Monday, June 13, 2011

Its Like Building a House

Making a bouquet is similar to building a house.  You must have the right foundation and support or else your arrangement can snap or fall apart all together.  So much more goes into making a strong, long lasting, beautiful bouquet than meets the eye.

This arrangement containing stephanotis and carnations is actually a time consuming arrangement that requires lots of preparation before the bouquet can be assembled.  

The first thing to remember is to keep your fingers wet.  The oils from your hands can damage the petals and make them turn brown.  The flowers come with a green stalk on the end of them.  To begin, I removed the green stem from the flower.

The fuzzy looking sticks that are laying in the water are called stephanotis stems.  On one end they have cotton attached to them, similar to a q-tip, that soaks up water. These are inserted into the flower so that the flower can be used for arrangements and bouquets.

Next, I inserted the stephanotis stem backwards into the flower to remove the rest of the stalk that is left inside the flower.

I then turned the stem around and inserted it into the flower so that the cotton part rest gently into the middle of the flower.  This allows the flower to stay moist as well as provides a place for the pin to be placed in the middle of the flower.

When I was done, I had several nice flowers to be placed in bouquets.  All that is left is placing a pin in the middle of the flower and arranging them into a bouquet like the one above!

Another bouquet that I made on the same day also required much preparation to the flowers before it could be assembled.  This bouquet contains football mums and carnations (see, I told you I like carnations!).

Carnations can have weak stems when they are arranged into a bouquet.  For this reason, it is important to place a wire around the stem in order to add support.

When building a house, you don't want to build your house upon the sand but instead upon a rock, a strong foundation.  When creating a flower arrangement, we don't want to create something that is going to fall apart before it reaches the hands of a bride.  We want an arrangement that will stand strong through the ups. . and stresses. . .of a wedding day!


Monday, June 6, 2011

I Speak for the Carnations

As Doctor Seuss writes in his book, The Lorax, "I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.  I speak for the trees because the trees have no tongues."  (I'm an Early Childhood Education Major in college, even flowers remind me of children's books.)

I know by now that you are probably wondering where I am going with this.  Well, I am Hannah.  I speak for the carnation.  I speak for the carnation because carnations don't have tongues.  Carnations have received a bad reputation for long enough and I am here to speak out for the carnation and its tainted reputation.  Oh the carnation, bless it's heart.

All too often I am sitting in on a consultation for a bride or I overhear Althea talking to a bride and the question "And which flower do you absolutely not want in your wedding?" comes up.  More often than not, the response that follows is the same.  "Carnations".  

Now I must admit, there was a time when I would have responded the same.  When most of us think of carnations our mind instantly takes us back to football homecomings and school dances.  Now if we are truly being fair, we can't blame our bitter relationship with the carnation on some poor, poor fellow who thought that carnations would be wonderful flowers when mixed with five million ribbons and glitter and accented with baby's breath.  However, believe it or not, there is more to a carnation than those memories.  Yes, if given the chance, a carnation can make any wedding, arrangement, or prom beautiful.  

According to, the scientific name for the carnation, dianthus, can be translated into "flower of the gods" and "flower of love."  Carnations date back to ancient Rome and Greece where they were used in art.  In those days, carnations bloomed in primarily pink, peach, and white.  However, now carnations come in a variety of colors and sizes including peach, dark purple, and even a fuzzy green.  Similar to roses, the meaning of the carnation varies with the color.  White carnations symbolize purity while pink carnations show gratitude.  I bet you didn't know that in the early 20th century the carnation became the official flower for Mother's Day.  If carnations were good enough for the Romans, Greeks, and mom, they are good enough for me!
Take for instance this lovely bouquet with peonies, roses, and carnations.  Yes, carnations!  Carnations can add color, fullness, and depth to any arrangement when used correctly.  
Photo by Scott Plauche Photography

These bouquets include a mix of roses and carnations and the bouquet below include stephanotis  and carnations. (Now I know you can admit that nothing about these arrangements yell "1980s homecoming.") Carnations can stand alone or they can be mixed with flowers to create any feel, look, or color scheme that a prospective bride might desire.  

Photo by Scott Plauche Photography
 So the next time you are tempted to say "oh, no carnations for me, no way, no way."  Remember, carnations earned their spot in the floral world and we just need to give them a chance.