The enduring carnation. Considered one of the world’s most cultivated flowers, the carnation is revered for its ruffled elegance, scented glory and extended blooming period. Perfection in a bloom, for certain. Showy blooms with fringed petals and a fragrant scent with hints of clove. Quite a combination. Stunning perfection in the simplicity of a bloom.
The popularity of the carnation has grown throughout history. The carnation (Dianthus Caryophyllus) is a species of “Dianthus”. A herbaceous perennial that is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region, its origin remains uncertain. Some scholars believe that name “Carnation” is derived from the word “Coronation” or “Corone” (flower garlands) referencing one of the flowers used in Greek ceremonial crowns. The word itself is interesting, taken from Old French and Old Italian references of “Carnagione” (meaning skin and complexion). Of note, the carnation flower and term “Dianthus”in ancient Greek literature is credited to Greek Botanist Theophrastus and is derived from the Greek words for “Divine” (Dios) and “Flower” (“Anthos”). Either way, history is perhaps a validation to its vast and enduring appeal. What is also certain is that the glorious blooms of frilled delight on tall, slender stems of grayish green to blue green hue continues to delight those that care to linger in its elegance and beauty. The blossom is sweetly scented with fragrance that is unforgettable.
And of the colorful hues of this bloom of ruffled elegance? Who knew that the original natural flower color is bright pink-purple? Alas, a flower that has been cultivated in colors of red, white, yellow and green. Add to that hues of dye that the flower holds to personalize preferences. Choices! In fact, each color historically holds its own unique and rich association. But, oh, the beauty and simplicity of the versatile, delicate and resilient carnation!
And of the meanings associated to this frilly flower of visual and scented delight? Romance and love, fascination and distinction. The light red hue is said to represent admiration while the dark, deep red denotes deep love and affection. White carnations represent pure love and good luck while striped (variegated blooms) are said to symbolize “regret that a love cannot be shared”. Who knew? Even the pink carnation has the reference of a mother’s love. For certain, no matter the color, the carnation flower is magnificent…
“In the beginning we start with roses. The kings flower right? Only they wilt in less than a day, especially when exposed to the elements. But Carnations? Oh, what a beautiful flower. They come in every color. True, some are painted, but that doesn’t mean they are less beautiful, and they never wilt”
– Ruth McLeod-Kerns, Carnations Never Wilt
Of course, the fashion of flowers can perhaps fade throughout time. Indeed, the carnation would eventually be considered a “filler” flower. A token gift of lesser worth than a rose. Alas! Who deemed the carnation less worthy than the rose? The long lasting bloom of the carnation certainly outlives the fading and wilting petals of the rose! It must be stated that I adore the rose. My love of the rose is enduring. Lifestyle Expert Eddie Ross has perfectly phrased what has occurred over time towards this bloom of elegance: “Misunderstood”. It is the “misunderstanding” of the carnation that I, too, seek to change with awareness. Again, appreciation. The elegance that the carnation holds should demand reconsideration! Perhaps a credit to Carolyn Rhoeme, the 1990’s fashionable innovator of a bloom that seemingly went unappreciated until she began using carnations with simplistic elegance. Perhaps Rhoeme’s iconic photographic book “Flowers” (1997) was also a pivotal visual that began to inspire the world with new appreciation of the bloom. No longer a filler, indeed. Appreciation.
“It was while working in the flower shop in Paris that I learned to love and appreciate carnations…after you have inhaled their wonderful spiciness and witnessed the beauty of the varieties they offer..you would also rethink them” – Carolyn Rhoeme
Consider the beauty of the carnation. An appreciation of the bloom, whether amassed in a grouping or a single bloom cut short to display the ruffled layers of delight, the carnation is worthy of a closer look and a deeper appreciation. Perhaps an expression of love is at hand with renewed appreciation. A bouquet of carnations? I would be delighted for a cluster of frilled, layered, ruffled and scented elegant carnations. Anytime of the year, indeed…
“Forget, for a second, about all those bad dye jobs and consider a carnation in its simplest, purest form. Now, multiply. Then multiply again. To me, carnations aren’t tacky or lowbrow in the least; they’re just misunderstood and usually a bit lonely. When they’re grouped, their ruffled edges form a beautiful texture that looks lush and rich…”
– Eddie Ross, Lifestyle Expert
Well stated, Eddie…