I will admit that carnations don't come readily to mind when I want to buy fresh cut flowers. And I believe this is because the media has painted the carnation as a traditional bloom given to our mothers on Mother's Day!
But that is so unfair as this beautiful frilly bloom, has origins that are historically rich and meaningful. It even shows in her scientific name, Dianthus caryophyllus – dianthus roughly translates to "flower of love" or "flower of the gods" – and is a flower that has been loved for centuries.
Carnations also have a religious skew to it, when Christians believe that the first carnation bloomed when Mary wept for Jesus as he carried his cross – probably a big reason why we use carnations for Mother's Day.
In those early years, carnations come in shades of pale pink and peach, but have over the years been cultivated into many rich shades of red, yellow, white, purple and even green!
With such a far flung history to its blooms, the carnation is appreciated for it's ruffled petals, clove-like scent and long-lasting bloom. Here're some tips to help them last as long as they can!
TIP: Firmly but gently squeeze and roll the bloom between your fingers to force them to open.
TIP: Always cut just above the node of your stems – the node actually slows down the absorption of water, so if you cut below, the water will take longer to reach the blooms.
TIP: If you prefer a simple arrangement, just bundling an arrangement of carnations in various colours that complement each other will be eye-catching enough!
So what do carnations symbolise, beyond love for your mother? Carnations have been represented by many Renaissance painters in engagement scenes – bringing about the idea of devotion, and are the perfect choice weddings. And as such, can also represent love – whether it's love for your mum or family to love for a friend or a romantic declaration.
And as always, we end off our little blog on carnations, with what each colour means:
- Pink carnations represent gratitude – and this is also why it's the most prevalent colour used for Mother's Day
- White carnations are for purity and good luck
- Red carnations as with most red flowers represent love & affection
- Yellow is for disappointment and rejection
- Purple carnations mean capriciousness – if you have an impulsive or unpredictable friend (gosh this sounds like me), then purple carnations are perfect to send them before their next big adventure!
3 FUN FACTS!
- They're the official 1st wedding anniversary flower – take note all you who just got hitched!
- During Victorian times carnations were used to send secret, coded messages or to answer a secret question. Sending a solid coloured carnation meant the answer to the question was 'yes' and sending a yellow carnation meant the answer was 'no'.
- Oxford University students have a long-standing tradition of wearing carnations to their exams. They wear white for the first exam for luck, then pink for the rest of the exams until the final one, which they wear red for. Perfect for year-end exams coming up soon!
One last thing... ALWAYS remember. CLEAN FRESH WATER is key to keeping your fresh cut blooms happy. When you change out the water, clean your vase too, so the bacteria does not transfer. Dirty water = bacteria = shorter bloom life.
Until the next blog...
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