Book Review: The Language of Flowers

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The Language of Flowers 

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh


336 pages

Have you ever wondered what the perfect flowers are to send to someone? Do you wish to share your emotions by communicating with flowers? During the Victorian era, individuals used the language of flowers to express their feelings with flower arrangement messages when they couldn’t be spoken. Today, most people are familiar that red roses symbolize passionate love, yellow roses symbolize friendship, and white roses symbolize virtue. However, ‘love’ is a very general emotion and various flowers pinpoint the emotion to then mean a secret love, everlasting love, heartache, and devoted love.

Victoria Jones uses her flower skills and the language of flowers throughout her life. The one emotion that Victoria struggles with is love. She often feels that she doesn’t deserve love and doesn’t know how to give love. Victoria’s personal troubles begin in childhood when she spent time in the foster care system. She is emancipated from foster care when she turns eighteen and suddenly feels lost. She has nobody and nowhere to go, so Victoria is homeless but that doesn’t stop her love for flowers. Victoria demonstrates her flower arrangement talents and works in a flower shop. Soon individuals ask her advice about the correct flowers to send others. The chapters move from the present to her past in the foster care system. Most of the occurrences are when she’s ten living with her foster mother, Elizabeth. Victoria can’t understand how Elizabeth loves her like a daughter even when she causes trouble. Elizabeth taught Victoria the language of flowers. When Victoria meets someone at the flower market, a painful secret from her past is awakened. She must realize if she believes in second chances and if she has the power to love.

I enjoyed this book and learned the different meanings with flowers. It may make you think before sending certain flowers. The back of the book includes Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers that she used when making arrangements for the desired message.Vanessa Diffenbaugh used various flower books when flowers had conflicting meanings. I think returning to the Victorian era with flower messages would be refreshing in today’s constant technical communication. Which flowers express your emotions?

Additional Information about the Language of Flowers 

Language of Flowers

Plant Information and Meanings-of-Flowers

Selective Flowers & Meanings: (You’ll find many more flowers and their meanings on the links)

Aloe: Grief
Almond: Promise
Amaryllis: Pride
Basil: Hatred
Bird of Paradise: Joyfulness, Paradise 
Baby’s Breath: Innocence, pure of heart
Bells of Ireland: Luck
Buttercup: Desire Riches
       Red: Deep romantic love
      Yellow: Rejection
      White: Pure love, innocence, 
      Pink: A woman’s love, mother’s love, always remember you
      Stripped: Maybe, indecision 
      Purple: Whimsical, changeable 
      Red: I love
      Yellow: Sighted love
Dahlia: Dignity
Daffodil: New birth, beginnings, It is also a symbol of luck & wealth. 
Edelweiss: Noble courage 
Forget-me-not: True love, forget me not
Ficoides (Ice Plant): Your looks freeze me
Hibiscus: Rare beauty, delicate beauty
Hydrangea: Heartlessness
Iris: Good news, message
Lavender: Devotion, distrust
      Purple: First emotions of love
     White: Purity, Innocence
Marigold: Despair, Grief
Moss: Maternal Love
Orchid: Refined Beauty, Luxury, Fragrance
Peony: Shame, Bashful
Primrose: Eternal Love
Rhododendron: Danger, Beware
      Red: True Love
      White: Innocence, Purity
      Yellow: Friendship, Jealousy, Infidelity
      Pink: Happiness, Passion, Desire, Grace
      Lavender: Love at first sight
      Thornless: Love at first sight
Sunflower: Admiration, Gratitude
Sweet Pea: Delicate pleasures
Tulip: Declaration of love 
Water Lily: Purity of heart
Weeping Willow: Mourning

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