The Language of Flowers

A red chrysanthemum means “I love.”

How many ways are there to say “I love you” in the language of flowers? Red roses probably top the list, but if we look beyond the obvious, there are at least 14 other options (see below). Our modern culture has lost the subtle art of sending messages with flowers and plants. Wouldn’t it be fun to walk out into a garden and create a conversation with a bouquet? Local author, floral designer, speaker and Clematis expert Linda Beutler imagined just that scenario with her newest book and first novel: The Red Chrysanthemum (Meryton Press, 2013). (If you are a Pride and Prejudice fan, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this book!)

You can enjoy Linda talking about “Planting the Language of Flowers” at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show, presented by Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscape & Garden Centers, on Sunday, March 2, at the Oregon Convention Center. Although the Showcase Gardens and show floor are not to be missed, the seminars are free and are a gift to the gardening community from the Oregon Association of Nurseries. You can keep coming back for more and more entertaining and educational presentations.

Interest in the language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, has been around for thousands of years, but interest was renewed in Victorian England and the U.S. in the 19th century. Floral dictionaries helped to create and translate “talking bouquets,” also known as tussie-mussies or nosegays.

According to Wikipedia, one of the most familiar of the language of flower books is Routledge’s The Language of Flowers. First published in 1884, it continues to be reprinted to this day. Not surprisingly, the meaning of specific flowers often varies. To learn more, visit

Flowers of love:

Acacia (yellow) – Secret love
Chrysanthemum (red) – I love
Coreopsis (Arkansa) – Love at First Sight 
Forget-Me-Not – True Love
Honeysuckle – Bonds of Love
Lilac – First Emotions of Love
Melianthus – Love, Sweet Love
Myrtle – Love
Pink (double red) – Pure & Ardent Love
Primrose – Young Love
Rose (bridal) – Happy Love
Rose (red) – Love
Rose of Sharon – Consumed by Love
Tulips (yellow) – Hopeless Love
Violet – Faithful Love

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