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Valentine's Edit - The Hidden Language of Flowers

February 02 2023 – Mercantile London

Valentine's Edit - The Hidden Language of Flowers

Valentine's Edit - The Hidden Language of Flowers

Folklore and myth has been attached to certain flowers, plants, and herbs in many ancient cultures around the world. The Egyptians revered the lotus flower with its own feast day, and offered rose petals to the gods, Greek mythology included tales of Hyacinth and Narcissus, who both became associated with their flower form after death, and the Romans linked many flowers with their deities, honouring Flora the goddess of flowers, nature, and spring with her own festival of Floralia. These associations carried on throughout history until the Victorian era where the ‘language’ of flowers or 'floriography' gained popularity.

With the strict etiquette of the time determining behaviours, ‘floriography’ was a way to send subtle messages that might have been difficult to express in public. The more flowers, plants or herbs that were combined in a bouquet; the more complex the message, and the placement and number of blooms also added meaning.

Flowers that lent to the left in the arrangement were said to represent the sender, and to the right the object of affection. Two flowers in full bloom placed over two flowers in bud alluded to secrecy, and a 'reversed' flower was to be read in contradiction to the blooms original meaning.
Some bouquets were small enough to be worn as a corsage or held as a small posy. Placement or how they were accepted relayed messages back, to the sender, with a downwards position meaning ‘no’ and one held or pinned at heart level said to mean ‘acceptance’.

Nearly every flower had multiple meanings and the subsequent  popularity of flower ‘dictionaries’ resulted in an accepted code. Not many would have wanted to receive candytuft (indifference) wild tansy (I declare war against you) or a yellow carnation (distain) but would have been quite happy to receive striped tulips (beautiful eyes) white roses (elegance) or milkvetch (your presence softens my pains).

In order to compliment the flowers you may be sending this Valentine’s or as an alternative idea for your loved one, we have rounded up an edit of small gift ideas that as well as showing love to small brands contain the messages of love, hope and encouragement you may want to emphasis this Valentine's.


Jasmine - Grace & Elegance

Bon Parfumeur 103 Tiare Flower, Jasmine, & Hibiscus Eau De Parfum


Cedar - Strength 

Bon Parfumeur 602 Pepper, Cedar, Patchouli Perfume £40.00


Lemon - True Heart

Norfolk Natural Living Parfum - (91) Days of Spring 10ml


Oak - Bravery

Jean d'Aigle Chypre Eau De Cologne (oakmoss base note)


Orange Blossom - Eternal Love

Bon Parfumeur 001 Orange Blossom, Petitgrain, Bergamot Perfume £40.00


Yarrow - Everlasting Love

Bramley Sleep Spray 


Rose Geranium - Preference

Parkminster Rose Geranium Candle


(Red) Tulip - Declaration of love 

Tangent GC Tulip Hand Cream £14.00


For more Valentine gift idea shop here



Credit's * Information on the history of/and flower meanings taken from Language of Flowers Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901 (New York Public Library).from the public domain review.




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