Archive for March, 2007

h1

Say It With Petunias: or, Too Early for April Showers

March 2, 2007

Mood:  rosy

Song: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”

*Warning: This Post is Slightly Belated*

white roses by modotti

Since my darling husband and I both worked on Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. “Singles Awareness Day”), we made the prudent decision to celebrate the day beforehand.  I had no idea what he intended, but I was quite content to go along for the ride.  We ended up at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum for a romantic morning spent tiptoeing through the tulips and rambling among the roses.  I was also treated to a history lesson thanks to a display covering the long-forgotten language of the flowers.

That’s right; even this English major acknowledges that there are ways of speaking without words.  Some sources believe that the practice of assigning meaning to particular flowers originated in Persia and the near east.  Perhaps King Charles of Sweden, who visited Turkey in the 1700’s, brought the tradition back with him; possibly Crusaders carried the secret significance of flowers back with them to the courts of Europe.  

The language of flowers spanned many cultures, each contributing meanings to local blooms; in fact, though modern minds may think it strange, great expense was poured out to obtain just the right flower to signify a desired meaning.  In certain instances the order of flowers was set by a long ribbon so that the message would be read properly and in order.  During Victorian times the Medieval tradition was revived, allowing young lovers to communicate despite strict cultural mores.  While sceptics (both Victorian and contemporary) will scoff at the idea that flowers can bear meanings, be assured that the language is still alive today; what clearer token of romantic love can sweethearts exchange than a deep red rose?

Read the rest of this entry ?

Advertisements