When Marilyn Monroe died, her grief-stricken former lover Joe DiMaggio placed a 20-year order for a dozen roses to be placed on her grave three times each week, to symbolise his love.
Red roses mean love, daisies represent innocence, lotus flowers rebirth and gardenias happiness. This is the language of flowers. Flowers have been synonymous with sending messages of love, friendship, and condolences since Victorian times when every household studied their meaning and noted them down in flower dictionaries.
Of course, letters were always an option for Victorians. However, in a time with very strict societal standards about decorum and reputation, that was not always appropriate. It may not have been possible to tell someone your true feelings and so, using bouquets to send messages that could not be said out loud was a common way of communicating.
So, if you would like to become acquainted with this romantic form of communication, here are some of the meanings of flowers below.
1. Lotus Flower
The lotus flower signifies rebirth and new beginnings. This is because the flowers grow out of the mud in swampy areas. Each night, they slowly close and return to the mud, and each morning they bloom again, just as beautiful as ever.
In Greek Mythology, the lotus-eaters were people who lived on an island where lotus flowers were the primary source of food. However, the lotus flowers were a narcotic, and the island’s inhabitants slept their lives away. Whoever visited the island and ate the lotus flowers never returned and spent the rest of their days in slumber.
Today, if we call someone a ‘lotus-eater,’ it means they indulge in luxuries and apathy instead of dealing with practical problems. The Victorians often took inspiration from ancient myths or legends about flowers.
2. Cactus flower
To Victorians these prickly plants surprisingly meant…. Warmth. They do after all grow in the warmest climates.
There are many myths and legends about cactus flowers, including a Native American tale in which a young man being pursued by wild animals asked the gods for help. In response they turned him into a cactus, creating the very first cactus on earth.
This beautiful bloom symbolises secret love. They are commonly seen growing wild in Australian suburbs, and now you can handpick them to send to someone you’re admiring from afar.
The Acacia flower has also been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes in African.
For Victorians, this bloom means that love is returned. It is a beautiful way of letting someone know that the feeling is mutual.
In Ancient Greek mythology, the gods drank and ate Ambrosia.
These beautifully scented flowers signify an overflow of happiness. Be careful with their delicate petals, as they can brown when touched.
It is common to see these flowers at weddings and in bridal bouquets, not only for their beauty but as an expression of joy.
6. Red Carnation
A red carnation indicates heartbreak. A yellow carnation means disdain and a striped carnation refusal. So…. Heartbreak and bad news all round for carnations despite their beauty.
A beautiful splash of cheerful yellow in a bouquet will signify regard and unequaled love. To send these in Victorian times was truly a compliment or a declaration of love.
The English poet William Wordsworth was so moved by the beauty of some daffodils he saw on a walk that he wrote a famous poem about them.
‘’I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils’’
– William Wordsworth.
It doesn’t seem surprising that daisies signify innocence. However, they have different shades of meaning and in some cases can represent a promise to keep a secret.
A common custom with daisies is to pull the petals off one by one and recite each time, ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ until the last petal gives an answer.
These represent folly and stupidity so do be careful with these. Despite this, they look beautiful in a bouquet or growing wildly in your garden.
While these blooms might make you yearn for a tropical holiday, they represent a delicate kind of beauty. So, not only are they bold and stunning but highly complementary.
Represent the bonds of love. Perfect for an anniversary and they smell beautiful. They also look amazing growing wildly along a fence or somewhere in your garden.
12. White Jasmine
Their scent is unmistakable and for many of us they herald the beginning of the Australian spring and summer. However, these beauties mean sweet love and fidelity.
Marigolds signify grief and jealousy. The shock of colour from their petals sends a strong message.
A poppy can be sent in consolation. Often, we see them around ANZAC day for this reason. Their meaning of consolation represents solidarity in times of grief.
15. Red rose
Simply, I love you. There is no reading between the lines here.
16. Yellow Rose
Along with other flowers that signify bad news, yellow roses must be top of the list. They signify infidelity and a loss of love.
17. Yellow Tulip
In this case, yellow signifies good news. It means to tell someone that their smile is like sunshine and they are hugely complimentary. Nothing will cheer you up quite like looking at a bouquet of tulips.
18. Tiger Lily
A tiger Lily represents wealth, so gift a bouquet of these to someone you love who is looking for financial growth or an income
Signifies a love of nature and a sense of nobility. Their pale faces and dark green leaves give this bloom an elegance that matches their meaning.
Meaning wisdom, trust, and faith, these beautiful blooms carry a lot of meaning as well as being beautiful.