I often find myself thinking about how a simple thing such as designing gorgeous bouquets can give me so much pleasure and happiness. I've been doing this for over 20 years and I still find the magic and the endless beauty of the art of floral design so amazing. No wonder humans have been using flowers to adorn themselves and their homes, and to express their emotions or mark special occasions for thousands of years. 

Actually the earliest records of the use of flowers to decorate and to celebrate special events go as far back as Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians were particularly fond of the lotus flower as it was thought to be a symbol of their most important Goddess, Isis. They would use arrangements of other flowers too such as jasmine, roses, water lilies, violets and narcissus, often arranged simply in repetition as garlands or in various vases. Floral arrangements were used in Ancient Egypt during important processions, as table arrangements and during funerals, with many carved reliefs of floral arrangements being uncovered in many Egyptian burial chambers.

The ancient Chinese were also very much into their flowers as well, in particular the peony, which they thought of as symbolising wealth and good fortune. In Europe, during the renaissance and later baroque period, floral arrangements were inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome, with use of fruit and cones, ivy and laurel making their way into the picture, all of which were popular in Greece and Rome. Lily of the valley, roses, violets and primrose also featured prominently.

But when it came to using flowers to express their otherwise inexpressible emotions, the Victorians take the crown, with most well to do Victorian homes owning a dictionary dedicated to the 'language of flowers'. Some of these meanings were quite specific too, for example, bluebells meant 'kindness', peonies were 'bashful', rosemary was used for 'remembrance', tulips denoted 'passion' and wallflowers, represented 'faithfulness in adversity'. And if you wanted to let someone know you were thinking of them in a romantic way, then purple violets were the flowers to give. How's that for specific?!

Just goes to show you how meaningful and important flowers have been to humanity. Today, when it comes to special occasions, flowers are still a very important part of marking the occasion as something special and reverent. Even though the meaning we give flowers today may not be as specific as in Victorian times, they still hold special meaning, especially for those important lifetime events such as weddings. 

Still life of a floral arrangement 1716