By Ruth Hanchett
There are many beautiful flowers in this world. Whether they grow wild on a hillside, are pampered in a neighbors’ garden, or planted in city parks and shopping areas, they bring color and the beauty of nature into our lives. It only takes a second to stop and admire a floral display at the local grocery store, or at the floral shop along the street. Flowers brighten a day and can sooth troubles away, even if just for a moment. They don’t ask for much, water when nature is short on rain, a little tender loving care and a “thank you” to the God that created them.
Real flowers aren’t losing their popularity, even as they compete with beautiful artificial arrangements and bouquets. Flowers of all kinds send meaningful special messages to people everywhere. There is a need and a market for both. Flowers are sent to celebrate big or small parties, and for both happy and sad occasions. Sometimes someone just sends a few to say, “I’m thinking of you.” “Get well soon,” “Congratulations,” or “I love you.” Even a small bouquet can lift a persons’ spirits in a very big way.
Floristry includes the growing, production, handling, floral design, and arranging, and delivery of flowers. Production begins with the grower. In warm climates, they might be grown in fields like fruits and vegetables. In colder climates, large green houses along with caring hands see to their growth and protection. The grower generally sends them onto a wholesaler, who sells the flowers and related supplies in bulk, to retail florists. Some growers and wholesalers have facilities on site to sell directly to the public, however many forward their products to retailers. The retailers, create and sell arrangements and bouquets as requested by their customers.
The selling of flowers is not a new business. The first flower shop opened in Europe back in 1875. Education, both formal and informal, are a significant part of the floristry industry.
The craft of flower arranging can be taught by one designer to another. Some local Community colleges offer floral design courses, and professionals connected with the floral industry, often teach private courses.
There is nothing like a beautiful bouquet. However, you can’t completely ignore the colorful flowers that show up on postcards, or the many song lyrics written about flowers through the years. True, there is no sweet fragrance, nor can you feel a soft velvet petal, on a postcard, however, if properly cared for, it will last for many years, and also a melody often, “lingers on”.
When it comes to postcards, and song lyrics, red roses and pink carnations appear to be very popular. Two older, known songs “Red Roses, For a Blue Lady” and “A White Sport Coat and A Pink Carnation,” come to mind.
The popularity of the carnation comes from the historical records indicating they grew wild on the hillsides of ancient Greece 3,000 years before the birth of Christ. In any case, all flowers are special whether growing in a yard, or on a postcard, they deserve, a very special place in our lives. Enclosed — Postcard #1 — a bouquet of pink carnations -with a message “Pure & Deep Love”. This card was postmarked February 8th, 1911, Missouri — the front is still attractive and the message on the back readable, but faded.
Years ago (won’t say how many) I worked in a carnation greenhouse. It was a fun, and enjoyable, experience. I learned a lot about what it takes to care for and prepare carnations to be sent to the florist and then the public. We “caged” (making sure the flowers stood upright) and de-bud (assuring the stem produced but one flower) and dyed many white flowers into a variety of requested colors. After grading, they were packed gently in great big boxes, then shipped all over the United States (mostly to the east coast.) Working hours were good, people were friendly, and I learned a little bit about flowers. It also allowed me to have a vase of carnations (those broken or not perfect) at home on our kitchen table.
POSTCARD 2 — A postcard advertising Burgett’s Carnation Greenhouse, at Cloudcroft, New Mexico, (not where I worked).
POSTCARD 3 — A large bouquet of very red roses. The only thing on the back is a short writing at the bottom, “Ida from Mrs. Truman.” The card is embossed and was printed in Germany. 1 am positive
Ida cherished the card.
POSTCARD #4 — is an advertisement from a flower/delivery shop. The front of the card also pictures
A bouquet of carnations. The business lists several locations, even Hawaii. This card was mailed from
Los Angeles, to Sherman Oaks, California. There is no postmark, however, the ad was for Mother’s Day, reminding folks not to forget “Her Day,” and the delivery price was very low. It even indicated you could pay a little at a time. “Just remember Mama.”
A popular postcard publisher- Raphael Tuck & Sons, printed several series of flower Postcards. One of the series is titled — “All in a Garden Fair” — I have two cards of that series, the numbers are the same, but the views are different, so I can’t tell if it is the same garden.
POSTCARD #5- A chrome card showing a flower vender on the streets of San Francisco, pinning a Flower to a lady passing by — hopeful she will purchase a few more. No PM on the card, but from the styles, and similar cards, it was printed in the early nineteen-fifties. Tulips are also a popular flower for postcards and provide a beautiful view early in the springtime. Floral delivery services have increased over the years, gathering orders from different parts of the country, which are sent to a local florist, filled and delivered in the area as requested. A nice thing to do; “Say It With Flowers” — either real or just flowered note paper — or a special postcard.