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Talking Flowers // April

Hurray! Spring has sprung! And here's the Talking Flowers April edition to get you in a sunny mood!

It doesn't get cuter than this month's stunning Pom Pom Chicks Easter Craft (pictured). Full details of how to make them inside. Tweet tweet!

This issue we're also looking at a truly legendary flower the chrysanthemum, lovely and fluffy and so rich in history!

This month's Flowercard People Award is for a very special lady nominated by her daughter-in-law, so appropriate with Mother's Day this April too.

And this month's Flower Fashionista looks at ways of bringing the fragrance of flowers into your home, including the original meaning of pot pourri - you might be surprised!

But, before we crack on with all that, can we ask: what would you like to see in future issues? If you've any ideas, comments, pics or contributions please send them in through our new, dedicated email address: talkingflowers@flowercard.co.uk

In Bloom: The Chrysanthemum

It was in 1753 that Swedish botanist Karl Linnaeus, combined the Greek words chrysos (meaning gold) with anthemon (meaning flower) to give us the name we now use for this fabulous flower, seen in luscious green in our Precious Orchid Flowercard (pictured).

But to find the origins of the plant itself, you have to head East... far East.

This flower was first cultivated in the 15th century BC as a herb! It's been part of Chinese life for thousands of years, hence the popular Chinese saying: "If you would be happy for a lifetime, grow Chrysanthemums."

It's also a cornerstone of Chinese art: one of the legendary "Four Gentlemen", revered plants depicted again and again and used to represent the four seasons, with chrysanthemum the symbol of autumn.

The other plants in this mythical group are plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo.

Around 500 AD Chinese poet T'ao Yuan Ming became a major part of the chrysanthemum story, developing stunning varieties. He became synonymous with this beloved plant, so much so that his birth city was renamed Chrysanthemum City (Chu-Hsien) in his honour.

In 386 AD the flower arrived in Japan, became rooted in Japanese soil and symbolism, cultivated and developed in the Imperial Gardens, a history that means even today large exhibition blooms are referred to as ‘Japs'.

Like China, Japan took the flower to the heart of its culture. The position of Japanese emperor (the Mikado) is known as "The Chrysanthemum Throne". Many Mikados decorated their swords with engravings of the flower and The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is Japan's highest honour. Devotion to the chrysanthemum was formalised in 1910 when it became the national flower of Japan.

Successful European cultivation came in 1789 thanks to French merchant Pierre Louis Blancard who brought three varieties back from China. Only one survived named Old Purple, a famous plant in the chrysanthemum story that finally reached Kew Gardens. Its arrival prompted the then Horticultural Society of London to encourage people to import new varieties from the Far East, and so began the process to bring chrysanthemums to European homes and gardens.

And what a success that process has been!

Modern chrysanthemums are much more varied and showy than those original small, golden flowers of China.

Available in a huge variety of shapes, from a sprouting sphere, a graduate daisy or a colourful button, chrysanthemums also come in an almost endless choice of colours. In our stunning Diamonds and Pearls (pictured) there are some fabulous white chrysanthemums, and the shape of these explains why this flower has also inspired the name of a firework!

Today the flower is said to represent nobility and elegance and it's also the birth flower for November. Reasons to buy, for sure, but we think this flower's amazing, exotic history is more than enough reason to have them in your home, and give them as a gift, as soon as possible!

The Flower Fashionista: The Scent of Flowers

We all love the fragrance of fresh flowers, but for days when you don't have a Taste of Paradise Bouquet (pictured) on your mantelpiece, or it's too rainy to step outside and smell the roses, there are many other ways to bring those special scents into our home.

Going potty for pourri

The most traditional way of freshening the air is pot pourri. Meaning "rotten pot" in French, the term originally applied to a Spanish dish of mixed meats served in a stew, which is certainly not something you'd put on your dressing table!

In early 17th century France the lady of the house would gather fresh herbs and flowers for this pot, starting in spring and added to through summer. The herbs were left for a day or two to become limp, then layered with sea salt to dry them out. With each new layer she would give the pot a stir, and by autumn spices would be added until a pleasant fragrance was achieved. She would then fix the fragrance, with something like orris root, so the scent would release slowly. The finished pot pourri was separated in special pots with perforated lids to perfume rooms and throughout winter.

A more recent approach to adding floral charms to your home is though diffusers that work like scented candles or oil burners with essential oils.

In modern times, the lady of the house (that's you!) no longer has to add to her 'Rotten Pot' all summer. You can buy pot pourri in a huge range of fragrances and colours, with the most exotic shaped flora to make it as pretty to see as to smell. You can even buy it in a Flowercard, like the wonderful Heliotrope Scented Pot Pourri (pictured).

Flowercard People

We're delighted to announce this month's Flowercard People Award winner is Jill Gibbons, nominated by her daughter-in-law Kelly. Kelly tells us of the wonderful relationship she has will Jill:

My mother-in-law Jill is a very special lady. She sadly lost her own mum six years ago but now takes time each day to visit two of her elderly aunts. I married Jill's only son Paul nine years ago and was immediately accepted as a daughter. I have an illness which means many hospital appointments (which Jill often takes me too) but also means I am unable to have children. The guilt was torture knowing Jill would never have a grandchild, never be called Nanna, because of my infertility, but with her love and friendship I can now accept that she loves me for being me and for making Paul happy.

Such a touching story that captures what being part of a family is all about! Kelly picked out To Mother with Love as she thinks Jill would like it the most, and we'll add her personal message to the card to make it completely unique to them both.

If you know someone like Jill who deserves a Flowercard, why not nominate them for a Flowercard People Award? Every month we'll select a winner to receive your choice of Flowercard, with your personal message on the front, for FREE. Even if they don't win this month, they'll still go back into the draw, to be considered again and again.

So what are the qualities we'll be looking for in our Flowercard People Award?

Well, that's up to you! Maybe people who always think of others, individuals who've stayed strong through difficult times, friends who've shown courage, kindness, selflessness and determination. You tell us by nominating them.






HOW TO MAKE YOUR FREE FLOWERCARD NOMINATION

  • Please tell us the full name of your nominee, and describe why they deserves a FREE Flowercard in no more than 100 words.
  • Be sure to include your full name too, and daytime phone number for us to contact you should your nomination win.
  • Send your nomination in an email to our NEW dedicated address talkingflowers@flowercard.co.uk and please type "Flowercard Award Nomination" in the subject line.
  • Please read the Flowercard Award Terms and Conditions

MADE WITH LOVE

How about making these adorable pom pom chicks this Easter?

A really easy craft to do with the children over the holidays, or as a surprise for them on Easter Sunday - just pop them in an egg cup on the breakfast table!

We can see these little cuties coming out every year as special Easter decorations hand made by you and yours!

Our thanks to craft blogger Fiona Carter for this lovely idea. Her blog gives you the full tutorial for making these chicks - the only dilemma is what colour to make them!

Click through to Fiona's blog here for full instructions.

COMING SOON

Next issue is our Royal Wedding (April 29th) Special, where we'll look at the big occasion from a floral perspective.

From Kate Middleton's bouquet to Prince William's buttonhole, if there are petals involved, we'll be talking about it! We'll also look at the best fresh flowers to pick to compliment the most popular colour schemes in our homes.

From lilac bedrooms to blue & white kitchens to buttermilk lounges, we'll suggest the flowers that sit so pretty in each! Our clever craft idea is homemade lace covered lanterns, and we will of course be announcing our new Flowercard People winner!

TALKING FLOWERS ARCHIVE