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A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion
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A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  437 Ratings  ·  51 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
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan 29, 2015 Natalia rated it it was amazing
I remember, I first read the novel of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and also remember that the protagonist, Victoria, carried a dictionary meaning of flowers and their importance in the Victorian era, so imagine my surprise when one day, I browsing in bookstores, I found a book, a dictionary of flowers, with his history, his meaning and beautiful artwork, which included a foreword by the same author.

It was a revelation to read this book. Maybe not all like them flowers, because
Dec 31, 2014 Dini rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I liked this even better than The Language of Flowers, the novel of which it is a companion (a rather disappointing novel, actually). The illustrations inside this book are not quite as "lavish" as the description on the back cover promised, and the lack of references lends a certain vagueness to the various flora-related anecdotes described. But what can I say, I just really like flower symbolism, I find it quite fascinating.
Amanda Patterson
Jan 14, 2012 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once you've read, and loved, The Language of Flowers, you'll be pleased to know there's something else to read to make the magic of the book linger. I learnt so much about flowers and their meanings. The romance of it all is seductive.
The Victorian language of flowers is fascinating and complex. I can only imagine the many scandals born as a result of giving the wrong bloom to the wrong person. You will treasure this book.
Jan 29, 2015 fenrir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: covers-i-love

Conosco un ciglio dove il timo selvatico fiorisce,
crescon le margherite e reclinano il capo le viole,
coperto da un padiglione di fin troppo rigoglioso caprifoglio,
con dolci rose muschiate e roselline di macchia.
Colà, fra i fiori, Titania dorme talvolta di notte,
cullata da musiche e danze.
Susan Ford
Jan 23, 2012 Susan Ford rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 11, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 2012 Pamela rated it really liked it
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!
Rachel Adamson
Dec 30, 2012 Rachel Adamson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A gem of a book. Beautiful illustrations and a piece of refined elegance in a hectic world.
Emer (ALittleHaze)
Impulse buy because of how beautiful it looks and was pleasantly surprised to find myself quite enjoying this!
Sep 06, 2016 Kat rated it really liked it
4 out of 5 stars



In all seriousness, though, I really enjoyed this little book. While I have never read The Language of Flowers, I became interested in the whole concept of the language of flowers, because of how much detail there is. Literally every flower has some kind of meaning attached to it, and I am not exaggerating. Also, I have been debating getting a tattoo in the near future, and if I do get any flowers on my body, I would like them to have some sort of meanin
Jan 22, 2013 Moudhi rated it really liked it
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
Dec 10, 2011 Birgit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A red rose means love, everyone knows that. How about Canterbury Bells or Mistletoe then? Most people know that flowers convey certain feelings and while we still revert to a floral language by giving flower bouquets on special occasions, much of the meaning behind the individual flowers has been reduced to a very limited and generalized one since Victorian times.
Mandy Kirkby presents a wonderful book with The Language Of Flowers: A Miscellany, the official companion to the novel of the same tit
Mar 30, 2013 GoldenjoyBazyll rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historic, how-to
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
Apr 06, 2013 Madison rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2013 Eling rated it it was ok
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
Jolene Haack
Jun 24, 2012 Jolene Haack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 125-2012
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
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
Feb 24, 2013 Tanya rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 17, 2012 水色書庫 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 21, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok
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
Natalie Rochester
Nov 06, 2011 Natalie Rochester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I think this book was so cute and interesting. I think it will definitely have me trying to incorporate some of this new knowledge into my life. I would definitely be interested in reading another volume about this subject now and think it's a great idea that there has been a miscellany created for a novel I loved. More authors should do this. I gave this book 4.5 stars. It would be nicer if it featured more flowers or showed me some interesting flower projects or something I could do. I ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
I'm a guy who has a small bit of experience with growing plants, but just with vegetables, so I thought maybe I could learn a little bit about the more decorative side of gardening. This book was a delight; now instead of just looking at flowers, I can actually anchor my memory on the emotions associated with particular blooms. For instance, when I see a Dahlia now, I think of it standing with pride and majesty (because the emotion that the Victorian's associated with it is dignity.) It has made ...more
Victoria Blacke
Oct 01, 2015 Victoria Blacke rated it it was amazing
A wonderful guide for anyone who enjoys reading Victorian literature. Knowing the Victorian's love of flower symbolism I always have it on hand when reading any of the classics. I love the illustrations and the simple straight forward descriptions and symbolic meanings. They allow me to quickly learn what I need to know and then return to my book.
Teri Stich
What a delightful gem! I love the language of flowers and have used it many times. To now have a book that gives meanings to so many different ones just tickles me. Besides the many meanings the book gives a bit of history to this Victorian Language, a floral calender, and even a chart of color meanings. To the author I give Fennel, Agrimony, a red Tulip with a bit of Wild Marjoram.
Jan 28, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it

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...

Jul 22, 2015 Brianne rated it really liked it
I really liked this book because it gave a lot of history behind the meanings assigned to flowers, which was very interesting. At the end it gave a more extensive list of definitions and it was fun to look at the meanings of my favorite flowers. And the author also included flower combinations for specific messages.
Jan 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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.
Hillary Bennett
Mar 22, 2015 Hillary Bennett rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
fun quick guide with great anecdotes. for a beginner who knows nothing about botany, it's pretty fantastic. for the seasoned gardener/botanist/victorian history buff, you too will probably love this.
Nadia M
Jun 21, 2016 Nadia M rated it really liked it
Delightful for anyone who wants to put together meaningful bouquets.
Or to bring back some of the better bits of the late 1800s.
Maybe you want to be more of a pedantic person, this book just may help with that - in a healthy way;)
Aug 06, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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.
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“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
“We plant, we nurture, we grow and we give, different flowers for different moments in time, but all for the same purpose: to say that which cannot be said, and to say it with beauty and with grace.” 0 likes
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