I’ve always been fascinated with flowers. My Grandfather was a gardener who lived with us when we were children and his garden was a florid wonder of colour and perfume. I have a vivid memory of when I was around eight years of age, I picked flowers from a lady’s garden on the way home from school one day. The next day, the lady whom I’d never met, was standing at her fence to greet me. Rather than chastise me, she invited me in to gather and collect more flowers from her garden and with her guidance, she explained the symbolism of each flower. She also taught me the lesson that if I wanted something, it’s best to ask! (I’d managed to pick her best blooms).
FLOWERS – PERFUME WORDS
As far back as the middle ages, flowers have been given or grown to convey messages that are filled with love, romance, feelings of sadness, joy, hope or sympathy. Nearly every sentiment imaginable can be conveyed with a flower.
Even to this day, a bride has a story of ‘perfumed words’ hidden in her bouquet. In days gone by, our mothers, grandmothers and even from generations earlier selected the flowers on their wedding day to reflect their own personality, characteristics, feelings and emotions or to convey a message to the groom. These days, the modern trend is seeing a resurgence of this tradition as brides are designing bridesmaids’ bouquets to reflect each of their personality. For example, I’ve noticed that it’s trending for each bridesmaid to hold an individually styled bouquet? The Groom also wears a flower in his top pocket. This was known in early days as wearing the ‘Lady’s Flower’ as a respect and love for his bride. Take a look through your old family photos and have fun discovering these stories and traditions.
FLORIOGRAPHY – THE MESSAGES OF FLOWERS
In earlier days, a flower was a way to communicate messages that were not able to be verbalised in Victorian society. This is known as floriography. Gifts of blooms, plants and specific floral arrangements were sent as coded messages to the recipient, allowing the sender to express their feelings. Known as talking bouquets, nosegays or tussie-mussies, people would have a floral dictionary on hand to decode the communication sent with the flowers.
In a sort of silent dialogue, flowers could be used to answer “yes” or “no” questions. In a clear message, (that could be handy in today’s social climate), a “yes” answer came in the form of flowers handed over with the right hand; if the left hand was used, the answer was “no.”
Nearly every sentiment imaginable can be expressed with flowers. The orange blossom, for instance, means chastity, purity, and loveliness, while the red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”
JENS FLOWER STORY
My mother- in- law, Enid, was a talented florist and the flowers for my wedding bouquet had deep meaning. Rex and I were married in 1976 and these were our flowers of choice: Lily of the Valley: my May birth flower- trustworthy and purity. White roses and white carnations: pure love and good luck. Calla lilies: beautiful ( my mother had these in her bouquet in 1953) and soft gypsophila: everlasting love. My bridesmaids, born in December and January, carried the birth flowers of these months: Apricot and white carnations with a small sprig of holly and gypsophila.
My father’s favourite flower was the red rose and each year, to celebrate his life and remember him, I buy stems of red roses for the gallery. When my mother passed away last year, my sister and I went back to her home to collect pink camellia’s from the trees which she’d planted in her garden 40 years earlier. As we gathered the glorious flowers from the lawn, we layered them in a basket and with loving thoughts, placed them on her casket at the graveside. Camellia: Love, affection and admiration.
Red rose: Love, I love you
Dark crimson rose: mourning
Fern: Eternal Youth, New life and new beginnings.
Gypsophila or Baby’s Breath: Everlasting love and innocence
Calla Lillies: Named after the Greek word for ‘beautiful” purity, holiness and faithfulness.
Carnation: Light red: admiration – dark red deep love and affection.
White carnation: purelove and good luck – striped, (variegated) regret that love cannot be shared.
Daisy: love, beauty, fertility, motherhood and new beginnings.
Camellia: Love, affection and admiration
Protea: One of the oldest families of flowers, dating back 300 million years: With its mythical associations with change and transformation, it symbolises diversity and Courage.
Eucalyptus: A symbol of strength, protection and survival.
Fern: Eternal youth: Maoris, new life and new beginnings, Japanese: New hope for future generations – family. For early Victorians, the fern symblized humility and sincerity.
Bird of Paradise: Paradise and freedom, joy, excellence, magnificence and success.
WEDDING PRINT AND FRAME PACKAGES
As we move back into dancing at weddings, (yes! I heard this today), Olivia and I have designed some awesome, affordable print and frame wedding packages for pre-order.
They are designed to order as part of your wedding planning and budget at the time you book your wedding photographer. This will ensure that the expensive, quality professional photos of your day won’t sit around for months or even years while you ‘save up’ for framing.
Gift Vouchers for the packages or custom printing and framing are also available.
Let the flowers keep coming. We’ve recently planted a large balcony tub with colourful Gerberas Daisy: purity, innocence and beauty. It represents energy and rejuvenation. The mix of vibrant colours encourage youthfulness and joy. What a great way to keep it all happening in 2021.
With energy and joy, keep your life moving with new discoveries and appreciate the wonderful meanings of flowers.
Interior Designer and sales, Coastal Framing and Design.