Roses are Red…The Language of Flowers

By Alyssa J Montgomery

In Roses for Sophie, the hero – Logan – uses the language of flowers to communicate the development of his feelings for the heroine – Sophie. Like most modern women, Sophie knows red roses symbolise love, but is unaware of the symbolism behind the other colours of roses which Logan gives her. She is happy to receive each bouquet and enjoys his explanation of the sentiments the roses represent, but longs for him to bring her red roses.V871_330x370The language of flowers, or floriography, has been part of human culture world-wide for centuries and I’ve been rather fascinated to explore this. I discovered that the Romans used to hang roses over a meeting table to indicate that all discussions were to remain secret; that stories from the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese refer to the use of flowers; and that evidence suggests people communicated through flowers widely during the Ottoman Empire. It was in the mid 1700s that the French and English discovered that the Turks had an entire language of flowers depending upon different flower types. The Victorian culture adapted this to create an elaborate system of expression based on the type, number, and colour of bloom. Meanings were even attached to the way a single bloom or bouquet was presented or received – that is whether it was given and received with the left hand, right hand or both hands!

Like Sophie, most people today still associate the red rose as a symbol of passion and love – an association which was popular in ancient Greek times as the red rose was the flower of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Apart from this, the symbolism behind each bloom is largely unknown. Did you know, for example, that the colours of flowers hold meanings –

Perfect-white-roses-bunchwhite for purity and innocence

Nice-bunch-of-pink-rosespink for love, happiness, beauty and friendship

BQPPS003-2purple for faith and devotion

And while Roses for Sophie only refers to the meanings of various shades of roses, other flowers also have meanings:

define-camellia-1the camellia is a bloom symbolising admiration

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeedthe dandelion represents faithfulness

carnationthe carnation expresses fascination

Even the number of flowers presented holds significance in the language of flowers.

Regardless of the historic symbolism, the giving of flowers is still popular in our time on special occasions and to send messages of thanks, ‘get well soon’ or as a means of apology and friendship. It’s also acceptable for a woman to give a man flowers, and bunches of virtual flowers are increasingly popular!

The Human Emotion Laboratory at Rutgers University studied the giving of flowers and found that people who give flowers are generally perceived as successful, caring, strong and capable with higher emotional intelligence. A Harvard University study found that flowers in the work environment increased productivity.

Receiving flowers has the potential of increasing an individual’s happiness, and swaying opinions regarding the person who has sent them. Powerful stuff!

We continue to be drawn to the beauty and fragrance of flowers whether it is purely for adornment and appreciation or the expression of intimate feelings. Flowers continue to speak in ways that touch human emotions. Logan found them a perfect way to reach Sophie’s heart. I hope you’ll enjoy their story.

Princess Diana was known to love white waterlilies, Elizabeth Taylor and Nicole Kidman both listed white gardenias as their favourites and although I’m not sure of Madonna’s favourite flowers, it’s widely reported that she has an intense aversion to hydrangeas! Tell us about your type of flower and what it is that makes it your favourite, for a chance to win a copy of “Roses for Sophie”.


23091From the polished, pacy, passionate pen of Alyssa J Montgomery come a delicious billionaire, a mining heiress, a marriage of convenience and a very inconvenient attraction.

To convince the court that his playboy days are over and to keep a desperate promise, Australian billionaire Logan Jackson needs a wife…fast.

To make her grandfather happy and sway him into making her managing director of the family company, mining heiress Sophie Hamilton needs a husband…fast.

With common goals, similar values, and a very definite end date, there is no reason why Logan and Sophie shouldn’t be able to strike a deal to satisfy them both. No reason except that the sizzling attraction arcing between them is too hot to trust.

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15 thoughts on “Roses are Red…The Language of Flowers

  1. Love this post. I knew the Victorians had a thing for the language of flowers but I never knew it went so far back. Fascinating. Thank you Alyssa. I have always loved Rhododendrons but they don’t make good vase flowers. I do love roses, especially double delights. My father has many different varieties in his garden and my mother always has a lovely arrangement on her dining table.

  2. I love white tulips and frangipani! I find them simple and elegant and think the use of them in any room grabs your attention to their beauty 😊

    • Tulips are very elegant and remind me of Holland – which is a good thing as my husband was born there! Frangipanis put me in holiday mode and take me back to Fiji and a romantic candlelit dinner at a restaurant out over the water where my husband proposed.
      Less romantically, but still in holiday mode, they remind me of Moorea Island off Tahiti where I had a moped accident, somehow accelerated instead of braking and ran into a petrol bowser. Thankfully I’m much better at driving a car – at least I hope I am – I’m taking my 16 year old daughter for her first driving lesson today!!!!

  3. I will answer my own question and say that my favourite flowers are freesias – no particular colour preferences. Their symbolic meaning is friendship, innocence, perserverance and thoughtfulness. It’s their fragrance that makes them my favourite flower. I love the perfume filling the room.
    Alyssa

  4. Roses are my favourite. My daughters middle name is Rose- the meaning is of the Rose blossom. She is our little blossom.

  5. I love many flowers, gardens settle me… hydrangeas, are a current favourite, but I have along time love for the yellow rose. The Yellow Rose represents Friendship, Joy and Delight ! Wonderful 🙂

    • Hydrangeas are quite amazing, Judy, and I don’t relate to Madinna’s aversion to them. Maybe it’s a bad personal memory associated with them. I bought different colours of hydrangeas years ago thinking they would make a magnificent display and didn’t realise then how the pH levels in the soil influence the blooms. (Have I got that right?)

  6. I love fresh flowers in the house and try to pick some each Saturday. Unfortunately the weeks are always very busy and the arrangements can get very sad looking by the time I get around to throwing the spent blooms away!

  7. Hi Allysa. I knew colours of flowers had meanings but not varieties of flowers. Intriguing post, thank you. Ever since early childhood I’ve loved poppies, specifically red poppies. The petals are so delicate and yet their fragility is an illusion as the flower stands tall and proud and mesmerisingly beautiful as it seeks the sun. I googled the symbolic meaning of poppies after writing this and, wow, the poppy means dreams and magic and eternal life.

    • Thanks Enisa for commenting.
      I don’t think I’d ever come across the symbolism for poppies. The ‘dream’ symbolism doesn’t surprise me considering where opiates are derived from. 🙂
      With the eternal life symbolism, I did get to thinking…We use poppies on remembrance day. I’ve always thought that was because of all the poppies in the areas where the battlefields were in France and Belgium. Now I’m wondering whether there was also a symbolism associated with the fallen soldiers having eternal life? Anyone know?
      Anyway, your description of the bloom was very apt and they are lovely – especially in fields en masse.

  8. I love roses!!!:) My favourite is ‘Peace’,the beautiful pink & yellow hues a gorgeous!!!:)Also it was my mums favourite,she passed away 25 years ago:)

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