In the Victorian language of flowers, hundreds of blooms were ascribed specific meanings based on folklore, science, and ancient history. Page through this botanical encyclopedia to learn each flower’s Victorian meaning (ranunculus, for example, boldly states, “I am dazzled by your charms,” while marigold represents despair), common names, and cultural history. There is also an index of the flowers grouped by theme, should you want to challenge your local florist to create a coded message for a loved one.
The study of floriography can be used by readers to decode hidden messages in beloved novels likeThe Age of Innocenceor speculate as to why two canary-yellow roses—which signify jealousy and infidelity—were featured in Diana Spencer’s wedding bouquet. You might share some honeysuckle (meaning “bonds of love”) with a friend or partner as a gesture of commitment. Or perhaps you’ll choose a celebratory bouquet of angelica (“inspiration”) and purple columbine (“resolved to win”) for a friend who has triumphed over something difficult.
Karen Azoulay pairs nineteenth century botanical drawings with electric photography, creating a one-of-a-kind flower dictionary with a contemporary, artful feel. With a foreword by Kate Bolick and a helpful sentiment-based index,Flowers and Their Meaningsis both a beautiful volume and a practical guide to incorporating the language of flowers into your own life.