Pan Mac to publish Language of Flowers follow-up

Pan Macmillan is publishing a guide to the Victorian ­“language of flowers” to ­follow on from the launch of its big fiction début, The ­Language of Flowers by Vanessa ­Diffenbaugh.

In the novel, to be published next month, a young woman gets involved in wedding floristry, and creates bouquets in which the flowers’ traditional meanings reflect what is happening in the happy couples’ relationships.

Senior commissioning editor Natasha Martin said it was while reading chapters of the novel in her office that the idea of re-creating a Victorian flower book had come up. Hence the new volume, The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany (October, £15), compiled by Mandy Kirby, and given a giftbook package, as a cloth-bound small-format hardback.

The miscellany also suddenly became very much in vogue when Kate Middleton used flower language at her wedding to Prince William in April. There was acres of press coverage when Kate’s wedding bouquet was chosen according to the flowers’ meanings—lily of the valley (“trustworthy”), myrtle (“hope and love”), hornbeams (“resilience”) and field maples (“humility and reserve”).

Martin said: “The 19th-­century flower guides are absolutely lovely if you find them in secondhand bookshops, but we’re bringing them to a new generation.

“We wanted not only to give the background to the flowers—their cultural and philosophical context, in literature and in paintings—but also to provide ideas for putting bouquets together for a wedding or a courtship. At my wedding last year, I’d have loved to have had a guide like this. It turns out the flowers I chose, peonies, mean ‘anger’.”

Diffenbaugh has contributed an introduction to the miscellany. She will do a joint event with Kirby (during her visit to the UK in August to publicise her novel) at the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden at Wisley in Surrey. Publicity already organised includes a double-page spread in the September issue of the Women’s Institute magazine, WI Life.

Pan Macmillan has sold rights to the miscellany in five countries so far, and has a wide potential market given that Diffenbaugh’s novel is set for publication in 30 countries.