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Choosing a Flower that Matches Personality and Purpose

Written By: Dyanne Weiss

Flowers tell a lot about personality and sense of style. Some convey adventure, whereas others convey innocence. What flowers one chooses – whether for oneself or someone special – can say a lot.

Throughout history, flowers have had cryptic meaning. The language of flowers, or floriography, was popular in the 19th Century, but the symbolic use of flower types is in the Bible, Shakespeare (Hamlet), and countless other works. Knowing the message the flowers convey is as important as giving flowers to loved ones or choosing an arrangement for oneself. Every flower has a different significance.

So, what message are the flowers selected to buy or grow sending? The real meaning is really up to the giver and receiver. But, some right away say something about personality and preferences:

Daisies are refreshing and unpretentious. They are simple, patient, sunny and optimistic. Gerbera daisies, which come in a wide array of vibrant shades, are cheery. These bold flowers are often used to convey thanks, birthday wishes or congratulatory messages.

Gardenias are interesting in that different cultures attribute different messages to them. Some say they exude an air of mystery, sultriness and an Asian flair. Others say they symbolize joy, purity, sweetness and secret love. One interesting fact about gardenias is that they are actually part of the coffee plant family, but it is unlikely that a vase of gardenias says “Starbucks.”

Irises impart a sense of ease and serenity, like the Van Gogh painting of them. Used in bouquets and gardens worldwide, irises express courage, admiration, wisdom, hope and a deep sense of spirituality. The scent is used a lot in perfumes.

Lilies are complex because there are so many kinds. They generally give a sense of poise and refinement. Calla Lilies are graceful and filled with dignity. Easter lilies are symbolic of the Virgin Mary. Stargazer lilies show ambition and confidence. The great thing about lilies is that add depth to any arrangement with their graceful presence and pretty shades.

Orchids are delicate and exotic. They are carefully cultivated and suggest an air of refinement. In Victorian times, they were displayed like treasures. Now, their long-lasting blooms convey beauty, thoughtfulness, luxury and strength.

Poppy flowers are vibrant, creative, unconventional and even a bit quirky. They have a slight connotation in the West with drugs (opium and the road to the Emerald City). But, as an element in an arrangement they show a creative spirit and expressiveness.

Roses, the most popular flower in the world, are commonly used in the West as a romantic symbol of love, warmth and femininity. However, different colors of roses send different messages A table set for two with a vase of full-blown red roses right away sets a romantic tone. Yellow roses, on the other hand, say get well or offer a sunny tone of friendship and cheer. White roses, a traditional bridal flower, represent innocence, virtue and spirituality.

Violets are tasteful and quietly elegant. They say someone is sensitive and complex. Deep purple shades show confidence, power and a royal air. White violets say candor and happiness. Blue violets indicate constancy.

Keep Blooms Bright and Upright

Written By: Wanda Williams-Pettiford

With spring in the air, tiny bits of color have started to dot the landscape. Flowers are finally blooming. In the next few months, yards and gardens will be full of beautiful blooms. While it is nice to enjoy these flowers outside, being able to bring them inside can add a splash of color and a touch of cheer to any space. Learning to extend the life of cut flowers will ensure that the blooms will add beauty to any space as long as they possibly can.

Is it the truth or is it a tale?

There are many wives’ tales surrounding the best way to ensure that blooms look best longer. Aspirins, mouthwash, pennies, and bleach do not have too many things in common. One thing that they do have in common is that each of these has been named at some point or another as a way to ensure that flowers stay fresh longer. While many people will choose one method over another, most will agree that there are some basic rules to beautiful blooms. They are:

  • Increase the acidity of the water
  • Eliminate the bacteria in the water
  • Increase the nutrition in the water
  • Ensure they have fresh water

An aspirin

What people will not agree on are the best ways to achieve these goals. Some people will advise adding an aspirin to the water to increase the acidity of the water and to keep the water moving up the stem. While a daily aspirin may prevent a heart attack, there are no studies that show that it will extend the life of cut flowers.

A cap of mouthwash

There is another opinion out there that states a cap full of mouthwash will kill the bacteria that are in the water. This in turn will keep the flowers fresher longer. This may be true for certain types of flowers, but by the end the week, roses and tulips will no longer be smiling.

A penny’s worth

A penny is not worth much this day and time, but it may be useful at the bottom of a flower vase. The copper in the penny acts as a natural fungicide. Adding one to a vase of cut flowers has shown a positive outcome in extending the life of the flowers.

A dash of bleach

A capful of bleach may be good for more than the laundry. Adding one to a quart of flower water prior to adding flowers has been shown to extend the life of flowers by a few days. The bleach does this by killing and preventing the mold that will kill cut flowers.

Is flower preservative worth it?

Most flowers shops provide a packet of a flower preservative with every bouquet they sell. It can also be purchased online or in most lawn and garden shops. Some people use it and others discard it in the trash. This preservative is comprised of all of the things that the flowers need to stay looking their best. It contains an acidifier, a biocide, and a type of sugar. Offering the stems all three of these ensures that stems will stay fresher longer.

Get your flowers ready

No matter which method is used to preserve flowers, it is important to get them ready to go in the vase.

  • Cool cut flowers in a vase of water placed in the refrigerator for at least six hours after cutting them. This has probably already been done if the flowers come from a florist. This will help reduce the wilt that will set in once the flowers are cut.
  • Trim the stems of the flowers approximately one to two inches underneath running water prior to placing them in the vase.
  • Trim off any leaves that will be below water level. Flowers do not need more than six inches of fresh water in the vase at any time, but there should not be anything below the water line.
  • Change the water in the flowers every three to four days.
  • Always place flowers in warm water unless they are a bulb flower like buttercups and tulips. Warm water allows the stem to drink quicker.

With the help of these directions, cut flowers will remain bright and upright for a much longer period of time.

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