The coded language of floriography meant that Victorians could express affection, desire or disdain, allowing a society governed by strict etiquette to show its true feelings. Now the language of flowers is popular again, writes Emma Flint.

Flowers have a longstanding tradition as a means of emotional expression. When we wish to convey our affection, joy or condolences, and words won’t suffice, we rely on their beauty. Through the art of floriography, a coded means of communication more commonly referred to as the language of flowers, emotional intimacy has been allowed to flourish where it may otherwise be repressed. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, it’s a practice that dominated Victorian culture in England and the US, and, despite being largely forgotten for decades, is steadily gaining popularity once more.

One of the most prominent examples of recent floriography is King Charles’s choice of funeral wreath for his mother, the late Queen. Bound by a tradition that is steeped in keeping emotions concealed, he expressed his sense of loss through his choice of blooms; myrtle for love and prosperity, paired with English oak to represent strength. To the uninformed, the wreath stood alone as a symbol of familial grief, its meaning derived from its presence not its substance. It was only by analysing the stems that the breadth of his emotions could be better understood.

Such poignant personalisation is part of a cultural foundation we all share. The tradition of floriography has always been there, but these days is a shadow of its former self – many know that a bouquet of roses symbolises romance, for example, but few know why. We might not perceive certain stems as positive or negative as the Victorians did, but we do still know that certain blooms better suit certain occasions. An understanding of flowers’ meanings, however, can help us progress from the simplicity of sending a bouquet based on only its beauty to tapping into a deeper and more nuanced emotional intimacy.

For read the full text click here:

  • Other similar themes:

12 unforgettable style moments of 2022 –

The YouTuber making millions from true crime and make-up –

Linda Evangelista back on Vogue cover after being ‘deformed’ by procedure –

Non-surgical beauty treatments: Undercover on a facelift training course –

Women wear less make-up since the pandemic –

The myth of universal beauty –

K-beauty: The rise of Korean make-up in the West –

Why ‘quirky’ people are attractive –

Beauty industry bullying: ‘I saw strong women cry at their desks’ –

My beautician saved my life from deadly skin cancer –

Why do women appear to bear the brunt of ageism at work? –

Why some people like wearing masks –

Beauty professionals hope for prettier picture in 2021 –

Five tech trends shaping the beauty industry –

Taiwan’s 2,000 year-old knife massage –

How a teenager had 30 cosmetic procedures without showing ID? –

Social media pressure is linked to cosmetic procedure boom –

Fashion lookahead: Seven major looks for 2020 –

The peculiar bathroom habits of Westerners –

The benefits of going bald –

Five tech trends shaping the beauty industry –

How much water should you drink a day? –

Why do women live longer than men? –

Skinny genes the ‘secret to staying slim’ –

Why you don’t really have a ‘type’ –

Can social networks help you lose weight? –

Low-calorie shakes and soup diets ‘recommended for obese’ –

Probiotics labelled ‘quite useless’ –

The reasons why women’s voices are deeper today –

The people who cannot smile –

Potential new cure found for baldness –

Five things you might be surprised affect weight –

What is the ‘ideal’ female body shape? –

Is the taboo around male make-up disappearing? –

These are the six biggest fashion looks for 2018 –

Is this what real beauty looks like? –

The secret to a long and healthy life? Eat less –

Why vitamin pills don’t work, and may be bad for you –