Gladiolus has been dubbed the flower of the Gladiators. It represents strength of character, sincerity, generosity. In the Victorian age with its secret language of flowers it was said to represent “love at first sight”. Gladiolus derives its name from the latin word for sword and is sometimes called the sword lily. As a member of the iris family it contains about 260 species. Only about 10 are native to Europe the rest are native to southern Africa. The species vary from very small to the spectacular giant flower spikes you see in floral designs. The flower stalk of the Gladiolus contains an extended row of trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers, all of which face in one direction. Their colors include pink to reddish or light purple with white, contrasting markings, or white to cream or orange to red.
All species of poppies are attractive and most are cultivated as ornamental plants. In Europe the poppy is a common weed and found in many locales including Flanders, the setting for the famous poem by the Canadian surgeon and soldier John McCrae “In Flanders Fields”. However, A few species are cultivated as sources of drugs and foods. The opium poppy is so widely used, for both drugs and food, that its worldwide production is monitored by international agencies. It produces opium, opiates, poppy seeds and poppy seed oil.
Poppies have long been used as a symbol of both sleep and death. Sleep because of the opium extracted from them, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep.
In the United Kingdom poppies are traditionally worn on lapels each November in remembrance of those who died serving their country (symbol coming from Flanders Field). In November 2010 the U.K.’s prime minister and his aides wore the poppies on their lapels during a visit to China nearly causing an international incident and damaging relations between the two countries. The Chinese took offense because the poppy reminds the Chinese of the many Chinese who died at the hands of the English during the Opium wars fought in the 1800’s. The Chinese insisted the Poppies be removed. The Prime Minister informed the Chinese that poppies meant a great deal to them and the English people and refused to remove them.
Artificial poppies (called “Buddy Poppies”) are used by the Veterans of Foreign Wars as a source of financial assistance to disabled veterans who assemble them. VFW conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals. The minimal cost of Buddy Poppies to VFW units provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation’s veterans.
This scribe is brought to you by your friends at Starbright Floral Design… We are an enthusiastic bunch that spends our day making really cool compositions of flowers. Bright colors, great designs and amazing service to our clients is what we are all about. Starbright is located in the heart of New York City’s Historic Flower District in a second floor loft space. We spend our days making flower arrangements that we send as gifts on behalf of our clients. People call us for a bunch of reasons (1 800 520 8999)… Sometimes to say “sorry”, other times to wish someone well during an illness or to congratulate on one of life’s major milestones. Sometimes people call us because the caught the romantic influenza and they think someone is super sexy! We even get some really shy customers that don’t know what to say on the card and need lots of help!
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