Saturday, 22 August 2015

Say it with flowers: The Carnation

No self-respecting sampler should be without a carnation
or three tucked away in it's borders or standing tall in some
buxom vase in pride of place.

What is interesting is that it's name is so completely different
in all the major European languages.  Very often there
would be similarities making it easy to guess what flower
someone was talking about, but not so in the case
of the magnificent carnation.

Oeillet - French
Anjer - Dutch
Nelke - German
Garofano - Italian
Clavel - Spanish

They make wonderful squirrel perches.

and in Russia it sounds like something you should
shout loudly before necking a vodka shot - gvozdika!

This symbolic flower is associated with the bonds of affection;
health and energy; fascination and love.  Also a pinkish flesh
tint once used widely in oil paintings of buxom nudes.

The big ones will even take the weight of a stag!

It's the birth flower for the month of January,
the first wedding anniversary flower (new husbands
please take note) and apparently the state flower
of Ohio.  I wonder who decides these things.
Let's shout bagsey on the dog rose for Long Dog!

Colour also plays a part in the symbolism of the carnation.
White is for pure love (baby samplers), red for deep love
(wedding samplers) and purple for capriciousness (quick
samplers that use up spare threads),

Most significant though are the pink carnations which were
superstitiously believed to have first appeared on earth
formed from the tears of the Virgin Mary on her
pathway to Calvary and are symbolic of a mother's
undying love.

It's also the trade name for a delicious brand of evaporated
milk in the UK, as all baby boomers will know, which goes
particularly well with tinned pineapple chunks for
Sunday afters.

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