady?”)
Given how popular the language of flowers concept has been all over the world, many flowers have varying (and sometimes annoyingly contradicting) meanings attributed to them. For example, some traditions describe chrysanthemums as “optimistic, long life” (Laufer) while others break mums down into meanings based on their colors, with white mums meaning “truth” and yellow mums meaning “slighted love” (Boeckmman). A number of plants actually share the same meanings, like ivy, arborvitae, and oak-leaved geranium (for “friendship”).
So I decided I needed to compile and illustrate my own bouquets for various situations.
For my first few bouquets, I chose to work on an idea I’d had caught in my brain cobwebs since I saw this (re)posted to Pinterest:
Image credit: So I tried to find where this post first came from (other than what looks to be Tumblr), to no avail, so I’ve included the username to give credit where credit is due as best as I can.
The following are a few of my first, uh… passive-aggressive bouquets. (More to come!)
Hope you enjoyed my first few bouquet illustrations! Check back for my next (probably kinder) ones!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy reading!
Works Cited (MLA 8th Edition):
Boeckmann, Catherine. “Flower Meanings: The Language of Flowers.” The Old Farmer's Almanac, Yankee Publishing Inc, 3 May 2021, www.almanac.com/flower-meanings-language-flowers.
Laufer, Geraldine Adamich. “The Meanings of Flowers.” Flower Magazine, https://flowermag.com/the-meanings-of-flowers/. Accessed 30 May 2021.
Hi there! Just stumbled upon your post (recommended by LM) and it’s delightful. Thanks for teaching me about flowers- I did not know there was significance to how they were presented! 🌸