entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorweeders digest

weeder’s digest: valentine’s flowers decoded

by Grace Bonney

Good afternoon everyone! It is I, she who gives a whooty-who-wait-wha(?) about Valentines day on the outside, but secretly on the inside wants my boyfriend to deliver to me one of the following:

1. flowers (even though I am a florist)
2. diamonds and pearls
3. a live beating heart

And maybe you can relate to this… perhaps you’re all nonchalant with a spiel about how V-day is an over-marketed holiday involving underpaid rose farmers in South America and cheap (albeit delicious) chocolate candies in a heart shape box with a flavor map. YES. I mean, NO. Truth is, expectations run amok on Valentine’s Day and most of us need a little something to remember why we’ve started or stayed in a Relationship, whether it’s a dozen red roses or a chocolate bust of Stevie Nicks.*

During the victorian era most folks were studied in in the art of floriography, or what was known as The Language of Flowers. Different flowers indicated different intentions; most obviously and well know, red roses infer passion and true love… pink roses…eh, not so much. There are over 250 species of roses, and rose fossils have been found in the Oligocene deposits in modern-day Colorado; roses have graced the earth for at least 35 million years. Every rose has it’s thorn. It is said that cupid, while shooting arrows at bees that had stung him, created thorns on rose stems where his arrows missed. When Venus was trying to save her dying lover Adonis, she shed a few drops of blood creating the first red roses. If only she knew they’d be grown year-round south of the equator (roses are indigenous only in the Northern Hemisphere) with formaldehyde, stored for weeks after cut, and mixed with baby’s breath…all for $100 a dozen. But enough! After all, it is the thought that counts with flowers. And that thought may run deeper than you think. If we backtrack and consult the Victorian text we soon discover that each individual flower has a unique meaning. I’ve always enjoyed reading into things…and so I give you:


Anything with red roses indicates TRUE LOVE; truer that true, passion, the realest, the sizzler blue plate special, “Girl I’m gonna take you out for dinner and dancing. And you can order the steak tonight.” type of deal. I like steak, so that’s good I guess. NEXT!

Anything with orchids to me reads “Girl I understand that your are exotic and unusual and have needs like a delicate flower. Because I am sensitive. And I know that luxury is important to you. And that is why I spent an obscene amount of money on these. So much in fact, that I have been forced to give up my spot at Treasure Island Self Storage, and that is why you are surrounded by my model car collection.”

Hot pink reads HOT in general to me, like the Cosmo quizzes that embarrass you but you take them anyway. (You don’t blog about these things.) With flowers, hot pink feels very sexy to me. But also reminds me of a Juicy Couture Charm Bracelet and a Champagne Rain. In a good way I think. Like this…”Girl I wanna see you work, see you dance. With out that shirt, without those pants.”

A woodsy, romantic mix like this with ranunculus, peonies, and anemones says let’s take this to the next level. “Girl, I WILL help you move out of your 5-floor walk up.”

Poppies and yellow in general is commitment and friendship. “Thank you for always cleaning the cat box. I love you, and your italian stuffed peppers with sausage. We would both look so good together behind the wheel of a ’73 El Camino.”

Last but not least stands the single stem. A single flower given is the best (and it pains me to say this as a florist, but I’m practicing honesty lately) romantic gift. Especially on Valentines Day. Because it says you thought about me, about the fact that it was, in fact, Valentines day. But you didn’t feel that you needed an expensive bouquet to tell me how much you love me. –Sarah

*DOES NOT EXIST to my knowledge.

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  • Aw, this is tooo cute! At first I skimmed over the informational, but saw “Venus” and got hooked into reading all of it :) And I *love* the breakdown :)! Hope you’re having fun for this holiday (professionally + personally, I guess :D!)

  • Normally I would just skim through the pictures and ignore the descriptions – – but you are so strangely funny (I mean that in a GOOD way). And the flowers are amazing. I would adopt every piece into my home in an instant.

  • luvs. this. column. it’s true i play that game with my husband and it is RIDICULOUS. he knows at the very least not to get me roses from the grocery store. ha. crossing my fingers for hot pink something.

  • Sound like the next do-it-yourself project should involve a lot of firm chocolate ganache and a stack of stevie nicks headshots. Get to sculpting!

  • Ha! I’m one of those V Day-haters, but I love reading about the meaning of flower, and also the gorgeous photos! Thank you so much; I am loving this new weekly column!

  • i LOVE this post and am forwarding it to my boyfriend. i completely agree with your comments on the single stem arrangement. he orders an expensive floral arrangement for every occasion, and while i’m thrilled that he cares enough to do so, he and i discussed the fact the other day that he could grab at 25 cent vase from the thrift store and put something simple in it and i would be just as happy. the sweet sentiment is still there, and is somehow even sweeter when it’s presented modestly.

  • I, for one, can’t get enough of the flower history and mythology references. What a perfect V-Day post!

    My favorite is the woodsy, romantic mix of ranunculus, peonies, and anemones. I would shriek with joy if my boyfriend had the foresight to send me these. But I won’t hold my breath.

  • This post is awesome. The commentary is witty, and the photos are stunning. Would it be gauche if I asked my husband to read up on Victorian floriography? I wouldn’t be mad at him for spending $100 on flowers, if I knew the were well thought out, and possibly had a secret code in the arrangement.

  • Okay, hi. This post was AH-MAY-ZING.

    I was silently laughing hysterically in my cubicle. Which is both satisfying and exhausting. Thank you. xo

  • what a disappointment to scroll to the end of the page and find out that there is no stevie nicks bust. sigh.

    but flowers would be good too!

    btw, when my ma was in nurses training, she gave my dad a cat’s heart in a jar for valentine’s day. not quite #3 on your list, but close. ah, romance!

  • I am in love with your column! The photos are breathtaking and I so wanna be your friend – you’re hysterical.

  • like so many others said, was just going to skim this but you had me hooked at “Girl, I WILL help you move out of your 5-floor walk up.”

  • “And I know that luxury is important to you. And that is why I spent an obscene amount of money on these. So much in fact, that I have been forced to give up my spot at Treasure Island Self Storage, and that is why you are surrounded by my model car collection.”

    absolutely amazing.
    i agree with everyone else, keep writing!

  • as usual, i am so grateful for this hilarious, informative, beautiful post. seriously, i got to work this morning (not excited) and thought, “it’s thursday, which means ‘the office’ and ‘weeders digest’!”
    sigh. it’s the little things.

  • Yay! A fellow florist who has a sense of humor about V-day. The first year I worked in flowers my hands were black and sticky for the whole V-day week with eucalyptus goo and perforated with rose thorns. I’m so glad you’re showcasing all the other beautiful options. Hope you get to rest on Sunday :).

  • Sooo wonderful to see the use of more exotic flowers. You have inspired me to head over to my local florist to brighten my day……thanks!

  • Sarah, since you started writing here, your flower commentary has brightened my Fridays. Today’s was exceptional! I loved what you said about a single stem…hope you have a lovely V’s Day.

  • jeez louise. i’m definitely not the only one loving sarah’s seriously fun-nay columns by the looks of these comments. i follow her blog now, too. like, know when she doesn’t post for a few days and get a little irritated with her in a i don’t know you and feel a little creepy constantly checking in for new posts way. no pressure or anything. so glad she’s on designsponge, now.

  • hi, it’s a lovely post but i take umbrage at the claim that roses are only indigenous to North America! Many roses are indigenous to Europe and Asia. Maybe you meant to say indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere?

    anyway i like your writing style, v amusing :) And your floral arrangements are gorgeous

  • I love this article! Before I got to the end, I was thinking “one single red rose” – beautiful and simple. The first time I ever cooked dinner for my boyfriend he showed up with a single red rose. Now, we’ve been married 16 years.

  • “i want to see you work, see you dance, without that shirt, without those pants”

    Pop Champagne lyrics caught my eye, and now im going back and reading all the weeders digest posts!! Hysterical.

    Happy V Day

  • brilliant!

    as the dude playing the dude who’s seconding the other dude: what do tulips say?

    and also: what is that last single flower? is that a motherfuckin’ ranunculus or what?

    and also: what says “baby, now that you are carrying around my unborn child, you know our shit’s for reals.”?

  • Tiggy T – you’re so right, that is a typo!!
    I meant to say N. Hemisphere, sorry about that!
    Wad, yes its a ranunculus.

    and as for tulips: yellow tulips indicate hopeless love. that’s a start…

  • Love, love love the column and the pix! But please: “it’s” = “it is”; “its” (no apostrophe) is the possessive form. I have yet to read a blog that gets this right.

  • Hahaha! I love it! Also I totally agree with your assessment of how girls feel on v-day (too cool but secretly hoping for a surprise). Yes!

  • <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    Happy Valentine’s Day! D*S and Weeder’s Digest make it that much more fun! You all are awesome.

  • love. this. column; i JUST started buying myself weekly flowers and the notion of them talking to me in faux-thug voices is making me even more excited to branch out!

  • Great post! I ordinarily would never read about flowers but this was so cute! I’m even allergic to most flowers so I’ve never been given any on Valentine’s Day, but this makes me wish I wasn’t allergic!

  • I was also a skimmer, then got hooked by ”Girl I wanna see you work, see you dance. With out that shirt, without those pants.”. Rad.

  • i know it’s been said, but i LOVE your style. so refreshing! thanks for joining design sponge. good stuff.

  • Your flowers are gorgeous! My husband goes for chocolate on valentines day, but I get blush pink roses from my daughter and husband at times when I need some softness. I think that at the end of the day, as long as the flowers are old carnations from the local gas station, it’s all good.

  • i love these posts!

    Now, was that “diamonds and pearls” valentines wish really referring to a Prince song? I think maybe it was….

  • I was just going to say that DALI had a mechanical Heart brooch that was made of Ruby, diamond, gold and Pearls, and stuff. two birds with one stone. lol

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