Sandy Talbot presented a beautiful staging today entitled "The Language of Flowers".
We use flowers to celebrate various events throughout life, both happy and sad, starting from birth and then marking all the milestones and momentous occasions thereafter. Each flower, and sometimes each colour of flower, conveys a message or meaning to the recipient.
Sandy started off with the birth and baptism of our babies. The first design was for the baptism - a beautiful wreath of white arranged inside a round glass container. The white symbolising purity. And then on to a design for a little girl - all in pink with chrysanths arranged in a hanging ball - pink representing innocence, grace and beauty.
The next design was for our little boys - a stunning blue hydrangea within a ring of gypsophilla and placed in a hanging glass container. This design was dedicated to a special friend, Pam, on the birth of her first grandchild. Hydrangeas mean 'beautiful flower'.
Love - probably best known in the language of flowers as being represented by the red rose, - a rosebud representing youthfulness and beauty. Sandy had made small bows from aspidistra leaves and inserted them in a mobile of wire hearts and to this she added a beautiful red rose to each. Shell pink roses mean good health, and red and white roses used together used to represent unity, but after the world wars it represented bandages and blood!
Jasmin is a very popular flower used in weddings in Italy. Originally Vasco da Gama brought a small piece of the plant for the Duke and for a long time this precious plant was only available to Royalty. However after the gardener took slips and starting growing it, it became available to all.
The ivy ring was decorated with peonies (for marriage and mystery). Ivy indicated marital faithfulness and the peony 'I have a secret'.
Purple, a colour originally reserved for Royalty only, due to it's difficulty and expense to make, was used in Sandy's next design. The beautiful purple vase was enhanced with purple tulips added through a piece of mesh in the neck of the vase. Red tulips are a declaration of having a lover!
Yellow roses indicating platonic friendship and devotion if given with the right hand, but infidelity and jealousy if given with the left land. Sandy used bright yellow roses in her next design with some lime green ferns - happiness and spring being the message of these.
A gift of anthuriums were a confession of a man's intense attraction. Anthuriums from her garden were added to a swag of conifer leaves.
Apart from flowers and or colours having meaning, flowers are also the emblem of many countries. The Protea, strong and bold, being that of South Africa, surrounded here by aspidistra leaves was placed in a square of string art.
Other country emblems - Canada - the maple leaf, England - the rose, China - the narcissus, Turkey - the tulip, Ireland - the shamrock, India - the lotus flower, Italy - the poppy and white lily, Jamaica - the hibiscus. A hibiscus flower worn behind the left ear says I seek a lover, and behind the right ear, I have a lover!
The Frangipani indicates love in long absences, and the Iris is a message of hope or sorrow.
Sandy filled a friendship basket with ruscus, white michaelmas daisy, white tuberose and shell pink roses with the addition of a few red roses.
Next was a tussie mussie - using dhania, mint (virtue), lavender (happiness), basil (best wishes) statice (every cloud has a silver lining), laurel (ambition), bay leaf (reward of merit), rosemarie (rememberance), thyme (strength and courage) and placing these together in a small glass vase.
Then a vertical stand with curled aspidistra leaves in a cage with added carnations (indicating generosity and kindness).
And her final design was a large frame filled with squared selloum leaves to which Sandy added the beautiful and fragrant casablanca lily (youthful innocence).
Sandy finished off, presenting us with the Strelitzia (our club emblem) which conveys the message that something strange and wonderful is about to occur - hopefully each of us will be the recipient of this message - so long as it is strange AND wonderful!
Thank you Sandy for a wonderful morning of flowers and their meanings - you definitely brightened our week and gave us lots of food for thought.
Thank you to Rosemarie for kindly assisting Sandy this morning!