How to Say it With Flowers, 1881

painting of pensive woman sitting next to enormous floral arrangement Edgar Degas, Woman Seated Beside a Vase of Flowers, 1865

A bouquet of flowers and leaves may be selected and arranged so as to express much depth of feeling – to be truly a poem. We present herewith a list of many flowers and plants, to which, by universal consent, a sentiment has become attached.

Acacia – Concealed love.

Bladder-Nut Tree – Frivolous amusements.

Coxcomb – Foppery.

Currants – You please me.

Dogwood Flowering (Cornus) – Am I indifferent to you?

Flax – I feel your kindness.

Fuchsia – The ambition of my love thus plagues itself.

Geranium, Ivy – Your hand for next dance.

Pine Apple – You are perfect.

Rose – Beauty.

Saffron – Excess is dangerous.

Sorrel – Wit ill-timed.

Turnip – Charity.

John H. Young, Our Deportment

The message I usually seek to communicate with flowers is “Why would you think I bought these at the grocery store?” But why stop there when you could ask someone to dance with a geranium or express charity with a turnip? And, after all, nothing says “frivolous amusements” like the Bladder-Nut Tree.