The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers

Who doesn’t enjoy receiving flowers on Valentine’s Day? You’ll find beautiful, fresh cut flowers in abundance at the farmers markets year round, but especially during February.

Did you know that flowers have a language of their own called floriography? Floriography has been around for centuries, and practiced in traditional cultures of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

It was during the Victorian era of England that floriography really took on a life of its own. A person could send someone a tussie-mussie (a small flower bouquet) or a nosegay with several different flowers and colors to send a special message. At a time when and Victorian society did not approve of professing one’s feelings out loud (and many people could not read or write), sending flowers, foliage or plants with an encoded message was the easiest way of expressing special sentiments or sending a covert message. As the craze spread, special ‘language of flowers’ dictionaries cropped up in England and France and eventually reached America by the mid 1800s.

Almost every flower had multiple associations or meanings, often derived from the appearance or behavior of the flower itself. For instance, the color of a rose signified several meanings. A red rose symbolized intense love, while a pink rose implied affection of a lesser degree. A white rose signified chastity or virtue and a yellow rose implied devotion or friendship. A black rose (a very deep maroon color) was associated with death or black magic.

Below is a list of some of the flowers that we currently have at the farmers market and their meanings. Make a meaningful choice for that special someone on Valentine’s Day!

Flowering Cabbage ~ Profit
Carnations ~ Fascination
Red Carnations ~ Romantic
White Carnations ~ Pure love, innocence
Pink Carnations ~ Always on my mind
Yellow Carnations ~ Rejection
Lavender ~ Devotion or distrust
Daffodil ~ Chivalry
Laurel ~ Ambition
Lily ~ Keep unwanted visitors away
White lily ~ Purity
Red or Scarlett lily ~ High aspirations
Orchids ~ Delicate beauty
Proteas ~ Courage
Tulips ~ Fame, charity
White Tulips ~ One sided love
Red Tulips ~ Undying love
Purple Tulips ~ Forever love

You’ll find flowers, flowering plants, and orchids at Astone’s Protea, Blue Heron Farms, Cavanaugh Color, Gatanaga Nursery, McCahon Floral, McLellan Botanicals, Ozzie’s Orchids and Dahlias, Pacific Rare Plant Nursery, Rocket Farms, Thomas Farm, Valencia Creek Farm, and William R.P. Welch.