We Remember

It is the time of year to remember with respect sacrifices made by veterans at wartime, and how their lives, and the lives of their loved ones were irrevocably changed. Perhaps there is no better visual symbol of remembrance than the poppy. Flowers, to us here, are a symbol of beauty, of nature and of caring. While this remains true of the poppy, that symbolism runs deeper. Among all the death and loss, it, too, was a symbol of hope.

In elementary school, one would be hard-pressed not to recall the Remembrance Day ceremonies, and the reciting of In Flanders Fields — or at least that is how it used to be. I always felt a deep sense of sadness, and a childish innocence of not understanding why men had to go to war; to kill and be killed. I can't say I agree with it anymore now than I did then, but age and exposure gives insight to the gravity of such parts of life. Interviewing veterans, relatives, wives who were left behind, attending Remembrance Day services as an adult and learning at the Military Museums in Calgary gave a small glimpse into some of the darker times in our history. And yet still, I feel a sense of sadness, and a childish innocence of not understanding; but a deeper sense of respect for what was endured for the path toward freedom.

WWI saw lush land turned barren from all the carnage, but Flanders poppies grew by the scores. This vision was the inspiration behind In Flanders Fields, written by Lt. Col John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, after the loss of his friend. A handful of years later, the poem was the inspiration to sell poppies, somewhat as we know today, worn as a symbol of remembrance. The money raised helped veterans who returned from the war. Today, millions of poppies are sold and worn.

Veterans fought for our right to have a choice. We, at Flowers on 9th, choose to first remember the sacrifices made before we direct our attention to the upcoming season.

Lest We Forget.

Image and factual information retrieved from http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/how-we-remember/the-story-of-the-poppy/

An Abridged History of Flowers


There is always beauty to be found in flowers; whether it's a single stem, or a field full of blooms and colours. But flower arranging is an art dating to ancient Egypt for not only decoration, but sacred and religious symbolism. Flowers and herbs were predominantly used in wreaths and garlands by the ancient Greeks and Romans as symbols of wealth, achievement and power. Flowers were seen as a luxury, even though its one of nature's offerings for men and women in equality to delight in.

The Chinese practised flower arranging in unison with religion, but also medicinally. Symbolism of flowers and inherent meanings were respected and a vital part of culture. Through the Middle Ages, monks relied on herbs medicinally as well as spiritually. During the Renaissance, time-sensitive floral designs lived on through paintings.

Designs of flowers transformed through the centuries. Baroque arrangements were symmetrical eventually showcasing curves and asymmetry. The Dutch focused on variety in their compact designs while the French celebrated the soft lines and delicacy of flowers. Nosegays were practical in Georgian times for their fragrance, while Victorian designs featured masses of compact flowers with no concrete design. It's almost fitting the Italian Renaissance incorporated tropical fruits into designs, which also brought back to the forefront symbolism in flowers.

Throughout the 1900s New Art designing showcased smaller vased-designs with either the simple, linear qualities from the Orient to the lush abundance of Europe. Flowers gained popularity for decor, but much of its deep-rooted symbolism and meaning got lost.

The 21st Century has seen a transition and blurred lines are becoming more evident. While supermarkets and flower gatherers place themselves into the mass marketplace, specialized boutiques focus on the artfulness and quality of flowers in their intrinsic grace. The meaning behind the sentiment of gifting another with flowers brings special care from florists with designing from within themselves.

Coming full circle, there is beauty in all flowers. But the art of flower designing showcases flowers and combinations of foliage and fillers in remarkable ways. There is almost a long-lost art of taking flower stems and weaving them into a tapestry of design that one could get lost in. But, what hopefully does not get lost in mass appeal is the symbolism, care and respect for the blooms artfully placed to create a floral vision.

The continued writings on this blog, hope to bring back the intrinsic meaning of flowers, the respect of nature and the value of creating a memory with the gifting of a floral expression. Some writings will focus on flower and plant care, others with delve into the symbolism, with yet more to share lighthearted stories of the people who frequent Flowers on 9th in Lethbridge to send flowers as sentiments, or decorate homes, enhance events, celebrate weddings or commemorate loss of life.

Some history in these writings has been retained over years in the industry. Some was refreshed by visiting theflowerexpert.com.