The first book I read in my Kindle is the Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
Am glad I came to know her now, when I no longer have a garden, as I was crazy in love with the flowers I planted at the height of my gardening. Her book is the story of Victoria, a foster child, who’s been hardened emotionally by the difficult experiences she had while waiting for adoption. She was uncommunicative and the only way she’s comfortable in talking to you is through the language of flowers. Fortunately, she met and fell in love with someone who understood flowers as intimately as she did.
I planted flowers because I loved them, their fragrance, their beauty and their place in my garden. I collected varieties of jonquils (desire), peonies (anger), irises (message), clematis (poverty), echinaceas (it was not in her list), dahlias (dignity), daylily (coquetry) and hydrangeas(dispassion). I wanted roses but I found them very difficult to propagate in the very cold Midwestern winter so I satisfied myself with floribundas and climbing roses. I wonder if Victoria would have approved of my choices or if I had known the message they conveyed, if I would have avoided them.
After our lunch on Saturday, we drove to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see their Kite Festival but we were very late. After TJ flew his kite we decided to sit around and looked at the blooms.
I have been there several times but this time I was fascinated with the Lotus blooms. In Victoria’s language, lotus mean purity.
At the Botanic garden, I tended to avoid taking photos of flowers that were fairly common to me.
Now that I know that in the Victorian era flowers had meanings, I now look at flowers differently. But am sure I would still judge them according to how they appeal to me.
As Gloria Steinem quoted in her play Sacred Emily, “A rose is a rose is a rose.”