Traditional Victorian Floral Arrangements

Written by kathy eastwood
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Traditional Victorian Floral Arrangements
A bold flower arrangement enlightens a garden or a room. (Flower Girl and Basket of Flowers image by TMLP from Fotolia.com)

The elegant traditional Victorian floral arrangements often seen at weddings are more than just an arrangement. The Victorians knew the meaning of flowers and gave flowers to friends and lovers according to the message they wanted to convey. The arrangement often fitted into a footed, glass or ornate gilded vase. Giving a traditional Victorian floral arrangement takes the recipient back to days of elegance.

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Tussie Mussie

A tussie mussie arrangement, or hand-held arrangement, was traditionally used by Victorian brides as a bridal bouquet. It consisted of a variety of flowers that conveyed different messages. According to the Eras of Elegance website, the Victorians typically used a white doily tied with a colourful ribbon to secure the bouquet, or placed the arrangement in a decorative holder, often of silver or gold.

A typical Victorian wedding bouquet included a cluster of roses, one large rose, or other flowers that set off the arrangement, surrounded by one or two varieties of smaller flowers, such as baby’s breath, pansies and ivy. Ivy stands for fidelity, in the language of flowers, and is a popular addition to the wedding bouquet. Arrangements were tightly packed and circular with flowers massed together with a focal point, according to the Garden Club of Virginia website.

Traditional Victorian Floral Arrangements
In the Victorian era, gardens were an important part of life. (Woman in Victorian dress image by Steve Thompson from Fotolia.com)

Language of Flowers

Victorians knew the language of flowers and carefully selected their arrangements or single flowers according to the message they wanted to convey to the recipient. A gift of a bouquet of chrysanthemums meant love; a red carnation meant that feelings weren’t mutual and lavender meant luck or devotion.

Traditional Victorian Floral Arrangements
Chrysanthemums means love in the language of flowers. (Chrysanthemum Patch image by Billy-bill from Fotolia.com)

Victorian Floral Centerpieces

Many Victorian floral centrepieces, generally located in the centre of the dining room table and a focal point for entertainment, included a large ornamental platter made of silver or mirrored to reflect the arraignment. During Christmas, one of the favourite flower centrepieces was the poinsettia, keeping with the Victorian’s penchant for bold floral colours.

The science of botany was in favour during the Victorian age and gardens were of great importance, with exotic plants and flowers most desired for holiday centrepieces or formal gatherings. Exotic varieties of orchids and lilies often adorned the dinning room table, according to From Time Past website. Other arrangements included fruit in topiary style with greenery scattered around the centrepiece.

Traditional Victorian Floral Arrangements
Poinsettias was a favourite floral centrepiece in the Victorian age. (Christmas flower image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)

Victorian Christmas

Arrangements for flowers during a typical Victorian Christmas included lots of greenery that nearly covered every inch of the home. Spruce, laurel, mistletoe and holly decorated banisters, fireplaces, tables and archways. Picture frames covered with evergreen rope and mistletoe hanging from the ceiling were common during the Victorian age.

The living room transformed into a virtual fairyland with garlands of holly or cranberries and cedar boughs that scented the room. Ribbons of gold or silver decorated garlands and wreaths in the parlour.

Victorian Gardens

Baskets filled with delicate flowering plants adorned the garden. Urns or pots filled with flowers also were part of the garden. Trellises and arbors covered with ivy or vines were also a common sight.

Gardens were important to the Victorian because cut flowers adorned the home on dressers, tables and mantelpieces. Miniature gardens encased in Wardian cases, which were the precursor of the modern-day terrarium, elegantly decorated was a standard decorative piece.

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