Saturday, March 27, 2010

Springing Up All Over

Do you love flowers? I do. This time of the year is bliss, especially after such a long, snowy winter. The bloom in Philadelphia has begun: daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinth. Even the trees are getting into the act as the cherry blossoms begin to cast a cotton-candy-pink haze over the neighborhood. Soon there will be little wind-blown eddies of delicate petals all over the sidewalk, drifting out into the street.

I recently went to the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme was 'Passport to the World' and there were some truly amazing displays. I saw a hot-air balloon completely covered in flowers. A giraffe stretched its long orange-orchid-bedecked neck over the festivities. There was an elephant, too! The scents were exquisite, sometimes almost overpowering. A convention hall full of flowers is pretty potent. The skill and artistry of the floral designers was delicious.

All this bounty of color and beauty sparked a discussion among my friends. We debated various favorite flowers. (Mine: tulips and grape hyacinth. I love how succulent they look and the vibrant colors.) Then we got talking about cut flowers. Do you send them? I used to send my husband flowers after a deal had gone well, or if I knew he’d had a particularly bad week. The secretaries in his office loved it. Now he works from home, so I can buy flowers that brighten both our days. I used to send my mother sheaves of spring flowers on May Day. Now she wants blooming plants and thinks cut flowers are a waste. I bow to her wishes; my goal is to bring color into her life, not argue about thrift.

I buy cut flowers for myself, especially in the spring. When it’s dreary, I can’t resist the cheerful colors. I like to bring flowers to hostesses, along with a bottle of wine, when we dine out. Often, I’m struck by how surprised and delighted people are to receive flowers. I wonder if flower-giving has fallen out of fashion. Still, I love to get them. Why shouldn’t I give them, too?

A young friend of mine asked me what he should get his mother for Mother’s Day. I said: flowers. He argued, saying it was lame, cliché, too impersonal, and besides, they die. A week later, I had dinner with this mother and she spent thirty minutes telling me about the flowers her son had given her—he had taken my advice after all. How she had found them waiting for her in the morning with a card. How lovely the colors were. How good they made the house smell. How some of the flowers had wilted quicker than others, so she got a different vase and rearranged the remaining blooms for a different effect. There was absolutely nothing ‘lame’ in her joy and I relayed the story to my young friend. He conceded that he had learned a lesson and thanked me.

To me, flowers show appreciation, love, affection, regret. Heartfelt, simple and just plain pretty.

What about you? Do you give flowers? How often do you get them? Is it for a special occasion or ‘just because?’ Do you prefer cut flowers or blooming plants? Bouquets or sheaves of flowers you can arrange yourself?

Thinking about love and flowers—Lisa


Mary B said...

I also love flowers, giving and getting. What seems to happen, however, is that I get them mostly at times of illness or sadness (like a death).

A funny thing, my 89 year-old mother really doesn't like getting flowers! She used to like getting flowering plants that she could place in her garden and enjoy each year as they bloomed in the spring. But now when someone brings her a bouquet it's "Oh, where do I put them"!

It would truly be wonderful if we all thought to give these lovely morale boosters for no reason at all, or as you said, to help celebrate good times or or when you know someone is having a bad time. They certainly help change your perspective.

linda s said...

I love flowers that grow every year and that I can cut and bring into the house. dh planted 500 daffodils last fall for my birthday. A vase of daffodils say Spring.
2 years ago he planted shasta daisies and I had a lovely patch to cut. Last night someone sneaked into my back garden and dug out a huge shovel full of them. This morning there was a glaring hole in my daisy garden. I still can't believe someone would steal my flowers.

Estella said...

I love flowers, but very seldom give or get them.
I enjoy both cut flowers and plants.

Lisa Ruff said...

Stealing daisies?! Dirt and all? I suppose you could look at it as a compliment, but that doesn't make up for the hole in your flower bed. How odd.

And planting 500 daffodils bulbs says 'love' any way you look at it.