Language of Flowers (From Stencils and Notepaper to Flowers and Napkin Folding)

by Kate Greenaway

Paperback, 1993



Local notes

635.9 Gre





Dover Publications (1993), Edition: Reprint, 80 pages


Contains alphabetical lists of flowers and the meanings associated with them.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

80 p.; 4.72 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member the1butterfly
This lovely little book is filled with cute illustrations, tucked about throughout. It is a guide to flower meanings during the 1800s, and nice to have since most people don't know anything any more beyond "Rosemary is for remembrance." With this you can send a friend a message of friendship or
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plan a wedding bouquet with actual meaning.
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
From its wonderful cover (simple but elegant) to the wonderful characters this book is one that I enjoyed immensely. It is such a unique concept to use the language of flowers as a form of communication and I liked learning the meanings of these flowers. All of us have baggage from the past we try
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to deal with and it was heartbreaking yet joyful to watch Victoria struggle and than to grow as a person and someone who is able to accept and give love. Readers of Anne River Siddons, Elizabeth Berg and Anita Shreve will love this book.
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LibraryThing member MollyChase
I was lucky to get this book for the Early Reviews. This book was great. It tells the story of a girl who was a product of the flawed foster care system. The characters were well developed and I became attached to them while reading this book. The use of the flowers to communicate was the unique
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feature of this book. If you are looking for a love story set in real life, this book is for you.
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LibraryThing member Lisa2013
This was a lovely birthday gift. It’s a keeper. I love that it’s now on my bookshelves.

This is a book whose whole I loved its better than the sum of its parts.

I appreciate that this reprint is unabridged and contains the entire 1884 book. In addition to the lists of flowers and their meanings,
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there are poems (by well-known poets) about flowers, and there are lovely illustrations. Different editions of the newly reprinted book have different cover illustrations; I don’t know which, if any, is the original.

I like how there are alphabetical lists of the flowers and also another alphabetical list of the meanings. It was easy to look up and find both the flowers and the meanings really easily.

I would love to have learned HOW and WHY the flowers’ meanings were chosen. This book has nothing about that.

What I don’t like about this language of flowers is how many of my favorite flowers have horrible meanings. I don’t personally believe in their meanings but some people might and back in 1800s England I assume many people did so I do wonder if flowers were given/used on the basis of their meanings and not how much they were admired & loved or how beautiful they were or how pleasing their aroma. Some of the meanings are as I would have guessed: love, inspiration, hope, compassion, joy, levity, beauty, youthful love, friendship, and many others. Some are maybe appropriate for funeral flowers: Alas! for my poor heart, calm repose, consolation, sorrow, mourning, my regrets follow you to the grave, widowhood, sympathy, for instance. Many others are truly awful: indifference, coldheartedness, aversion, disgust, deceit, horror, haughtiness, meanness, malevolence, misanthropy, rudeness, revenge, war, and many more. For me it seems odd to label flowers with such negative meanings, unless they’re poisonous and then I could see it making sense.

The meanings are for flowers and also include trees, shrubs, grasses, tendrils of climbing plants, etc.

I was disappointed that one of my favorite flowers wasn’t there but perhaps they weren’t around yet when the book was first published in 1884 or most likely they just weren’t grown/found/known about in England/the British Isles. It’s the California poppy, which is usually a lovely orange, and rarely yellow or cream; I like the orange ones. There are meanings for other colors of poppies but not orange ones.

I like the idea of the “language of flowers” (that I think I first learned about when I read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh) more than I actually like its execution. This will still be a great book to occasionally take of the shelf and view, either to look up a particular flower or meaning or to just enjoy a poem, a picture, or just the lovely presentation.

I’m struggling to read and this was the perfect book to pick up to read for a bit. I did read it cover to cover but just a few pages at a time so it did take me a long time to read. It doesn’t have to be read cover to cover to enjoy it and I assume many readers will just casually peruse the pages and it’s a fine book to read that way too.

3-1/2 stars
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½ (39 ratings; 3.5)
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