Cold winter days are almost at an end and spring flowers are on their way. Even though the weather is chilly, flowers are here in abundance at your farmers’ market. Bright and cheerful bouquets are the perfect gift for someone special in your life. From alstoremeria to daisies to tulips and roses, you’ll find a wide variety at the farmers’ market.
Do you remember the phrase, “Say it with flowers”? Flowers can convey a variety of meanings. The language of flowers, herbs, and leaves has been written about for centuries and in many different countries. This kind of floral code, known as “florigraphy,” was especially popular among the romantics of Victorian England about a hundred years ago. A Victorian woman named Miss Corruthers of Inverness, wrote a book on the subject in 1879. This book has become the standard of flower symbolism. Each flower and tree had a meaning all its own. Presenting sprigs or blooms from a given plant was a shorthand way of saying “love at first sight!” (thornless roses) or “I am your slave forever” (wild geraniums). Here is a short list of common flowers and what they mean.
Alstroemeria: Symbolizes strong bond with another person, prosperity
Amaryllis: An indoor flowering bulb whose showy blossoms represent pride and radiant beauty
Carnations: represent pride and beauty
Daffodil: A sure sign of spring, but also represents chivalry
Daisy: Signifies loyal love
Freesia: Innocence, friendship
Iris: Wisdom and compliments
Roses: yellow convey friendship and joy, pink mean admiration and grace, and red is true love and respect.
Sunflower: a statement of pure love, longevity, and adoration
Tulip: a symbol of fame, but also stands for the “perfect lover”
Formal, strict Victorians had many restraints when it came to courtship and were extremely concerned about modesty and social appearances. Therefore the hidden meaning in flowers was a perfect means for them to show their true feelings without being improper or immodest. And to complicate matters, combinations of flowers meant something different than single flowers!
But today, with so many flower choices, there are no rules – it’s the sentiment that gives the gift its meaning. Many people assign their own personal meanings – a flower or color that might remind them of a special event or moment in their lives. So choose your own favorite flower or floral combination and present it to your sweetheart. They’re sure to love them, no matter what!
Tussie Mussies: Make your own Victorian “tussie-mussie,” a small floral arrangement from the era of Queen Victoria. Commonly given in a pretty metal or embellished paper cone at the beginning of a romance or courtship to convey a special meaning, they were also presented as gifts on special occasions like Valentine’s Day. People still give these small tokens of love and friendship today.
- Ruler, Pencil, Scissors, Hole punch
- A piece of pretty double-sided 12×12 scrapbook paper
- White craft glue, Clear tape
- Ribbon (at least a yard per cone) and other embellishments (stickers, fringe, trim, etc.)
- Choice of Flowers
- 2-3 small or large floral tubes, depending on how many flowers you’re using
Use a ruler or straight edge to mark the paper from corner to corner to form two triangles. Cut your scrapbook paper along the pencil line. Next is the most challenging part: rolling the cone. (If children are making the project, an adult may need to help with this part.) Orient your triangle so the widest point is at the top. Take one of the smaller, thinner corners on the side and roll it into the top of the corner triangle, keeping the roll tight at the bottom along the straight part of the paper to form the cone shape. Place a small piece of clear tape on the inside of the cone to help keep its shape. Take the remaining side and wrap it around the front of the cone until the point meets the top corner in the back. Place a piece of tape at the seam on the back of the cone.