Bouquet of the month, Spring 2014

So, apparently flower arranging is the best thing ever. I took a class on it through Workshop SF in December (which by the way I completely recommend, because they're fun and relaxed, and they offer you beer), and ever since I've been completely obsessed with the art of it.

I've decided to hone my skills by creating a bouquet every month, featuring and learning new flowers and tricks as I go. I'm also going to be doing a bit of research on each flower, to get to know them by name and reputation, as well as any other interesting information I can find. I hope you enjoy looking through my creations, and learning new flowers as much as I am.

Anemone

  • Name: Means daughter of the wind, from the Greek ánemos or wind. They're also called windflower because in myth they first bloom only when the wind opens them, and the aged petals fall when the wind blows again.
  • Species: 120
  • Color choices: Red, magenta, purple, pink, and white
  • Season: Late Winter, Spring, early Summer
  • Native to: Temperate zones
  • Vase life: nine days
  • Use: As the shining star in your bouquet because they're gorgeous.
  • Pair with: Poppies, peonies, other full and fluffy flowers
  • Fun facts: (1) The Metamorphoses of Ovid tells a story that the flower was created when the Goddess Venus dusted nectar onto the blood of her fallen lover, Adonis. (2) It's related to the Ranunculus.

Brazilian Berry

A mystery! The flower shop where I purchased it claimed that this is what this berry is called, but I can’t find anything that looks exactly like it. On the search.

Chrysanthemum

  • Name: Chrys means golden, in theory for the original color, and anthemion flower. In this particular case, I'm using a Spider Mum. They're also called mums.
  • Species: 40
  • Color choices: Red, yellow, purple, pink, white
  • Season: All
  • Native to: Asia and Northeastern Europe
  • Vase life: 7-14 days
  • Use: To fill in space rather than using fillers. They’re big and add a unique texture.
  • Meaning: In China it's a symbol of lamentation or grief. It can also be a symbol of nobility both there and in Japan, where it represents the Imperial Family. In Europe it's a symbol for death.
  • Best pop culture reference: The spelling bee in Anne of Green Gables
  • Fun facts: The flower is one of the Four Gentlemen or Four Noble Ones of China, along with the Plum Blossom, Orchid, and Bamboo. They correlate with the four junzi of Confucianism, and are often depicted in traditional Chinese painting.

Cabbage

  • Vase life: a month
  • Color choices: green and purple
  • Use: As a centerpiece in a spacious bouquet.
  • Pair with: Something with height and enough oomf to balance out the weight of the cabbage.
  • Fun facts: Technically edible

Protea (Pincushion)

  • Vase life: two to three weeks
  • Color choices: Orange
  • Season: Spring
  • Native to: Zimbabwe and South Africa
  • Use: To give your bouquet a little unexpected texture
  • Pair with: Bright colors that can hold their own.

Narcissus

  • Name: Daffodil, Narcissus, and Jonquil. Associated with the Greek myth of Narcissus, who died trying to glimpse his reflection in the water. The name Daffodil could have been derived originally from the word Asphodel, the genus of plants to which it belongs. 
  • Species: 26 - 60, depending on who you ask.
  • Color choices: Yellow, white, a combo of the two.
  • Season: Early Spring
  • Native to: Europe, North Africa, West Asia
  • Vase Life: Four to six days
  • Use: As the star of the show, when they’re in season.
  • Pair with: Something classy but interesting, like Parrot tulips, or alone with a  bulb intact as a gift.
  • Meaning: Vanity in the West, wealth and good fortune in the East. They represent the New Year in Kurdish and Chinese cultures, and are a symbol of beautiful eyes in Persian literature.
  • Fun facts: (1) The part of the flower that sticks out in the center is called the trumpet. (2) People love to breed them, so actually registered daffodils are given a division number and color code according to the Royal Horticultural Society. (3) Daffodil bulbs look a bit like onions, but are poisonous to eat.

Orchid (Dendrobium)

  • Name: Derived from the ancient Greek world órkhis, meaning testicle (hehe)
  • Species: 1,200 (there are between 21,950 and 26,059 Orchid varieties)
  • Color choices: Blue, purple, white
  • Season: Summer
  • Native to: Asia and the Pacific, from high Himalayas to tropical forests.
  • Vase life: a couple of weeks to a month
  • Use: To add a little sumptuousness to a bouquet.
  • Pair with: So many things! Try pairing white orchids with other white florals.
  • Meaning: In ancient Greece they were associated with virility, but these days it's more like luxury, elegance, and femininity.
  • Best cultural reference: O’Keefe's work.
  • Fun facts: (1) It’s possible that Orchids arose 76-84 million years ago, during the late cretaceous! (2) Vanilla is a type of Orchid, and isn't the only kind that's ingested. They’re also used in traditional Chinese herbal remedies. (3) Venezuela, Colombia, Singapore, Costa Rica all have a type of orchid as their national flowers.

Queen Anne's Lace

  • Name: Origin unknown, but suspected to be named after Anne, Queen of Great Britain or Anne of Denmark.
  • Color choices: red and white
  • Vase life: Three to five days
  • Native to: Europe and Southwest Asia
  • Use: As a filler flower, but always a fun one.
  • Pair with: Other wildflower, like Cosmos or Indian Paintbrush.
  • Fun facts: (1) It’s technically a wild carrot, but looks a lot like poison hemlock, so you obviously don’t want to mix those two up when going out for a snack. (2) You can dye them in the same way you due carnations, by dipping the stem in dyed water. 

Ranunculus (Asiaticus)

  • Name: Rana means frog, which is amazeballs. It's also called a Buttercup, named for a false belief that when eaten by livestock they're the reason why butter turns yellow. They're actually poisonous for cattle to eat when fresh.
  • Species: 600
  • Vase life: Three to seven days
  • Season: Winter and Spring
  • Native to: Asia
  • Meaning: Charm
  • Use: Cut at different length, they’re a floppy flower so use to create shape
  • Pair with: snapdragon, sweet pea, Iceland posy, pansy, primrose
  • Best pop culture reference: Obviously The Princess Bride
  • Fun facts: It can also be called “Coyote’s eyes” in certain Native American cultures. The story is that they mythological Coyote was throwing his eyes up in the air, and catching them again, when the Eagle game along and stole them away. The Coyote had to create new eyes out of Ranunculus.

Snapdragon

  • Name: Scientific name is Antirrhinum, anti meaning like and thin meaning nose. Named because the blossoms resemble the face of a dragon opening and closing its mouth, when you press on the sides to make the flower open and close.
  • Species: two
  • Color choices: red, yellow, pink, white
  • Season: Summer
  • Vase life: five to eight days
  • Native to: Europe, US, North Africa
  • Meaning: Both deception and graciousness. Not quite antitheses, but still a bit confusing.
  • Use: for lots of height.
  • Fun facts: (1) They love growing in between rocks (2) Used as an edible oil in Russia, with inflammatory properties. And the petals can be used as a green dye.

Wax flower

  • Name: The scientific name is Chamelaucium Unciatum, the latter of which means "hooked" in Latin, in reference to the end of its leaves.

  • Color choices: Pink, white
  • Should last in a bouquet: Two to three weeks
  • Season: All
  • Native to: Southwestern Australia
  • Vase life: seven to ten days
  • Meaning: Lasting riches
  • Use: As the awesomest filler flower in the land.
  • Fun facts: Similar to a tea tree and related to Eucalyptus, when they're crushed the flowers release a citrus-like scent.

If you're looking to learn along with me, I also have a Pinterest board where I've been pinning flowers to learn their names.

floralsKaitlyn Ellison