Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The beleaguered carnation

One of the vendors at the Boston Flower Exchange who grew up accompanying his florist grandmother to the market, wistfully told me about the 'early days' when growers in Massachusetts would bring in buckets of carnations and the whole market smelled of clove.

Smelled of clove.  Can you imagine?  Maybe the local nursery will be selling Pinks and one can purloin that deep scent of clove by dropping one's face into the plant for a moment of joy.  Or spray on Etro's Dianthus, or Caron's Ballodgia.

So what happened to those almost mythical days of scent?   I'm afraid it was the penchant for the lasting power of the poor carnation who still gives her all in FTD coffee cups and stands in the hot sun at the cemetery, forgotten and holding out long after the Oasis dries out in the funeral basket.

Yes, the carnation is making a comeback in high-end, beautifully arranged vases by floral designers who know how to use them.  She is a beauty, even without scent.

But, customers who ask 'please no carnations' are justified in their dislike of them by their experience of how they've been used in the past.

I'm going to grow them next year and give customers an old fashioned fragrance experience that will last long…but not too long.  Who knows?  Maybe someday they'll again be as beloved as the sweet pea .