Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Roots of Flower Arranging

This is the time of year when our cutting gardens are bursting with the last of the season’s colors… It is an almost bittersweet time as we fill our vases with a rainbow of fragrant blooms from the garden, knowing another fall and winter will pass before we can do this again. We arrange our flowers with tender care, selecting a red rose for the ones we love, snapdragons for strength, or perhaps calla lilies for beauty. The flowers we arrange and give to others possess historic roots that grow deeper than those from which they blossomed.

The earliest known flower arrangers were the ancient Egyptians in about 2500 BC. They selected flowers for burials that were sacred or had religious meaning, such as lotus flowers and water lilies. The practice of arranging flowers as gifts began in prehistoric times when flowers were known more for their medicinal value than their aesthetic value. Today, a gift of flowers is a common way to express love, sympathy, apology, and a host of other sentiments.

There is also great cultural significance in the art of flower arranging. One example is the tradition of the bride’s bouquet, containing specially chosen blooms that are both emotionally significant as well as relevant to the theme of the wedding. A lesser known tradition is the corsage worn by the groom in his buttonhole. This is actually a medieval tradition that represents the declaration of his love for the bride by wearing his lady’s colors.