The plant language is the highest and oldest in history. It is full of symbolism and beauty, it is universal and profound. It is also the most eloquent in its simplicity. In times of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, threads, reels, microblogging and GPT chat, isn't it fascinating to be able to convey the most open feelings with a flower that germinated in nature?
“Flowers, which represented food for humans in prehistoric societies, were used as symbols and amulets in sacrifices and rituals 7,000 years before Christ. This would be the origin of flower culture,” explains architect and landscape architect Marta Gallego, also professor of garden history at the Castillo de Batres School of Landscaping. Ancient Egypt is the first moment in history where the use of floral arrangements is documented among the elite and around the pharaohs. With the Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) as the protagonist, bouquets were made for funeral cults, garlands for parties and crowns for celebrations.
In ancient Greece, flowers and vegetables became popular among all levels of society as offerings to the gods and to celebrate victories in battles. Cornucopias are created that combine flowers and fruits as a symbol of abundance and wealth, and the heroes are decorated with laurel wreaths. Species with symmetrical shapes – lilies, orchids, daffodils… – were most valued for their geometric perfection. Mythology gave flowers symbolic value and associated each species with a god. The roses were for Aphrodite. This is the first historical connection linking the Queen of Flowers with love and the first outline of a still very primitive language of flowers. “There are also clues in Eros and Psyche, a myth from ancient times full of stories of love, heartbreak, crushes and jealousy, culminating in a wedding for the ages with red roses sprouting on Mount Olympus,” adds Marta Gallego.
Roses for Aphrodite… and for all lovers
According to the Spanish Florists' Association (AEFI), today seven out of ten flowers sold in Spanish florists on Valentine's Day are roses. “On Valentine’s Day alone, each florist sells an average of 800 rose stems. Not to mention wild bouquets, carnations, arrangements of preserved flowers, compositions of cut flowers in baskets or candy boxes for those looking for something alternative… Or decorative potted plants like the orchid, laden with erotic connotations thanks to mythological stories, for those , who prefer the living flower,” says AEFI. Marta Gallego explains a curious fact: “The Anglo-Saxon tradition of Valentine's Day only reached Spain in the middle of the 20th century. It was introduced by the founder of Galerías Preciados, who discovered a commercial streak in the custom of giving flowers and generating consumption under the pretext of a day dedicated to love. So the gesture of giving away flowers and chocolates on February 14th immediately spread from their warehouses on Gran Vía in Madrid to the rest of the country.
Today, seven out of ten flowers sold in Spanish florists on Valentine's Day are roses.Anjelika Gretskaia (Getty Images)
Dahlias, lilies, orchids and daisies for every kind of love
“It is believed that the custom of giving flowers as a token of love dates back to weddings in the Middle Ages, when it became fashionable to decorate with bouquets at wedding celebrations to perfume the atmosphere and mask bad smells,” says Landschaftsgärtner Fernando. Pozuelo. Beyond this unusual cosmetic function, the real turning point in the use of the flower as a sign of love in Western cultures occurred in the 19th century, when floral art became a symbol of status and good taste in Victorian society. “Wealthy ladies attended courses to learn how to design bouquets and arrangements, and canonical rules were established for the use of the different types and the combination of shapes and colors,” explains Marta Gallego. This is how floriography, or language of flowers, was born, a silent slang encoded with codes that only the elite who study plant art can interpret. Bouquets and bouquets allow for a quiet form of social expression that corresponds to the language of the fan. Depending on the flower chosen, the color, the position of the stem when delivered, the hand (right or left) with which the recipient receives it, or the context surrounding the moment of delivery, the eloquence of what is said without mediation to the was expressed. The word was almost infinite. “The rose, with all its varieties and varieties, was the great protagonist,” says Gallego.
The custom of giving flowers as a sign of love dates back to medieval weddings.LightFieldStudios (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Because of its historical and artistic association over the centuries with the beautiful and carnal Aphrodite, the red rose in floriography embodies desire and passion. The dahlia, eternal loyalty and devotion. The Lily of the Incas or Alstroemeria, devotion and unconditional friendship. “The orchid, a symbol of lust and sensuality, and the daisy, a symbol of purity and tenderness, are other species that refer to different types of declaration of love,” adds Fernando Pozuelo. Also the almond blossom, which is linked to the story of Saint Valentine himself: this Roman monk defied the laws of the empire and secretly married soldiers who were forbidden to marry so as not to be distracted from their duties in battle. He was discovered and tortured and died on February 14th. An almond tree was planted next to his grave, whose pink blossom, which blooms at this time, symbolizes the eternal power of love.
The eloquence of flowers
Amazingly, in an increasingly technological and virtual environment, the language of flowers has continued to enrich and inspire our ability to express emotions. Although the exact codes of floriography are rarely used anymore, everyone interprets the gesture of giving a bouquet or a boutonniere as a clear sign of love – more or less platonic, more or less carnal. The democratization of flowers as jewelry and as gifts has allowed us to overthrow the elitist and exclusive character that was reserved for ladies in the 19th century, and today there are many people of all socioeconomic levels who give them as a sign of love and receive. And flowers embody many of the attributes and qualities associated with desire and affection: pleasure, seduction, trust, attraction, loyalty, lust, devotion…
“In addition, it has been scientifically proven that the environment with plants has a positive emotional effect in humans, linked to the feelings of joy, abundance, joy and well-being triggered by being in love,” adds Fernando Pozuelo. This innate feeling of connection with nature “enhances mood, reduces stress, connects both the giver and the receiver to the present and the idea of carpe diem, and allows positive feelings to be expressed without the need for words.” he adds the landscape gardener.
Analog is “sexy”
“Flowers evoke sensations that transport us to happy moments,” explains florist Jesús Viñambres. Daniela Duncan (Getty Images)
More than a thousand years after wedding ceremony decorations began to go viral, the trend of surrounding yourself with flowers to celebrate love, giving and receiving flowers, we still like it “for the same reason, from which we love a hug from our mother or another. “Scent that takes us back to childhood,” says Jesús Viñambres from Madrid florist Lufesa. “Flowers evoke feelings that transport us to happy moments. It's great to have the latest technology at your disposal, but contact with this object will never be able to move your feelings. Nor does it allow us to connect with nature or the people we love. The plants do,” he says.
The plant world nourishes the body and also the mind. That's why the aesthetic and stimulating language of flowers is and remains perfect for communicating the deepest feelings. Analog is sexy. And a flower will never cease to be the most eloquent way to say “I love you.”