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The Meaning and Symbolism of Hollyhock Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 23, 2016

80's holiday


Hollyhocks, sandals with socks

Knickerbocker glories

Salty air, old caravans

Magical bedtime stories

Fish 'n' chips, sticks of rock

Climbing fragrant evergreens

Endless hikes, stunning views


By Shaded Lamp

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photo credit via: www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com

Hollyhocks are one of the first flowers from my garden that amazes me each year with their fluffy heads bursting with color and their massive heights that tower over everything else growing in the yard.  Beautifully shaped petals and mighty stalks that pull through the soil like mini tree trunks all make the hollyhock a favorite for most gardeners.  

They are simply stunning…

There’s no wonder why this plant is associated with a majestic orientation due to its superior floral presentation and impressive ability to flourish in several conflicting soil grades.  In truth, the hollyhock prefers impoverished earth to dig its roots into and will actually live a longer lifespan through the summer if the ground hasn’t been fertilized or treated.  

Another symbol that the flower represents is fertility and fruitfulness.  During the end of its life cycle when the leaves and stem begins to droop, the hollyhock produces a round disk that encompasses many different seeds so that it can reproduce.  The perennial’s ability to do this has made the plant an icon for fertility treatments offices, mothers support groups and can often be seen as the logo for baby clothing enterprises.  


Baby stores weren’t the only ones who used the appeal of the flower’s properties for their marketing purposes since the hollyhock was replicated over and over again in several famous Flemish oil paintings.  Art Nouveau artists also had fun featuring the flower in many contemporary décor products such as the fabric for curtains and even as printed wallpaper.  


A third meaning for the hollyhock is tied to ambition because of the overall strength of the plant to grow in an array of conditions and its powerful presence in landscaping scenery.  Quite often you can also see hollyhocks lining fences and gates because some believe that their statuesque appearance and tall lengths reflect the impression of protection and safety.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flowers, Flower Meanings, Hollyhock

The Symbolism of the Peony

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Aug 20, 2016

Silky smooth,

Tender veins,

Numerous petals

Smell sweet.


Beautiful.

Admired.

Peonies


By Allyson Walsh

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The peony is a beautiful flower that is known to be a traditionally well-respected bloom in early summer gardens.  Derived from the Latin name, “Paeonia”, it thrives during the spring season in stunning colors of pink, cream, burgundy, white, red and peach.  The flower grows in a bush-like form, which can grow to be the size of a large shrub if given nutrients and fertilizer.  The petals of the head are said to resemble soft silk, which is why they are often featured in silk paintings.  Although the peony is cultivated all around the world, China and Japan excel in harvesting this variety above all other countries.  One point of view claims this is because the two cultures honor the flower highly within religious, social and spiritual aspects.


One of the symbolic meanings of this flower is tied to royalty and honor, particularly in the Asian culture.  Peonies are often used in ceremonies as they represent the idea of wealth, luck and good fortune.  Centuries ago, Chinese medicine claimed that the blossoms contained medicinal properties which is why you can still see them growing in monastery gardens today.  Although it has never been proven what exactly peonies are capable of healing, there is still a strong belief behind the blossoms that they have natural curing benefits for stomach pains and exhaustion.  In Greek mythology, the peony is named after the doctor, “Peon” who cured Hades when he had fallen ill.  Legend says that he crushed the petals to make an herbal remedy sifted in tea for the God to drink.  

PEONIES IN BOSTON

Another symbolic meaning of the peony is “shyness” where a stem of the flower can be translated into “blushing girl”.  In French culture, there is even an expression that says, “as red as a peony”.  Other lure uses this symbolism to express embarrassment, which is referenced in several poems about nymphs and fairies covering their naked bodies with peony petals from prying eyes.  Myth says that it is extremely harmful to your karma to ever remove a rooted peony from your landscaping once it has been planted.


Universally, the peony stands for honoring your word, apologizing when you have wronged another and simplistic beauty found in a woman.  Specific variations can be found tied to the exact color of a bloom that extends from love to mourning.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Peonies, Flowers, Flower Meanings

Beachy Blooms

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Aug 18, 2016

The summer is coming to an end and hopefully you’ve enjoyed several fun filled days enjoying the warm activities that this time of year blesses New England with.  My favorite destination spot are the beaches on the north shore that never disappoint with their crystal clear waters and beautiful rocky landscape.  One feature that I particularly love is the stunning blooms that grace the seashore with tranquil color and sweetened fragrance.  Being a gardener myself, I have often tried to replicate this “beachy” scene within my own backyard, trying to use the same if not similar varieties accustomed to the ocean habitat.  Truthfully, it’s not easy because if you’re like me who lives inland with forestry surrounding their home, it can be difficult to succeed within our compromised growing conditions.  For one thing, our soil does not drain as well as sand so it’s imperative to find plants that can adapt to both potting environments.  The second factor is the lack of salt in the atmosphere, which beach flowers typically thrive on.  The third issue can be a lack in sunshine or direct light if your beds are hidden underneath branches or enlarged shrubbery.  Although this seems like a depressing abundance of obstacles, I assure you that there are some species of flowers that will do A-okay if you can tweak your gardening regime just a bit.  After some trial and error, I’ve found this list of successful bloomers that will bring the ocean essence to your backyard no matter where you live.

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Photo credit Lisa Greene via Flower Factor

Hydrangea

Hydrangea is one of those flowers that are always associated with the beach, particularly in shades of blue.  Like many of their seafaring friends, they adore the sodium (NaCl), which makes them bloom happily well into the fall season.  If you’ve visited Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll no this to be true hydrangeas can also be planted in other areas, too.  As long as the soil is soft and well watered, this bushy flower can flourish in yards or as part of a summer garden.  Hydrangeas also prefer a little bit of shaded area so for those of us whose backyards are overgrown with trees, that’s really no problem for this variety to survive within.

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photo credit - Lizzie Borchers via Flower Factor 

Beach Grass

Beach Grass is a fairly prevalent shrub that grows along our coastline with little to no maintenance necessary.  I have planted several of these bushes on my property and with the exception of watering them during dry spells; they really require little effort on my part.  One tip to make them grow larger each year is to cut them at the base when October arrives to ensure a healthy return the next spring.   


Summer Asters

I love these little beauties because they represent a “wildflower” appeal that can be grown not only close to the seashore but also in meadows, forests and almost anywhere else you can think of.  If you have raised beds, then the soil will stay a bit warmer which they’ll thank you for during the colder winter months of the year.

Tags: Floral Design, Hydrangeas, Flowers, Beach, Summer

Flower Inspired Facebook Posts

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 12, 2016

Facebook is the number #1 leading social media site, propelling millions upon millions of account users to post updates, share links and upload photos that reflect their everyday life and interests.  If you’re reading this, your probably one of us and understands this as pretty much a truth pertaining to your daily routine.  Checking in, “liking” or even just casually scrolling down the feed, browsing our “friends” pages has become a way to keep in touch and pass along ideas and feelings that affect us and the world we live in.  This new form of communication efficiently links us together, forming one big network of information.  Plus- it’s a lot of fun, too!


So what does this have to do with a blog dedicated to flowers?

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Recently I came across a post by a friend that featured a picture and a lovely saying, decorated with illustrated pink poppies.  The message simply read, “AND the DAY CAME when the risk to remain in a TIGHT BUD was more painful than the RISK it took to BLOSSOM.”  

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Sweet, right?  The point of the quote is straight forward enough which conveys encouragement to the take leaps to grow because the fear of doing so becomes more hurtful to stay the same than the bravery do go ahead and try.  

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I love it.  The post did exactly what it was meant to do and that was to give me the little extra boost I may have needed for the day.  So if you’re one of the many faithful Facebook users who are into this sort of thing, here are a few more inspiring thoughts thematic after flowers!

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Tags: Language of Flowers, SAF, Flowers, About Flowers, Facebook, Inspiration

The Symbolic Meaning of Bachelor Buttons

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Aug 10, 2016


Bachelor's Button


The color ran down the canvas

Watery blue like the shoreline of some port town

As blue as the button on the waist coat

That lay forgotten in your wooden trunk.

It was given to you long ago

When you were still a young gent

By the lovely lady who lived next door

The one you married a year later

With eyes the color of the sea

In some old forgotten port town.


Author Unknown

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Bachelor Buttons are one of the most striking gifts we are blessed with during the summer months and luckily, they seem to spring up almost anywhere.  They are deemed an old blossom associated with traditional times and are typically seen in English-styled postcards and paintings.  The flower’s happy blue faces are enough to make anyone smile along with their delicate shaped heads stretching out like tiny individual stars.  Otherwise known as “Bluebottles”, Bachelor Buttons are common across the northeast and grow like weeds where you least expect them, especially within wheat fields where they receive their symbolism of “opulence”.  There have been a few surprise sighting throughout history, one of which was during the excavation of an Egyptian tomb.  When archeologists went to explore King Tutankhamen’s crypt, the last thing they expected to find amongst gold was a wreath still intact made out of these indigo wonders.  


Dating even before King Tutankhamen, myth says that the Bachelor Button was even tied to Greek Mythology when Chiron was attacked with an arrow but cured with the flower’s powerful nectar.  This soon became the basis for making the blossom signify “protection” and “healing”.  Interestingly enough, Bachelor Buttons are proven to possess medicinal properties when the petals are soaked in boiling water.  If the heads are then placed on a person’s eyelids, they are supposed to be soothing and capable of alleviating issues like puffiness or redness.  

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Turns out I’m not the only fan of this electric blue stunner either since France holds this variety as part of their national flower collection.  Bachelor Buttons were also John F. Kennedy’s favorite as well.  He loved the flower so much that he wore it on his lapel the day he married Jacqueline.  He did this in order to pay tribute to his father.  


Along with it being symbolic of “delicacy”, “purity of feelings” and “good fortune”, the flower is said to be able to tell the future outcome of a new relationship.  Place one head in your pocket and if the flower is still alive the next day, the couple will have a long future together.  If it dies before the next day, then it's time to call it splitsville fast.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flowers, Flower Meanings, Bachelor Buttons

Sunflower Picking in Massachusetts

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 08, 2016

I’ve always had a sweet spot for sunflowers in the summertime and clearly I’m not alone judging from the beautiful pictures I always see while scrolling down social media feeds.  Maybe it’s their happy faces or maybe it’s their colorful warm glow of yellow that triggers pleasant thoughts from onlookers.  For me, a sunflower’s simple elegance as it towers above all other flowers growing from the earth is what has kept this bloom my one my seasonal favorites.  

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The funny thing about sunflowers is that although they can be easily grown by seeds in a variety of different soil conditions, they are commonly threatened by wildlife such as chipmunks, rabbits and worst of all, woodchucks!  I have my own battles brewing in the yard against pests that bend the sunflowers stems until it snaps, allowing them easy access to the plant’s leaves.  Yes, you can attempt to stake the stalks but even that’s no sure fire way to ward of those horrible rodents from ruining your gardening efforts.  This year, I decided that I would try to out-seed the demand by growing three times the amount of sunflowers that I have in the past.  Right now, I have around ten sunflowers out of thirty looking hopeful but you never know when their number is up when it comes to critters.  After all, they have to eat too, right?

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So the better answer to enjoying these stunning summer blossom is to locate farms that professionally grow them, allowing you to not only view the sunflower fields but to also take a few stems home for yourself!  Typically, these are called flower-cutting farms where you bring or borrow a pair of clippers, tote a bucket and clip from their crops cultivated especially for this activity.  Make sure you ask what their rules are before cutting since many of these operations take the care of their harvest very seriously and what to ensure a long season of beauty for all.  


Interestingly, there are many places that offer this fun and memorable chance to clip sunflowers and here are a few that I’ve found to be wonderful so far!


Tangerini’s Farm         Indian Head Farm                  Land’s Sake Farm

 Spring Street                232 Pleasant Street                90 Wellesley Street

 Millis, Ma                       Berlin, MA                               Weston, Ma

Tags: Gardening, Suzie Canale, #EXFL, Sunflowers, DIY

Flowers Fragrant with Food

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 05, 2016

Flowers are commonly referred to as sweet smelling for the most part and are associated with a perfume-like scent, which provides aromatherapy for homes and offices.  While this is true for varieties such as lilies, roses, lily of the valley and several other common blossoms that we’re all familiar with, Mother Nature has been known to cultivate unusual species possessing other interesting properties.  Instead of gifting all floras with pleasant, sugary odors, some species actually smell similar (if not identical to) some of our favorite foods!  Can you imagine having an arrangement that breathed blackberry ripple or chocolate mousse cake?  Or how about a healthy waft of grapefruit or even tomato soup to infuse your surroundings?  The truth is that there are many types of flowers that do in fact give off a scent similar to particular foods and are actually considered valuable for this exotic trait.  Take a peek at these famous food fragrant flowers and see if there’s one here perfect for you!


Chocolate Cosmos land_of_chocolate_cosmos.jpg

This is my absolute favorite flower because not only does it have a rich brown to burgundy hue, it also smells exactly like real chocolate!  Don’t fret if you don’t smell it right away since it takes heat to trigger the aroma property.  You’ll likely have to wait until July or August if you live in the New England area.


 

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                                photo credit via Flower Factor

These beautiful miniature bulb plants not only smell like real grapes but they also have a shape similar to the fruit’s structure.  Small balls are piled on top of one another creating a long tower of deliciously sweet and fragrant spring blooms.


Scented Lemon Geranium

There are many species that have a citrus aroma but if you want a strong pungent smell, select a lemon geranium for your kitchen and/or bathroom.  The plant will produce a “clean-like” appeal to small rooms that are typically in need of deodorizer.


Tuberose

Tuberose might be one of the only flowers in existence that actually smells similar to soda!  That’s right- this variety is said to remind one of Dr. Pepper so if you’re a big fan of the popular drink, this might be the right bloom for you.  

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Lilac

Although lilac is sweet, it also has a mixture of vanilla that makes this a favorite of many gardeners and home décor professionals.  


Bradford Pear

I know I said I would name flowers that had fragrances similar to food but I never said they would all be pleasant!  If you come in contact with a Bradford Pear, you might want to grab your nose because this flowery tree smells like rotting fish!

Tags: Chocolate Cosmos, Lilacs, #EXFL, Flowers, Tuberose

The Meaning of the Thistle Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 01, 2016


Thistled


Flower of thistle

Ardent in violet tops

Full of passion

Laced in milky desire

It seems

I've pricked

My heart


SPT

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photo credit: via Flower Factor

The thistle is an interesting specimen to research because although many varieties produce a pretty purple or blue head, the plant’s prickly stem and branches wins most of the attention.  Like its rough exterior, the meaning of the flower is associated with aggressiveness, pain, protection and pride.  Since thistle is defined as both a flower and a weed, the exact inference of the bloom can extend from less positive symbolism such as poverty and weakness all the way to qualities of might and brilliance.  


Throughout history, many cultures have adopted the flower as a positive emblem, cultivating unique stories that tell the tales of past heritages.  France for instance associates thistle as a weapon against witches and bad doers.  Commonly called “Flower of the Sun” or “Herb of Witches”, the French believed that witches could not look into the sun, but the strong thistle always stood proudly to face the light.  Because of this, lure proclaims that the flower is the icon for the sun sent down to protect others from harm and evil.

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photo credit: via Flower Factor

Another example of how the thistle has been cherished around the world is its popularity in Scotland where it is the national flower.  The reason can be traced to a battle fought during the fifteenth century when the Normans initiated a brutal assault on the country.  Heavily outweighed and unarmed, the Scottish army believed they were doomed until one night when a band of soldiers snuck through the pasture in order to initiate a surprise attack.  It would have worked but the Normans were unfamiliar with the prevalent, prickly plant that grew in abundance in Scotland.  When one enemy yelped and cried in pain from being stabbed by the thistle, the Scottish army woke up and was able to protect themselves, conclusively winning the war.  From that point on, the thistle became honored and was even written about in sacred documentation.  “Nemo me impune lacesset” became the Scottish Order of the Thistle which translates into “No one attacks me with impunity”.  The flower is also stitched on the Scotland rugby uniforms to stand for fierceness and bravery.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flowers, Flower Meanings, Thistle

Books in Bloom

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 29, 2016


There’s nothing like reading a good book but when you couple it with a beautiful flower arrangement, what could be better?  “Books in Bloom” is a new trend that is sweeping libraries, bookstores and flower shops throughout New England and is showing both flower and book lovers a clever and creative approach to combining the two things they love most in this world.  Perfect for display work or events, this interesting way to dress up a great story not only proves successful within increasing customer and patron visitation, but it can also initiate a positive marketing effect for book and floral sales.  Due the fact that merchandizing can become stale over time for both industries, this idea is a perfect way to amp up an organization’s style with an ingenious and imaginative fresh way to exhibit product lines.

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photo credit: Flower Factor

So how exactly does it work?

 

Thanks to our city’s talented florists, designers are able to recreate a physical reflection of the content stored in some of our favorite titles by selecting particular varieties and showcasing them next to the book.  As patrons glance at the arrangement, their mind is believed to connect the pleasurable eye candy with the actual book, encouraging the reader to engage with the material at a more enjoyable level. The architecture of the floral pieces can be simple or elaborate depending on the details of where they are to be shown and props are encouraged to be included as well.  The great thing about “Books in Bloom” is that this concept works for both children and adult novels, making almost any book in a library you see possible to include within the presentation.  Of course certain titles work better than others such as “The Hungry Caterpillar” and the “Great Gatsby” so selecting the books should be carefully calculated beforehand.  

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photo credit: AboutFlowers.com via Flower Factor

By designing arrangements that mimic the essence of the media, we can foster a whole new level of appreciation for reading and foster a blossoming love for literature.  


Here are a few examples of my favorites!

Tags: Floral Design, Books, Childrens Book, Libraries, Flower Meanings

Election Day Bouquets for 2016

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Jul 28, 2016

Trump ? Hillary ? Can't decide. We understand. This is hard, maybe beautiful flowers can sway you. We now have an Election Day Category on our webiste for the decided and undecided. No matter where your heart is, make sure you vote. Every vote counts. 

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The Trump and Hillary bouquets are available in the Boston area only. Each bouquet arrives with a sticker to show support for that candidate. Priced modestly at $64.95, these bouquets are too fun to pass up. Sorry, no Jill Stein or Gary Johnson yet. We're working on it. 

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Tags: President, Election Day, Presidental Flowers, Patriotic Flowers, Trump, Clinton

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