April brings thoughts of spring, flowers and poetry, as April is National Poetry Month. Poet Emily Dickinson was an avid gardener who included floral symbolism in her poetry. The Language of Flowers, also known as floriography, was a Victorian-era means of expressing messages and emotions through flowers. Floral dictionaries were widely published in the early to mid-nineteenth century and contained not only the meanings of flowers, but also poetry and botanical illustrations.
A collection of floral dictionaries along with other floral books and ephemera is currently on display this month in the case by the door to the Shenandoah Room. Brochures containing the Language of Flowers are available for those who wish to create their own meaningful bouquet. The library has several volumes of Emily Dickinson’s poetry as well as books on floral symbolism, including A Victorian Flower Dictionary by Mandy Kirkby and the recent fiction title The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.