It seems that since Charlotte of Sex and the City dismissed carnations with a scornful “they are filler flowers”, women everywhere ignore the little flower with upturned noses. However, if you want to talk about sturdy resilience, versatile versatility, and fantastic colors, it may be time to reconsider the role of carnation as a “filler flower” and consider booking it as a “main attraction”.
The brilliance of the carnations is that they last. You can plant them as seeds, and while they are usually best outdoors, you can plant them in garden boxes or larger pots to enjoy indoors. They like full sun, and even when pruned, their blooms outlast most other flowers. While pink and white are the most common colors, carnations come in a variety of colors, including yellow, purple, and stripes. In addition, white carnations can be tinted to the color that best suits your look.
Flowers can add a unique flair to an outfit, and both men and women can benefit from the versatility and durability of a carnation. A carnation tucked into a lapel or buttonhole in the morning can look fresh all day and add a certain amount of world class to an otherwise typical outfit. Both William McKinley, former US President, and the author Oscar Wilde are known to wear carnations on their lapels.
Since white carnations are easy to come by, it’s easy to take a bunch of them and color them with food coloring. You can match them with a ball gown or your wedding colors for boutonnieres, mother corsages, and bridesmaid bouquets. Liven up St. Patrick’s Day with a green carnation bouquet on your dining table or get involved in Halloween with creepy black carnations. If you plan on tinting flowers for a specific occasion, give the process at least a day to give the flowers time to pick up a rich shade of the color you choose.
If you’re a teacher, white carnation tinting is a great little science experiment for your elementary school students. All you need is a bunch of cloves, paper cups, water and some food coloring. My own science teacher in first grade told us that red and blue food colors work the fastest. The more colors you have available, the more excited your students will be to experiment with mixing. Cut each stem at an angle and place it in a cup half filled with water. Add a generous amount of food coloring (at least 12-15 drops). This experiment is best done in the morning so your students can watch the color change at the end of the school day, and then again how it changes the next morning.
Oh Charlotte York, how wrong you were. Carnations are cheap and sturdy, but that hardly qualifies them as filling flowers. So, order a lot and decorate every room in your home. Then, when you’re over the flower nobibilty Charlotte instilled in all of us, go out there and invest in a few packets of seeds and turn a corner of your garden (indoor or outdoor) into a festival of color.