Victorian Meanings Behind Spring Flowers

Hi everyone! Whenever I think of spring, images of daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth fill my mind. How about you? Do you think of pansies? Or maybe forsythia?

Whatever flowers mean “spring” to you, I bet it’s bright and beautiful. Now that the season is clearly on the way, I thought I would highlight some spring flowers, while at the same time considering the Victorian meanings attributed to them. Sound interesting? Let’s take a look.

Victorian Meaning Behind Spring Flowers adirondackgirlatheart.comThe Victorians led rather exacting lives filled with layers of meaning, complicated ritual, and high expectations. Table settings involved special utensils and china for every unique food, like tiny salt spoons and celery vases.

Victorians wore flowers in their hats and on their lapels, carried small bouquets (called tussie mussies), and sent secret messages via specific flowers and herbs. For example, hyacinth stood for constancy and tulips for perfect lover.

tulipsIn Albany, come the first week-end in May, you will find crowds oohing and ahhing over tulips, enjoying live music, and shopping from a multitude of crafters in our Washington Park. It is the Tulip Festival, an annual Albany (NY) event that has been celebrated for sixty-seven years (and where these tulip photos were taken).

yellow and red verigated tulipIf your lover (or would-be lover) had beautiful eyes, then you would give him/her variegated tulips, like this stunning example in yellow and red.

spring whitesIf you wished to convey to a friend that s/he should hold out hope, then one would bring or send snowdrops. My sweet husband and I discovered this little patch of snowdrops next to St. George’s church in the Schenectady Stockade.

They remind us of England, where they grew abundantly in Derbyshire, our home the two years we lived there. They give us hope that someday we may return.

purple, yellow, white pansiesPansies send the merry message that the receiver is in the giver’s thoughts, a subtle message, perhaps pointing to something more serious?

Pansies with beeThis honey bee is certainly serious about the  pansy’s pollen.

Crocus at Schenectady StockadeIt shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that crocus stand for cheerfulness or gladness, which they certainly bring in early spring, especially after a long winter. One of my favorite spring images is of crocus peeping through a light layer of snow.

Chatsworth, England daffodils and jonquilsDaffodils symbolize chivalry, while jonquils convey sympathy or desire. I guess I’d avoid sending jonquils as I’d be afraid of sending mixed messages! 

On a spring visit to Chatsworth (England), the daffodils and jonquils were in full bloom throughout the estate. Chatsworth is said to have been Jane Austin’s inspiration for Permberly, and movie-makers in fact used it as such in the 2005 version of the movie.

Cherry Buds Sweet-scented apple blossoms indicate good fortune or that better things are yet to come. I grew up in apple country (upstate New York) and so am personally partial to apple blossoms.

cherry blossoms A single cherry blossom, oddly enough, means education. I’m hard pressed to think of a time when that might be relevant.

pink Cherry blossomsPerhaps a bouquet for someone upon their graduation?

Balsam at Beekman FarmOne rainy day in May, not too long ago, my sweet husband and I drove out to Sharon Springs (NY) and took a tour of Beekman Farm, home of the Beekman Boys. 

While balsam do not fall into the flower category, the Victorians did attribute a meaning to it, that of ardent love. Perhaps its divine aroma had something to do with that attribution.

Purple Lilac Purple lilac, my sweet sister’s favorite flower, stand for the first emotions of love, a lovely thought given how their powerful scent can swiftly fill a room and thus serve as a constant reminder of love.

lavendar, purple, and yellow tulipsOne last tulip photo. It delighted me to learn that yellow tulips acknowledge that there’s sunshine in your smile. May it be true, friends, may it be true!

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Victorian Meaning Behind Spring Flowers

Another post you might be interested in:

Meaning of Forget-Me-Nots

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  1. Such lovely spring photos and we just can’t wait. This week we finally move to Missouri. Things are popping up here in my Colorado garden but typically I can have snow here into May. I’m thinking it will be warmer in Missouri and look forward to that!

    1. Thanks so much Bernideen for stopping by to chat πŸ™‚ Congrats on your move–sounds like you’re very excited. I hope and pray everything goes very smoothly for you. I agree; I’m thinking it’ll be much warmer for you in Missouri!

  2. What a great post! I loved learning about the meanings behind the flowers and your photos were gorgeous!

  3. My daffodills have been popping out for awhile now! I am a tulip girl — Dutch through and through. Bouquet idea – tulips with a few balsam sprigs! Have a happy day and so blessed that you can’t contain it!

    1. I remember talking with you about your Dutch heritage. Lovely idea to combine tulips and balsam–both beautiful and heavenly scented! Wishing you blessings, too, Mary Ann!!

  4. Wow I never knew all these any of this, how interesting! Awwww, don’t we all love spring?? I shall look at their flowers in a whole new light😊Blessings

    1. So lovely to hear from you, Gert–I hope you are well πŸ™‚ Yes, I do love spring! Glad you enjoyed the post–

  5. Here in Oregon they have several different flower festivals and such beauty to see! Tulips, dahlias, roses, and more!

  6. Seeing these pictures brought back nice memories of the garden from my childhood home. Thank you.

  7. I love your gorgeous photos! I had no idea that these beautiful blooms had such special meanings. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Talk of the Town.

  8. Loved the post! I am eagerly awaiting the blooming of my daffodils, tulips, lilacs. . .This is so fun to read about the meanings. I’ll have to share this with my family.

    1. I’m so glad, Cynthia! I hope your family enjoys it too πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to chat with me–

  9. Diana, as a lover of all things floral, I’d heard some of these meanings but also learned some new ones. Your photos are just gorgeous!

  10. Gorgeous photos! I loved reading about the meanings of some of my favorite spring flowers. That it is from Victorian times makes it so much more special.

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  12. What a wonderful post Diana, you know I am a Victorian at heart so I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Such lovely photos and images of all the different kinds of flowers. The daffodil scene is just gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and have a great weekend!

  13. Diana, I love spring flowers! They really make my heart sing. Fun learning about the meanings of each one. Some I knew, but others I didn’t. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  14. Thank you for sharing this lovely post. Someone mentioned it to me and I knew that you would share it on SYC and I couldn’t wait to read it.

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  17. Your photos are wonderful. I hope you have some in frames in addition to your art collection. These would make wonderful fronts for cards, too.

  18. I’ve subscribed for years, but can’t access the members Library. Where do I find the password. Thanks

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