THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS¸.•*”✤✤By Denise Kennedy
There is a language, ‘little known,’
Lovers claim it as their own.
Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak
Of life and joy, to those who seek
For love divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.—
From a handmade booklet given
as a gift from husband to wife, 1913
One upon a time…in a land not so far away, well OK I won’t start it like a typical fairytale because this one is actually a real story. Anyway, as I was saying, I Denise, made a very exciting trip, to visit some very special people in Atlanta, in the good ole USA! Well truth be told, I visited this loving and gorgeous home more than once, but it was on my first visit there, that I discovered, among many other beautiful things, this wonderful book I want to introduce you to today. It being Valentine’s Day, it seems the perfect day to do so.
It was not long after I had arrived to stay in this beautiful Southern household in the suburbs of Atlanta, that this book caught my eye. It was a stunning summer day and I was thoroughly enjoying the South, from amazing home cooked recipes to incredible wildlife, wonderful laughter and peaceful walks. My camera seemed to be never out of my giddy hands. The lady of the house, loves books as much as I, and indeed I had the opportunity of reading lots of her books during the weeks that I spent in their beautiful home. Miss Charlotte has the warmest nature, and it was wonderful whenever she handed me a new book to try, she knew full well that it would capture my heart as it had hers, and her choices were always perfect. She and her darling husband share a taste for the deep things of the heart, and indeed, when I think about the love they have for each other and the heritage they share as a family, it is so fitting that the book I discovered should find a home with them.
So this particular day, a small book, with lots of flowers on the cover, grabbed my attention instantly. It was sitting on a little cabinet shelf, alongside some Southern Living magazines, if my memory serves me right. It was quaint and detailed in the most simple yet decorated handwriting that I had ever seen in a published piece of literature. I picked it up, almost afraid to damage it, seeing straight away that this was not like any other book I had seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it. I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.
We were just about to leave the house to go sightseeing around Atlanta, so I set the book back where I had found it, with a promise to myself that I would have another look at it later. So, every day, at different times, I would take that little book carefully in my hands and read a little more. So many flowers were mentioned, some I had never heard of before, and opposite each name, was a beautiful description of the language or meaning behind the gift of that flower. I loved it! It was adorable, romantic, intimate, and so delicate. It made me smile to think that someone had gone to great lengths to create such a loving piece, to convey to another the romance and language of the flower of love in their own heart.
So about the book ~ Many reviews say it was created by Margaret Pickston, in 1968, but research has shown me otherwise. This is a review written by Margaret herself, about this book; “The Meaning Of Flowers, is a beautiful little book, full of romance and love. ~ It was a present from my Father to Mother on their golden wedding anniversary. Instead of buying her a brooch or bracelet, he hit upon the happy plan of writing and illustrating a little book for her, which has now been resurrected from some forgotten drawer and published in this newer edition.”
Another beautiful review follows; “The original author gave an unusual dictionary of the traditional meanings (as well as some dreamed up by himself) of over 700 flowers is reminiscent of a gentler era when people found time to express their affection in an individual way. A family heirloom for decades, it has been reproduced in England with the family’s permission. Charmingly hand-scripted with delicate water coloured flowers and plants bordering each page, the author’s comprehensive list ranges from abatina (fickleness) to zinnia (thoughts of absent friends), and embraces such unlikely plants as the potato (benevolence), rhubarb (advice) and a branch of currants (you please all). His list of roses is most impressive – forty different kinds and colours, each with its own meaning. Who Father is must remain a secret. All we know is that Mother and he celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on August 8, 1913 and that his initials were F.W.L.” (taken from http://www.etsy.com)It has been quoted by one writer as the essential guide for those of us who prefer the flowers to do the talking, but you don’t want to choose the wrong bouquet and send the wrong message. For example, you could give your lady almond blossoms – meaning ‘hope’ – but don’t ever give her almonds with them (even if they are chocolate coated), as they symbolise ‘stupidity’! =)
…So, it was indeed Margaret’s Father who was the creator of this little book, it was born out of love for his darling wife. (I was right when I said it felt like one of a kind) Then later his daughter, Margaret recreated it and had it published in her name. I have been unable to find the original lists of the flowers represented in this beautiful book, and also the list is exhaustive so I cannot quote them all here for you. It seems quite a rare book to even get your hands on. So here is a short list of the meaning of some gift flowers many choose! ~ I hope you enjoy! =) The opening quote at the beginning of my story, is what was inscribed by Father to his wife, it is contained in this image here to the right —–>
Before I leave you to read through the list, let me just say a heartfelt thank you to a beautiful Southern family, who allowed me the pleasure of sharing their company and loving kindness. A flower is a symbol of many things, and some people have the gift of letting it bloom in every season. Thanks, you know who you are! x Nisey¸.•*”✤✤