Valentine’s Day – Expressions of Love

Flowers that communicate your feelings

By Sherry Vogel

   Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday to give flowers, as they have been a traditional way to express love for decades. In fact, an old fashioned custom of sending flowers was so popular during the 18th century that they became relied on to give a non-verbal message to the object of one’s affection. How convenient for those too shy to verbally express matters of the heart.

   Surprisingly, a meaning was attached to each specific flower, making it possible to have an entire conversation without actually using words. While different flowers have different meanings, even colors in the same flower family communicate a diversity of feelings. For instance, the traditional flower symbolizing romantic love is the red rose, while the yellow rose is symbolic of friendship.

   Each of the colors in the carnation family expresses a different message. For example, the pink carnation, a classic flower used in a corsage for a high school prom, expresses, “I’ll never forget you”. The red carnation expresses “My heart aches for you”. A white carnation is a woman’s good luck gift. If one receives a yellow carnation, the message is “You have disappointed me” or a message of an all out rejection. The striped carnation also signifies a similar message: “Sorry I can’t be with you”, or a refusal giving an honest negative response of “No”.

   A silent love story may look like this. “You fall in love with someone at first sight,” so you send a Gloxinia. You get no immediate response so you decide to send a violet, which encourages “let’s take a chance on love”. A few days later you are encouraged when you receive the response of “anticipation”, a single forsythia left on your door seal. Encouraged, the next day you decide not to beat around the bush any longer and have a spider flower delivered. This is right to the point and proposes, “Elope with me”. A few days go by with no response, perhaps you moved too fast. You consider sending a purple hyacinth to express “I am sorry, please forgive me”. Then the doorbell rings and what a sight to behold, the most beautiful Ambrosia flower you have ever seen. Your love is reciprocated.

   Is the language of flowers foreign? You could always send a “mixed bouquet” to see if cupid’s arrow has struck and discover whether he/she feels the same way about you.