My apologies to readers who have been anticipating Week 3 of Flowers, which was scheduled for last week. As August’s past few days ago, and we are on the first week of September I want to dive into new projects, but not without ending our Week of Flowers.
So, here were are with our last three flowers chosen from the A Book of Flowers: papaver, tuberose, and zinnia.
In Week 2 there was a stanza at the end of the post from the poem “The Poppy” by Francis Thompson. Without an analysis it is difficult to understand the poem and the author’s message. This was why I spent time googling for an analysis and found a thesis written by Joseph J. George explaining the significance of The Poppy. The thesis is available on-line in PDF format. There is also another one written by Paul Lynch O’Connor providing more details in regard to the Meynell children, the source of inspiration for Thompson’s poems.
The Poppy is about Monica Meynell, one of the Meynell children he loved most and whom he associated with the poppy when she plucked one out and gave it to him. Such kind and innocent gesture led him to fall in love with her. But, Monica was much too young; hence, “My wither’d dream,” the last three words of the poem.
To Thompson the poppy was his dearest Monica. That was years before the poppy became a symbol of Remembrance and was mentioned in the well known poem “In Flanders Fields.”
The poppy also has meanings that differ from one culture to another, and its poppy seeds can be used in baking meanwhile other poppy seeds are poisonous. An opium poppy is significant for either medicinal purposes or recreational use, which we can find in Papaver somniferum.
But, we’re florists (um, excluding me), we want to use papaver to create stunning arrangements. The ‘Mother of Pearl’ is my favourite:
These flowers last a couple of days but cutting the stems at the right stage you can get them to last longer. They hold up to 5 days in a cooler at 39 degrees. Similar to these are the ‘Champagne Bubbles’. They have very lovely vibrant colours.
Those who grow these poppies in their garden can enjoy them for as cut flowers for couple of days.
You’ll be able to dry the flowers to preserve them. Next time I will get in more details on preserving flowers.
When you’re looking for flowers with strong scent for your home or an event, may I suggest adding tuberose to the arrangement?
Or, as Martha Stewart recommended, use fresh cut tuberose instead of air freshener spray, “There’s no better way to add both fragrance and beauty to your home.” And that is very true.
Unfortunately, we don’t carry tuberose very often. However, you can speak with our florists in advance to make arrangements.
These attractive flowers can last quite long in a vase or in a pot. We carry zinnias on occasion. For those who want them in wedding arrangements or sympathy arrangements, just give us a call
Zinnias are low maintenance and they grow faster than most flowers. They just need direct sunlight, good soil, and make sure they are watered when necessary. Keep their leaves dry or they’ll develop mildew.
Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening, Gardener’s Supply, wrote an insightful post on growing and caring for zinnias, particularly Benary’s Giants: Best Zinnias for Cutting. In her experience, Ms. LaLiberte stated the best zinnias to grow were Benary’s Giants. I could see the reasoning behind this. Since zinnias need cutting when they bloom to allow continuous growth of new flowers, you’ll always get freshly cut flowers for your home or to gift a friend!
Also, according to Ms. LaLiberte, ‘lilliput’ zinnias attract more butterflies than other type of zinnias. Perhaps that’s something you’d like to plant in your garden next year?
As our summer is ending and we’re getting ready for fall, our next posts will be about preserving summer flowers and decorating your home with fall arrangements.
~~ Quyên Ngô