Close up of pink carnation

Feature Flower Friday: Carnations - from Garden of Eden Flower Shop


Think carnations are a cheap, unlovely flower? Think again! As the birth flower for January, the perky, long-lasting carnation has a varied symbolism and usage going back well over 2000 years! "Dianthus", the carnation's botanical name, means "flower of the gods" - from the Greek "dio" meaning "god" and "anthos" meaning "flower". It was supposedly Zeus's favorite!


Did you also know that the traditional Mother's Day flower is officially the white carnation, dating back to the first Mother's Day in 1908? The language of flowers comes into play here, as white symbolizes "in remembrance of my mother" and pink stands for "mother's love". Speaking of a mother's love, early Christians believed that pink carnations bloomed from the Virgin Mary's tears as she watched Christ carry his cross on the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha.


In Mexico, carnations symbolize remembrance of the departed, and are the most prominent flower seen in conjunction with and adorning Dia de Los Muertos calavera skulls.


The carnation is the flower of the first wedding anniversary in the US and Europe. In China, red carnations bring luck. In the Victorian language of flowers, a light or medium red carnation means friendly affection, but go one shade darker to crimson or burgundy and your suitor means business!


Today's growers have intensified the delicate, clove-like smell as well as hybridized myriad pastel and vivid colors. There's so many gorgeous colors to choose! Vase life, if cared for properly, can be upwards of two weeks or more.


So as you can see, there are many varied meanings behind the carnation, and reasons to be proud to have it as your birth flower! The flower has an ancient history, versatility, and enduring beauty that should never be dismissed as "cheap" - it's stunningly modern mixed with roses and berries in a low cube, breathtakingly romantic in a soft bridal bouquet, or loaded with meaning all by themselves in a vase for your January-born special person! Dive in and rediscover the carnation for your next floral gift or event! 
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