Nothing’s more classic than a dozen long-stemmed red roses to express your love. But what if you want to send a different message? Did you know, for instance, that
gardenias mean “You’re lovely” while red tulips declare “You’re my perfect mate”? Here, adapted from German botanist and art historian Marina Heilmeyer’s classic book, The Language of Flowers, is a guide to flowers that convey specific sentiments for love, marriage, and romance. Keep them in mind when choosing a bouquet for someone you love.Once known as a sign of love and bravery, the carnation was also praised by poets as a symbol of friendship because it kept its color to the last. Today, pink carnations say, “I’ll never forget you.”It was during the 15th century that the hopelessly smitten started picking off petals to discover whether “he loves me/he loves me not” (the last petal to be plucked indicating whether the object of one’s affection returns the affection or not). And medieval knights were permitted to include a daisy in their coat-of-arms if the lady of their heart had granted their plea.When you recall steamy, romantic summer nights, it’s easy to think of the sensuous fragrance of honeysuckle. But in times past, honeysuckle was a symbol of permanence and steadfastness, too―a meaning still attributed to it today.In olden days, European boys and girls searched for lily of the valley each May. Dances were held at this time and the bell-like flower was reputed to bring good fortune in love.Also known as “Maiden in the Country” and “Bride’s Hair,” this blue or white flower might better be called “Brush Off.” Historically, if a younger girl handed an admirer love-in-a-mist, the message was “Leave me alone.” If she wanted to send someone packing, she placed the flowers in a covered basket that was dispatched to the unlucky recipient. The flower has become a symbol of unrequited love.Also known as “Maiden in the Country” and “Bride’s Hair,” this blue or white flower might better be called “Brush Off.” Historically, if a younger girl handed an admirer love-in-a-mist, the message was “Leave me alone.” If she wanted to send someone packing, she placed the flowers in a covered basket that was dispatched to the unlucky recipient. The flower has become a symbol of unrequited love.Its delicate white flowers symbolize beauty, youth, and love―perfect for many brides. However, it was once believed that those who lost their lives as a result of driving passion were turned into myrtle groves in the underworld, making myrtle a symbol of love that endures beyond death.This fragrant herb is said to aid memory, which explains why once young ladies gave their sweethearts a sprig as a reminder when they parted. It’s also a symbol of fidelity, love, unwavering devotion: When Ann of Cleves became the fourth wife of Henry VIII, she wore a crown of rosemary, hoping―in vain―that the popular saying “A bride’s bouquet of rosemary makes love evergreen” would hold true.Cleopatra had pillows filled with rose petals. Nero showered his guests with them. This beautiful, fragrant flower has grown increasingly popular over the years. In 2012, an estimated 198 million roses were sold for Valentine’s Day. The red rose declares the giver’s intense, passionate love for the receiver. Red and white roses together signify unity in relationship.