I Speak for the Carnations

As Doctor Seuss writes in his book, The Lorax, "I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.  I speak for the trees because the trees have no tongues."  (I'm an Early Childhood Education Major in college, even flowers remind me of children's books.)

I know by now that you are probably wondering where I am going with this.  Well, I am Hannah.  I speak for the carnation.  I speak for the carnation because carnations don't have tongues.  Carnations have received a bad reputation for long enough and I am here to speak out for the carnation and its tainted reputation.  Oh the carnation, bless it's heart.

All too often I am sitting in on a consultation for a bride or I overhear Althea talking to a bride and the question "And which flower do you absolutely not want in your wedding?" comes up.  More often than not, the response that follows is the same.  "Carnations".  

Now I must admit, there was a time when I would have responded the same.  When most of us think of carnations our mind instantly takes us back to football homecomings and school dances.  Now if we are truly being fair, we can't blame our bitter relationship with the carnation on some poor, poor fellow who thought that carnations would be wonderful flowers when mixed with five million ribbons and glitter and accented with baby's breath.  However, believe it or not, there is more to a carnation than those memories.  Yes, if given the chance, a carnation can make any wedding, arrangement, or prom beautiful.  

According to proflowers.com, the scientific name for the carnation, dianthus, can be translated into "flower of the gods" and "flower of love."  Carnations date back to ancient Rome and Greece where they were used in art.  In those days, carnations bloomed in primarily pink, peach, and white.  However, now carnations come in a variety of colors and sizes including peach, dark purple, and even a fuzzy green.  Similar to roses, the meaning of the carnation varies with the color.  White carnations symbolize purity while pink carnations show gratitude.  I bet you didn't know that in the early 20th century the carnation became the official flower for Mother's Day.  If carnations were good enough for the Romans, Greeks, and mom, they are good enough for me!
Take for instance this lovely bouquet with peonies, roses, and carnations.  Yes, carnations!  Carnations can add color, fullness, and depth to any arrangement when used correctly.  
Photo by Scott Plauche Photography

These bouquets include a mix of roses and carnations and the bouquet below include stephanotis  and carnations. (Now I know you can admit that nothing about these arrangements yell "1980s homecoming.") Carnations can stand alone or they can be mixed with flowers to create any feel, look, or color scheme that a prospective bride might desire.  

Photo by Scott Plauche Photography
 So the next time you are tempted to say "oh, no carnations for me, no way, no way."  Remember, carnations earned their spot in the floral world and we just need to give them a chance.

~Hannah