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Send your Valentine flowers Victorian style

March 27th 2023

“Do I love you? My god, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.” —William Goldman, The Princess Bride

“Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you.” —Virginia Woolf, Selected Diaries

“If you ever have need of my life, come and take it.” —Anton Chekhov, The Seagull

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” - Leo Tolsoy, Anna Karenina

February the 14th is creeping up on all of us… and with it, the endless question of how best to celebrate and express our love for those dear to us.

Asides from - of course - books, I personally am a fan of the classic tribute of love in the form of gifted flowers (although equally I don’t complain if one of my many admirers would prefer to send me original poetry or music). A particularly fascinating moment in the history of the giving and receiving of flowers as gifts comes in one of the most romantic and strange moments of British history: the Victorian era. The Victorians were generally obsessed with symbolism and tokens of aggression or love delivered in code. Flowers in Victorian times took on complex and expansive meaning.

Every household contained a flower dictionary (god forbid any differences across publications), and whether as a declaration of love, a cutting insult, or a declaration of war, flowers could be used to communicate to the recipient complex, emotion based messages.

Whatever your relationship status this Valentine’s Day you can take the opportunity to show your love - or start an enduring family feud - with the delivery of a coded flowery gift.

If you are bored of roses, then red chrysanthemums also symbolise love. Or for sweet and secret love send Honeyflower.

You could let a cheating partner know that you will be taking revenge by having the spiky yellow birdsfoot trefoil delivered to their door.

Have colleagues or friends been irritating you lately? A lettuce delivered to their desk will clearly communicate that you are ready to cold heartedly put a stop to it.

To a lover you miss, send a branch of bramble, and whilst you’re at it perhaps send yourself some cranberry, for heartache.

Alternatively you can signify the beginning of an argument with a partner who has forgotten to send you flowers, by sending fig or wild liquorice.

Unfortunately as most English houses no longer have a flower dictionary your intentions may be lost, so perhaps instead you should send your beau a subscription for love my read. It may be a slightly less confusing signal of love.

Love from,


And the LoveMyRead Teamc

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