A Florist Explains the Secret Meanings Behind Our Favourite Perfumes

Amanda Montell

Every season has its perks, but I’m a sucker for spring.  What can I say—fair weather, baby animals, and pastels are a perfect combination. My favourite aspect of spring, though, has to be the flowers. Even though Sydney is currently in the throes of winter, it's still sometimes possible to catch a whiff of jasmine or orange blossom walking down a city street. And, while the chilly season isn't exactly known for encouraging flowers to spring up all round us, I do have a veritable garden of seasonal scents to rely on.

I was shocked when I recently learned that my favourite fragrance might reflect more than just my fondness for florals. According to floriography, the centuries-old study of the “language of flowers,” each blossom has its own distinct meaning. Combining flowers in bouquets—or eaux de toillete—was a way for Victorian lovers to clandestinely convey secret messages to one another; Basically, it was an old-timey way to slide into someone’s DMs.

While I don’t plan on conveying my relationship status with a nosegay anytime soon, I had to know what my favourite scents were saying about me. After all, choosing a fragrance based on its mystical messages seems like a very chic way to set intentions for the day. To get the scoop on what messages I might be unintentionally sending into the universe every time I spritz, I went straight to the source and consulted a Victorian flower dictionary. (If you, like me, suspect that you would have aced herbology at Hogwarts, then this will be a fascinating read.) Of course, I’m a modern girl, and I know times change— to explore the contemporary ways we express ourselves through our choice in blooms, I spoke with Heather Williams, designer and owner of Los Angeles-based florist Twig & Twine. “Nowadays, flowers seem to be much more about look than hidden meanings,” notes Williams. “[In addition to their meanings] I'm intrigued with their colour, shape, and texture.”  Keep scrolling to discover the hidden meanings behind some of our favourite floral fragrances.

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