Imagine this-it’s Valentine’s Day and Lucien Crabapple wants to show his sweetie how much he cares for her. It’s not love for Lucien-not yet-but it could be in the future and he wants to make a good impression.

Roses? Oh, man! After Lucien picks himself off the floor because his wallet can’t stand the cost or the shock, he hurriedly decides that maybe another flower will do the job just as well.

Carnations, he decides. Yellow and those stripy ones look pretty. “Yes, I’ll take them,” he says to the florist. Pleased with himself, he takes them home and hands them over to his sweetie, expecting a kiss at the very least. Instead, his sweetie takes one look at the flowers and bursts into tears.

“What have I done?” she cries. “Why are you rejecting me? Why can’t we be together?”

Shocked, Lucien stares at her in confusion. “I thought you’d like them.”

“But they mean rejection, and say that you can’t be with me. What have I done that would make you give me yellow carnations?”

Flowers have meanings? It’s news to Lucien. Maybe he should have done a bit of research before he made his purchase.

Throughout the ages, plants and their various parts have played a huge part in our lives. We eat them, use their fragrances in perfumes, utilize their foliage for medicines and decoration. As well as recording the properties and uses of different parts of plants, we’ve assigned them with both religious and symbolic meanings.

The Victorians took this to an entirely new level, using the language of plants and flowers to send their own unique messages. For example, a handkerchief scented with lavender sent the message of love and devotion. A pink carnation meant I’ll never forget you. Even the position of the flower or the hand (either right or left) that offered it held a specific meaning. A flower offered in an upright position signified positive thought while one proffered in the opposite direction had negative connotations. A right hand meant yes while a left hand meant no.

Flowers have a language of their own, so if you’re thinking of giving flowers, especially for Valentine’s Day, give some thought to their meaning.

Roses are a traditional favorite, especially when it comes to romance. A red rose signifies love, respect and beauty while a white one indicates innocence and purity. Buds have different meanings from the full blooms with red rosebuds meaning pure and lovely. A white rosebud means girlhood. If a man gives you a bouquet of full bloom roses, he’s speaking of gratitude but if he’s handing over a single full bloom, he’s saying he truly loves you.

So next time you’re ordering flowers for a special occasion check with your florist about the meaning of the blooms you’re considering. The last thing you want to do is send the wrong message.

Here’s a link to the language of flowers if you’d like to investigate further.

Playing to WinShelley’s favorite flowers are spring ones: daffodils, tulips and freesias, all of which have good, positive meanings. She actually prefers to see flowers growing in the garden and loved the surprise Goofy bicycle bell her husband gave her with last week. It beat flowers hand down! Her latest release is PLAYING TO WIN, which contains nothing about flowers but does mention aromatherapy and has an awesome stalker. You can visit Shelley’s website at

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