The Language of Flowers & the Game of Attraction

Flowers talk to me in a language of their own. I cannot remember the time when a flower, even the smallest bloom that passed by, failed to catch my attention. Some of my mates think I’m either obsessed or just ‘weird’ for a guy.

My lady friends, however, are more encouraging. Like it or not, more and male-dominated jobs are taken up by women of late.

As these women, who make tough bosses, take up leadership roles, some men are making their names in creative roles such as culinary, fashion and design. For me, flowers serve as a canvas for expression – it is a calling.

Having spent more than 20 years working with brands in the advertising and media industry, I realise that flowers talk just like brands do – and for a similar purpose.

Both apply language in an instrumental to say what they can offer in an  emotive way. As nature’s ultimate marketers, a flower makes itself noticeable to bees and butterflies to kickstart the life cycle.

With their alluring scent, dramatic display of hue, colour and perfect symmetrical form, they seduce the visitor to land on their velvety bed with the hope of pollination.

Natural Selection

With a deep funnel structure and scent, certain flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies that have specific instruments that can reach deep to extract the nectar, where other insects do not really care for.

Similarly, brands work the same.

They appeal not just to anyone. Beyond its pretty packaging, it uses a language to connect with the intended recipient.

Some flowers appeal to who they really want to discerningly attract.

Flowers emit a certain frequency or ‘electrical charge’ to the fine hairs of bees and butterflies the same way a cathode ray TV screen does to your hair when you stand close as you switch it on.

In a study on the symbiotic relationship between flowers and bees,the electrical charges that flowers emit a signal to tell the bee if they have enough nectar and if they have been pollinated.

When a man delivers a floral hand bouquet to his loved one – it is more than just a symbol of his affection. Subconsciously or not, the choice of the flowers conveys a message to the recipient.

Just as red roses are used to court a young, impressionable lady into romance, it seems so archaic in an age where many ‘swipe right’ on an attractive profile they see on a mobile phone. Flowers, generally get the nod because of the sincerity it conveys – and in Elizabethan times, lovers decode specific messages just from the colour and variety of the flower.

While the red rose symbolises beauty and romance, pink suggests admiration or appreciation. While yellow means gratitude, they have a double meaning to suggest a relationship that has veered into the ‘friend zone’. Debatably, purple connote feelings of infatuation to envy although it is the colour of royalty.  In speaking the language of enduring love to win the affection of the wife or mother, selecting the right flowers matter.

In Greek mythology the tale of the Calla lilies goes that Zeus, wanted his son Hercules to be powerful. He placed the infant to suckle at Hera’s breast while she was sleeping. Shocked to find a baby at her breast when awoken, she flailed while her breast scattered milk across the heavens where they formed stars – and where they fell, grew to become Calla Lilies.

Calla lilies are not really a lily, but so elegant that just a handful alone can make a stunning bouquet – so befitting for a queen. Many brides that I speak to attest to its uncontested elegance and beauty.

A bride displays her own personal brand and character with the flowers she clasps in her hand. Its intricate composition suggests her refined taste, elegance, energy and even spirit. A tightly-arranged nosegay or round hand bouquet gives the impression of pragmatism, order and simplicity. 

On the other hand, a free-forming cascade of foraged wild-flowers suggest a more adventurous and free spirit, almost careless but certainly charming.

The dense petals of the Hydrangea suggest vanity and boastfulness but they can also mean frigidity – certainly not an ideal gift for your spouse, but great to decorate a new home or flaunt at the entrance at your housewarming.

Flowers that beautify interiors can elicit a certain response or behaviour from its admirer. A carefully arranged centrepiece that decks a credenza gives an air of formality or to some extent, an unspoken code for propriety.

Its masculine and structural form balanced with feminine hues and textures exude a certain quality. Placed on a strategic side of a credenza in a clutter-free surface, the style commands an air of elegance and sophistication.

In many a 4 or 5-star hotel, the fresh flowers displayed at the lobby also suggest the establishment’s penchant for perfection, precision and consideration for aesthetics as much as it prides itself for the excellence in running a hotel like clockwork. Just as its staff, across every rank and file, from its general manager to the concierge, seek to impress their guests.  Flowers not only warmly welcome guests but discreetly sends a signal to visitors they type of the brand or quality they represent.

So if you think flowers are there just to look pretty – well, think again because they’re whispering something deeper than what you see on the surface.

-by Sukri Kadola

More about Bloem
Incepted in 2013, Bloem was founded by Singaporean designer, Sukri Kadola. The self-trained designer uses flowers as a medium of artistic expression. Inspired by the vast selection of unique flowers after his maiden visit to the Netherlands, Sukri named his company “Bloem”, which simply means flowers in Dutch. He set out to create an artisanal floral and bespoke florist to serve clients who appreciates the more refined aesthetics of floral presentations.