Why do you send flowers

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A Victorian era mother with her child
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The recipient will be glad no matter why you send flowers

Why do you send flowers? And when? Many reasons ... and any time.

Flowers are traditionally sent on Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, for birthdays, anniversaries and to the bereaved. But in truth, there is never a wrong time to send flowers.

Send them just because you want to let someone know you’re thinking about them. Send them because you are in love, or because you had a great first date. You don’t really need a reason to send flowers because who doesn’t enjoy getting a surprise bouquet or floral arrangement brought to their front door?

Flowers represent and symbolize many things and have specific meanings so you might want to bone up on your flower knowledge before sending a bouquet, although this is certainly not mandatory. There are certain flowers that will convey particular messages. Hopefully, the recipient will be up to speed on the meaning of flowers and can appreciate the language of flowers. 

For instance, Kate Middleton, or the new Duchess of Cambridge, sent a message to the Queen when she carried a bouquet of lily of the valley, knowing that this is the Queen’s favorite flower.

Since the Victorian era, flowers have been a way of sending a coded message. Pretty cool! 

If you want to let someone know you are defying them, send them some thistles. If you want to express your eternal faithfulness, send violets. 

Flower symbolism is serious business. The first flower dictionary was created in 1818 by Charlotte de la Tour. This was before the advent of the Victorian Era. In 1879 another flower symbolism book was written my Miss Corruthers. The latter book became the standard reference book for flower symbolism. Back then, you simply had to know this stuff because the Victorians were very engaged in the language of flowers.

Queen Victoria was quite the influential monarch. She had a thing for floriography, which is the language of flowers and through which these enigmatic messages could be sent to suitors or enemies. The kind of flower and the way it was arranged meant specific things. This allowed people to express themselves through flowers when perhaps it wouldn’t have been appropriate or chivalrous to do so in words.  

This practice dates by to the Renaissance and Medieval times when flowers were ascribed moral meanings. For example, gladiolus mean character, while iris stands for wisdom and faith and holly represents foresight. A sunflower shows that you are paying homage to someone. 

If you are into cryptic messages, and you know that someone is in danger, send him rhododendrons. Of course, your red alert won’t work if he doesn’t know the meaning of this flower. If you hate someone dispatch some basil this way. 

The Victorians got quite a kick out of floriography and it became a popular pastime. If a flower was given in an upright position it meant “a positive thought.” However, if it were given in the downward position it meant something negative. If you offered a flower with the right hand this meant “yes” and if you offered it with the left hand, well, your poor suitor was out of luck.

If you don’t trust someone as far as you can toss them, send them a bouquet of lavender. Pansies stand for thoughtfulness while myrtle symbolizes marriage and love. 

If someone has done something really, really stupid, give them a geranium. Love at first sight requires gloxinias, if you want to impart this message. If you are ovulating and want to get pregnant, send your partner gypsophila, which represents fertility.

You don’t have to take flower giving as seriously as the Victorians did, but it is fun to know what flowers mean. Even if the recipient doesn’t know, you do, which could be particularly satisfying (and perhaps a bit perverse.)

Resources: History of a Florist

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