In the Victorian secret code called the language of flowers, roses were especially meaningful. Each color of rose sent a specific message to the recipient, and many a fond hope was dashed when a gentleman presented a lady with a yellow rose (denoting friendship) instead of the expected red (true love) or light pink (desire).
Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards often featured roses, and several women illustrators of the period became known for the exquisite detail they achieved in painting the flowers.
Below are some of my rose-themed Valentine’s Day greeting postcards dating from about 1905 to 1915. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Dark pink, for gratitude
Light pink, for desire or passion
Coral, for desire or passion
Red, for true love
“Read love’s tender message, hidden in the rose.”
Cupid bears a message of love.
Red and yellow roses together indicated joy or happiness.
Hearts and flowers
“Love is lurking in your pathway.”
A rose topiary by illustrator Ethel Parkinson
A rose among the thorns
A rose tussie-mussie