December 10, 2011

Review - The Language Of Flowers: A Miscellany (Mandy Kirkby)

A red rose means love, everyone knows that. How about Canterbury Bells or Mistletoe then? Most people know that flowers convey certain feelings and while we still revert to a floral language by giving flower bouquets on special occasions, much of the meaning behind the individual flowers has been reduced to a very limited and generalized one since Victorian times.
Mandy Kirkby presents a wonderful book with The Language Of Flowers: A Miscellany, the official companion to the novel of the same title by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Enveloped with beautiful illustrations and poetry, you learn about the meaning and history of fifty different flowers. Short and crisp the author introduces each flower in a perfect blend of information and fascinating references of how a certain flower makes an appearance in certain books, poems, or even paintings. An emotional dictionary and the suggestions on composing posies for specific occasions such as courtship, births, or funerals round off this miscellany.
Just like similar books were meant for the coffee table, to be studied and indulged in, in Victorian times, this adorable book has invited me more than once to browse in it since first reading it. If you've ever been fascinated by flowers and their meaning, I can only recommend this lovely compendium. It goes without saying it also makes for a lovely gift to a good friend. Just don't forget to include a freesia when you present it!
In short: A gorgeous gift book in best Victorian tradition!

5/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pan MacMillan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. I believe I already admired this cover when you showed it in a IMM post. I still think it is so beautiful. I am not particularly interested in flowers, but I think I know someone for whom this would be a great gift.

  2. I know, the cover is so lovely and every flower in the book is presented in equally gorgeous illustrations. Makes for a great coffee table book or gift of course!

  3. Ich habe das Buch jetzt als ein Geschenk gekauft und bin TOTAL begeistert vom Cover. Einfach wunderschön! Es fühlt sich toll an und sieht so toll aus. Sowas stellt man sich gerne ins Regal.