Bring back the boutonnière!

Thursday October 17, 2013

"Aren't flowers sensible? The whole world in chaos and they go right on blooming. They give me a kind of faith." – Sarah Miles (Deborah Kerr) in the film The End of The Affair.

I remember attending weddings as a small child and feeling quietly grieved if I was deemed too young or not close enough to the bridal party to be given a button-hole to wear. The ushers would perhaps have an open tray-box to hand, containing rows of fresh, delicate flowers, lined up, awaiting their moment of glory, ready and prepared to adorn a pretty frock or a lapel.

Whatever happened to gentlemen wearing a boutonnière each day? What a charming custom that was. Actually you know, we could all adorn ourselves with flowers a lot more than we do. Better still, we could grace ourselves with flowers that mean something to us that day or that reflects our mood.

The Victorians of course understood the language of flowers. Receiving a bunch of flowers meant a little detective work was in order. The recipient of dogwood for example, would savour a heartwarming moment: Love undiminished by adversity.

I'll sometimes pop into see Dawn, my local florist at Oopsey Daisy's and have her make me buttonhole. The occasion? Well, at just £1 per button-hole does there need to be an 'occasion'? Really, does not everyday bring possibility for a little gaiety and gladness? I love the balance of meaning with my favourite boutonnière: Gerber Daisy = Cheerfulness with Rosemary = Remembrance. For even when our hearts are cheerful, we are still ever mindful of the sadnesses endured, or perhaps of those we love who are no longer with us, but who have given us much.

Of course, rummage around in your back garden and you may chance upon wild flowers rich in meaning and with enough beauty to make your own floral ornamentation. Even a sprig of lavender or a humble daisy will bring a smile, I'm sure.

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