Just like how we use emojis today to convey a thought, idea, or emotion visually and simply, people in the victorian era used flowers. Common flowers all had very different meanings and the people sending them would use their secret meanings to try and say something to whoever they were sending it to. Meanings even varied between colors of the same flower. People would keep track of these meanings through guides and handbooks.
Creating a message as you would with emojis while texting. Print out coloring pages and cut out the flowers for the students. Have the students color the flowers in. Then using their own set of flowers, have the students combine the images to create “bouquets” they would give to their friends, parents, siblings, neighbors, etc. . .
English Bluebell: Kindness
Peony : Bashfulness
Wallflower: faithfulness in adversity
Purple Violet: You occupy my thoughts
White Violet: Innocence
Yellow violet: Rural happiness
Amaryllis: Splendid beauty or hesitant beauty or haughtiness
Ivy Leaf: Friendship
Apple Blossom: Preference
Myrtle: Good luck, love in marriage
Passionflower: Mourning over death of a loved one
Lily of the Valley: Purity
Post Activity Discussion
Then have the students explain what they would use instead of these flowers to convey the same feelings today.
Use this opportunity to talk about how cultures may use the same object to convey the same meaning and how meanings change over time.