Carnations – lovingly referred to as “Pinks” – have been extensively cultivated for over 2,000 years, and are thought to be a native plant of the Mediterranean. It is not surprising that the carnation flower has been around such a long time, as it is well loved for its large, bright blossoms, ease of growth and thick stems that survive long after being cut.
The carnation flower has a lot history and symbolism that has grown up around it in the past 2,000 years. These flowers are frequently worn on special occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day (due largely to the fact that pink carnations are a symbol of a mother’s undying love), first anniversaries and weddings. The carnation flower has also found its way into literature, art and religion. Oscar Wilde was known for wearing a green carnation at all times; Rembrandt used a single carnation in his portrait, “Woman with a Pink,” to express the feeling of passionate ardor that these flowers represented; “Madonna of the Carnation” by Albrecht Durer, and “Madonna of the Pinks” both depict the Virgin Mary presenting a carnation flower to the baby Jesus to represent a mother’s love and purity. These two portraits were also illustrative symbols expressing the belief that carnations were a flesh made from God. Carnations are sometimes even used to tell the fortune of young girls in Korea. Three of the bright blooms are placed in the girl’s hair – if the bottom flower wilts first, her life will be generally difficult. If the top or bottom wilts, either her early or late life will be troublesome.
Despite a few rather dour symbols, carnations are generally thought to be a cheerful and loving emblem that make fantastic gifts. There are many ways to present this flower. For example, you can give them as a potted plant (most people choose the miniature carnation flower for this style), in a bouquet, as a boutonniere, or corsage. A slightly more unique idea would be to create a wreath of these flowers. One of the great things about carnations is that they can easily be dyed, so your wreath can have a whole rainbow of color that is either deeply meaningful or simply stunning to see.