By Mary N. DiZazzo

Smell the Flowers

Ciao bella,

The art of flower arranging as decoration is found from the earliest of times. Reaching far back into history, the love of flowers for their varied and graceful beauty remains universal up to the present day. Of course, varying from one culture to another, the art of flower arranging captures the significant beauty of the country and era.

The Greeks and Romans hired professional flower arrangers to design garlands and wreaths. These were presented to civic leaders, poets, athletes, and victorious soldiers.

Garlands were exchanged by lovers, worn at weddings, and decorated doors on festive occasions.

Roses were very popular, but violets, lilies, cornflowers, irises, cyclamen, crocus, and different shrubs and aromatic herbs were used.

Lavish use of roses was common. Twelve unique varieties are known to have been grown. Their petals were strewn on couches and tables at feasts and also on the streets.

For centuries symbolism has been associated with flowers. In Egypt the lotus, which grows in damp regions was connected with prayers for rain. Early Chinese arrangements often used certain flowers to convey a message to the spectator. Known as the "flowery kingdom" China's other early arrangements show a love of nature infused with restraint which was part of the religious feeling that permeated life there.

The Victorians conveyed many messages with particular combinations. Many books were written on the "language of flowers" then.

The symbolism of today is rare in flower arranging --except for white heather which stands for good luck and red roses for love. Many old superstitions believe bringing indoors certain flowers augurs bad luck.

For a fresh bloom on your lapel signifying spring (where is it? at least it's not snowing! --it's Boston!) visit Sean at Kabloom at 29 School Street downtown. He'll find a fresh bud to cheer your day.

Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!


Have you missed any of Mary's columns in the Post-Gazette? Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns on her website She is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.