The Language of Flowers
“The Language of Flowers is indeed as old as the hills; yet it can never become old, for every Spring reproduces its characters anew.”
The use of flowers to send messages and express sentiments flourished in the 19th century, drawing on long historical associations between flowers and emotions. If you’ve been lucky enough to receive a valentine with these hidden meanings, scroll through the images below to decode your message. These meanings have been drawn from two 19th century books: Sarah Josepha Hale’s Flora’s Interpreter: or, the American Book of Flowers and Sentiments (1833) and Robert Tyas’ The Language of Flowers; or, Floral Emblems of Thoughts, Feelings, and Sentiments (1875), from which the quote above is drawn.
Flowers marked with an asterisk can be found growing in our gardens here at the museum. We’re proud to be the newest member of Connecticut’s Historic Gardens.