The language of flowers and herbs

As a gardener I’m ever on the quest to learn something new and exciting to apply in my gardens as well as with the bounty.  One topic I’ve been interested in learning about was the language of flowers and herbs. So being the inquisitive type, I started doing a bit of ‘digging’, no pun intended.

In my digging I discovered many interesting folk tales along with the meanings. Now that my beloved summer is past I’m looking to keep my heart happy with the memories of my gardens.

Today lets look at the meanings of a few botanical beauties and their sister herbs.

During my research on the language of flowers and herbs I learned many meanings and sentiments that go behind them.  Yes I knew red roses meant love but didn’t know the double meaning held by my favorite herb, basil.

Here are some interesting meanings behind several flowers and herbs.  Although there’s much out there on the topic, I thought I’d focus on a few that we have readily available in our Midwest climate.

  • Lemon balm represents sympathyDPP_0005
  • Chervil expresses sincerity
  • Rue conveys disdain
  • Parsley represents festivity
  • Red Rosebuds are of course for love
  • Violets stand for modesty
  • Basil can represent as mentioned above both love and hate… be careful on who you send that one to!
  • Mint for purity
  • Rosemary for remembrance
  • Thyme for courage
  • Lily of the valley was for the return of happiness
  • Lavender gave luck… although it also represents mistrust, hmmm….

If this struck your fancy, here’s a link to another source with loads more meanings

If you’d like to have a really great resource check this book out:  Flora’s Dictionary: The Victorian Language of Herbs and Flowers Paperback – January 1, 1995 by Kathleen Gips

For Kindle users check this book out: Secret Meanings of Flowers [Kindle Edition] by Brenda Kleager

So now that you know all these cool meanings, what can you do with your new found knowledge? Make a tussie-mussie! I’ll be giving the how-to next time!

Happy Day,




Jean Smith
Jean Smith is a mother of six, organic farmer and freelance writer dwelling with her family on their five acre farm in the Thumb of Michigan. She is a self professed master gardener with over 15 years experience who loves to write and teach about her passion for and knowledge in organic gardening. You can read more of Jean's writings at her blog, For Dragonflies And Me