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