The book Collier’s Cyclopedia of Commercial and Social Information and Treasury of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge was produced by Nugent Robinson in 1882, and it contains all sorts of, well, useful and entertaining knowledge. It was designed with the Victorian era in mind, but it’s still useful today, which is why it continues to be reprinted.
(Well, that, and as a book in the public domain the reprint rights are free; even at that, it’s being published under the line “Forgotten books”, so perhaps it’s a bit esoteric. This is what happens when a book geek writes a Night Owl. Enough with the digression.)
Among the interesting tidbits to be found in the book are the meanings of various flowers to be gifted in proper society. Giving a suitor a bay leaf, for example, warns, “I change but in death” while wearing someone’s Milkvetch means, “Your presence softens my pains.”
Most of these meanings have been lost to antiquity for any save the most avid trivia buff, but the meanings of roses continue. Most of use recognize red for “Romantic love”, but there are a variety of others as well.
Orange roses signified passion.
Dark Pink, gratitude.
Pale Pink, admiration or sympathy
White, purity, secrecy, reverence and humility
Yellow, fading or platonic love
Most of these meanings have survived almost a century and a half, with the advent of new colors adding to the options available. Per Passion Growers we also have:
Lavender, love at first sight
Salmon, passion. They’re basically piggybacking on Orange. Hopefully someone will come up with a special Salmon meaning at some point in the future, maybe “Let’s return to where you were spawned.”
Cream, charm and thoughtfulness
Green, growth and abundance
It would certainly be a mystery to many how a blue rose could come about, back in the early days of hybridization. That was the rose color that growers worked toward, but could never seem to quite achieve; nevertheless, blue roses appeared for sale, leading buyers to wonder at the source. Its fame as an odd rose color has continued to this day, resulting in things like Peter Straub’s Blue Rose trilogy (Koko, Mystery, The Throat) and the television series The Blue Rose.
The answer is really fairly simple. Growers just dropped white roses into blue dye and let them dry.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite flower?