“Flowers have a language of their own, and it is this bright particular language that we would teach our readers. How charmingly a young gentleman can speak to a young lady, and with what eloquent silence in this delightful language. How delicately she can respond, the beautiful little flowers telling her tale in perfumed words; what a delicate story the myrtle or the rose tells! How unhappy that which basil, or yellow rose reveals, while ivy is the most faithful of all.”
Collier’s Cyclopedia of Commercial and Social Information and Treasury of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, compiled by Nugent Robinson. P.F. Collier, 1882
Chronologically speaking, Lexington is about half way between April showers and May flowers. While I have the poet’s “host of golden daffodils” as well as forsythia, the japonica is fabulous as usual; where I see the widest array flowers is on the hats that are flying out of Polly’s studio. It’s clear the winner of the Kentucky Derby will not be the only one at Churchill draped in roses. You might say there’s been a sort of Run on The Roses this year.
As you know, the red rose is the flower associated with Derby, but did you know, according to the Victorians, a red rose, in fact all flowers, have something to say? For instance, the magnolia proclaims nobility, the camellia, speaks of unpretending excellence. The hydrangea, a flower Polly often uses to ornament hats can mean either heartlessness or “thank you for understanding”.
While the cabbage rose is the Ambassador of Love, a yellow rose signals jealousy, a pale pink rose expresses joy of life, the red rose we associate with the Derby simply means “love”. For a complete list of the language of flowers, visit this site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floriography. Learn a few phrases of conversational flora then, as you watch the Derby you can admire the fabulous garden of hats, and read them as well.
As for me, I haven’t yet decided which hat I’ll be wearing Derby Day but I can tell you this, tucked in the veiling or secreted away in the band will be a spring of Bells of Ireland, for Bells of Ireland whisper “luck”.
by Jan Masters Yon