Rockpool Publishing


If you love someone, you give them red roses because that is what red roses mean, love. While this is true, roses are not the only flower which hold a meaning. Each and every blossom symbolizes something quite unique, so this Valentine’s day, why not express exactly what your love means with flowers that say it all?

The Language of Flowers, connecting a meaning to each flower has been utilized, as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and early Indigenous Australians. This was based on the medicinal, therapeutic and culinary uses of each flower and the way they interacted with us emotionally and their greater environment. We now know that Ancient Egyptian people were the first gardeners for purely aesthetic reasons as well as the first aromatherapists. Ingenious Australians have understood and utilized Flower Essence therapy which is also where we find the language and meaning of flowers.

Later, during the Ottoman and then the Victorian periods, the practice became widespread as these societies had strict codes that hindered the open communication between people, especially during courtship. Sending flowers to each other was a way to express your feelings in secret and would also open avenues of extended communication. Posies would be sent back and forth in a delightful conversation of petals, colours and scents and flowers worn at social occasions to send messages to others.

To find the Language of Flowers we need to look at a practice called the Doctrine of Signatures, something early cultures understood perfectly. The term means the signature of a divine power in plants that allows us to understand the use of it. A perfect example of this is the eyebright flower. It looks like a bright eye and a concoction created from it’s petal will sooth tired or ill effected eyes. The meaning in the language of flowers is clarity, to see things clearly and of gladness (to be bright eyed).

So you can see, the use of a flower is strongly connected to it’s meaning. Sometimes there is no physical medicinal use at all and so meaning could be derived from purely our interaction with the flower on an emotional level. If you are familiar with flower essence work you would be along the right path. For example, to be in the presence of a deep red, musky scented rose is to feel love. I am sure most would be familiar with this feeling when thinking of these roses. You see, you do after all, know the meanings of flowers and plants, you have simply forgotten and once you slow down and listen, you will easily remember.

Though we may of forgotten much of this this language of nature in our busy, multi media world, we can reconnect with Nature very easily. A great start is simply working out why you are attracted to certain flowers. Write down everything about these plants you know, their colours, scents, any botanical features that really are distinctive and their usage. Research their history, see what other people have to say about them in poetry, myths and literature. The meanings will come through to you in what you observe.

With this new found knowledge, this Valentines Day, why not give flowers which mean exactly what you want to say to your loved one? You may wish to compose a complete message or paint a picture of the things you admire in them or your relationship or just create a posy or bouquet which matches more closely their personality.

Here is a sample starter list of meanings associated with love and flowers you may wish to explore to create your completely Bespoke Bouquet this Valentines Day. If single and desiring new love, place flowers in your work place or home this Valentines Day which match the qualities of the partner you are seeking. Though roses express love, it is actually carnations which entice new love into our lives.

  • Iris ~ you are perfect for me, I have faith in you
  • Gerbera ~ I have fallen for you quickly
  • Gardenia ~ Secret love
  • Billy Buttons ~ Let’s make up, you are serene
  • Gladioli ~ You fascinate me
  • Lavender ~ You uplift me, you are graceful
  • Kangaroo Paw ~ I am sorry, I forgive you
  • Flannel Flowers ~ I wish to be closer to you
  • Daisy ~ You restore my faith in love, my intentions are true
  • Lisianthus ~ I appreciate you, I think about you romantically
  • Zinnia ~ You are fun and exciting.
  • Tuber Rose ~ I want you!
  • Grevillea ~ Let’s start something!
  • Sage Blossom ~ You have a positive effect on me
  • Bird of Paradise ~ divine love, you are my soul mate
  • Orchid ~ I love your uniqueness
  • Sunflower ~ You bring happiness and warmth, my love is strong
  • Pansy ~ You stimulate me mentally
  • Belladonna Lily ~ My love is true, I trust you
  • Peony ~ I am yours completely
  • Carnation ~ I am completely in love with you (also very good for healing hearts and
  • deepening love as well as rekindling old love)
  • Tulips ~ I desire you above all others
  • Freesia ~ I want to move to the next level in our relationship
  • Hyacinth ~ You are irresistible to me
  • Chrysanthemum ~ I am loyal to you
  • Rose Red ~ you inspire love, I love you completely
  • Rose Pink ~ you are graceful, I am thankful to know you
  • Rose White ~ pure love, I believe in you
  • Rose Yellow ~ friendship, you bring me joy

Cheralyn Darcey is the author and illustrator of the ‘Australian Wildflower Reading Cards‘ Rockpool Publishing. This wonderful set of 44 cards in a beautiful gift box introduces the art of reading flowers through fine art paintings of beloved Australian Wildflowers created by Cheralyn. The set includes a guidebook that explores the deeper meanings of each flower and extended ways to use the cards to connect with the practice of flower reading.

Cheralyn Darcey (author and illustrator Australian Wildflower Reading Cards) – 13 February, 2015