Flowers are one of the first gifts that come to mind when we think of our mothers on Mother's Day, just as we know to give flowers to our lovers on Valentine's Day or to smooth things over after an argument. The giving of flowers is ingrained into modern culture, and we know that flowers can say "I love you" or "I'm sorry," but did you know that there is a long tradition of individual flowers holding very specific meanings? Red roses are widely known to say "I love you," but they can also stand for respect, courage and even embarrassment! Different flowers can have a variety of meanings, both positive and negative, so it's important to know which flowers to pair together in order to get your true message across.
First published in Paris in 1818, Charlotte de La Tour's classic Le langage des fleurs first brought floral meanings to the masses. Although meanings had long been associated with different floral specimens, the Victorians, in particular their poets and artists, used the meanings of flowers to convey messages in art, literature, and even in day-to-day settings. de La Tour's book gathered known floral meanings rooted in ancient history and laid those meanings out, creating a reference guide that we still draw from today. While we no longer attend balls carrying nosegays that can indicate if we are unattached or not, we can definitely use the lost language of flowers to convey meaning through a simple gift.
There are many resources online for discovering the meanings behind various flowers, so next time you're shopping for a floral gift, do some research first! Choose a color scheme (colors matter- in many cases, different colored flowers even of the same variety can have vastly different connotations!), find out what various flowers in that color scheme mean, and then visit your local flower shop and ask the floral designer if you can choose individual flowers to have made up into a special bouquet.
For a mother's day gift, you could choose lavender, for devotion. Alstroemeria stands for prosperity- and who doesn't wish prosperity for their loved ones? Ivy stands for dependance and endurance, both qualities that mothers have in plenty. The pink pixie (or mini) carnation reveals the meaning of a mother's love, and gratitude, again very apt for such an occasion. And the ranunculus demonstrates radiant charm. While your mother probably won't know these meanings outright, you can include the meanings on your enclosure card, and it's a given that she'll be delighted by the thought and detail you put into such a heartfelt, personalized gift.
Let's bring back the lost art of using the language of flowers!
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Floral Styling + Text
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Floral meaning resources