|"Boat Ran Aground" (Copyright Ralph Klein. All Rights Reserved.)|
To purchase this as a print visit Posterlounge
Popular fiction is not typically considered bona fide research material. However, in order to write a credible story for readers of all backgrounds, a writer must do a certain amount of research to write her story.
My current project with EraGem Jewelry requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of the stories of antique jewelry pieces and the people who wore them. Along my research path, I found myself browsing the library catalog in search of The Language of Flowers*, by Kate Greenaway.
A Victorian Era code book detailing the meanings of flowers during that era, The Language of Flowers* promised to be the perfect companion to Jeweled Garden*, by Suzanne Tennenbaum and Janet Zapata. Jeweled Garden has proven an invaluable source of information about botanically-inspired jewelry throughout history.
|Flower Shop Exterior (Crysanthemums = Truth)|
Photo Source: The City Sage
Though the Redding Library does not have a copy of Ms. Greenaway's book, I did find a novel with the same title by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I promptly went out and borrowed a copy, and it does indeed reveal a wealth of information about the meanings of flowers--an important foundation for me to lay, as Victorian jewelry designers often embedded coded messages within the color and form of each piece.
Not only am I learning about this tradition of sending secret messages with flowers and jewelry, but I'm also enjoying the story about a broken young woman's journey out of the foster care system. Having grown up without a place or purpose, Victoria is sent out into the world on her eighteenth birthday, seemingly ill prepared for what she will encounter. A few days of sleeping in the park lead her to Bloom, a flower shop where her unique knowledge of flowers and their meanings lands her a job with Bloom's owner, Renata. Soon Victoria's secret knowledge of plants begins to cause her customers to bloom in their circumstances. I am hopeful that she, too, will begin to come alive as she discovers her place in the world.
A Cherished Scene
"After three blocks I came to a liquor store, where paper-wrapped bouquets wilted in buckets under barred windows. I paused in front of the store. They were mostly mixed arrangements, their messages conflicting. The selection of solid bouquets was small: standard roses in red and pink, a wilting bunch of striped carnations, and, bursting from its paper cone, a cluster of purple dahlias. Dignity. Immediately, I knew it was the message I wanted to give. Turning my back on the angled mirror above the door, I tucked the flowers inside my coat and ran." (Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers*, p. 5)
|Vintage Daisy Flower Brooch (not Victorian Era)|
Photo Used with Permission from EraGem Jewelry
What I've Learned So Far
If I were going to give my daughter a gift of jewelry,
I would buy her a hair clip with a daisy on it to celebrate her innocence.
If I were going to purchase a brooch for myself,
I would choose a tiger lily to represent the queen I am becoming.
If I were going to give my husband a gift,
I would choose a potted Indian jasmine as a sign of our attachment to one another.
If I were going to plant a garden in honor of my son's birthing day,
I would choose periwinkle for the ground cover, tender remembrances.
I look forward to sharing more as I continue to read. By the way, if you've read Ms. Diffenbaugh's story, I'd love to hear what number you would assign it on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = Couldn't get into it; 5 = Finished it, but wouldn't recommend it; 10 = I own it now). Leave me a comment with your rating and your favorite scene.
Peace & Joy,
*This is an associate link to Amazon. I will receive an associate commission for any purchases made through this link. I thank all those who are willing to purchase recommended books through these associate links. These commissions help support me as a freelance writer.