Thursday, June 25, 2009

Carnation Nation: Flowers for the Recessionista

The national flower of Spain is a hardy, inexpensive bloom, and is available in almost every corner shop or grocery store. Despite it’s availability and affordability, I have never been a big fan of carnations. My first encounter with the flower was in Gr. 4 on Valentine’s day. A boy with a childhood crush decided to propose to me in front of the class and gave me a bouquet of carnations (no doubt intended for the teacher). Completely mortified, I stuffed the carnations in my backpack upside down, and threw them in the garbage as soon as I got home.

I haven’t really paid much attention to the flower since that day, but I’ve never been drawn to them in any way when browsing for flowers. As a good friend with a family business in memorials once said, carnations are the flower of funerals, and who really wants flowers that remind us of death? My negative feelings toward the carnation proved to me to be a challenge. With the current economic climate, why not try and use this affordable and versatile flower in new ways?

One thing to focus on when working with carnations, or any flowers for that matter, is to minimize flaws and maximize assets. Since the abundance of stem and greenery takes away from what carnations have to offer, get rid of the stem! What do carnations have to offer? Well, they come in a variety of vibrant and complimentary colours, and they bunch together quite nicely. The two centerpieces I designed that are featured on this post show two very different sides of the carnation: girly glam and understated modern. Carnations also make great pomanders that can be used for pew decor, and a google image search of carnation centerpieces is sure to provide you with loads of ideas.

Carnations may never win my heart over like peonies or orchids, but I have definitely gained a newfound respect for them. The next time I’m picking up a few groceries for dinner, I might not walk past the carnations with the same indifference as I did before. In fact, I might even head straight for them.

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