Sunday, August 4, 2013

Learning the Language of Flowers at the Library

In floriography, a dwarf sunflower represents admiration or gratitude; a giant sunflower, pride.
Anyone who has ever bought a bouquet or a corsage knows that a red rose or carnation represents love. It's also pretty common knowledge that a white rose symbolizes innocence or purity.

But did you know that an aloe plant is used to represent grief; a purple lilac, the first springing of love; a wisteria or mayflower, welcoming; or that a bellflower commonly symbolizes disappointment or loss?

There's a whole language to flowers -- sometimes, it's called floriography -- and it goes well beyond the rose we bought our prom date.

People have been using flowers to express their emotions and affections for hundreds of years, but the practice became especially popular during the Victorian era.

A representative from the Cleveland Botanical Gardens will talk about the language of the flowers at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at the Mentor Public Library's Main Branch as part of our Monday University series. (You can register for it here.) As per our norm, the talk is free and open to the public.

If you enjoy the topic and want to learn even more about it, the library is also hosting a special discussion of the book "Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on August 12. (You can get more information on the book discussion here.)

Diffenbaugh's book is about Victoria, an 18-year-old who discovered the symbolic meanings of flowers while languishing in the foster-care system. She is then hired by a florist and, while her new job allows her to help others, it also forces her to confront a secret from her past.

For more information on programs and events at Mentor Public Library, visit

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