The Language of Flowers Book Review

Photo credit: Goodreads

Photo credit: Goodreads

Auguste Kaeding, Contributor

There is a book that is sort of a glossary for the Victorian language of flowers. One with poems and myths and art that depict the floral plants. That book is The Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles.

Pickles does not cover all of the flowers that may have been used back then, but there are quite a bit that she does include such as bluebells and chrysanthemums, daffodils and roses. 

Beautiful oil paintings from the Victorian time period and before accompany page after page, giving an even deeper sense of their use. Separate from the paintings are ancient legends and prose, all depicting heartbreak and love, hatred and longing for something that could be more than what it was. Emotions of similarities and many more decorate the inner workings of the book, especially in the flowers that portray them. 

Expressions through floriography have been used among many different cultures, most notably recorded in Asia and Europe, but Victorians had it popularized in modern history.  

Nonetheless, different meanings come from different authors, different notes and different people. They may have changed slightly depending on time and place. This is one of the first books I own that I check for a flower’s meaning before cross-referencing to others

I will sometimes write fictional works – typically just scribbles that I eventually scrap – with a flower as the title and have the meaning be the main point or theme. I find that this book, and others of a similar kind, generally agree with each other on this particular flowery language. 

I do like it mostly for the paintings Pickles provides for each flower she includes. It definitely captures the eye and, for some, the overall feel of the plant. The book has its own hardcover casing that it needs to be taken out of first, as well as its own ribbon bookmark, which I find unique.

Overall, this is a helpful little guide of inspiration, allowing many to send out words of secrecy without the need to verbalize them. I would recommend this to anyone who likes to read poetry, look at older ages of art and learn about smaller tidbits of mythology. And, of course, to anyone wanting to learn the language or do some creative writing with it.