The Language of Flowers 2

How to Communicate Your Passion

The language of flowers otherwise referred to as floriography, is the ancient practice of using flower colors and arrangements to communicate meaning. Use of floriography in the United States dates back to the early nineteenth century, but cultures in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East have been using flowers to communicate longer still. The language of flowers has been used in art, poetry, literature and the Bible.

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque popularized the concept of the language of flowers in the United States through his work in weekly and monthly publications in the early 1800’s. In his feature called “The School of Flora,” he highlighted different flowers with their French, English, Latin, and botanic names as well as descriptions and symbolisms of said flowers.

For example, The Latin and scientific name for a rose is “rosa.” The Old French and Old English are “rose.” A rose is in the Rosaceae family and the Plantae kingdom. Most species of roses have five petals and five sepals, and each petal is divided into two lobes. There are more than 100 species of roses varying in size, shape and color. Roses are native to Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. As for symbolism, the rose is the flower of love.

Later in the nineteenth century, as floriography gained popularity in the US, female American writers and poets became more engaged in the conversation. In her poem, The Language of Flowers, Catharine H. Waterman Esling wrote,

“Yes – flowers have tones – God gave to each A language of its own, and bade the simple blossom teach Where’er its seeds are sown.”

In modern times, florists like Keith Jones still appreciate and utilize the language of flowers in their work. The owner of Flowers and Friends, a local flower shop on El Camino Real in North Beach, Jones has been providing quality flowers to the San Clemente community for 25 years.

Whether you are looking for a simple statement with a single flower or a more in-depth message with a bouquet, Jones has the product and the knowledge to help you deliver. He understands the significance of certain colors and arrangements and could create a strong message with the right flowers.

When it comes to roses, Jones says there are significant distinctions with the different colors. For example, a single red rose paired with wax flowers is the classic way to say, “I love you.” However, Jones recommends new lovers use pink or purple roses rather than red to communicate the desire for their sweetheart, as red may send too strong a message for a budding romance.

To communicate an intense message of passion, an arrangement could include colors like red, pink and purple, which generally symbolize love, passion and devotion. Jones recommends what could be called a “passion bouquet”. Choosing from his own flowers, he would include red roses, hot pink spray roses, purple roses, pink gerbera daisies, stargazers and a South African protea. For balance, the passion bouquet could also include greens and whites, such as wax flowers, green hydrangeas, ornamental kale and tuberose.

If a message of friendship is needed, yellow and white flowers are ideal. For healing purposes, like in wishing someone to get well soon, Jones recommends using the color orange. The warmth of orange paired with greens and whites communicates a message of joy and balance. Sympathy arrangements should include soothing colors such as whites, soft pinks and soft yellows.

Although floriography has been around for thousands of years, meanings of flowers and their colors and arrangements can vary from culture to culture and throughout time. Just as there can be slight variations in the language of flowers, Jones recognizes the importance of leaving room for subjectivity.

“We need to ask questions to individuals,” he says. It is important to allow for a personal, creative touch with each customer. Perhaps someone does wish to communicate love, but they know a specific flower that will send a better message than a rose to their beloved. The art of communicating through flowers should be subjective and specialized.

For fresh flowers with a meaningful, personal touch this February, visit your local San Clemente Florist at Flowers and Friends in North Beach!