Saturday, February 14, 2015

Spanking Your Flowers! Symbols and Meaning for Valentine’s Day Blooms & Blossoms & more

Photo courtesy of Techuloid

Did you you know that every blossom gets “spanked” at the airport when the flowers land in the US?!  Yes, Federal Agents “spank” or shake the plants to make sure they are free of some hijacking pests or bugs.
I saw the news report on CBS TV the other morning and enjoyed the presentation.
CBS News Valentines Day Roses  "From Rose Farm to Table."  (The co-host Charlie Rose (how perfect is his moniker for this feature?) - has a moment!) Here's the newscast:

Valentine’s Day offers passionate plant lovers  a holiday like no other. Besides the many luxury gifts designed to woo a special someone -- including chocolates, champagne, fragrance, and jewelry -- glamorous, glorious flowers, blooms, and blossoms are the Valentine gift sure to elicit that romantic swoon.  The thing is - all those other luxury gifts are inspired by and composed of --- plants!  Think about it - chocolate comes from a plant bean, champagne from a grape plant, jewelry is most often a flower or blossom rendered in earth’s metals of gold, silver or diamonds. So why not go with the original gift of romance - the authentic messenger of love?  Plus, there are legends and stories about most every plant and flower, right down to the meanings of color and the mysterious effect on our ardent -- and lustful -- desires.

According to CBS, Americans will spend more than $2 billion on flowers this Valentine’s Day - the “Superbowl of Flowers” said Joann Whitley, flower manager of the chain, Fresh Market grocers.  The holiday statistics demonstrate Valentine's Day is indeed the number one holiday for florists, according to the National Retail Federation as reported by About Flowers.
Of fresh flower purchases only, Valentine's Day ranks No. 1, capturing 36% of holiday transactions and 40% of holiday dollar volume, with red roses racking up 61% of all rose purchases, followed by pink roses.  

I’m “In the Pink” this Valentine’s Day!  I received a sweet, happy, feminine, and glamorous arrangement that is a mix of pink roses, lemon leaves, purple daisies, fragrant, beguiling, heavenly-scented Stargazer lilies, and Peruvian lilies (Alstroemeria).  Those last two have those flirty freckles adorning their faces.   

Say it with Flowers
Over time, flowers have taken on meanings beyond their sheer beauty.  Perhaps it was the garden sprites or Garden Goddesses that sprinkled their fairy dust -- adding more romance to nature’s jewels -- as symbols of virtue and ardor and more.

For example, my Peruvian lilies are noted as a symbol of devotion.  Peruvian lilies can say to a companion or loved one that you will always be there for them and that you trust in your lasting bond. The depth of meanings for Peruvian lilies is a compliment to their beauty, and the message that these flowers send is profound in its authentic simplicity, according to Proflowers.  
Further, my pink roses signify grace and elegance, Stargazer lily, aka the “floral celebrity” represents wealth, prosperity, innocence, and purity.

I make my annual Valentine’s Day arrangement with tulips - their meaning is “Perfect Love!” And Red Tulips are “most strongly associated with “true love.”
Did you know tulip the word comes from “Turban?”  See, tulips originated in Persia and Turkey and residents there wore the tulips in their turbans - so western Europeans mistakenly gave the tulip its name mixing the flower with the hat.  
For my Valentine’s floral candy confection, I place a glass inside the vase, line it with the Sweetheart candy -- the heart-shaped ones with the cute, conversation love letters like, “Kiss Me,” or “Love” - or now, emoticons - and are in fact, THE best selling Valentine’s Day candy.  
The tulips go inside the glass.  Sweet.

What does all that color mean?
According to Michael Skaff, FTD as reported by ABC-TV Chicago:
Red is for passion and love. These are best suited for the person who you are on clear terms with, like you're both in love or serious about dating.
White is for purity, renewal and freshness. If you've messed up recently, these may be a good way to make amends.
Yellow is for friendship. These are best reserved for someone you're close with and care about very much.
Purple is a complex color that can evoke a variety of different emotions; integrity, fantasy, enchantment. This color says "I'm intrigued by everything you do." It is also on trend for 2015.
Pink can mean flirtation, femininity. It's also evocative of passion. It's a safe color for those flirtatious relationships that may still be in the "honeymoon" phase.
Orange is for desire. You wouldn't normally think of Orange of Valentine's Day, but the can say how much you desire him or her and can be a color that's outside the box.

You can peruse the FTD site to your heart's content (smile) - for an almost limitless variety of romantic bouquets and artfully designed floral arrangements that say, "I love you" for lots of occasions! 

Local Flowers

And not to douse the aforementioned floral ardor, this is a perfect occasion to highlight the gospel and work of one of my favorite floral visionaries: Debra Prinzing

Just as I espouse growing edibles and eating food that is locally-sourced, Debra has championed a more sustainable floral business/”industry” using locally-grown ornamental flowers.  Termed a “Slow Flower” Movement, she advocates for growing your own flowers or buying from local growers.  For many of the same reasons.  Do we really need to have billions of exotic flowers flown in every day?  
If we can recalibrate our floral aesthetic, we can enjoy glamorous floral designs and practice a more eco-friendly and sustainable environment - not to mention creating lots more local jobs.

Prinzing has authored two books on this important subject: The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden 

Photo: Debra Prinzing
Debra’s news release quotes: “The book follows Prinzing through 52 consecutive weeks during which she challenged herself to pick, arrange and photograph a seasonal bouquet using only local ingredients. She sourced flowers, leaves, branches and seedpods from her own garden, from friends' gardens, and from the meadows and fields of her favorite flower farms. Like an easy-to-use cookbook, Slow Flowers features vivid images of each finished bouquet, a thorough ingredient list and step-by-step design instructions. Special "takeaway tips" share expert flower growing advice and eco-design techniques.
Photo: Debra Prinzing
"After being immersed in the 'slow flower' movement and documenting  the dramatic transformation in how cut flowers are grown, designed and used, my own relationship with flowers - and floral design - changed," Prinzing says. "Gardeners and flower lovers have so many exciting botanical options to collect for their vases. Slow Flowers demonstrates that living in the moment - each season - is just as rewarding for flower lovers as it is for foodies who cook seasonally-inspired menus."

In her richly-photographed book, Debra celebrates each season's unique character -- with fresh blooms, ornamental twigs, colorful foliage, gorgeous vines and many other gifts from nature. Each of the arrangements begins with a design "muse," be it a beloved antique rose, a new variety of seed or a family heirloom vase. Debra photographed her bouquets in and around her home, close to the garden where many of her ingredients were sourced.”

Check out Debra’s books - it can change your mind to look at flowers and floral arrangement design in a whole new way - celebrating what Mother Nature has so generously gifted to us right in our own backyard using seasonal arrangements inspired by the beauty of a garden.  

Happy Valentine’s Day.   Enjoy the glamour…

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