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Rachel Clare goes all Gilded Age and investigates the language of the flowers.

Before peach and eggplant emojis were a thing, live plants were used to communicate messages of attraction and friendship, particularly in the 19th century when the Victorians took it to the next level. Rachel Clare goes all Gilded Age and investigates the language of the flowers.

Midway through my teenage years in the 1990s, I went through an obsessive Victorian phase. My pictures of Kylie and black and white photos of bogan-chic couples on motorbikes were replaced with Pre-Raphaelite prints of the Lady of Shalott and poor, mad Ophelia drowning gracefully in a flower-strewn river. I copied all 80 lines of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale out on many sheets of paper and hung them across two walls of my room, and my dressing table…

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