Have you ever wondered how the tradition of flower giving first began?


We’ve all grown up seeing the very common exchange of flowers as gifts, either first hand, in movies or in general human culture. Be it; seeing dad religiously give mum flowers on her birthday to make her smile, mum bringing flowers for a sick friend in hospital to uplift them, friends sending flowers as a gesture of congratulations on an engagement/graduation/ promotion etc… or maybe as a gift at christmas time?

Well it all does come from somewhere and while exact symbolism may have changed and loosened up, flowers live on as a huge part of human relationships and connections, and as a great gift for the festive season.


Earliest history

While we can’t trace back the exact date someone offered someone else a flower for the first time, what we do know is this; there is evidence that people gifted flowers since ancient times. With flower petal remains found in many prehistoric grave sites dating back to then, proving it was already a part of human culture. We also know that ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians have all recorded the giving of flowers in their many legends and mythologies. The Greeks especially felt that flowers were of extreme importance and even correlated them with the gods they worshipped. Pictured below is a painting of the Greek goddess of flowers; Chloris.


history of flowers


Language of flowers; Floriography


Language of flowers;


  1. a set of symbolic meanings attached to different flowers when they are given or arranged.


Many flower lover’s will know this, but in case you didn’t; floriography is the term given to the special language that flowers speak. It’s not a literal language but more so a symbolic one.  

This has been traced back to The French and English discovering this language in Turkey during the 1700s and it only spread on from there. They also had many beliefs correlating certain herbs and flowers with magical powers, earning them a spot in the royal floral victorian gardens; which led to the Victorian culture of communicating through flowers, with each characteristic of the assortment of flowers holding a very specific meaning.


madflowers history of flowers

Victorian Era


Something crazy you may not have known; during this era, britain’s public demeanor took a turn, and emotions were now to be stifled rather than expressed. It was now frowned upon and practically not allowed to show emotion and so people began using the language of flowers to express themselves. If you received flowers as a gift, you needed to know how to decipher what it meant. Not only what the type of flower meant, but what the amount and how they were arranged meant, because all of it combined led to different meanings. Even how it was presented played a role. For example, if it was offered upside down, it meant the opposite of the original meaning, and even which hand was used to offer the flowers meant something unique too. There were even books written on how to decipher your flowers, a flower dictionary or morse code if you will! This definitely set it into our brains the ideal that flowers hold meaning.


history of flowers picture



While today we may not know the specific meanings and symbolisms behind a single tulip or a dozen roses; people continue to offer flowers to loved ones as a thoughtful form of conveying sentiment. And the history of gifting flowers continues to be written; with today it being normal for a woman to send flowers to a man, something which would have been deemed inappropriate once. With scientific progressions making it possible to bloom certain flowers year round. And with technological advancements; online delivery services such as us here at Madflowers.com, making it easier than ever to send love to anyone no matter where they are. So if the english language fails you, maybe give floriography a shot and send someone a bouquet to show them how much you appreciate and love them.


Flowers at Christmas Time


Whether it’s a wreath or a table centrepiece, bunches of mistletoe, holly, ivy or red roses; flowers are a major part of the Christmas touch. So why not grace a loved one with this touch and give them the gift of flowers this festive season. Perhaps you could explore some old victorian floriography dictionaries and send someone a secret message…  Not only are they beautiful to look at but they are a great way to express your appreciation for someone. Take a look at our christmas collection, we’re sure we’ve got a bouquet perfect for your special someone.


flowers for xmas


Mad Flowers is delivering Christmas Bouquets right up to Christmas Eve. Shop our Christmas flowers now.