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Archive for August, 2007

Fun Flower Quiz

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Everybody loves flowers. We love smelling them, looking at them and giving them
to people we care about. But how much do you know about flowers? Well, take
the quiz and let’s find out! Score a 9 or a 10 and you’re really up on your flora.
Score five or less and you’ve got some studying to do. Good luck!

1. What is the national flower of the United States?
a. Rose
b. Tulip
c. Bluebonnet
d. Carnation

2. What is the fear of flowers called?
a. floraphobia
b. stamenophobia
c. anthrophobia
d. there’s no such thing as fear of flowers

3. In cooking, tulip bulbs are sometimes used in place of what?
a. Potatoes
b. Sugar
c. Garlic
d. Onions

4. From where do nearly 60% of all USA grown fresh cut flowers come from?
a. Alabama
b. New York
c. California
d. Hawaii

5. What is the world’s largest flower?
a. Titan arum
b. Rafflesia arnoldii
c. Sunflower
d. Magnolium leonardii

6. What is the world’s smallest flower?
a. Hydrania
b. Wolffia
c. Miniature cherry blossom
d. Clivia miniata

7. What are the best selling cut flowers in the world?
a. Carnations
b. Roses
c. Tulips
d. Daffodils

8. About how many species of begonia are there?
a. 13
b. 130
c. 1,300
d. 13,000

9. The Peach Blossom is the state flower of which state?
a. Indiana
b. Delaware
c. Georgia
d. Kentucky

10. Which is not another name for snapdragons?
a. Calves’ snouts
b. Lion’s lips
c. Toad’s mouth
d. Monkey jaws


1. The ROSE is the national flower of the United States. It was signed into law
by President Reagan on October 7, 1986 in a ceremony that was held, of course,
in the White House Rose Garden.

2. The fear of flowers is called ANTHROPHOBIA. Symptoms include
breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, sweating and madness.

3. In cooking sometimes tulip bulbs are sometimes used to replace ONIONS.

4. More than half of the cut flowers grown in the United States come from

5. The largest flower in the world is the RAFFLESIA ARNOLDII. It is found in
Indonesia and can grow three feet across and weigh fifteen pounds! When in
bloom the rafflesia emits a smell similar to rotting meat, which attracts flies for

6. The WOLFFIA is the smallest flower in the world. It is a type of duckweed. A
bouquet of a dozen plants would easily fit on the head of a pin!

7. The best selling cut flowers in the world are CARNATIONS.

8. There are about 1,300 species of begonia. And if you are one of the many
people addicted to growing these beautiful flowers you are known as a begoniac!

9. The peach blossom is the state flower of DELAWARE. The flower was
adopted in 1895 because of Delaware’s reputation as the “Peach State,” having
over 800,000 peach trees at the time. Did you pick Georgia? Gotcha!

10. There are a lot of colorful names for snapdragons, but MONKEY JAWS is
definitely not one of them!

The Magic and Meaning of Herbs

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

We have seen that flowers have their own language, with secret meanings based on the type or even the color. For some, a woman’s heart might leap with joy upon the receipt of a dozen red roses from the object of her desire, because red roses represent romantic love. But send her a bouquet of yellow roses and you might create a different reaction altogether. Yellow roses represent friendship, which can be a lovely thing, except perhaps if the recipient had something a little more intimate in mind!

Did you know that herbs, too, have their own meaning? For example oregano represents happiness, as it should. After all, have you even once been unhappy while eating a slice of pizza? It should also be no surprise that chamomile, a favorite tea, represents comfort and sage stands for wisdom. And the Cowardly Lion would have done well to exchange his bravery medal for a bunch of fresh thyme, which represents courage.

The belief in the power of herbs goes back to ancient times. People believed that strong smelling herbs would help to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. And so brides began to carry flowers and odoriferous herbs on their wedding day, a bouquet that might include chives and even garlic. Imagine carrying a nice bunch of garlic as you made your stroll down the aisle—I wonder why that particular tradition never caught on?

Herbs are not just benign plants that smell nice (or not so nice) and have secret meanings. For thousands of years folklore has valued herbs for their magical properties. In India people were often buried with basil, believing that the herb would be their ticket into heaven. During the Middle Ages it was believed that a spell cast by a witch could be repelled by wearing a charm made of dill leaves. Dill leaves were also burned to end thunderstorms. In ancient Greece it was believed that if you anointed yourself with marjoram you would dream of your future spouse, and by planting it in graves you could assure eternal peace for the deceased.

In ancient times it was believed that sprinkling rosemary around your house would bring good luck. Students also often wore a braid of rosemary around their heads to improve performance on their exams. So remember, whether you want to dream about your future spouse, score big on your upcoming SAT’s or are just looking for the nerve to tell your boss a thing or two, there is a herb out there just waiting to help!

Fine Florists often incorporate seasonal herbs in their arrangements but be sure to give a day’s notice for any specific herbal message you might have in mind.

Fleeting and fragile blossoms

Friday, August 17th, 2007

While many of nature’s most fragrant flowers are widely available and generally sturdy, some of the sweetest blooms are here for a minute and almost untouchably tender. Still, for all their fragility, they’re worth the velvet glove treatment for their poetic beauty.
Lily of the Valley: Lovely miniature bells on luminous green stalks, these are truly one of spring’s cutest shoots. Their characteristic bright scent and pure white shade make them a natural for wedding bouquets. Send a vintage cachepot full of the growing blooms to make Mother’s Day an-old fashioned delight, and nothing makes a more dapper, romantic boutonniere. But heads up – even the smallest bouquet is commands a larger budget!

Chocolate Cosmos: These dusky blossoms, the color of fine, bittersweet chocolate, add a cosmo.jpgbit of mystery to any bouquet. Their dark, velvety shade hits a striking noir-ish note, softened by their simple, daisy-like form. Though they don’t broadcast their cocoa-y perfume, nuzzle a bloom and you’ll get a clear whiff of the stuff that truffles are made of.

Sweet Peas: Like a little flutter of silk, the lovely, ruffled sweet pea tells us summer is near. These girly flowers are sweetness personified, from their silk hanky delicacy to their bee-dizzying perfume. Imagine a bundle of pink and purple blooms in a milk glass vase set on a farm house table, and you’ll get a good idea of their girl-next-door appeal.

Gardenia: Billie Holliday wore them in her hair. Screen sirens of the 30’s pinned them to gardenia.jpgtheir furs. Prom queens wore wristfuls of them as they danced the night away. Curved like sculpted ivory into a bas-relief blossom, gardenias are fragile, evocative flowers.

Set afloat in a shallow bowl they’ll tint the air with a honeyed, pervasive perfume. (Try drifting a few in a warm tub as you soak, and feel like Cleopatra). And though they may be tender and bruise at the slightest touch, they’re worth the star treatment for their creamy beauty and sultry scent.

The Language of Flowers

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

We all know that red roses denote passion and white ones symbolize purity, but did you know that during the Victorian era there was an entire language of flowers? It was a time when people could not or would not express their feelings verbally, and so flowers became a substitute form of communication.

It is believed that lists identifying the meaning of flowers were first published in Turkey. From there the lists traveled to France, and eventually to England and the United States. The language of flowers, or “florigraphy” reached its peak in the 19th Century and many flower dictionaries could easily be found in print at this time.

Which could create a bit of a problem. After all, there are only a few flowers which have retained the same meaning for hundreds of years. For example, a red rose has always stood for love while a narcissus has long been the symbol of egotism. But for most flowers in Victorian times the meaning could vary, depending on which flower dictionary you happened to be using. It’s easy to imagine the complications that might arise if two lovers who were deciphering the meaning of a fresh bouquet happened to be using different flower dictionaries!

And there were often other problems when one tried to speak in the secret language of flowers. There is a story of a French woman who sent flowers to her lover to express her deep feelings. Unknown to her, however, her husband understood the meaning of her floral message and attempted to drown his dallying wife in the Seine. Fortunately her lover came to her rescue and couple ran away together and lived happily ever after.

Today it may be difficult to find a flower dictionary, but the meanings of hundreds of flowers are readily available on the Internet. A daffodil still sends the message, “you are the only one,” while a gardenia is telling that special someone that she “is lovely.” Sometimes the message for a specific flower can vary simply with the color. A purple hyacinth says, “I am truly sorry,” but a pink one denotes playfulness.

So just because we happen to live over a century after the close of the Victorian era doesn’t mean that we can’t still send coded messages to loved ones through the secret language of flowers. It remains a beautiful and romantic way to express your feelings. Just make sure that both of you and your beloved are obtaining the flower meanings from the same website!