I may have come from the land of misfit toys but, full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan girl of flowers. Shocker – and on Valentine’s Day, too. But, I have no intention of turning in my woman card. I’m still a warm and fuzzy Libra girl who just isn’t a total sucker for a floral bouquet. Working in my parents’ florist shop might have something to do with my blasé attitude toward blooms. Nothing says bursting the floral mystique more than frantic holidays of cranky last minute orders, stripping thorns and using enough floral tape to giftwrap the entire planet.
Admittedly, flowers are pretty, gorgeous even, but well, they die. Ooops. Shakespeare once asked “Is it better to love and lose than never love at all?” Despite that great advice, the concept of ‘perishable’ never held a lot of appeal – especially in these last 3 years. Still flowers can make your day and have made many of mine, but for reasons other than their horticultural wonder.
“At my age, flowers scare me.” George Burns
The mushy artist in me has been super appreciative of flowers that came to my door looking utterly gorgeous, especially the exotic, wildly lush ones. Some have been flashy, in eye-popping colors and some sailed in, softly hued and gentle as fairy dreams. Humans are wired to love flowers simply because they are beautiful. In fact, when we think of the word beautiful, one of the first things that comes to mind IS a flower.
Flowers have been symbols of peace, of love — and of grief. Even knowing my MEH feelings concerning flowers, my husband still thoughtfully came home nearly every other week with a bouquet under his arm. He knew I would always welcome them in the spirit of love. Yea, him! Truthfully, when given in that vein, it doesn’t much matter what he would have shown up with, right? But that thoughtful guy really liked fresh flowers; the idea of them, the fragrance, the colors. Fortunately, he was saved the tending of their messy demise.
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most beautiful of all.
It’s said that flowers have a special power on we humans. They cheer up a somber office, at least temporarily. They can boost our moods by their mere presence. Maybe it’s a learned response or maybe just their unique magic (which I apparently missed) but there are rare occasions where magical would be the operative word. Flowers are entwined with memories, too. The waterfall of white stephanotis that spill from wedding bouquets. Baby’s breath that bursts as angelic as the new little one it celebrates at baptism. Roses that sit on soft arms at proms and in graduation bouquets. The scent of lilac calls up thoughts of fresh cut grass and summer dew and the unpredictable daisy, nature’s original fortune teller. (He loves me, he loves me not) Then again, party-pooper me would also mention that anything-but-happy floral scent of that assaults your brain with sadness in a funeral home. Check, please.
I’ve been the humble, grateful recipient of some damn stunning bouquets, which I strived to keep alive as long as possible. To say I wasn’t always successful would be an understatement. But my efforts to preserve these flowers were born from the reasons they were given, more than the blooms themselves. Could I ever forget the first time my son, a high school senior with two after school jobs, hand delivered a dozen, long-stemmed reds to my office? The roses are a scented memory but the card and his sweetness will never be forgotten. There were many blooms for many occasions from family, friends and yes, boyfriends. There was also a wildly sumptuous bouquet my future husband brought, along with cannolis and wine, for a family Easter dinner he was only invited to for appetizers. Awkward! (Hey, inducting someone into anyone’s crazy family holiday dinner is an acquired taste best served, especially when you have mucho protective grown kids, in small bites)
“Flowers say ‘I’m sorry’. Jewelry says ‘I’ve learned my lesson’.”
Not that many years ago, a poinsettia plant (do blooms with roots count?) arrived from my bestie that was nearly as big as the Christmas tree. That plant refused to die, long after said tree left the building. Flowers definitely have their place. It just might not be in my house. After the initial dose of sugar, aspirin or whatever potion the florist sends, the flowers begin a steady decline. Potted plants have even less chance in a townhouse with precious few windows. Translation – death to Dracaena. Although it’s tempting to be needed by something in my house again, both pets and plants are out.
Wildflowers don’t care where they grow.
Georgia O’Keefe, the icon of huge, in-your face flower paintings, really hated the very things that inspired her. Who knew? She was quoted as saying she painted the posies because they were cheaper than models and didn’t move. My kinda gal. Still, people continue to assign endless reasons why flowers are so cherished. Did you know that a poppy meant pleasure? (No, that kind) The petunia, of all things, resentment and anger? Tulips can express passion and rhododendron – danger. (I think I’ll keep a closer eye on that garden bush) And to no surprise, lilies are most associated with funeral services, resurrection and all that. No reminders needed, thank you very much.
Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them. A.A. Milne
In the end, I guess flowers aren’t really annoying or even that MEH. Truth be told, certain flowers do jazz me. Hydrangeas in a blue hue that makes Pantone jealous. The the indelible spring scent that belongs to lilacs and hyacinths alone. Gifted with love, flowers can be healing, calming — except if you’re allergic, then all bets are off. Generally though, no one ever throws out the flower delivery with the watering can, especially if those bluebells came because they mean more kindness than the sender could express. (Then again, those pretty bleeding hearts are the official funeral flower of Tibet, so — um, no.)
This year there were some oddball flowers in my front garden that made me smile. Those feisty little things had no discernible name and may or may not make a reappearance next year. Still, they were pretty darn cute. In the end, methinks maybe I doth protest too much. I will always be more grateful than I can say for the hearts that send me flowers and forever thankful for the thoughts that live in those blooms. I may not be a typical flower person but I’m definitely a hearts kind.
So to each of you who ever gifted me with a flowered expression from your heart — know that you will always have mine.