Pink carnations are one of the most versatile flowers. White carnations are a close second and I love using them both for a perfect bouquet.
I’ll be honest, until recently, I never appreciated carnations. I think someone at some point told me that they were cheap and I never gave them a chance. My earliest memories of carnations were when they were sent to classrooms on Valentine’s Day in high school (with a note to your crush or sweetheart). I also remember getting them from my parents for all of the school plays I acted in. At that time I thought carnations were pretty but not special.
Fast forward quite a few years to 2021 when we were writing my book, A Home to Share. We came up with an idea to wire floral foam blocks to the bottom of vintage lampshades and fill the floral foam blocks with flowers to make a flower crown.
Each lampshade required a LOT of flowers to fill the blocks completely. We headed to the Los Angeles Flower Market to get the flowers for the flower crowns. I saw some flowers that I thought were carnations. But they were really ruffly and looked almost like small peonies. They didn’t look anything like the high school Valentine’s flower I had in my memory.
I did a little research and discovered that there are over 300 species of carnations. The ones I discovered at the flower mart are called Double Dianthus. They are double carnations, just like double roses, which explains why they are so ruffly and peony-like.
During my research on carnations, I also learned that pink carnations also have a variety of meanings. In general, they are seen as a symbol of admiration, gratitude, and affection. I love sneaking gratitude onto my tables. How incredible is that, a secret message!
Mixing Flowers for Bouquets
Peonies are by far my favorite flower. Here on the West Coast, peony season is short-lived and peonies can be very, very expensive.
But pink carnations are a flower that I also love and try to buy whenever I can.
Mixing pink carnations or white carnations into your bouquets adds volume to the bouquet, without taking away from the flower star of the bouquet.
Carnations have a soft, delicate appearance; as they open, their ruffly petals expand. They mix beautifully with roses and peonies.
Another reason I love pink carnations is their longevity. Unlike other flowers that wilt and die quickly, carnations can last up to two weeks if cared for properly. This makes them a very cost-effective choice. Carnations also require minimal care, making them a low-maintenance option for busy people.
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How to Elevate Grocery Store Flowers
I am very lucky to have the Los Angeles Flower Mart so close to me, but to be honest, I only go to the flower mart when I have a LOT of flowers to create. Most of the time, I use grocery store flowers.
I love to mix and match grocery store flowers, take apart the bouquets that they sell ready-made, and then create my own designs. You can usually find pink carnations or white carnations at the grocery store to add to the other flowers that you find.
One of the main reasons that I love carnations flowers is that they are pretty, fun, and readily easy to find. I usually have a color palette in mind when buying flowers. Carnations flowers are plentiful and there is usually a wonderful selection of colors to choose from.
Now that you know how to create stunning bouquets by adding pink carnations and white carnation flowers, it’s time to try your hand at creating your own centerpiece! So go ahead and show off your newly acquired florist skills by whipping up a beautiful arrangement for your next dinner party.
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