I grew up in a small, New England town 150 miles from the nearest big city. We were pretty isolated and it was the 80’s and ’90’s–the overwhelming style was high bangs and lowbrow. There were two florists in town and for every occasion (Valentine’s day, school dance corsages, Easter) they pushed carnations, and they pushed them hard. Usually highlighted by whispy sprigs of baby’s breath and stiff florist’s ferns, these carnations were every color of the rainbow and then some. Blood Red or Pink Carnations? Valentine’s Day of course. Lime green? Must be St. Patrick’s Day! Cobalt Blue? Um…Tuesday? These hideous flowers just would not go away and I, like so many others of my generation, developed a deep and lasting disdain for what I considered to be a paltry, pathetic excuse for a flower.
Cut to a few weeks ago when, while shopping in my local Kroger–of all places!–I spotted a passel of carnations in colors that seemed to be drawn from….nature? Confused, but intrigued, I brought them home and stared at them. Had florists finally figured out how to make these unimportant pom-poms resemble real, live flowers? My early experience with carnations had led me to believe that they all started off as ruffly white puffs and then through some kind of mad-science-floral experiment became the hideous shades I knew so well. This was some twilight zone stuff, so I started googling and was consequently blown away by my findings: Carnations actually come in beautiful, natural colors including the pink carnations I had in my kitchen! And get this–you can buy seeds and plant them in your garden! Mind blown, right?
I think I owe carnations an apology. They’re not bad flowers, they’ve just been badly treated. I can’t hold that against them! So, I’m sorry carnations, please forgive me, and please stop letting people dye you terrible, terrible colors–you deserve better.
What do you think about carnations? Florists filler flowers, or legit blooms? We want to hear what you have to say.