During the Victorian Era there was a huge eruption in the floral arts, both in the live and artificial varieties. The Victorians loved the ‘everything overdone’ type of decor where every space on every table or mantle had either flowers, photos or ornaments on them.
During the mid 1800’s artificial flowers were made of even more diverse materials than ever before. The fabrics included velvet, satin, muslin, calico, cambric, crepe, gauze, porcelain even metal and palm leaves. Wax flowers were very popular too at that time and became an art form in their own right. Flowers were even made out of human hair to commemorate loved ones in fact flowers became so loved that the ‘language of flowers’ became a cult in which all bouquets carried meanings and messages.
Although flowers are given and received today most of us are unaware of the true ‘language of flowers’ but during the Victorian era when communications were very limited between the sexes it became popular to use flowers to both give messages and convey feelings to the lady concerned. Knowledge of the ‘language of flowers’ was considered essential for all fashionable young ladies in society and dictionaries of ‘floriography’ were published which allowed the precise meaning of the flower or floral combination received.
When I was very young my Great Grandmother who was very old, at the time would sometimes tell me of the meaning of flowers and how exciting it was to receive a posy or a single bloom from an admirer that until that time she had no idea of. If she was in an especially good mood she would get out a chocolate box containing paper frills, pretty ribbons and bows, beautiful cards and flowers that she had pressed so long ago and her eyes would glaze over and a little smile would play around her lips as she remembered, but never told.