Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical words and watercolour

The language of flowers

Fascinating factsKerrie Woodhouse

It is an enchanting idea to me that flowers express themselves so clearly that they have become recognised symbols of their own energy. They are, to me, a hopeful representation of the notion that if we could be truly ourselves, without the shroud of our doubts and fears and unobscured by our 'shoulds', that self expression would be effortless and that we would be completely understood.

There is a language, little known, Lovers claim it as their own. Its symbols smile upon the land, Wrought by nature's wondrous hand; And in their silent beauty speak, Of life and joy, to those who seek For Love Divine and sunny hours In the language of the flowers. –The Language of Flowers, London, 1875

We have been attributing meaning to flowers for so very many years that the 'language of flowers' now even has its own  name - floriography.  Victorians sent coded messages using flower arrangements. For example;

  • roses symbolise love

  • daffodils symbolise chivalry

  • lilies symbolise beauty

  • daisies symbolise purity and innocence

  • gerberas symbolise cheerfulness

The colour of the flower conveys meaning too.

  • red - passion and love

  • orange - expansion, growth, and warmth

  • yellow - clarity, truth and intellect

  • green - renewal, growth, hope, health and youth

  • blue - dreams, inspiration, tranquility

  • indigo - emotions, depth, intuition and expressive moods

  • violet - royalty, nobility and spirituality

If you are in the mood to explore the language of flowers a little further, Kate Greenaways' Language of Flowers is available to read online for free here. Vanessa Diffenbaugh has a more modern Flower Dictionary as well as a charming novel, The Language of Flowers.

Explore more of the Flower Faces Series or see the rest of the monthly series in the collection.