The Language Of Flowers – Part 1

“I’ll Be The One Wearing A Red Carnation, Because I Find You Fascinating”: How Flowers Can Send Secret Messages

 

Flowers aren’t just beautiful blooms with pleasing scents – the variety of plants available has led to the use of flowers to send coded messages at many points throughout human history. The practice of sending flower messages is called floriography.  NYC flower lovers have been practicing floriography since before there was a flower market in NYC.  The messages may be seem subtle and cryptic but Valentine’s Day flowers in NYC by Starbright delivers the message loud and proud for all to see “I love you!”.

References to flower codes go back as far as the Ancient Greeks, but very little is known about what the codes actually were – chances are the codes were passed on orally, their meaning transferred from one illiterate message-sender to another by word of mouth. Romans, Egyptians and Persians also used flower-codes to send messages, but just like the Greeks we know little about the codes themselves.

The Victorian-era world was obsessed with flowers – and Victorian-era England was obsessed with the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire, in the early half of the 18th century, was going wild for tulips – and had started using tulips to send very complex notes, with colors standing in for words and arrangement standing in for grammar. As England’s interest in botany grew, so did interest in the more dramatic side of flower history.

Lady Mary Morley Montagu is the woman credited with bringing flower codes to the British court. From 1716-1718 Lady Mary lived in the Ottoman Empire with her husband Lord Edward Montagu, British ambassador to the Ottoman Court. She wrote wildly-detailed letters back home to friends in London, capturing Ottoman life with a deeply revealing lens. Her letters detailed many mysteries – bath houses, women’s rights and flower codes. The flower codes captured Georgian-Victorian era attentions – by 1809, Joseph Hammer-Pugstall’s Dictionnaire du Language des Fleurs would present the formal code used by nobles across Europe, driving further adoption (and further dictionaries!) There were literally hundreds of dictionaries about – we found one digitized on archive.org. Let’s take a look inside for some ideas to personalize your Valentine’s Day floral gifts!

Flower power
Flowers in NYC from Starbright Floral Design

Calla Lily – Magnificent Beauty – It’s clear how these flowers got their symbolic meaning, they’re simply magnificent!

Yellow Tulips – Hopeless Love – These are the perfect gift for your partner-in-life – sometimes, “hopeless” can be a good thing. If these are for you check out Solar Flair.

Amaryllis – Pride, Timidity, Splendid Beauty – These are a great gift for someone who likes to grow flowers inside their New York City apartment. Uptown, downtown, East Side, West Side – these flowers will do great anywhere. Starbright offers these blooms in both arrangements and potted. Check out this post for tips on taking care of an amaryllis plant in NYC.

Red Roses – Pure and Lovely – Note that these meanings are typically intended for lovers…if you’re giving roses to a family member, according to this book, it’s best to go with white (which means “innocence”) or bouquet of mixed colors. No matter the color, size, or shape – roses in NYC are a Valentine’s Day favorite. Check out this post for a look at the value of roses through history.

Dwarf Sunflower – Adoration – They must’ve chosen this one because the lil’ guys are so adorable! These guys are available in summer and fall, but they’re such a favorite that we wanted to include them anyway.

Next week we’ll take a look at some of the floriography traditions from Asian cultures!

 

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.

 

NYC, The Roses are coming, the roses are coming!

NYC beware, Valentine’s Day is coming up.  Soon, roses in NYC will number in the millions.  Starbright Floral Design, is keenly aware of how roses in NYC are an integral part of Valentine’s Day floral gift giving.  In fact, Valentine’s Day flowers in NYC and red roses in NYC are synonymous to many New Yorkers.     Therefore we thought it’d be a good time to go over some rose history and get to know how some deep rooted traditions sprang up around these flowers that has NYC oh-ing and ah-ing come Valentine’s Day.

Roses
the appeal of red roses is pretty obvious to us!

Why are Roses sent

Roses in History

Roses are one of humanity’s oldest commodity goods. There are two main families of rose – Mediterranean and Oriental. The Mediterranean rose was extensively harvested by societies in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome and the Greek City States. In general, the ancient world used the rose as decoration – in addition to a lovely visual, a rose also offers a strong fragrance, so it makes sense that the bloom would be adopted early as a go-to cultivar.

With the fall of the Roman Empire we would expect to see a fall of the rose – and in a sense, we sort of do. At this point in human history, monks and their monasteries are popping up to hold on to/pass-on the ancient world’s medicinal secrets – and the rose has a starring role. Rose oil, pressed from rose hips, has curative properties that ease many stomach concerns, and also help manage blood pressure. NOTE: YOU ARE NOT A MEDIEVAL MONK – IF YOU NEED MEDICAL ADVICE, YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR DOCTOR, NOT READ OUR BLOG! WE DO NOT SUGGEST YOU ACTUALLY TAKE ROSE HIP OIL WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR PHYSICIAN. This is very, very lucky for the rose – as Europe transitioned out of the Dark Ages and into the Medieval era, monasteries became the nodes that the rest of society would rebuild around. Think about it – you’re a merchant, your country has just about seen the last of the bubonic plague, and it’s time to go consolidate populations a little bit like ya do, when over half of the population gets wiped out by the plague. Where are you going to go? You’re probably going to set up near one of those medicine- and beer- and cheese-producing monasteries, because medicine, beer and cheese are all necessary things. This is where you’re going to get your flowers, too – and that’s where the rose comes in.

Roses are one of the prime commodity goods exchanged by upper-class European citizens from about 500CE-1875CE. They have utility (medicine), they are relatively hardy, and most importantly they can be endlessly hybridized. When you’re looking at a commodity’s value, what’s happening is you’re evaluating the average cost of that good in the market, in comparison to the quality of the good in front of you. With rose plants, you need to keep in mind that while the rose originally comes from warm climates, most of Europe is cold. Many hybrids make the plant hardier or longer-blooming, or maybe they’ll bloom more times per year, or maybe the hips are big enough that a short grow season isn’t awful, or…Roses are an interesting commodity. Today there are lots of varieties and lots of colors and even a lot of shapes and sizes.

The rose’s history as a commodity good is not dissimilar to that of an engagement ring. Both goods were originally given to help provide an economic foundation in times of extreme stress. With an engagement ring, for example, it was understood that the provider in the marriage might die. In that event, the ring could be sold and a new living situation could be arranged. Roses, too, are high-value gifts – although in the modern era, we cut our flowers, so this symbolism has been obscured by all the other romance of the occasion. Extravagance for extravagance’s sake never hurt anybody!

2015 Valentine’s Day Roses in NYC

Roses cleaning
Alex finds a new love for rosesValentine’s Day Roses 2015

So why are we bringing all of this to your attention? Nic Faitos, the founder of Starbright, has given us permission to clue you in, dear reader – the roses are going to be cheaper if you order them before January 20th. Roses are an “inelastic commodity” – there are only going to be as many roses available for purchase on February 14th as there were grown, picked and shipped by February 13th, and no matter what the vast majority of consumers will be after some roses. In this scenario – “there’s a rush on a thing who’s quantity is finite” – the single best move you can make is to get in early, so you can maximize your dollar’s value.

Rose Cleaning
Patti Ann cleaning roses at Starbright Floral Design

Right now, roses in NYC within e-commerce websites are being sold without regard to the inevitable demand driven cost increases.  The skyrocketing wholesale cost of the roses have a corresponding effect on consumer prices.   So if you have a special person you’re planning to send long stemmed red roses in NYC for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, placing an order with Starbright sooner rather than later can help you stretch your resources.

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.

Color Profile : Orange

Ever wonder where flowers got their “meanings”?

Color psychologist don’t. And they have loads of studies backing up their theories. The general model of color psychology relies on six basic principles:

  1. Color can carry specific meaning.
  2. Color meaning is either based in learned meaning or biologically innate meaning.
  3. The perception of a color causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving.
  4. The evaluation process forces color motivated behavior.
  5. Color usually exerts its influence automatically.
  6. Color meaning and effect has to do with context as well.[1]

Over at Starbright Floral Design, we get to work with lots of colors everyday and all of us have our favorites. But why are they our favorites and what does that say? Up this week :

Orange

mini pumpkins
Orange comes in all sorts of forms here at Starbright Floral Design
“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.” Wassily Kandinsky

The color orange has a special place in Starbright’s design palette even though it is the most contested colors here in the US; people generally have a “love it” or “hate it” reaction to orange. Here at Starbright, we tend to collectively lean towards loving it. And what’s not to love? According to Color Wheel Pro, “Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation”.

What makes orange so special?

Orange is a vibrant and energetic color that is highly visible to the human eye. It is often used catch attention and highlight important elements of a design. For a similar reason, orange can also be considered a “bargain” color – in floral design, this means orange flowers will make an arrangement feel more present.

The shade of the color is extra important when considering the symbolic associations of orange. Because the color was named for the fruit, orange is often associated with health and vitality. While in a muted tone, burnt or greyed oranges that can be commonly spotted in the color of changing leaves are most often associated with Autumn. Because of the close connection to nature, more subtle shades of orange are often used to represent change, movement, and comfort.

 

For Encouragement
Orange explosion
Orange you glad you did something for yourself today?

Are you trying to start a new project? Quit an old habit? Beginning a journey? Orange promotes a positive perspective on life and help to motivate people to look on the bright side of a situation. According to the color symbolism of ancient heraldry, orange represents strength and determination.

This perky shade is your best bet when you want to rev yourself up so you can hit the gym or channel creativity for a work project. “Orange is said to stimulate enthusiasm” 

 

For the Kids
Gerbera Daisies
Great big orange gerbera daisies

Looking for something for someone young? Kids and teens are especially down with the color orange.  We’re guessing it might because orange tends to carry a sense of adventure about it.

 

For the Hostess
Walk on an Autumn Day
Walk on an Autumn Day

It’s not always easy to say what you want to say. The color orange is associated with social communication. Studies have shown an increase in two-way conversations while the color orange is present. According to color theorists, “this color is both physically and mentally stimulating which gets people thinking and talking!”

 

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.

Color Profile : Red

Ever wonder where flowers got their “meanings”?

Color psychologist don’t. And they have loads of studies backing up their theories. The general model of color psychology relies on six basic principles:

  1. Color can carry specific meaning.
  2. Color meaning is either based in learned meaning or biologically innate meaning.
  3. The perception of a color causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving.
  4. The evaluation process forces color motivated behavior.
  5. Color usually exerts its influence automatically.
  6. Color meaning and effect has to do with context as well.[1]

Over at Starbright Floral Design, we get to work with lots of colors everyday and all of us have our favorites. But why are they our favorites and what does that say? Up this week :

Red

Red is for Romance
Roses, amaryllis, orchids, hypericomb berries and autumn leaves

Did you know that red is the most common color used on national flags?  Or that red is generally considered to be a good luck color in Asia? Or that red is the traditional color for 40th anniversaries?

What makes red so special?

Red is the color of extremes. It is a warm color with a lot of energy. It is the second most visible color to the eye, though about 8% of the male population cannot see it. Many people think of red as the color of action. To the ancient Greeks, red was the color of super-human heroism. And while we’re certainly not going to knock that association, it’s also worth mentioning the color’s current day connection – romance.

 

For Someone Special
roses are red
Roses are red

“As it happens, red is an exquisite ambassador for love, and in more ways than people may realize. Not only is red the color of the blood that flushes the face and swells the pelvis and that one swears one would spill to save the beloved’s prized hide. It is also a fine metaphoric mate for the complexity and contrariness of love. In red we see shades of life, death, fury, shame, courage, anguish, pride and the occasional overuse of exfoliants designed to combat signs of aging. Red is bright and bold and has a big lipsticked mouth, through which it happily speaks out of all sides at once. Yoo-hoo! yodels red, come close, have a look. Stop right there, red amends, one false move and you’re dead.”

From NYTimes.com

If you’re not convinced, check out this article, “Red Alert: Science Discovers The Color of Sexual Attraction”  from Psychology Today. It’s action packed with useful information.

For the Home
Orchids
Orchids

 

Decorating a home means balancing style and utility, favorite colors and what’s available, space and lack of space. Red is one of the top two most popular colors, but many people stay far away from it when picking their color schemes. Contrary to popular belief, red is a great color to bring into your space. Whether your looking to add feelings of warmth and comfort or richness and luxury, red is a favorite of feng shui experts and interior designers alike. Known for increasing appetites, red details are especially great for the kitchen and dinning areas as well as the bedroom. But be careful to use reds in moderation – too much red can be over stimulating and cause restlessness.

 

For Body, Mind, and Soul
Starbright Arrangment
Inspire Me

Dealing with life can require an extra kick sometimes. If you’re not a big coffee drinker, consider adding a bit of red to the area. Physically, red can cause a bump to your blood pressure, speed up your heart rate, and motivate you to action. Red flowers can also increase the sensitivity of your senses and lend feelings of boldness, courage and action.

If red is your favorite color, you might be a strong person who craves independence. And if you have a particular aversion to the color red, it could mean you tend to be impulsive and could use some calming influences. Mixing reds with teals, blues, and greens (as in the arrangement above from StarbrightNYC) can balance strong red shades enough for even the strongest red-dissenter.

 

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.

Making the most of your consultation

As seen on Edge!

Weddings are tough.  Want to look as happy as these guys? This month, Eric Strauss, a long time friend of Starbright, shares his memories of getting ready for the big day. Check out the post on Edge on the Net: Conversation Counts – Making the most of your floral consultation.  

 

Eric and Jasen
White men CAN jump – arm and arm (into the future). Congratulations, guys!
Eric and Jasen
Eric and Jasen
Eric&Jasen Wedding Party
Look at all the ladies in white!

 

Jasen's boutonniere
Jasen’s boutonniere

 

Eric & Jasen
Eric & Jasen

 

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.

A Hand Picked Romance

At Starbright Floral Design in New York City we’re inspired by the stories clients share with us. Roughly one out of every fifteen weddings we get to participate in decorating this season are for same-sex couples. Each one comes with a unique pair of individuals, with love in their eyes and a desire to give their family and friends an event to remember. We’re excited to share their experiences, and how those experiences have inspired us as we continue through the seasons.

As seen on The Edge, Boston 

Floral centerpieces
Centerpiece with late Summer garden flowers

 

A Hand-Picked Romance

“My partner and I have been dreaming about getting married for fifteen years. Being a same sex couple, I thought it would remain but a dream. When New York gave us the right to make it official we jumped at the chance. We booked a restaurant downtown for an intimate celebration with thirty or so friends. The floral designs were wildflower themed. I told Starbright I wanted it to look like I picked the flowers out of my garden. What they came up with from such limited direction was incredible. We got married in New York, with friends around us, with good food, surrounded by beautiful flowers. It was a dream come true. Starbright’s help in making this dream a reality can’t be overstated.”

– Shared by Jonathan V.

Jonathan and his partner’s earnestness inspired the Starbright team to craft arrangements that would imbue the atmosphere with the same sweet, everyday hopefulness that goes along with a bouquet of wildflowers.

Working With Wildflowers

Starbright-Flowers18

The trick to successfully using wildflowers for wedding decor is to know which varieties are in season. From early Spring to late Summer, new bloom varieties appear in the shop each week. Some of our favorites re-appear only briefly before they disappear again until next year. In Spring, blooms such as the lace-like aster, sweet smelling lilies of the valley, and the many petaled ranunculus are popular for weddings because they remind us of new beginnings and softer feelings. Late Summer wildflowers are a whole different ballgame. Be ready for bright colors, lots of texture and a trip to the wild side.

Late summer wildflowers tend to be wind-swept-and-wild. The colors, shapes, and textures are a great way to add a twist to standard floral fare. During this time of year, herbaceous florals begin to fill the Starbright Floral Design cooler; small, untraditional blooms stand out amongst twisted stems in shades of green. Great for adding dimension, texture, and scent, herbs first became popular in wedding arrangements during the Victorian era when they were used to also convey specific meanings. For the traditionalists, our favorite herbs to include are lavender for luck and devotion, rosemary to remember friends and family who cannot attend, and sage for a long life together. And for the bride or groom with stage fright, thyme or mint in the boutonnière is a must – the scents will help keep you calm and collected.

Unlike many popular wedding flowers, wildflower arrangements actually look better when they aren’t meant to be identical! The wild nature and shape of these flowers keeps them unified and also unique, just like the couple saying “I do.”

Today, weddings don’t have to mean what they used to. Mix it up! Define what’s right for you and then explore it. When it comes to the flowers, we’re here to help. From all of us at Starbright Floral Design, congratulations AND best wishes to all the happy couples!

 

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.

A bouquet En Plein-Air

Karl Albert Buehr - The Parasol
Karl Albert Buehr – The Parasol

Karl Albert Beuher was one of the early Chicago painters to adopt Impressionism. He joined other American artists in Giverny, France, to paint en plein-air in the commune established by Claude Monet. These impressionists developed a style that required quickness in order to finish a piece before the sun moved and the light changed. They wanted to capture their subjects, which were generally natural scenes, as the eye might see them. Instead of hard lines and lots of detail, Bueher’s brush delivered bursts of color and light that seem to illustrate a fleeting moment in time. He wants us to see ripples in the leaves instead of the angles in the bark. He wants us to see a sea of long grasses and field flowers instead of individual blades of grass and carefully represented blooms.

The art of floral arrangement is as varied as any art form. Last week, we showed you our Georgia O’Keefe inspired arrangements and how color and line can be used to suggest energy and emotions. This week we’re looking at another bouquet – this one designed on the same principles as Bueher’s  early works.

Wedding bouquets

We’re focusing on the impression of these flowers as a whole, instead of on any one individual “wow” flower.  There is a lightness represented in Beuher’s work that we wanted to capture. In regards to the design above, we wanted to create something genuine, unfettered, and at one with the scene. Something that would be memorable for the occasion, but serve to enhance the impression of the overall, rather than draw attention to itself.

Take a look at Beuher’s painting below and the flowers we selected to make up this arrangement. For our “plein-air” bouquet, we want to create a light and feathery texture similar to that of Beuher’s brush strokes. The vibrance of the colors in the artwork are also important. We love how shadows are created with vibrant shades of green and the pink – they create contrast we might describe as “lightness” instead of “brightness”.

 

Flowers used in bouquet

 

Each flower was carefully selected for it’s size, color, and texture. Our wind-swept bouquet of wildflowers is purely fantastical – few of these flowers are native to any one common region. Luckily, here at Starbright, we had no problem getting the flowers we wanted. Our selection included :
1/ Dusty Miller – The quaint name isn’t the only thing we love about this hardy foliage. With it’s silver-white color and soft texture, this leaf adds a wistful element to any arrangement.
2/ Stock – Noted for it’s heady, clove-like scent. This example of the variety, with double flowers, adds texture to our arrangement. Stock also is a symbol of a happy life and a contented existence.
3/ Astilbe – These remind us of wildflowers. The feathery stalks seem to float in this arrangement.
4/ Lisianthus – Native to equatorial areas of the American continents. This delicate, long-lasting, prairie flower has ruffled petals. They represent warmth and geniality.
5/ Dahlia – Sometimes called the “Queen of the Autumn Garden”, the dahlia belongs to the Asteraceae family which is noted for their star-shaped blooms and includes flowers lie the daisy and sunflower. Traditionally these flowers symbolize hope for an everlasting union.
6/ Freesia – Sweetly, citrus-scented and long-lasting, these graceful flowers are perfect for a bouquet. Each wiry stem can have up to 10 flowers.
7/ Ranunculus – The fine layers of petals give this weighty flower a delicate appearance.
8/ Muscari – Small and fragrant, the shape of these flowers is reminiscent of little bells.


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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at Starbrightnyc.com.