From ancient China to Greece, Europe, and finally the New World, the tradition of sending messages as a gift of flowers has flourished over the centuries. Popularized in the Victorian era, when public display of emotion was frowned upon, great effort and detail went into the choice of flowers presented in a bouquet. Each flower chosen had its own well-known meaning concealed in its size, shape, color, and even the way it was presented — by hand, singularly, or in a group. Even the number of blooms was important.
While much of the secret language of flowers is lost in modern times, the traditional gift of roses on Valentine’s Day still expresses unmistakable true love. And while many celebrate Valentine’s Day later in the year, we midwesterners appreciate giving blooms in February, when our hearts and senses most long for the color and smell of the garden in bloom.
From the hearts of everyone at the Garden, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day with a virtual bouquet, and hope that if you were lucky enough to get some flowers of your own today, you enjoy them at least until the snowdrops pop up to welcome us to spring. It can’t be long now!
Keep your home bouquet longer with these quick tips from Nancy Clifton, horticultural program specialist:
- Use floral preservatives that come with flowers!
- When you are ready to put your flowers in a vase, give each stem a fresh cut. Cutting at an angle opens more area for the flower to take up water. If you can, cut the stem ends in water to prevent the cut from sealing quickly.
- Make sure that the water you used is room temperature (or slightly warmer) to help your flowers absorb it quickly and easily.
- Make sure your vase is clean. Dust can hinder water uptake in your bouquet.
- Keep your arrangement away from direct heat and cold drafts.
- Pull off bruised petals to keep your flowers looking their freshest.
©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org