In Victorian times people were not allowed to be as open about their emotions as they are now. Many messages were sent through bouquets or the passing of flowers. Unfortunately this art has been lost. I really never thought about it much until I read the book:
Before reading this book, when I designed floral arrangements I typically would put together seasonal bouquets of what I loved. I am inspired to consider the Victorian dictionary of floral meanings in arrangements going forward. I’d love to be familiar enough with them to call them up from memory. Some of the meanings are contradictory in different surviving Victorian dictionaries but at the end of Vanessa’s book she has created a dictionary that takes all of the meanings on record into account, forming a modern guide to these old-fashioned flower meanings.
When I named my business The Painted Tulip, I did not realize tulips were a Declaration of Love. So The Painted Declaration of Love (in translation). This resonates for me: everything I do is with great love and passion. Also my greatest achievements in floral design are designing many weddings celebrating a day which is a: Declaration of Love.
Before I was a flower grower and designer I was a landscape-based oil painter. I was an active painter for 13 years, and studied for 7 with roots coming from Rembrandt, Constable , Millet , Van Gogh. When choosing the name of my business I wanted to honor my painting history. The Painted Tulip is a reference to the broken tulip now called The Rembrandt Tulip, which actually had a virus causing streaks of color in a solid color tulip bloom. Now they are bred for the colored streaking and it is not a virus. I was honoring the painter Rembrandt who brought light out of the darkness in his prints and paintings and started a more tactile painting tradition.
Next time you send a bouquet to a loved one you might want to look at the meaning of the flowers to make sure you’re sending the exactly appropriate message. In our fast-paced, global trade world we need to slow down and enjoy the flowers for their beauty and meanings.