I loved Edith Hope's wonderful post in July on the subject of gladioli, which she titled "Things My Mother Told Me."
Firstly, I thought the provocative title was perfect. Secondly, I identified with the subject matter in a number of ways. In this post, Edith recounts that her mother would frequently remark that, "Gladioli are such vulgar flowers." As I told Edith in my comment, my mother had a very similar hard and fast opinion of certain flowers.
By way of example, my mother regarded roses as hopelessly old fashioned, ridiculously temperamental and their thorns mercilessly hostel.
My mother wouldn't dream of having boring old roses in her garden! Instead she preferred the oriental poppies with their bright red, tissue paper thin flowers. ( If you are old enough, you may remember that poppies, both the flower and the motif, were all the rage in the 1970's.)
For my mother, who was a suburban housewife with a garden, poppies were an irresistibly bohemian choice of garden flower. They not only hailed from far more exotic local than Nova Scotia (our home provence), they faintly scandalous as the source of the world's supply of opium.
And perhaps the apple does not fall far from the tree, because I too have a negative view of certain flowers. While I would not go so far as to agree with Edith's mother that gladioli are "vulgar", I must confess that I have never been a big fan of glads.
Its hard to like a flower when you closely associate it with death. Let me explain.
A zillion years ago, for a brief time I worked for a small florist.
(And before I go further, I wish to state so as not to possibly offend blogging friends, that not all florists are created equal. Some florists are certainly more talented with flowers than others.)
Anyway, at the florist's in question, when someone passed a way, we were encouraged recommended "funeral containers" as an appropriate expression of sympathy. At R_'s House of Flowers, these large scale arrangements were made using rather hideous, white, papier-mâché containers that we stuffed full of oasis chips. Glads were rammed into the oasis in a fan-like display to add height to the arrangement and balance the girth of the container.
The whole arrangement was most often finished with a flourish of inexpensive daisies or carnations, a large gaudy bow and a sympathy card attached with a straight pin. The simple card commonly read something safe and almost impersonal like, "With Deepest Sympathy, The Smith Family." (It seems that people are so worried about saying the wrong thing when it comes to death and bereavement, that they say as little as they possibly can.)
Now, most often the glads in these funeral containers were not fresh, in-season glads (unlike the ones shown here). They were limp, barely open glads that had been kept on life support at the back of the store's cooler. The spindly tops, which would never open, were usually sapped off.
No one ever complained about theses funeral arrangements. Funerals are generally executed fairly expeditiously. The arrangement only had to last a few days. What seemed to matter most was the fact that the container was large and showy expression of genuine sympathy.
The problem now is, when I think of glads, I can't help it, I think of funeral arrangements!
But, look at the glads fresh from the market. They are so lovely! How can I hold my past against them?
On top of that, they are inexpensive. $10 will get you a nice bunch!
I know that I just need to get over and on with it, but I have one other small problem. While I am usually good at arranging flowers, those ram-rod straight gladiola stems confound me when I come to arrange them nicely in a vase.
Recently, I noticed this rather nice arrangement of glads in Canadian House and Home magazine.
Home of the Month, Canadian House and Home, September, 2010, Photo by Andre Rider
Note the glads on the grand piano. I like the casual arrangement of the glads and clean, contemporary look of the glass vase. And it is an arrangement that I can easily replicate in my own home.
So, I still don't love glads, but I am trying to learn to like them.
How about you? Is there a flower that you struggle to like?