Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ode to a Humble Bloom: The Carnation

There's nothing quite like a vase full of fresh flowers in any home to brighten it up, but if you're like me you can't always splurge on fancy flowers like peonies, tulips or hydrangeas. When I want to add a floral touch to my home regardless of season, I opt for a few bunches of carnations from the supermarket.

Sure, carnations don't have the same pedigree as roses, but these flowers still represent love. Until very recently, I associated carnations with Valentine's Day 'flower-grams' that my friends and I sent each other in high school for a dollar a piece. Talk about a cheap thrill!

Lately, I've been picking up bouquets of red carnations, grouping them in tight bunches throughout my home, and beaming when I see how great they look in a deep scarlet cluster.
But I'm not the only one who's smitten with these affordable flowers; carnations are popping up in the homes of some very talented folks as of late.

For one, Kevin Sharkey, the Senior Vice President of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, merged modern art with a lush arrangement of ombre carnations in his Manhattan home.

Master of luxurious color Miles Redd incorporated red carnations in his chinoiserie tablescape.
(via House Beautiful)

Eddie Ross utilizes carnations for arrangements frequently, and in one use he transformed colorless flowers into a sculpture that is reminiscent of a winter snowball.
(via Eddie Ross)

When paired with kumquats in a Staffordshire tureen, deep pink carnations become anything but ordinary.
(via Apartment Therapy)

Jenny Komenda shared her love of single-color carnations in Better Homes and Gardens, also opting to use a soup tureen to hold the flowers in the spread below.
(via Little Green Notebook)

Still unsure how to elevate the look of these deli-sourced flowers?
On marthastewart.com, event planner Bronson Van Wyck shared his expert tips on how to select the perfect  varieties of carnations.

So, what say you: are carnations worthy of your empty vase or are they just a blah bloom?


  1. I love them because of how great they hold up! Plus they do smell pretty good and come in such great colors- I really think you cant go wrong with them :)

  2. I love a single color of any flower bunched together, and carnations are no exception. I think they got a bad wrap in the 80's (too many lame corsages), but they're definitely undergoing a makeover of sorts. Love your red ones - so you! I'm still a hydrangea girl (I can grab a bunch at Trader Joe's for $4.99), but I might have to venture out next time at the store!

  3. I just bought some pink carnations for a friend. They were the best looking flowers at the supermarket (not to mention the least expensive.)

  4. OMG I LOVE this post...so many think carnations are the "ugly" flower when in reality these prove that utterly wrong! I LOVE the snowball one...wow they are simply stunning!

    come follow along colorissue.blogspot.com

  5. I hate it when flowers are branded as "cheap" or "common." I honestly can't think of a flower I don't like. Carnations are wonderful. They last for ever and I adore their spicy scent. It's time for the humble carnation to shine! :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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