Behind the Bloom: Carnation
Carnations get a bad rap! Cheap and tawdry, the last resort of a desperate date, bought on route to the party. But I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for them!
When I was at university I shared an apartment with another student in the Gay Village. I’d pop over to the local florist to buy myself pink spray carnations to brighten up our place. I thought those carnations were great! I thought I was sophisticated (ha!). Inexpensive and so long lasting, those pinks brightened my youth.
As I refined my taste in flowers I also recognized that most of my clients disliked carnations. Why? Their ubiquity, their association with everything unfashionable, and their cheapness I guess. It was easier to agree with customers who admonished "no carnations, no babies breath." Yet, I always bought a bunch or two for the store, that I’d use judiciously for people I felt would “get it”.
These days, new varieties continued to impress me with their vivid colours. From deep velvety purples, to millennial pinks, to “Hermes Orange”. There are sizeable single carnations and delicate sprays. Now I’m buying a full case a week from my Colombian supplier!
So whether you’re a long-time fan like me, a recent convert, or still on the fence, give carnations a whirl! Try using lots of them “en masse”. Or a few stems “fleur seule” in individual bud vases (there, I've taught you two flower arranging terms!). Carnations are also dynamite in whimsical mixed bouquets!
Here’s to ending flower snobbery — it’s time for a carnation comeback!
• Rosie, owner Quince Flowers