As the old saying goes April’s showers bring May flowers. It is true. May is full famous for its flowers. Similarly, the Victorians turned flower into an art form in the vein of a coded language between friends and lovers. In part of its attachment to the Romantic movement, the Victorian era was practically covered in flowers; fashion, home fabrics, carvings, riotous flower gardens, and the like. Below, I wrote down some blooms and their associations along with some 19th century facts and other historical tidbits. All text is taken straight (put in part) from Flowers from my Heart by Princess Amanda. The astrix denotes my favorite bloom of all times; ironic since I do not have a green thumb. More like a black thumb. . . .

Bleeding Heart

  • Floral Meaning: Elegance, fidelity, undying love
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Gemini and Virgo
  • Magical Properties: Emotional balance and strength, peace, physical grace, open-mindedness, wisdom
  • A Jesuit missionary is reputed to have taken the first Bleeding Heart plants from Asia to Europe in the mid 1700s, but it wasn’t until a number of years later in 1847-that it became a garden favorite, after an English botanist rediscovered it on the Japanese island of Chusan.
  • Bleeding Hearts were a very popular part of Valentine card art in the 1800s.

Carnation

  • Floral Meaning: Admiration, capricious, cheerful, distinction, fascination, gratitude, innocence
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Leo
  • Magical Properties: Balance, creativity, love, energy, healing, magical powers, protection, self-esteem
  • The pink carnation is one of the birth flowers for January. It eventually became the symbol of a mother’s eternal love, and the flower became the official flower for Mother’s Day in 1907.

Lavender

  • Floral Meaning: Devotion, constancy, luck, love, loyalty, acknowledgement
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Gemini, Capricorn, Taurus, Aries, Virgo
  • Magical Properties: Peace, healing, calming, happiness, longevity, mental and physical balance
  • Queen Elizabeth I loved lavender and made sure its flowers were always available to make her favorite lavender conserve, and lavender-honey tisane.
  • Queen Victoria used it as a nerve-tonic.

Lilac

  • Floral Meaning: Fastidiousness, first love (purple), humility, innocence (white)
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Gemini and Pisces
  • Magical Properties: Clairvoyance, harmony, luck, memory, peace, protection, purification, spirituality, wisdom
  • The Lilac capital of the world is Rochester, New York. Since 1904, Rochester’s “Lilac Festival” continues to be the largest celebration of its kind in North America.

Pansy*

  • Floral Meaning: Consideration, joy, love, modesty, remembrance
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Capricorn, Virgo
  • Magical Properties: Love
  • The Pansy’s name comes from the French pensee, which means “thought” and/or “remembrance.”
  • Shakespeare referred to the herbal Pansy/Heartsease potion as “love-in-idleness” in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he had Puck squeeze the flower’s juice onto the eyes of sleeping people to make them fall in love with the first living creature they saw upon awakening.

Rose

  • Floral Meaning: Bashful love, dignity of mind, grace, happy love, innocence, marriage, pure, simplicity, very lovely
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Cancer, Libra, Taurus
  • Magical Properties: Love, luck, mental clarity, power, protection, psychic power
  • The Empress Josephine adored roses and had a huge rose garden built at Malmaison, where more than 250 varieties of the flower were grown.
  • Roses-particularly white ones-have long been the symbol for secrecy, and having white roses visible in various ways at gatherings in earlier centuries was an indication that a guest could speak freely, and whatever was said would go no further-hence the expression sub rosa (“under the rose”).

Sweet Pea

  • Floral Meaning: Blissful pleasures, delicacy, let’s meet, tender memory, thank you for the lovely time
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Taurus
  • Magical Properties: Chastity, courage, friendship, happiness, love, loyalty money
  • John Keats, the poet, is reputed to be the first person to refer to the slower as “Sweet Pea.”
  • There is variety of Sweet Pea named “Countess Spencer,” which was developed at Althrop in 1899, and so links that flower to the ancestral home of Princess Diana of Wales.

Violet

  • Floral Meaning: Faithfulness (blue), happiness (yellow), love (purple), modesty, innocence (white), virtue, wisdom
  • Astrological Flower Sign: Taurus
  • Magical Properties: Beauty, healing, love, luck, peace, protection, wishes
  • Josephine Bonaparte’s favorite perfume was violet. She wore violets when she married Napoleon, and when he died, he was found to be wearing a locket which contained a lock of Josephine’s hair, plus violet from her grave.
  • Violets are associated with the 50th wedding anniversary.
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