The power of flowers-A A +A
Monday, June 25, 2012
WHAT would happen to this world if there are no flowers? Simply boring, perhaps meaningless, without color, and seems barren. Think of weddings without roses and chrysanthemum, Christmas without poinsettias, graduations without orchids, and burials without wreaths made of various flowers.
"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into," noted Henry Beecher. "Earth laughs in flowers," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Hamatreya. Emma Goldman declared, "I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck."
The great variety of delicate and beautiful flowers has inspired the works of numerous poets, especially from the 18th-19th century romantic era. Famous examples include William Wordworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" and William Blake's "Ah! Sun-Flower."
Because of their varied and colorful appearance, flowers have long been a favorite subject of visual artists as well. Some of the most celebrated paintings from well-known painters are of flowers, such as Van Gogh's sunflower series or Monet's water lilies. Flowers are also dried, freeze dried, and pressed in order to create permanent, three-dimensional pieces of flower art.
In modern times, people have sought ways to cultivate, buy, wear, or otherwise be around flowers and blooming plants, partly because of their agreeable appearance and smell. Around the world, people use flowers for a wide range of events and functions that, cumulatively, encompass one's lifetime: for new births, as a corsage to be worn at social functions or for holidays, as tokens of love or esteem, for wedding flowers for the bridal party and decorations for the hall, as brightening decorations within the home, and as a gift of remembrance for bon voyage parties, welcome home parties, and "thinking of you" gifts.
Flowers are also used during funerals as and as expressions of sympathy for the grieving family. In countries such as Belgium and Austria , the chrysanthemum is used almost exclusively as a memorial on graves.
Speaking of rose again, it is the national flower of England the United States . It is also the provincial flower of Yorkshire and Lancashire in England (the white rose and red rose respectively) and of Alberta (thewild rose) in Canada , and the state flower of four American states: Iowa , North Dakota , Georgia , and New York.
Flowers provide less food than other major plants parts (seeds, fruits, roots, stems, and leaves) but they provide several important foods and spices. Flower vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and artichoke. The most expensive spice, saffron, consists of dried stigmas of a crocus. Other flower spices are cloves and capers. Hops flowers are used to flavor beer.
Marigold flowers are fed to chickens to give their egg yolks a golden yellow color, which consumers find more desirable. Dandelion flowers are often made into wine. Bee Pollen, pollen collected from bees, is considered a health food by some people. Honey consists of bee-processed flower nectar and is often named for the type of flower, e.g. orange blossom honey and clover honey.
Hundreds of fresh flowers are edible but few are widely marketed as food. They are often used to add color and flavor to salads. Squash flowers are dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. Edible flowers include nasturtium, chrysanthemum, carnation, cattail, honeysuckle, chicory, cornflower, and sunflower.
Flowers can also be made into herbal teas. Dried flowers such as chrysanthemum, rose, jasmine, camomile are infused into tea both for their fragrance and medical properties. Sometimes, they are also mixed with tea leaves for the added fragrance.
One orchid genus (Vanilla) is commercially important, used as a foodstuff flavoring. The underground tubers of terrestrial orchids (mainly Orchis mascula) are ground to a powder and used for cooking, such as in the hot beverage salep or the so-called "fox-testicle ice cream."
There are countless other uses of flowers - too many to mention here. But to end this piece, allow me to quote the words of Lydia M. Child. She said, "Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning."
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 26, 2012.