Words by Laura Bayliss
Flowers have been helping people say how they feel for millennia. The Victorians were into it big time. They called it floriography, and it all got so complicated that entire dictionaries were written on the subject so you didn’t make the unforgivable mistake in your floral missive of accidentally sending the wrong bloom back – can you imagine the mess that would have unfurled back then if you had replied with a red chrysanthemum (I love you) when you really meant a stripey carnation (a big fat nope)? Ouch. In the hedonistic days of the 1890s, even Oscar Wilde got in on the act, supposedly giving green carnations their early queer symbolism when he asked friends to wear them pinned to their lapels at the opening night of one of his comedies.
At Grace & Thorn we love the idea of this secret floral language, and many of our bouquets carry hidden meanings too. In our Valentine’s bouquets you’ll find the most romantic of all flowers: red roses for love and respect, ranunculus to let your beau know you think they’re a hotty, astrantia for protection, white roses for eternal loyalty, pink roses to show gratitude and happiness, and lisianthus for appreciation. So, whether you’re loved up or just want to let your best mate know you think they’re the bees’ knees on Galentine’s Day, a bunch of blooms will send the right message and smell good while it’s doing it.
Here are some other plant-based ways to sow the seeds of love this Valentine’s Day:
Looking for a laid-back, low-maintenance life partner this V Day? A string of hearts plant could be the one to make heart eyes at. A trailing succulent, happy lounging from rocks at high altitude, this is one unflappable adventurer. Like all succulents, they like a big drink once in a while but then wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. They appreciate plenty of light but aren’t fussed about a bit of humidity or changing temperatures, so they make perfect bathroom buddies. Run a bath, light a few candles and you won’t even need to fight over who has the tap end of the tub.
Tomatoes are red, les violettes sont bleues
The French, those lovers of lovers, named the juicy tomato ‘pomme d’amour’ – the lurve apple – in honour of its heart-like shape and its alleged aphrodisiac abilities. In a month or so, it’ll be time to sow your tomato seeds so get a pack ready now and dream of all those summer salads, Bloody Marys and homemade pizza sauce coming your way.
We all know the way to our heart is through our stomachs. So give the gift of a kitchen windowsill garden full of herbs – basil, thyme, coriander, chives – and serve up a herby dish of love. Be inspired by some of the recipes on The Cut.
No subtle hidden messages here, it’s all about the optics. Giving this as a gift will leave no question marks hanging over what kind of Valentine’s Day plans you have in mind. This overt symbolism would have those Victorians fainting into their teacups.
AKA mother-in-law’s tongue, you’ll need to tread carefully when giving this spiky plant to your other half. It could be taken as a not-so-subtle hint that your mum-by-marriage is a bit too present in your relationship. Or… it could just be all sweetness and light – in fact, a breath of fresh air, as this clever plant releases oxygen at night – perfect for the bedroom.
If you’re heartily sick of the whole annual nightmare and wish Valentine’s Day would just do one, we have the alternative plant selection made for you. A box of carefully curated succulents planted up in little concrete, terracotta and porcelain pots. Check it out here.
For the perfect present for that special someone in your life, see our Valentine’s Day gift boxes. From sexy bath oils to an eye mask and pillow spray combo for a lights-out, hands-off, solid night’s sleep for your loved one, there’s something for everyone – and every stage of your relationship.