It is no secret that I adore flowers. I tend to surround myself with them. I love to arrange them, plant them in the garden, and incorporate them into my interior design in every way I can. Even my darling husband, who, bless his heart, is not the most observant person in the world, has taken note of my floral fascination. Several years ago, he began the practice of bringing me a bouquet every Friday evening when he comes home from work. This is a wonderful thing because he paid attention, observed how happy flowers make me and then set out to provide me with a steady supply of them. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. So, this year, when I decided to plan a Valentine’s Dinner, I could think of no theme more appropriate to convey my feelings of love and gratitude than Valentine’s flowers.
The Language Of Flowers
One of the things I have learned about my beloved blooms is that they have meanings. The repressed Victorians developed a whole language of flowers called floriography in which they ascribed different meanings to each species and color of blossom. They used flowers as a means of coded communication to express feelings that, because of rigid societal constraints, couldn’t be spoken. If you were versed in floriography, as most Victorians were, when you sent a gift of a beautiful bouquet, you could also send a very specific message –no card necessary. This charming idea is very appealing to me. So, I decided to decorate my Valentine’s dinner table with specific Valentine flowers that will send a message to my husband about how much I appreciate his “Friday flowers.”
Nothing says “I love you” more than a red rose. However, I feel red roses are a little too obvious for my coded message. And besides, I wanted to use a softer palate for my tablescape. The blossoms I chose for my centerpiece are: pink carnations, which mean I’ll never forget you, pink roses, which mean perfect happiness, white roses, which mean charming, coral roses which mean desire, and stock, which means affection. Roses in general mean love and mature rose bouquets convey gratitude.
I decorated my two-tiered blush colored coconut cake with buttercream flowers which included camellias, which convey gratitude, carnations –remembrance, and ivy which means fidelity and wedded love.
The bowls at each place setting contain pink hydrangeas which mean gratitude for understanding.
The table is covered with a vintage cutwork tablecloth and napkins. I placed a blush colored piece of scalloped tissue paper under the centerpiece to reinforce the color scheme.
I further decorated the Gold leaf napkin rings from World Market with stems of coral spray roses (desire).
I scattered gold votives and blush pink candies around the table to add color and glow. My grandmother’s silver flatware and etched goblets round out my Valentine’s dinner table.
Valentine’s Dinner Menu
When planning the menu, I kept in mind the blush color scheme I established for our Valentine’s dinner table. The entree is pink and white heart-shaped pasta with a herb cream sauce.
It is accompanied by a pink grapefruit and avocado salad with a Champagne vinaigrette.
Dessert is the blush pink coconut cake that I had so much fun making, as well as some store bought pink and cream iced flower cookies. I chose a perfectly hued and tasty blush wine to accompany the meal.
I know that my husband will not immediately understand the individual meanings of the Valentine’s flowers I’ve chosen for my table unless he looks them up, but I hope he gets the message that I am very grateful for him and his “Friday flowers” and that I love him very much.
Whether you decide to send a bouquet or create a floral themed Valentine’s dinner for your loved ones, consider using the language of flowers to choose blooms that convey a special coded meaning this Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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