I saw a post earlier this month on Facebook about the rose being the birthday flower for June and I thought “Aha!” Time to remind myself which flowers are for which months, as it can make a lovely, apt, birthday present for friends who love their gardens or, like me, just love having flowers in the house. It also reminded me about the ‘language of flowers’…
Sometimes called ‘floriography’, the language of flowers is all about sending messages through the arrangement of flowers. Meaning has been attributed to flowers for thousands of years but interest in floriography really took off in Victorian times. Gifts of blooms, plants, and specific floral arrangements were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings that could not be spoken aloud in buttoned-up Victorian society! Armed with floral dictionaries, Victorians often exchanged small ‘talking bouquets’, called nosegays or tussie-mussies, which could be worn or carried as a fashion accessory. It’s a rather lovely idea and such a shame that now, most people just text or tweet each other – so unromantic!
But there… for those of us that still have a bit of romance, or poetry in our souls, here’s a list of birthday plants for each month, plus their significance. This isn’t definitive and you’ll find some differences, but you’ll get the general idea!
The flower is said to symbolise love, fascination and distinction. Carnations come in every shade and each colour can symbolise a sentiment or emotion. Pink means affection, a white carnation mean good luck, whereas a yellow carnation denotes disappointment or exclusion.
Although this month is associated with St. Valentine’s Day and red roses, the flower for the month is violet. The flower symbolises faithfulness, humility and chastity. Giving violets in the Victorian era conveyed the message ‘I’ll always be true’.
This month is synonymous with the onset of spring and accordingly the flower associated with this month is the daffodil also known as jonquil or narcissus. A gift of these flowers conveys the hidden meaning of friendship and happiness.
April: Sweet pea
The sweet pea is said to symbolise pleasure or good-bye. In the Victorian era, these flowers formed a part of the bouquet that was sent to someone to convey gratefulness.
May: Lily of the valley
The flower conveys sweetness and humility. In the Victorian era, they conveyed the romantic message ‘You have made my life complete’.
Roses are available in many colours and each has its own special meanings, but the underlying message the flowers convey is that of love and passion.
With its simple form, feelings of open heart and ardent attachment are attributed to it. Again, there are different meanings for each colour. Pink denotes contrariness, white expresses a happy nature, and a first love is usually symbolized by purple.
It stands for sincerity and symbolises strength of character.
The name of the flower – which looks like a star – is derived from the Greek word for star and, in the language of flowers, it symbolises love, faith and wisdom.
October: Marigold or Calendula
The marigold stands for sorrow and sympathy.
Compassion, friendship and joy. Chrysanthemums have different meanings. Red is for love, white means innocence, and yellow denotes unrequited love.
The narcissus symbolises sweetness.