Time For Flowers!

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
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By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty.

My grandfather had a flower farm outside St. Louis, Missouri, Sadly, he died before I was born, and I never met him or saw the farm where my mother and her brother, my Uncle George, were raised. I always thought it seemed an exceedingly idyllic setting for childhood—imagine growing up surrounded by flowers! My uncle, who helped in the fields, remembers it differently. Such is the way with memories and illusions.My beautiful picture

My beautiful pictureMy mother taught me a great deal, and her knowledge of flowers seems a most gracious legacy. She knows the names of most every flower in the Midwest—a skill learned from her father and passed on to her children. I adore selecting and arranging flowers, a cheerful activity my mom encouraged in my youth that remains with me. Through her example, I came to know the many ways to understand and appreciate flowers.

Most people do not love the rose better than any other flower. A friend of mine was delighted when her husband sent roses to her office for her birthday when they were dating. Ten years later, he still sends roses. She doesn’t quite know how to tell him she would prefer a change. While roses symbolize love, florists really market roses because they are sturdy and have a long blooming period, making them more profitable. There is a flower shop in my neighborhood, but it is preposterously expensive, roses go for $5 a stem throughout the year, more before Valentine’s Day: outrageous! Also, the store charges for every item. Unlike every other flower shop I’ve ever frequented, this place offers no free greenery or “filler” to augment the blooms, which just seems stingy, undercutting my typical desire to shop local; additionally, consumer reports show that grocery store flowers cost less, last longer and are a better value. Most importantly, if you do plan to buy roses this Valentine’s Day, know that the color of a rose matters.

Rose-Color-MeaningI’m always curious to discover what flowers are favorites among family and friends, as it reveals yet another distinctive aspect of their personal tastes. Leah loves tulips; Holly admires irises, both Stacy and Kris favor gardenias. Here’s where I ought to recommend The Botany of Desire. With regard to State flowers, I’m much happier with Illinois’ violet than Ohio’s red carnation (like Carrie Bradshaw, I’ve never liked carnations).

The flowers I prefer are vibrant and quirky; I appreciate the wide, optimistic face of the stargazer. Hydrangeas’ exceptional response to the soil in which they grow seems a valuable lesson in “nature versus nurture,” proof that environment can color reality. I’m fond of bouquets that include a variety of hue and shape, representing the ideal of diversity at its most lovely. I’m crazy for aromatic blooms; I’d love to buy enough hyacinths and snapdragons to fill my “Tree house” apartment.

I’m best at identifying spring flowers, probably because after a long winter, it is always a thrill to see them bloom, especially so this year. From the appearance of the first irises-1889tiny crocus peeking out from beneath the snow, I delight in welcoming flowers back to life; I eagerly await the forsythia in April as a true marker that spring has arrived. By the time the perfume of lilacs fills the air, winter seems a faint memory.

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and spring is hovering at a tantalizing distance; once again, it is time for flowers.


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