Monday, 1 March 2010

Something about dianthus caryophyllus

Or Carnations as they're more commonly known.

Carnations have taken some stick over the years haven't they? Carnations had a well respected status in the flora-o-meter before they were scrupulously positioned on unsuspecting 7 year old taffeta-clad bridesmaids in the 80's. Mullett-sporting jocks with their suit sleeves rolled up, begrudgingly fixed them to their lapels following the barkish orders of the Main Meringue's Mother-in-law to be.

They are the national flower of Spain, and contrastly are used for funerals and deemed misfortunate in France. In the U.S.A they are used to denote fraternities and sororities, where here in the U.K, Oxford students pin them to their lapels during periods of examination, wearing a white flower to the first, pink to all following exams bar the final when a red carnation is adorned. Historically, Christian legend says that pink carnations appeared from the ground where Jesus's mother Mary cried at his carrying the cross. In an unrelated effort, carnations became the flower most associated with Mothering Sunday after founder, Anna Jarvis, honoured her mother's favourite flower and claimed that white carnations represented the 'pure love of a Mother'.

In comparison to their more popular counterparts, they are cheap. A dozen roses will likely set you back around £5 in a supermarket, whereas a bunch of carnations will probably be less than half that. But surely gone are the days when buying cheap meant you had bought something to be ashamed of?

Charlotte from Sex and the City referred to them as the 'filler flower'; only to be used to help bump out far superior and more dominant flowers in arrangements or bouquets. On the contrary, Carrie proclaimed pink ones as her favourite - and stated they were making a comeback. I happen to agree.

Recently featured on Channel 4's 'My Dream Farm', eco-friendly Kent based cut flower farm, Blooming Green, is all for only growing British flowers. Personally my favourite flower is the tulip, and we all know where the majority of those are imported from. Whilst they will always be my absolute favourite, they are flaky and last barely a week before giving up and drooping clean out of their vase. Enter the carnation. These are of course easily grown in Britain, which, if we are ever to become more aware and responsible about what we buy and where it comes from, then anything from 'home' is surely a jolly good place to start.

Speaking of home, my sister bought me the carnations you see in the picture. These are still looking as fresh as ever, and 16 days on, I think this is pretty good going. Cost effective, quintessentially gorgeous and with barely any sort of a print left behind after their purchase, let alone a foot-shaped one; dianthus caryophyllus certainly gets my vote.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for an interesing, and informative, post. My mum loved carnations and grew lots in her garden. I like them too and really must get round to growing some on the plot. xx