"Parlor: A Room by Many Names," features conversation and gathering spaces in the Victorian Era, but did you know flower arranging was another form of communication?
Flower arranging has been an expressive art for hundreds of years, but in the Victorian era, flowers held more meaning than just brightening a room or signifying a special occasion. We asked Adair McGregor, florist and co-founder of Tenfold Floral Studio, some of her favorite things about Victorian flowers and her own work to learn the art of subtle communication.
While today florists typically arrange blooms based on a color scheme or mood, Victorian flowers were arranged based on symbolic meanings associated with each flower. "At Tenfold, we typically have a focus on weddings or events and tend to arrange with the seasons," Adair says. "As well, clients typically want to convey an idea with a certain look or color, but in Victorian times, women created a whole language to express an abundance of emotions."
The art of conversation was central to Victorian times and before, and telling a story with a bouquet goes right along with that. "I love the idea of a flower holding so much more symbolically than what meets the eye. Sure, flowers have beautiful exteriors, but the sentiment gets more at the heart of not only the flower itself ---but the giver." When looked at in this light, buying flowers for yourself or a loved one takes on a new meaning and has the opportunity to mean that much more.
Adair hopes that the trend of communicating with flowers will return in the future. "We’ve never had anyone ask us to create arrangements using the language of flowers, but we’d be very open to it. As well, we’d love a bride to use flowers to convey her sentiments – like vows, but flowers instead of words –how romantic!" Below are some of Tenfold's favorite flower symbols, so the next time you order an arrangement or pick blooms from your garden, try crafting a message!
Here are some of the Victorian meanings behind our favorite flowers:
Rose (pink) - friendship
Clematis - mental beauty, art
Ranunculus - you are radiant, I am dazzled by your charms
Marigold - despair, grief
Zinnia - thought of absent friends
Poppy (scarlet) - fantastic extravagance
Iris - I have a message for you
Honeysuckle - bonds of love, generous and devoted affection
Cherry Blossom - spirituality, beauty
Lilac (white) - majesty, purity, innocence
Tulip, striped - beautiful eyes
Pansy - pleasant thoughts, think of me
Larkspur - lightness, levity
Hellebore - scandal
Fern, Maidenhair - discretion, secrecy
Jasmine - you are cheerful and graceful
Which flower symbol is your favorite? If you craft your own Victorian arrangement, make sure to tag us in the picture and share it on Facebook and Instagram!
Tenfold Floral Studio is new to Waco and is owned and operated by Adair McGregor and Aelish Lascoe. For inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos courtesy of Tenfold Floral Studio.