For centuries, flowers, herbs and various plants have given much pleasure to people of all the nations, because their beauty has the unique ability to bring cheer when someone is ill or downhearted, their fragrances can be used to make lovely perfumes, delicate foliage can be used for certain medicines and foods, and pungent smells can bestir mood.
In fact, they have been so outstanding in this regard, that there is no wonder that mankind has attached significant meanings to them, actually going as far as to formulate a language all their own called “floriography.” This language was particularly utilized during the Victorian era; however, flowers well into past generations have had religious and symbolic meanings, and still do today.
For example, there were references given to flowers, herbs and plants in Biblical times, and during the Middle Ages, herbs were even believed by some to have magical powers. Therefore, they were given a place of honor in the royal floral gardens. The use of these floral gardens existed well into the Victorian era, and helped to create the elaborate list of meanings to describe these beloved flowers.
History relates that during the reign of Queen Victoria in England, which lasted from 1837 to 1901, (known as the Victorian era) the language of flowers was as important to people as being well dressed. For example the recognizable scent of a particular flower, plant or perhaps a scented handkerchief sent its own unique message.
Flowers adorned almost everything, hair, clothing, jewelry, gowns, men’s lapels, home décor and china, and stationery, to name a few. A young man could either please or displease a lady by his gift of flowers. 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. Even the manner in which flowers were sent had a special meaning. A flower presented in an upright position represented a positive thought; whereas one presented in the opposite direction had a negative meaning. Also, a person could say “yes” by offering a flower with the right hand, the left hand “no.”
Dictionaries were written to explain this language to all, and were especially used by lovers. One could learn that “ROSES” symbolized love, in general but each variety and color had their own meaning. The “LILY” generally symbolized beauty, but it also has many varieties, thus many diversified meanings. Consider the quandary that could have developed if lover’s used two different dictionaries, with each possibly having its own connotation. There could be some real misunderstandings! So we see the importance of acquiring accurate information in this regard.