Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.
Of all the Victorian conceits, habits and fol-de-rols - romantic poetry, psychics and fortune tellers, memento mori, heavy furniture and delicate art - the one I'm most fascinated with is the language of flowers. Since first encountering the idea in Anne of Green Gables many years ago, I've been extremely taken with the idea of flowers conveying a message without words, of individual flowers representing something.
This very lovely little book, which highlights the history of 50 popular (European) flowers and their meanings, as well as providing a dictionary of moods with which to match a bloom, is a delight to someone like me, and my daughters, especially the eldest, have been enjoying it too.
While we have few representations of the flowers listed in our garden (which is predmoninantly Australian native plants!), we do have lavender, and we were all surprised (and slightly dismayed, I'll admit) to discover its customary meaning. We also have rosemary - which, as most people know, is for remembrance; pansies, which means "think of me"; geraniums in pots, which stand for true friendship; freesias, which are for "lasting friendship"; white jasmine, which is for amiability; and ivy, for fidelity. Once upon a time we had tulips, which are used as a declaration of love; and irises, which are "messengers". Isn't it lyrical?
The queen of flowers is, of course, the beautiful rose, and here each colour holds special meaning. We have a deep pink rose, which speaks of grace, and a newly-planted golden-orange standard, which is for fascination. In time we'll also have a white rose, whose message is destined to remain forever unfulfilled in this house.
So here's a game for you ... if you know the language of flowers, or just fancy a guess. (There is no prize, being right is its own reward :-) See if you can recall:
1. The meaning of lavender?
2. What white roses stand for?
3. Which fruit plant means "envy"?
4. Which herb means "good health and long life"?
5. Which beautiful flower says "truth"?
I'll post the answers tomorrow. Or, you could always buy this lovely little book and look it up yourself!
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