Hollyhocks, Heart’s Ease and Phlox: Valentine’s Day and the Language of Flowers

If you’re going to give the object of your desire or loved one flowers this Valentine’s Day, take inspiration from The Language of Flowers.

Popularised in the Victorian era The Language of Flowers ‘constitutes a language, which may be made the medium of pleasant and amusing interchange of thought between men and women’. The sentiments attached to flower names are wonderfully diverse, and for every situation there is seemingly an appropriate flower. So be unconventional this year and give something other than a red rose. Be inventive give seeds, living plants or of course cut flowers.

A small snippet of Flowers and meanings:

Bachelor’s button (cornflower) – Hope in love
Coreopsis – Love at first sight
Forget-me-not – True love
Heart’s Ease – Think of me
Heart’s Ease, Purple – You occupy my thoughts
Pansy – Think of me
Phlox – Our souls united
Double red pink – Pure, ardent love
Rosemary – Your presence revives me
White roses – I am worthy of you
Maiden’s Blush Rose – If you love me you will find me out
Tulip – Declaration of love
Variegated Tulip – Beautiful eyes

If you have given any of the above and then receive any of the following in return, I’m afraid it’s not good news!
Acacia, rose – Friendship
Basil – Hatred
Candytuft – Indifference
Carnation, yellow – Disdain
Convululus major – Dead hope
Mourning Bride (scabious) – Unfortunate attachment
Variegated pink – Refusal
White roses (withered) – Transient impression
Yellow rose – Decrease of love
Rue – Disdain
Tansy – I declare against you
Trumpet flower – Separation

All definitions taken from The Language of Flowers, Etiquette: Rules and Usages of The Best Society, (Melbourne: PRC, 1886)

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