The Victorians loved flowers, so much so that they had a language of flowers.
In my recently purchased reference book, Manners: Culture and Dress, published in 1892 (yes, I’m the proud owner of a book that’s 120 years old!), the author devoted an entire chapter to the language of flowers, filling nine pages with lengthy lists that matched a certain type of flower with a particular meaning, e.g. a white poppy meant sleep.
Romance thrived in the Victorian era, so it will come as no surprise that a number of the meanings listed dealt with that all-important topic: love.
Unmarried couples were bound by rigid social strictures with regard to courting, which often stifled conversation. They were inhibited by the requisite chaperones, too, so they found other ways to communicate, the exchange of flowers being one of them. Thus, the ability to speak using the language of flowers must have been a skill they sought to acquire.
If a gentleman wanted to let a lady knew he had feelings for her, he had many options. Here are three flowers he might have chosen, along with their meanings.
honeysuckle ~ bond of love
a rosebud on moss ~ confession of love
a yellow tulip ~ declaration of love
If a lady had received one of these flowers from her suitor, he would’ve expected a reply. If she had difficulty conveying her answer by either spoken or written word due to those ever-present chaperones or a meddling mama, she could have followed her beau’s lead, presenting him with a flower she’d chosen based on its meaning.
Following are three possible responses she might have given him, along with the three corresponding flowers, with each group listed in alphabetical order.
Can you match each flower with its meaning?
I declare against you.
I share your sentiments.
platonic love – friendship
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Leave your guess in a comment.
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Update and Answer
acacia rose ~ platonic love – friendship
garden daisy ~ I share your sentiments
tansy ~ I declare against you
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I’ve updated the Friday Fun post from last week. You can click this link to see the answer.