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Talking Flowers // June

IN BLOOM: THE ORCHID

At Flowercard we love Orchids, so we've taken a look into their amazing history to share with you.

Orchids first evolved in the tropics, but are now found almost everywhere thanks to their gunpowder-fine seed, which travelled to every corner of the world. The only places where orchids don't grow are the Antarctica and the Gobi Desert!

There are nearly 20,000 species of orchid catalogued – twice the number of bird species and 4 times the number of mammals. The top earning Orchid is the Vanilla Planifolia, which gives us vanilla flavouring. Other varieties are more prized for their beauty and have been popular for around 300 years.

Orchid Delirium!

When first introduced to Victorian Britain, Orchids were very rare, highly prized and incredibly difficult to keep.

Following the discovery of a fabulous Orchid by English horticulturalist William Cattley. The one flower caused a sensation in Victorian Britain, sparking the craze that became know as 'Orchid Delirium'.

Victorian Orchid hunters travelled all over the globe to find new varieties, in expeditions lasting months. Often the locations of discoveries were kept secret, with false trails laid to send other hunters in the wrong direction.

But because so little was known about the needs of the plant, over half those transported back to Europe died on the way.

The few that made it to the London auctions reached extravagant prices. In 1890, £1,500 was paid for one orchid, which is the equivalent to around £96,500 today.

Wealthy buyers placed them in stuffy, humid glasshouses on grand estates (an environment not entirely suited to them) so few survived, sealing the orchid's reputation as a rare and precious thing.

Since the '60s, when new techniques enabled most Orchids to be tissue cultured, Tropical Orchids have been widely available for all to enjoy.

These days, they're easier to come by with Orchids featuring in many of our Flowercards, such as Hot House, Designer Orchid and Precious Orchid designs, all designed with delicate Boat Orchids (Cymbidium).

The Power of the Orchid

Today it is illegal to collect Orchids in the wild, but obsessions continue. Many Orchid lovers travel any distance to see incredibly rare specimens in bloom.

The theft of rare Orchids is still a problem. In 2008 several Dark-red Helleborines were stolen from the Peak District National Park, whilst recently Britain's only Lady's Slipper Orchid, in bloom on a Lancashire golf course, was given police protection to prevent thieves taking cuttings that could be worth up to £5,000.

So next time you send a bouquet of fresh Orchids – perhaps in a beautiful Flowercard – enjoy them all the more now you know the lengths people have gone to see and own this amazing flower.

FLOWERCARD PEOPLE

This is your chance to nominate people in your lives that you feel deserve one of our handmade Flowercards. Every month we'll select a winner to receive your choice of Flowercard, with your personal message on the front, for FREE.

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 describe why your nominee deserves a FREE Flowercard in no more than 100 words in an email to talkingflowers@flowercard.co.uk
  • Be sure to include a daytime phone number for us to contact you, should your nomination win.
  • To help us identify your email, please type "Flowercard Award Nomination" in the subject line.
  • Please read the Flowercard Award Terms and Conditions

THE FLOWER FASHIONISTA

Summer's finally here, with sunshine, flowers and all those wonderful weddings to celebrate, and what better way to make it a truly memorable occasion than with a bouquet of seasonal flowers?

Roses are a fabulous wedding flower, available in so many colours from bridal white buds to delicate pastel petals to rich red blooms. And it's easy to echo the colour of your Roses in wedding day details: table linen, pearlised balloons, ribbons on the bridesmaids' dresses. Style icon Audrey Hepburn selected a bouquet of white Roses for her marriage to Mel Ferrer in 1954.

Calla Lilies, with their billowing, white petals, coordinate beautifully with elegant wedding gowns. Lilies come in rich pinks, reds, purples and yellows – just take a look at the lily on our Paintbox Flowercard – this bloom is perfect for the bride who wants a dash of drama and colour!

As mentioned earlier, Orchids are a popular wedding flower. Screen goddess Marylin Monroe picked 3 white Orchids for her bridal bouquet when she tied the knot with Joe Di Maggio and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier selected white Orchids and gardenias for her flowers for her marriage to President John F Kennedy.

Many wedding bouquets are finished with a mist of Gypsophila, or more poetically "Baby's Breath", those miniature white flowers that create a magical spray of dots. See how they transform our Portfolio Flowercard, one of the designs we recommend for a wedding card. In America, Baby's Breath is often used to decorate little girls' hair at weddings, a tradition we think should be taken-up up by the Brits immediately!

MADE WITH LOVE

How about this fabulous village bunting card? And it's so easy to make!

Chicago craft blogger Jessica Jones tells you how on her wonderful "How About Orange?" blog. Just follow this link: http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2010/01/mini-bunting-birthday-card.html

And to add a Flowercard twist to your bunting, why not make it from recycled Flowercards and the pink gift boxes they came in? It could be a rather wonderful way to say thank you to anyone who's sent you a Flowercard.

COMING SOON

In the next issue of Talking Flowers we'll take a closer look at that the most iconic flower and the symbol of British Summertime: the Rose! We'll also look at the language of flowers, revealing the blooms to pick for all those special messages for your nearest and dearest.

Thank you for reading this first edition of Talking Flowers. Please contact us on talkingflowers@flowercard.co.uk with any thoughts you may have. And don't forget to nominate that special person for our Flowercard People Award!