Happy Cupid’s Day

Today, of course, is February 14, Valentine’s Day! The Big V-Day. The day of pink and red, of flowers and chocolates. The day of over-priced “special menus” in restaurants, served by surly waiters who definitely don’t want to be there helping you make the day Very Special. But the flowers and chocolates (and champagne!) make that okay…

Speaking of flowers, I have a very cute old book that belonged to my grandmother about the “language of flowers.” Floriography (a means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages) was especially popular with the Victorians, who loved all things sentimental. But this idea goes back to antiquity, and was well-known in Medieval and Renaissance art (all those saints with their symbolic blossoms). So, I took out this book and tried to put together bouquets for various romantic couples. Here’s what I came up with…

Emma and Mr. Knightley Arbor vitae (everlasting friendship); Daffodil (chivalry, respect, uncertainty); Gorse (love in all seasons); Heliotrope (devotion); Honeysuckle (devoted affection); Lavender-colored roses (love at first sight–literally in their case); Lavender (devotion)

Elizabeth B. and Mr. Darcy Buttercup (riches); Mint (suspicion); Oats (music); Blue poppies (mystery, attaining the impossible); Red tulips (declaration of love); Light pink roses (desire, passion, joy of life); Wheat (wealth and prosperity)

Cathy and Heathcliff Amaranth (immortal love); Bird’s foot trefoil (revenge); Lobelia (malevolence); Mallow (consumed by love); Marigold (pain and grief); Love lies bleeding (hopelessness); Black poppy (death, hatred, farewell); anemone (forsaken, sickness). Wow, they sound like they’d be fun on Valentine’s Day…

Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester Acacia (secret, chaste love); Purple carnations (my heart aches for you); Oak leaf (strength), Oxeye daisy (patience); White poppy (consolation); Eglantine rose (a wound to heal); Elderflower (compassion); Snowdrop (consolation or hope); Blue and white violets (faithfulness/modesty)

Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney Purple and white lilacs (first love/youthful innocence); Mullein (good nature); Cherry blossom (a good education); Forget-me-not (true love); Red and yellow mixed roses (joy, happiness, excitement)

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Any favorite romantic couples you’d like to send flowers to? And hey, what are your own favorite flowers? (I love pink roses and gardenias…)

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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