People say how they feel in such different ways these days; a text, an email, a bunch of alternative flowers, maybe even a messenger pigeon.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to bang on about Valentine’s day – it’s too early for even me, a flower enthusiast, to talk the language of lurve with flowers quite yet. I simply love that there’s a day dedicated to friendship! Calligraphy pens at the ready, people, today is the official ‘send a card to a friend day’. Totally void of gushy love stuff; just pure appreciation.
So January had January blues whilst February gets friendship, that’s more like it! But what’s even better? Discovering that there’s a language that goes above and beyond the epistolary gesture. And, knowing me, it comes in the form of flowers, of course …
The proof is in the post
That feeling of knowing that someone’s thinking of you is, as Tina Turner would say, simply the best.
These days, a card can say more to us than a bunch of flowers can. Just think how many different sections there are in a card shop! Flowers tend to mean love, thanks, apologies, condolences, that sort of thing. Back in the day, a single flower, varying in colour or form, could hold real depth of meaning.
Seeing as the first penny postage stamp wasn’t introduced until 1840, greeting cards weren’t exactly popular for a fair old while. But for the middle class Victorians, there was an ever increasing popular way of communicating a little bit of love and appreciation. Or hatred. Ooh!
When you can’t send a card, what’s your alternative?
Alternative flowers, of course!
The Victorians were big flora and fauna enthusiasts. I’ve heard that even seaweed collecting and fern sampling were up there with their favourite pastimes. What a joyous day out; pootling along, petticoats pulled up, keeping an eye out for a new seaweed species.
But when they’re not out collecting fauna? They were deciphering floral code. Sounds way more MI5 than it is but floriography was a big deal.
To the untrained eye, a bouquet was a bouquet but boy oh boy are the meanings deeper than that. When a bouquet was hand delivered to the doorstep (not in big brown boxes, yet), the blooms held a mountain of meaning.
Flower dictionaries in hand, let’s have a little look at what subliminal floral messages we’ve been sending out recently:
Meaning: ‘splendid beauty and pride’.
Remember when we plonked a boxful of splendidly beautiful red amaryllis on your doorstep just in time for Christmas? They were certainly something to be proud of, don’t you think? Just you wait for the white ones coming up!
White tulips, alstroemeria, aster, white roses
Meaning: ‘I am worthy of you; your charm, innocence and daintiness. I offer devotion and fortune’.
Wowie! If you’re a Freddie’s Flowers customer you’ll be getting tulips this week and the next three weeks (tis the season) so now you know my intentions!
Pink blooms, irises, pink snapdragons, waxflower
Meaning: ‘a rich, faithful and wonderful friendship towards a gracious lady’
Irises are the top alternative flowers when it comes to friendship. How fitting on ‘send a card to a friend day’.
Meaning: danger, beware, I am dangerous
Now, I’m not one to dwell on what alternative flowers you might send to an enemy. Always fun to know though, eh? There’s simply no confusion when it comes to a rhododendron. Thank god we don’t pop them our flower deliveries!
Alternative flowers for an alternate message
So, when sending a card to a friend, why not try hiding the message in a Freddie’s box? And a cute little pressed flower in the card that they can keep until next year, too? Be sure to pop a flower dictionary in there so there’s no misunderstanding!