Posts Tagged ‘Flowers’

Lores and legends of popular flowers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Chances are that when you arrange a flower deliver, you rarely think about the history behind your arrangement. But our flowers in the UK have a rich past that links them to ancient times and faraway places which is worth exploring. So here are some interesting stories about some of our most popular flowers.

Although tulips may put you in mind of the Netherlands, you may be surprised to learn that tulips were first cultivated as garden flowers in Turkey at the beginning of the 16th century. In fact, the word “Tulipa” is the Latin version of the Persian word for turban. Tulip bulbs became big business as the European bulb trade took off in the 17th century. A “tulip mania” ensued where single bulbs were sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. The term “tulip mania” is now often used to refer to an economic bubble. Today the tulip is an inexpensive flower and comes in all the colours of the rainbow. Perfect if you’re looking for a flower delivery to brighten someone’s day.

Did you know that violets are closely associated with Napoleon? When he was banished to Elba, Napoleon vowed that he would return in the spring with the violets,. He thus became known as “Caporal Violette” and the violet became the emblem for all those who supported him. The question “Do you like violets?” became secret code for “Are you a supporter of Napoleon?”

The word daisy is a corruption of day’s eye from the Old English “dages eage”, so called because it is said to close its lashes to sleep when the sun sets. Superstition surrounds the flowering of the daisy and if you fail to tread lightly on the first daisy you see in the spring, daisies will grow over your grave – or that of a loved one – before the year ends. Gerberas which are part of the daisy family are the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum and tulip) and a very popular choice in flower deliveries.

The generic name for Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is indirectly from the Latin lavare which means “ to wash”. For many centuries the plant has been used to scent bath water and soap. Lavender was established in England by the Romans and cultivated on a large scale in London. (Lavender Hill in Battersea is a reminder of this.) But beware, superstition says that if the plant thrives in a garden, the daughter in the house will remain unwed as lavender grows only in an old maid’s garden. Perhaps not the best flowers to send to your unmarried female friend.

In ancient times, rosemary was regarded as a love oracle. If a girl wished to dream of her future husband she would place a sprig of rosemary and a sixpence under her pillow. Rosemary also played an important part in the marriage ceremony. Rosemary was included in the bridal bouquet and after the wedding, one of the bridesmaids would plant a sprig in the garden of the newlyweds which would then, in time, be used by their daughter.

Sunflowers are native to Peru and Mexico and many indigenous American people used the sunflower as the symbol of their solar deity, including the Aztecs, the Otomi of Mexico and the Incas in South America.The outline of sunflowers can be traced in the sculptures of the ancient temples. Likenesses of sunflowers were fashioned out of gold and wore by priestesses. Sunflower seeds were a fertility symbol and eaten during religious rites. Online florists report that in recent years, sunflowers have become a very popular choice.

Ten things you (probably) didn’t know about roses

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)

When it comes to flowers, who doesn’t love a rose? It’s a symbol of perfection, love and beauty. And when it comes to orders of flowers online, it’s by far the most popular choice.

1. According to Greek mythology the rose was created by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers. She found the lifeless body of a nymph which she turned into a flower. Enlisting the help of the other gods, Aphrodite gave the flower beauty, Dionysus added the sweet scent and Apollo the sun god made the flower bloom. And the rose was born. The name is derived fom the Greek “rhodon.”

2. The oldest living rose bush is more than 1000 years old. It grows against a cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany and it’s been there since 815 AD. The bush caught fire during World War II when an Allied bomb dropped nearby but the root system was undamaged and the bush still flourishes today!

3. Red and crimson-coloured roses first came from China and some regard ‘Slater’s Crimson China,’ as the original primary red rose. It was introduced in Europe in 1792 from China, where it had been growing wild in the mountains.

4. The world’s largest rosebush can be found in Tombstone Arizona. It is almost two hundred years old and its trunk is nearly six feet in diameter and it forms a canopy large enough to shelter a crowd of 150 people.

5. Cleopatra loved roses. It is said that the floors of her palace were often carpeted with rose petals. She even had rose petals on her bed. Roses were already seen as symbols of love in these early times. Rose wreaths were often hung by lovers on the doors of their beloved.

6. The wise and knowing Confucius had a library of 600 books about how to care for roses. Ask your local UK florist how many books they have!

7. Pure rose oil is one of the most expensive and precious essential oils on the earth. It takes 5,000 pounds of fresh rose petals to make just one pound of rose oil.

8. Napoleon gave his officers bags of rose petals to boil in white wine to cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds.

9. There is a special rose language invented as a secret means of communication between lovers who were not allowed to express their love for one another openly in the harems of the Middle East. Do you know the secret meaning of your flower delivery?

10. A red rose bud stands for budding desire while an open red rose professes a love and passion already acknowledged. Yellow roses can be dubious. A bouquet of yellow roses sent after a first meeting could mean that the giver isn’t looking for a lasting attachment.

So next time you send flowers, not only are you sending the perfect gift, you are participating in an old and enduring custom.

How to Choose Funeral Flowers

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

It’s not something we like to think about but sometimes you have to buy flowers – not for a joyous occasion – but for a funeral. A fitting arrangement of flowers is a great way of paying tribute to a person’s life, so make sure you choose wisely. If you have never sent funeral flowers before, here are a few guidelines:

1. Make sure you know where the funeral flowers must be delivered to. Usually the undertakers take care of the flowers and the florist delivers directly to them. Most florists know this and will liaise directly with the funeral director to ensure the flowers are at the right place at the right time.

2. Pick an appropriate arrangement. Think about the weather, where the flowers will be displayed (at home or at the cemetery) and whether the funeral is in the afternoon or in the morning. If in the morning, make sure your florist delivers them the night before. If it’s late in the afternoon and the weather is hot, make sure your funeral flowers will last.  Most florists will be able to advise you.

3. Decide on a type of arrangement. The flower coffin spray is usually selected by the close family or the person arranging the funeral so opt for a wreath, a bouquet, a basket or even a heart or pillow-shaped arrangement.

4. Sometimes a family will request a certain colour theme and you should try to respect this. Think about the person who passed away. Choose colours and flowers that reflect their life and also your own feelings. Think about whether you want traditional funeral flowers or something original. Don’t worry too much about the meaning of flowers. Choose an arrangement that suits your message. Many people like to give white funeral flowers but again, choose something that has meaning for you.

Once you’ve decided on all this, it’s time to order. With today’s vast choice of flowers online, nothing could be easier. Make sure you order the flowers in time and give precise instructions as to the funeral home and what time the service is.

And after it’s all done, perhaps send flowers or even a basket of fruit to the home of the deceased after the funeral to let the mourning family know you are still thinking of them.

How to Say Thank You with Flowers

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

It was Gladys Brown Stern who said “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” She knew that even the smallest thank you could make the biggest difference. Whether verbally or expressed through a thank you card, a “thank you” never goes amiss. But there are times when a note just wont do; when you feel you owe a huge debt and you want to let someone know: I truly appreciate what you did. You need a visual expression of your gratitude. It’s time to send flowers.

Flowers are a very public token of appreciation. When you send flowers, you send a tangible symbol of your appreciation. Here are some hints and tips to help you choose the right thank you flowers:

Your budget will dictate the size of the bouquet when you buy flowers. But think about what you are trying to say. Do you want to make a bold statement or do you want to thank someone in a private and personal way? If the former, go for a big, bright bunch of cheaper flowers. If the latter, opt for a more expensive flower in a smaller arrangement.

Flower type vs. colour
If you are buying flowers online, you are spoilt for choice. Most online florists offer the convenience and ease of searching for an arrangement by type of flower or colour. If you are traditional, you might like to consider sending one of the following flower types which all symbolise gratitude: Bellflowers (campanula), camellias, dark pink and peach roses, gladioli and sweet peas. Then again, most people don’t worry too much about the “meaning” of flowers. You might decide to focus on the colour i.e. buy flowers in the recipient’s favourite colour.

To deliver or not to deliver?
There is something magical about a flower delivery. The not-a-salesman-but-a- gorgeous-bunch-of-flowers surprise is hard to beat. And in the UK, flowers are just a click away. Same day flowers, international flower delivery… you can have it all.

One final tip
When you present the hostess of a party with a bunch of thank you flowers, offer to put them in a vase. The hostess will be very busy attending to her other guests and your gift will be one of pleasure, rather than annoyance.

The Symbolism of Flowers

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

When you’re giving a gift of flowers, chances are you’re simply buying a bunch of flowers that you like and that suits your budget. But you probably haven’t given much thought to the symbolic meaning of your gift. Most of us would not arrive at a funeral with a bunch of red roses but did you know if you gave someone yellow carnations you would be telling them that they disappointed you!

Here are a few common and interesting meanings to keep in mind when you buy flowers:

1. Probably the most memorable flower – the rose – has as many meanings as there are colours and species but did you know that the number of roses you give also has a special message. Three roses mean that the recipient is romantically loved while fifteen roses represent an apology.

2. Tulips generally mean perfect love but the different colours have their own meanings too. For example, purple tulips symbolise royalty and yellow tulips (as do many other yellow flowers) imply cheerfulness.

3. Daffodils could mean that you respect someone but they also symbolise unrequited love.

4. Gerberas symbolise cheerfulness and happiness. (How could they not?)

5. Chrysanthemums also symbolises cheerfulness – a good flower to say “you’re a wonderful friend.”

6. Sweet peas have a sad message: goodbye

7. Sunflowers mean loyalty so perhaps a good flower to give someone to show your support.

8. White lilies symbolise chastity and virtue, stargazer lilies express sympathy and pink stargazer lilies represent wealth and prosperity.

9. Begonias have an ominous message: beware

One could get lost in a quagmire of symbolism and perhaps it’s wise not to get too carried away. But whether you’re buying your bouquet through a flower delivery service, an online florist or in person at your favourite UK florist, spare a thought for the symbolism behind your purchase.