The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany, Hardback

The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany Hardback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


'A flower is not a flower alone; A thousand thoughts invest it' All over the world, flowers are an integral part of human culture whether it is the perfect table centre for a wedding, a beautiful bouquet for a birthday, a message of thanks, or to pay one's respect at a funeral.

But, while everyone knows that red roses signify love, few may realise that an entire language of flowers exists with every bloom, folliage and plant having a particular emotion attached, be it hazel for reconcilliation, wisteria for welcome or ivy for fidelity.

This unique language was created by the romantic early Victorians who carefully planned every bouquet and posy so as to deliver a desired message.

Bringing the language to a new generation, this beautifully illustrated miscellany contains fifty profiled flowers, a dictionary searchable by emotion, and ideas for creating bouquets and arrangements for specific occasions.

This gift book is a novel present that any flower lover will want to own.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192 pages, Illustrations (some col.)
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Trees, wildflowers & plants
  • ISBN: 9780230759633



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Most South Africans steer clear of those books of the secret language of flowers [why it’s still a secret after the many books published on the subject is a mystery] so beloved of the Victorians because they contain completely foreign names like Bells of Ireland, Everlasting Pea and Wax Flower. Kirkby is English and her book does contain some unusual [to us] flowers but for the most part they are common garden favourites that thrive in South Africa, such as the nasturtium, rose, daisy – and 47 others.The entries are arranged alphabetically, and each contains a drawing, the meaning of the plant, its history, some cultural references and a verse about the flower – usually taken from a Victorian poet. There is also an ‘emotional index’ and suggestions of flowers for special occasions. It must be mentioned that the drawings, although charming, are inept and that the book was conceived as a companion volume to foreword writer Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel [‘The Language of Flowers’ redux] but none of that detracts from the appeal of the book, delightfully designed, satisfyingly sized and altogether delectable.