In 1819, the first widely popularized book on the language of flowers was published by author Charlotte de la Tour—but long before then, through many centuries and cultural histories, flowers have been assigned meaning—a communication all their own.
In Victorian-era Britain and North America, flowers were a code used to make posies and bouquets that served as secret messages between friends and lovers. Individual flowers had their own meanings, but combined, they’d create special messages that evaded censorship and prying eyes. The Ojibwa tell a story of the moccasin flower, called lady slipper in English, a beautiful woodland blossom that is known as a mark of courage and strength. In Chinese culture, the four seasons are represented by flowering cherry (winter), orchid (spring), bamboo (summer) and chrysanthemum (fall); Irises are thought to repel evil spirits and promote long life, and peonies symbolize fame and wealth.
Symbolism & Trends
In the United States, we can spot contemporary symbolism and trends by the decade. Just look to the 1970s to see the origin of daisy popularity, or old Martha Stewart magazine shoots for overflowing, abundant arrangement styles and the loud bridal bouquets of the 1980s. Green flowers really had their moment 10-15 years ago, and about five years ago, there was a demand for painted dried palms and monstera leaves. When we tap into trend forecasting, we can also get an idea of what’s on its way out: see a floral trend on an episode of The Bachelor—like pampas grass or spray-painted baby’s breath—and you better believe it’s about to be done.
Who needs rules!? Not us!
Now, you can break the rules. Gladiolus and lilies don’t need to be exclusive to mourning or grief; there’s a freedom in creating your own definition and symbolism rooted in your own connection to flowers and what they might mean to you or the person you’re sending them to. We’ve found that during the pandemic, many still send flowers as a reminder of levity, love, and the sorrow of not being able to be near to each other.
We love working with our customers on meaningful arrangements. While we can’t guarantee a specific flower due to freshness, availability, and shortages, we’ll always create something special that speaks volumes. You can see our full range of flower options here.