A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion

by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  31 reviews
“A flower is not a flower alone; a thousand thoughts invest it.”

Daffodils signal new beginnings, daisies innocence. Lilacs mean the first emotions of love, periwinkles tender recollection. Early Victorians used flowers as a way to express their feelings—love or grief, jealousy or devotion. Now, modern-day romantics are enjoying a resurgence of this bygone custom, and this...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 673)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Moudi Mohammed
The Language of Flowers
Everything about this book is beautiful, when you read Nizar Qabanni's (Arabic Poet) about Jasmine Flowers and feel your heart ache over its scent, or when the images of the Japanese Blossom's festival blows your mind away, or when you buy Marc Jacobs perfume "Daisy", Or when you prefer A Lavander smelling shapoo more than a frutiful one, Or when you know that the movie (Black Dhalia) refers to the dark depressing-looking flower, or find A rose the most romantic sentimenta...more
Jessica
This was fun. It brought out all my vengeance-seeking bad girl tendencies... I so have a list of people who deserve a beautiful bouquet of scarlet geraniums. (Because they mean stupidity! How fantastic is that? Seriously.)

I first became interested in the language of flowers from, what else, a squishy novel. Those crazy repressed Victorians turned to forget-me-nots and tulips to say what needed to be said.

There was a pretty "plate" style color drawing for each flower... 50 different flowers tota...more
Pamela
Great companion book for "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was so interesting how all types of artists from poets, writers, painters used the language of flowers in their work. I was so intrigued with the way artists of very old paintings inserted certain flowers in their art to make statements. I found myself perusing art on the web to see the paintings they make reference to in this book. Loved it!
Susan Ford
Buy this - it is so fun to have if you send flowers. Even if the person you send the flowers to doesn't know the code -- you do and that's enough.
Emily
Well written book. Provides a bit of history of the flower cultivation, the history of the meaning (often from mythology), and literary or cultural references to the flower in each of the 50 flowers the author defines. It includes an index that provides meaning for other flowers not covered in the main course of the book. It also provides ideas for bouquets for different occasions, which is really handy to get started. If you are at all interested or curious in flowers, give it a read. (Also han...more
GoldenjoyBazyll
In Victorian times people enjoyed using the hidden meaning of flowers to convey messages. it was more a fun past time of elite women. However with this being said... flowers have always been a part of everyone's life through the centuries. In every culture they are used to recognize- love/ happiness/ sickness/ death/ etc. Fot instance- when I was in India we took a boat down the Ganges and witnessed the cremations. At every single site there were piles of marigolds. Becaue they are symbolic of g...more
Madison
A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion by Mandy Kirkby is so beautifully written. The fact, myths, legends about this adorable little book is wonderful. She not just lists what different flowers mean, though she tells you what the back story is on some featured flowers. It is a great resource book for any and all who what to know the history of different kinds of flowers. I enjoyed the parts about the legends of the Greek Gods that were involved with these different kin...more
Eling
Mar 13, 2013 Eling rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I was disappointed with this book. It does contain some good information. Unfortunately, the information is choppy and reads awkwardly. Loosely formatted as a dictionary, the entries for the "featured flowers" are widely varying in amount & type of content. Worst of all, unlike the lovely illustration on the cover, the ones inside are very amateur-looking, and at times even hard to recognize as specimens of the flower the are supposed to represent.

The book mentions a large number of histori...more
Jolene Haack
I picked up a copy of this at a delightful book signing/reading/Q & A event with Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers. The individuals putting on the event were selling copies of this along with Vanessa's book and she happily signed each one with little flower messages.

Honestly, I bought it just to have something for her to sign. I didn't expect to read it, intending more to have a pretty book to sit on the shelf in the kitchen. But the book is surprisingly adorable.

The mes...more
Linda
A Victorian Flower Dictionary by Mandy Kirkby and Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a wonderful companion to Diffenbaugh’s novel, The Language of Flowers. Beginning with a few introductory pages Diffenbaugh writes that, “In every culture throughout time, flowers have been central to the human experience.” The book is arranges in alpha order from anemone to weeping willow and illustrates in simple two color illustration the flower that is being defined and explored. There are fifty flowers highlighted and t...more
水色書庫
I originally purchased this book as a mere reference to one of my website projects. What a delightful read it turned out to be! Apart from a comprehensive list of flowers and languages associated with them, readers will find refined depictions of fifty selected flowers that were most adored by the Victorians, each accompanied by a lovely color sketch, historical background, famous artworks and poems surrounding the flower--the latter I enjoyed especially. There are also valuable advices on bouqu...more
Tanya
The book is a fun resource to have on hand when making floral related decisions. The majority of the book explores the meanings behind fifty featured plants. For each flower, a lovely illustration is accompanied by 2 pages of text highlighting key points from its history, such as links to Greek mythology and appearances in art or poetry. A quick reference guide is provided at the back of the book which includes individual flower meanings and suggested combinations for specific occasions.

While I...more
Leah
Would have appreciated this more if the entries were longer; as is there just wasn't a lot of information or tidbits that couldn't be gleaned from the book itself.
Anna

I would have much preferred a few illustrations to some of the paintings mentioned in the book. I had to stop and "google" them every few pages for a better understanding of their representation and meanings. However, it was a lovely reminder of The Language of Flowers. And I really enjoyed the literary references and the poems - they were quite the treat...

Jennifer
Loved the histories around a select 50 or so flowers. The poems and artistic references were also a nice touch. I borrowed this one from a library, but I think I would like to have it in my collections. While the illustrations could of been better, it's still a great reference book.
Casey Smith
After I finished reading The Language of Flowers, I poured myself into this little book to read further into some of the most commonly known flowers. Immediately I was pleased that I had purchased this book, for I believe I will be referring to it many times over the years to come.
Suzanne
A very nice compact history of flower meanings. I like the mix of a personal tone with references to history and excerpts from poems. My only complaints are that i wish it were longer, and the illustrations were disappointing.
Laurie
Simple descriptions of flowers with common and latin names. Hand drawn illustrations, most too blurred through the printing process.

The history of the flowers was interesting and short.
Em
A great companion to the Language of Flowers. I enjoyed reading the background on many of the flower's meanings. What a fun way to share feelings with someone.
Tracie
Fascinating companion to The Language of Flowers. WOnderful reference to look up your favorite flowers/herbs :)
Edith
I love this book: a brief compilation of flowers, some stories, suprising anecdotes.. great. Just great.
What's Dat
This is really cool and useful for sending and displaying flowers. Puts even more meaning into plant life.
Daisy
I still have my childhood copy of this. I think my mother gave it to me for Christmas, maybe.
Judy Scheibach
Charming and informative. I wish she included pictures of the paintings she refers to.
Jeannie Turicik
Your gardens an bouquets will me more thoughtful with this book as a reference.
Rebecca
Beautiful book, but not a lot of content.
Elizabeth Biondo
Elizabeth Biondo marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 22 23 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Born Naked: The Early Adventures of the Author of Never Cry Wolf
  • What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell
  • The Wolf Tree (The Clockwork Dark #2)
  • Literature and Revolution
  • Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word
  • The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution
  • Vegetable Gardening for Dummies
  • Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Writer's Guides to Everyday Life)
  • The Threesome Handbook: Make the Most of Your Favorite Fantasy - the Ultimate Guide for Tri-Curious Singles and Couples
  • Shakespeare's English Kings: History, Chronicle, and Drama
  • Breaking the Sound Barrier
  • Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money
  • The Lynne Truss Treasury: Columns and Three Comic Novels
  • The Future of Nostalgia
  • The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death
  • Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values
  • The Geek Dad's Guide to Weekend Fun: Cool Hacks, Cutting-Edge Games, and More Awesome Projects for the Whole Family
  • Perilous Fight: America's Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815
The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany Love Letters of the Great War Love Letters of the Great War Love Letters of the First World War Pick Your Brains about Spain

Share This Book

“For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed them; oceans burned. The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose. Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake. The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Carolina and Indian jasmine, separation and attachment. They could not be confused.” 2 likes
More quotes…