Flower Dictionary

Over our 50 years in business we have come to realize that when someone sends flowers they are hoping to send much more than just a beautiful bouquet or arrangment. There is often an emotion that the sender wishes accompany those flowers. To put it simply, people use flowers as a means of communication. Flowers are the best and perhaps only way to “send” and emotion. We use flowers to say “I love you”, “I am sorry for your loss”, “Congratulations!” And whatever else we may be feeling.

With this in mind, customers often ask us what the meaning is behind various flowers. To tell the truth, in Montreal and North America for the most part the meaning of individual blooms has been lost or at lease ignored over the past few decades. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that we are such a multicultural country and city. The meaning of a bloom to one cultural background could, and often does mean something completely different to someone of another cultural background! At Westmount florist we tend to speak more in colours. Bright and cheerful for happy, soft and delicate for a gentle touch or all white and green for sympathy.

As you will see here in our Flower Meaning Guide many flowers names and symbolism come from mythology. As mentioned above most people no longer look into the individual meaning of flowers. The emotions you wish to send can be conveyed with color and design. We invite you to find some of the traditional meanings of different flowers from this guide however we recommend looking into your receipt’s cultural background to be sure the emotion you wish to convey matches your beautiful bouquet and arrangement!


Pink Alstroemeria Bouquet

Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centers of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing. All are long-lived perennials except A. graminea, a diminutive annual from the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Yellow amaryllis bouquet

Amaryllis

The amaryllis, taller than other flowers, suggested pride to the Victorians in England.

Its startling hornlike blossom erupts from the stem, shooting straight up and often eclipsing the smaller flowers in the garden. This explosion of bloom is one reason that the Greeks named this flower amaryllis, meaning splendor. One is reminded of Dylan Thomas’s evocation of “the force that throu the green fuse drives the flower.”

White Anemone flower

Anemone

It is said to be the flower of the wind, which only a breeze would open up, probably because its name comes from the Greek anemos, which means wind.

The very short flowering which characterizes it inspired in the Greeks of Antiquity as in the English of the Victorian era the same feeling of the ephemeral, they saw it as well the expression of the expectation, therefore of the Hope, than that of disappointment and abandonment.

Towards the end of the last century, the English associated anemone with the suffering inflicted on the most sensitive souls. This is probably the source of its reputation as the flower of languor, of not physical but psychological illness. More recently, it has been credited with medicinal properties in the treatment of certain disorders, such as difficulty having romantic relationships.

In mythology the anemone is linked to Chloris, goddess of flowers. Having discovered the betrayal of her husband Zéphyr, falls head over heels in love with the nymph Anemone, Chloris excludes the young girl from her suite. In revenge for his wife's wickedness, Zephyr then begged Aphrodite, goddess of love, sex and fertility, to turn the nymph into a flower. Thus his jealous wife would be condemned to take care forever of her beautiful rival.

In the Holy Land, where anemones grow red and very fragrant, Christian tradition reports as drops of blood fell at the foot of the cross were born many flowers.

Very fashionable in the 19th century, the anemone remained in vogue until the 1920s.

It is native to the temperate mountainous areas of the northern hemisphere. A few wild anemones bloom in early spring at the edge of woods in cooler areas. In Greece grows the blue anemone, which with its many petals resembles a daisy.

In the United States, in Pennsylvania, the gentle undulations which crown the Great Valley are a goal of walk between the end of winter and the onset of spring, when countless anemones open up which cover vast expanses of a blazing scarlet red.

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Calla Bouquet

Calla Lily

Calla is the name Linnaeus gave to this elegant white flower, inspired by the Greek word kallos, beautiful. Calla and aquatic arum were considered to be similar and included in the same species until the German botanist Kurt Sprengel separated them in the early 19th century because they exhibit notable botanical differences. In homage to the Italian physicist and botanist Francesco Zantedeschi, Zantedeschia is now called the calla with a beautiful rigid funnel and very pure form that opens on a high and robust stem.

Along the Transvaal rivers and in other areas between the Equator and the Cape of Bonne Esperance, callas grow spontaneously, forming small islands in tropical marshes. During the rainy season the rhizomes swell, germinate and flower, while during the dry season they fall into a lethargy release.

At Westmount Florist, we offer the following bouquets containing our Callas flowers: Ashley, Lola, Zoya as well as the Amber Fall Hand-Tied bouquet.

White Chrysanthemum Bouquet

Chrysanthemum

Its name comes from the Greek and means golden flower, in other words resplendent and bearer of joy, contrary to the tradition which, in a certain number of countries, associates it because of the autumnal flowering, with the memory and the worship deaths.

Very popular in China and in Korea, where it originated, the chrysanthemum was already cultivated five hundred years before Jesus Christ. Introduced into the Japanese archipelago or it is called giku, in the year 313 of our era, it became its national flower. Each year in Tokyo when the chrysanthemums bloom in his palace gardens, the Emperor hosts a grand reception where guests are introduced to the latest varieties.

Chrysanthemums are celebrated throughout the East, as in Japan, where cut flowers are placed in vases on the threshold of houses and in shop windows, arranged in a bouquet composed according to the rules of ikebana; the chrysanthemum plant or flowers decorate many places.

In Japan, the chrysanthemum carries the same message of happiness and life that the Chinese originally gave it. At all times it has been reproduced on fabrics, porcelains, screens, in India ink drawings, watercolors, lacquers. Poems, tales and legends exalt its beauty.

In France, it was a merchant from Marseille who brought the first chrysanthemums in 1789; and in England, in 1846, a famous botanist, Robert Fortune.

Later as they became very fashionable, Marcel Proust set up --- and described them --- in the hallway of Odette de Crécy's house, Swann's mistress.

It is undoubtedly necessary to go beyond the superstitions with which our culture is responsible, to admit the symbols attributed to the chrysanthemum in other countries of the world: life, strength of soul, peace also even in adversity.

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White Clematis Bouquet

Clematis

There are clematis which grows spontaneously in fields and woods all over Europe. They embellish bramble bushes and trees, leaning on them so lightly that the English call it traveler’s joy, "traveller's joy". It was already growing in their gardens in the 18th century, but it was in the Victorian era that they really became fashionable.

For their cheerful appearance and generous flowering, clematis was considered to be auspicious, and the peasants of old used to cut the longest shoots to surround their fields in order to obtain good crops.

The gypsies used the stinging juice extracted from various wild varieties to feel sorry for passers-by and encourage them to give them charity, hence its name begging herbs.

As many texts attest, we see in clematis the sign of a clear and upright mind and, on the contrary, artifice. But there is no trace of the legends or stories that gave birth to these symbols

Cyclamen Bouquet

Cyclamen

In the 3rd century BC, Theophrastus wrote in History of Plants that cyclamen was used to excite love and sensuality.

Two meanings are given to the name of this flower, derived from the Greek kuklos, circle. For some, arguing that the plant was considered suitable for ease of conception, it was so named for its shape reminiscent of the uterus. Rather, the others saw the analogy with a spiral fold characteristic of the stem which, at the end, and therefore in the center of a circle, carries the capsule full of seeds.

Originally from Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, the Middle East and North Africa, Cyclamen persicum is distinguished by its large flowers. The common name of the wild species is pig’s bread because the pigs, insensitive to the poison they contain, are very fond of its tuberous roots. It was once believed that this poison was the antidote to another, more harmful one: the venom of snakes, which is why magical virtues were lent to the flower. It kept the curses away and influenced the vicissitudes of love.

However, its instructions remain unknown. While its essence is held to be a good luck charm, cyclamen, on the other hand, is a symbol of mistrust; no doubt he owes this negative appreciation, which contrasts with many others favorable, to the poison contained in its roots.

At Westmount Florist, we offer you the following Cyclamen plants: Reno, Helsinki, Warsaw, Paris, Rome and Monaco.

Daisy Bouquet

Daisy

Daisies suggest innocence.

The name comes from the Old English daegeseage, day’s eye, so called because of the pupil- like yellow center of this round white flower, and from the habit of daisies to shut their petals when the sun is gone.

The Greeks tell this story of the daisy’s origin. One morning the wood nymphs decided to dance on the sunny edge of the forest, where the orchards began. The god of the orchards, spying them at their games, drew near to watch. One nymph in particular stung him with her beauty, and he fell instantly in love and rushed at her. But she and her sisters vanished, taking refuge in the form of daisies, growing there at the edge of the forest.

The daisy, wrote poet Walter de la Mare, “makes a skylark of every heart.” Botticelli used the daisy in his paintings to symbolize the innocence of the Baby Jesus.

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Delphinium Bouquet

Delphinium

Swiftness and light, says the delphinium.

The name delphinium is derived from the Greek for “dolphin, “because the points and flukes of this flower’s petals reminded the Greeks of the fins and nose of that graceful marine mammal. In the tall spikes of these blue and white flowers one might well imagine the leaping dolphin, quick and bright above the froth.

Dahlia Bouquet

Dhalia

It was neither simple nor easy to transfer dahlias to Europe from the Botanical Garden in Mexico City where they were called by their Aztec name cocoxochitl.

It is not known whether the first to flower were those which the director of the Botanical Garden of Madrid had managed to procure or those whose seeds had been sent to botanists in Berlin.

During the trip and during the first cultivation attempts on the old continent, many tubers had rotted or dried up. The flower owes its current name to the Swede Andreas Dahl, a disciple of Linnaeus, who brought the first seeds to Europe in 1789. A little later in Berlin she was named Georgina after Georgi, a botanist from St. Petersburg.

Goethe had a great passion for these flowers. This enthusiasm was shared by Joséphine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon I, the only one in Paris to have it. She cultivated them in the gardens of Malmaison, making many envious. A lady of the court, then pregnant, perhaps believing them to be tasty, kept asking him for them. The empress’s persistent refusal to cede any to her, even one, prompted the young woman to steal some with the complicity of her lover and the gardener. Discovered, all three were driven from the court and Josephine did not want any more to have, or to look after dahlias.

The fact that tubers were once considered edible is borne out by a number of recipes designed to whet the appetite, although they seemingly tasted bad.

The oldest variety is called variabilis. Hence the meaning of instability attributed to the dahlia. But we also make it the flower of recognition and good taste.

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Yellow Freesia Bouquet

Freesia

Coming from southern Africa, we do not know when or how, freesia could be the symbol of the mystery. We only have a few botanical notices about it. No storyteller has been inspired by her splendid, fragrant flowers; no one has remembered in what year, fleeing cultivation, acclimatized - naturalized, say the botanists - the refracted species which, on the Riviera, grows in small groups under olive trees and emerges between wild hedges.

Today large-flowered freesia varieties come to us from Holland, Denmark and Sweden where they are grown in large greenhouses. They are of various colors but pale. Their scent is less intense than that of the yellows found in plantations along the Mediterranean coast.

The name recalls the memory of a famous German botanist, F.H.T. Freese from Kiel, who had chosen to study plants after having worked as a doctor for a long time.

Gentian

Gentius, last ruler of Illyria, from 180 to 167 BC, ended his reign defeated by the Romans for having supported Perseus against them. He seems to have been the first to discover the medicinal properties of the gentian, to which he thus gives his name.

In the 16th century, the large yellow-colored gentian, Gentiana lutea, was widely used as a plague remedy. Today it is used to prepare appetizers or bitter digestives; it is tonic, febrifuge and vermifuge. Yellow or blue, it grows in the Alps, the Jura, the Massif Central and the Apennines.

Gentian is said to be the symbol of determination.

Whoever was the first to make this choice was certainly sensitive to the nature of this growing flower, perched high in the mountain between the stones, where the cold of the night is intense and the rays of the sun scorching during the day. ; Where the winds blow; or water rushes down from land that does not retain moisture; where life is a continual struggle. For some, the upright and rigid carriage of the gentian has another meaning, that of a challenge to adversity: I will be stronger!

Gladiolus Bouquet

Gladioli

Gladioli stand for natural grace.

Glads, as they are known familiarly, grew wild and abundant in the Middle East, and are thought to be the flowers that Jesus referred to in the Sermon on the Mount, calling them the “lilies of the field… even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

One African species of gladiolus grows only in the spray where Zambesi River flows over Victoria Falls.

Hellebores Bouquet

Hellebores

This plant is associated with a singular adventure: it seems that its purgative effects were discovered by the Greek shepherd Melampous while he was tending his animals. With his experience, he took care to communicate it to the disciples of Hippocrates who quickly recognized him as one of their own, scholar rather than doctor or healer.

The fame of Melampous is the subject of an episode in mythology. Proteus, an elderly sea god inhabiting the island of Pharos, was gifted with extraordinary prophetic power, supplemented by the ability to assume the appearance of any animal in order to flee his persecutors or enemies. But the old man had several daughters and one day, impressed by his continual transformations, they took themselves for cows, and only Melampous, called by their father to cure the madness of the unfortunate, succeeded in restoring their sanity. So to thank him, Proteus allowed him to marry one.

 

Another Greek legend reports that Solon, as famous a lawmaker as he was a strategist, suggested using the hellebore to win a battle that was to be long. To break the first siege of the city of Cirrha by the soldiers of Delphi, its rival, on Solon's advice, flowers and hellebore roots were mixed with the waters of the canal which surrounded the walls of the city. The besiegers, having drunk, were seized with such stealing dysentery that, despite their zeal and their desire to resist, they had to lift the siege.

Recent research has shown the effectiveness.

Hyacinth

Hyacinth

In Greek mythology, Hyacinth is a young boy for this beauty of Zephyr and Apollo.

According to the legend, one day when Jacinthe was playing outside throwing a bronze disc, Zephyr giving in to a fit of jealousy deviated its trajectory to strike Jacinthe in the temple and kill him. So, unable to resuscitate the teenager, Apollo changed him into a flower to which he gave the color of blood. It does indeed seem that originally all hyacinths were red.

The name has for probable etymological origin the Greco Albanian root giak, dark red, is the suffix inthos which already gave the word plant.

Hyacinth bulbs from West Asia reached Padua at the end of the 16th century, and a hundred years later Cosimo de Medici ordered large numbers from Holland for his gardens. At that time, it was already cultivated in the Netherlands after an Italian ship carrying bulbs was wrecked on the Dutch coast. They spread over the sand, showing the Dutch unexpectedly how to reproduce them.

In 1734, in England at an auction, a bulb fetched the exorbitant price of one hundred- and thirty-four-pounds sterling. From flowers grown to extract the essence, we obtain about sixty kilos of concentrate that perfumers also call "essence" and which they use to make a very precious perfume.

The symbol attributed to the hyacinth flower varies with its color. Red, it means pain; blue, constancy; white, discretion. In general, the hyacinth is linked to the notion of game, sport, and entertainment.

Hydrangea Bouquet

Hydrangea

In Victorian England, to send someone hydrangeas was to suggest that he or she had been boasting.

Originally a marsh plant native to Asia, the hydrangea was introduced to Europe in the eighteenth century. It was associated with boastfulness because is produced such magnificent flowers but not fruit.

Iris Bouquet

Iris

The fleur-de-lis of the kings of France is actually nothing more than an iris. It is said that Louis VII, who emerged victorious from a battle which took place in a field covered with yellow flowers (Iris pseudacorus), had a dream which prompted him to choose this flower as his emblem. When the iris appeared on his coat of arms, his subjects called it the fleur-de-Louis, which over the centuries would have become, by alteration, fleur de lys.

In Japan, the iris, like the peony and the chrysanthemum, is a national symbol.

Yellow, the iris expresses ardor, passion. Whatever color it is, it heralds messages, good news.

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White Lily Bouquet

Lily

The name derives from the Celtic li which means white. We can therefore think that the oldest who, originating in Syria and Palestine, arrived in Europe had this color.

The Greeks, finding the shape of this flower particularly beautiful for the symmetry of the three petals and the three sepals, believed that the lily was born of a divine will, and more precisely from the milk of Juno, two drops of which had fallen from its breast while she was feeding Hercules, the son she had had from Jupiter. One spawned the Milky Way, and the other the lily. But Venus having found it too immaculate would have added in the chalice the yellow stamens covered with golden pollen.

Loaded with traditions, this flower expresses many virtues, perhaps too many: purity, dignity and nobility.

Lily of the Valley Bouquet

Lily of the valley

A legend from the Middle Ages makes lily of the valley the flower of Saint Leonard. Familiar with Clovis, he looked after the prisoners with great concern, interceding with the Frankish king for their release, and often obtaining it. But life at court soon seemed too restrictive to him and he retired to the countryside where he built a hut with his own hands, preaching and giving thanks to God every day for the magnificent gifts of trees, herbs and animals.

One day, the demon appeared to him in the guise of a dragon, ready to fight to reclaim a territory he considered his own. He stared at Leonard, spitting out long flames and trying to provoke him. But the hermit, plunged into prayer, did not answer him.

During one of these assaults, fire managed to burn the cabin and the holy man kneeling down found his body covered in ashes. However, he waited until he had finished his prayers to turn to the dragon and challenge him. Then suddenly the fight raged. On the third day, it still lasted, and the two adversaries had received numerous wounds whose blood fell to the ground, drop by drop. From each of those of the dragon was born a poisonous herb and from those of Leonard a lily of the valley.

In a very short time, the forest was covered with fragrant white flowers. It really happened when the fight ended in the triumph of good over evil. The dragon, a wooden cross sunk in its throat, was burning in its own flames. Lily of the valley is the May flower that heralds the end of all sorrow and the return of serenity. It is said that, in spring, the nightingale waits for the first lily of the valley to bloom to fly through the woods and celebrate its loves.

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White Lisianthus Bouquet

Lisianthus

They are herbaceous annuals, growing to 15–60 cm tall, with bluish green, slightly succulent leaves and large funnel-shaped flowers growing on long straight stems: sometimes erect single stems, other times growing on branching stems that can rise to be eighteen feet tall. The flowers can grow up to two inches across and can be found in a variety of colors. They have been found in all shades of pink, purple, white, and blue. In addition, some are bicolored and some are occasionally found in yellow or carmine-red.

Eustoma flowers are either single-flowered or double-flowered. Both types of flowers can be found in all ranges of the possible colors listed above. They are usually one to three feet tall, although there are dwarf varieties that only grow up to eight inches in height.

Mimosa Bouquet

Mimosa

Acacias and mimosa are very similar and belong to the same family, that of mimosaceae. Little is known that the mimosa was once considered around the world and by many civilizations as the ape of purity and chaste love. We know better, on the other hand, the double symbol of freedom and autonomy, dear to feminists, recently attributed to the mimosa. This design name in this case one or the other of the varieties of mimosaceae that bloom as spring approaches and of which a branch is offered to women in many countries on March 8, the date of the day dedicated to them. .

Of all the interpreters of the language of flowers, the English of the Victorian era were undoubtedly the most fervent and the most inventive. Celebrating acacia with emphasis, they made it a sign of platonic love, an uplifting sentiment for their Puritanism. These reflections taken from a contemporary work bear witness to this:

"Beauty attracts, but often it is not escorted by the special gifts of intelligence, thought and art which are truly the deserved causes of seduction. In fact, with the outermost of qualities there is a power of dispersion. Whoever seeks other, deeper virtues, sooner or later realizes their absence. However, it may happen that ingenuity of character, purity of heart and mind are found united in a person who is not particularly attractive, and that a kind of esteem and admiration arises which, at the same time long, will arouse a pure feeling. "

Myosotis | Forget-me-not

We entrust this little flower with a heavy stain, that of representing fidelity. Two legends have given it a well-deserved reputation in this regard, and justifies the gracious nickname "Forget-me-not" given to forget-me-not everywhere. This is how he figures prominently in many and very diverse cultural traditions, always devoted to eternal love.

The first legend, Persian, therefore linked to Islam, finds a happy ending. An angel falls head over heels in love with a young mortal had been driven out of the Gardens of Eden for this. As he was crying inconsolably, Allah called him to offer him a chance to atone for his sin and then return to the blessed. He could, on one condition: travel the world to plant Remember Me. Having joined his beloved, the angel confessed to him his fear of failing in this enterprise, but she, determined to follow him on this long journey, was able to comfort him. Moved by the love of young people, Allah decided to welcome them both to the Garden of Eden.

The second comes from Austria. It is the romantic and tragic story of two lovers. As they walked along the Danube, they saw, floating in the water, azure blue flowers, like the sky on that happy day. Leaning over the edge to hold them back, the young man fell into the river, and before being swept away by the force of the current, he cried out to his weeping companion: "Love me, do not forget me!"

This modern legend was so famous throughout Europe that parties were organized to celebrate the flowering of forget-me-not. At the beginning of the century, wealthy idlers flocked pretty girls, barefoot and their heads crowned with sky-blue garlands on the banks of two small rivers baptized with some fancy: "The bath of the fairies" and "The cascade of oaks". Whoever offers a bouquet of forget-me-nots therefore intends to proclaim the fidelity of his own feelings.

Orchids Bouquet

Orchids

The ancient Greeks called the kosmosandalon orchid, sandal of the world, for the special shape often affected by wild species in the Mediterranean area. In fact, the bulging lip looks like the tip of a small shoe. The ephebes, the most beautiful boys in Athens, dressed in white, sang their praises to the gods with their foreheads girdled with orchids.

Because of the strange appearance of all the species of the family, with their asymmetrical corolla which seems to want to highlight the organs of reproduction, sometimes taking on an animal, or even human appearance, the orchid has been attributed aphrodisiac powers. .

Stretched, wide open to show off their splendor, their colors, their extravagant shapes, the scents that attract bees and flies, butterflies, mosquitoes, moths, hummingbirds and even bats, a whole army of beasts that must brush against them to transport the pollen from one flower to another, rare and difficult to cultivate, orchids are always a symbol of refinement and luxury. They are offered to recognize sensuality and elegance, and also to pay homage to them.

Peonies Bouquet

Peony

The peony grants its recipient the power to keep a secret. In its tightly clenched petals, nymphs could hide.

A deep-rooted plant, the peony stands firm in the earth. A horse was needed; it was said, to pull the peony from the ground. Because of this, the peony was reputed to enhance the power of a promise. For the same reason, peonies suggested bashfulness to Victorian England.

Peonies have been cultivated in Asia for more than a thousand years. Requiring such careful cultivation, they were flowers that only the rich could afford to grow in Japan. Therefore, the peony symbolizes prosperity for the Japanese.

Westmount Florist offers you this bouquet containing our peonies : Sarah.

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Poinsettia Bouquet

Poinsettia

The poinsettia a commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Indigenous to Central America, it was described as a new species in 1834. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who is credited with introducing the plant to the US in the 1820s. Poinsettias are shrubs or small trees, with heights of 0.6–4 m (2.0–13.1 ft). Though often stated to be highly toxic, the poinsettia is not dangerous to pets or children. Exposure to the plant, even consumption, most often results in no effect, though it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Wild poinsettias occur from Mexico to Guatemala, growing on mid-elevation, Pacific-facing slopes. One population in the Mexican state of Guerrero is much further inland, however, and is thought to be the ancestor of most cultivated populations. Wild poinsettia populations are highly fragmented, as their habitat is experiencing largely unregulated deforestation. They were cultivated by the Aztecs for use in traditional medicine. They became associated with the Christmas holiday and are popular seasonal decorations.

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Roses Bouquet

Roses

Always a source of pleasure, emblem of strength, beauty, simplicity, the rose has been considered in its various species and varieties as precious booty that warriors transported from one end of the world to the other. Thus, the crosses have certainly brought two new roses to Europe: gallica officinalis and damascerna (Damascus rose or Belgian rose).

The great passion for roses was growing; two cities competed for the primacy of the best cultures: Rouen and Florence. Nevertheless, we were especially fond of cut flowers to adorn houses and banquet halls, but also hats and dresses. In 1485, the peace between two English families, York and Lancaster, which, during more than forty years, had opposed during a war of succession known as “of the Two Roses”, was sealed by the marriage of two representatives. antagonistic parties: Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The two young people therefore united in their coats of arms, which had become common, the red rose of Lancaster and the little white rose of York.

A third rose later entered the history of this famous war, the damascena versicolor; with white petals spots of red. Legend has it that she was born a day before peace and marriage were concluded between the two families.

Between the 17th and the 20th century, the owners of gardens and greenhouses, the administrative authorities, the managers of nurseries and botanical gardens launched into a passionate competition to find the rarest specimens; among these, Joséphine de Beauharnais, Napoleon's first wife, gathered for her famous rose garden in the park of Malmaison, one hundred and ninety-seven varieties of roses, between 1799 and 1814.

The most passionate feelings, the sweetness, the pain, the joy, the glory and the humility, you can say everything with the flower which has always been a symbol of beauties.

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Snap Dragon Bouquet

Snapdragon

In the Victorian flower language, the snapdragon stood for presumption. “Let’s be impetuous”, this flower said.

In the garden, snapdragons jump up in unexpected places, raising their popcorn blooms above the other flowers on long sturdy stalks. The open blooms will gently bite down on an inserted finger – hence the name. A garland of snapdragons confers pluck upon its wearer.

Snapflower

Wherever it grows spontaneously, it spreads on the old walls and rocks it covers with its semi-woody twigs mixed with flowering stems of different yellows, gold, bright, brown or purple. Appreciated and cultivated in the 16th century for its fragrance, it had long been Charlemagne's favorite flower.

In the countryside it is called the "flower of the bees" because beekeepers sow it in abundance near the hives to attract the swarms.

Sunflower Bouquet

Sunflower

In North America, in the Mississippi Valley, vestiges of these flowers have been found which seem to date from 3000 BC. American Indians used them to dress young virgins and looked at the sunflower like a sacred plant; perhaps because they already knew the multiple uses that can be made of its different parts. In Peru they had chosen it as the symbol of the great Sun God. The sunflower first appeared in Europe in the 16th century, brought from Mexico and Peru aboard the first tall ships to cross the Atlantic. Some texts report that Louis XIV, faithful to the title of Sun King he had bestowed on himself, intended that every year sunflowers bloom in his gardens.

Towards the end of the last century, Oscar Wilde founded in London the Aesthetic Movement which took the sunflower as its emblem. At the time we saw them drawn on fabric, grave on wood and even in wrought iron. Annexed by all the decorative arts, the sunflower had become an untouchable protector of the fashion launched by the extravagant writer. In the language of flowers, the sunflower expresses joy and pride.

Sweet Pea

Because the sweet pea blooms constantly, the flower stood for lasting pleasure in the Victorian language of flowers.

Sweet peas were first imported to England from Sicily in 1699, bringing to that northern land the casual splendor of the Mediterranean. The sweet pea’s riotous, curling tendrils and richly colored blooms also make it an emblem of careless luxury.

Pink Tulip

Tulip

The name comes from the Turkish tulban or turban, perhaps by analogy between the shape of the flower and that of this traditional oriental hairstyle. In Persia, where the bulbs grew spontaneously, they began to be cultivated some thousand years ago and a legend claims that the first tulip was born from a drop of blood from a disappointed lover, when he had just killed himself.

Anyway, it remained for centuries during the symbol of the declaration of love and pushed along the banks of the Bosphorus where the suitors of the recluse ladies of the Sultan picked them up to send them tender messages through the bars from the palace.

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