Say it with flowers may be an advertising slogan, but it is a phrase that could have been taken literally in the 19th Century.
When Kate Middleton married Prince William, she carried a bouquet that spoke volumes. Among the flowers she carried were lily of the valley, which symbolizes trustworthiness; hyacinth, which can indicate constancy of love; and ivy, which stand for fidelity and love. Like every royal bride since Queen Victoria, Kate also carried a sprig of myrtle, which is the emblem of love and marriage.
All this flower language is called floriography, which was wildly popular in Victorian England as well as here in the United States during the 19th century. It even spawned floral dictionaries so a man could send the object of his affection a small bouquet that accurately expressed his feelings. But the door swings both ways, and and a bouquet with hydrangea and delphinium would inform the recipient in no uncertain terms they were cold and haughty.
The Wilton Historical Society will explore floriography in a workshop for children on Saturday, Sept. 16.