Flowers are my passion and when I was asked to set a table for a benefits banquet using a floral centerpiece and eight place settings I found the Victorian Era theme fit my love of flowers. This era was named for Queen Victoria who ruled England from 1837 to 1901, whose enthusiasm for flower designs was a time of elegance for all things flower. They decorated not only with flower arrangements in a vase but also with flowers on plates, tea pots and in pictures for the walls, and their use of flowers was displayed in all their treasures. The Victorian women would often wear flowers in their hair, on their arm or around their neck. Their love of flowers was a way of expressing affection, and was given to friends and lovers according to the message they wanted to express, for the Victorians knew the meaning of flowers. Their floral arrangements were, formal, proper, opulent, lavish and showy. Aristocratic members of society would exhibit wealth by creating large, excessive, luxurious and often overdone flower arrangements.
Etymologically, the origins of the name Ikebana comes from two Japanese words: ikeru, which means to give or conserve life, and hana, which translates as flower. There is an old Japanese saying relating to Japanese flower arrangement that goes kokoro wo ikeru, which literally means to give life to your heart. In all cultures, nature has always been an essential source for healing of the soul. In Japan, the use of flowers to enrich the spirit has been part of the culture since ancient times. By extension, Ikebana is also considered a form of artistic expression meant to enrich and heal the spirit.