Flowers and Allergies

It’s a woman’s (and occasionally a man’s) favorite thing- being gifted flowers- smelling and seeing them, being surrounded by them. More often than commonly noticed, these flowers become problematic. They take one’s breath away. Not in the romantic or amorous manner, but quite literally- in the form of allergies.  

Imagine being on the other side of things-  as the one gifting the flowers. Ultimately, what was initially a good deed, a sweet surprise, can turn into a perfectly failed scenario. But what if you knew exactly what to avoid and what to pick up for that special someone, who just happens to have allergies!

To clarify some of those concerns, without compromising on the look or charm of the bouquet, here is a compilation of flowers to avoid and others that can replace them.

 Worst: Daisies and Sunflowers 

Despite their simple yet attractive presence, daisies and sunflowers are known to be among the worst when it comes to pollen activity, meaning that they produce and release too much of it. According to Allergyware.com, the pollen flies from “male” flowers to fertilize the “female,” which makes sure that more ‘flower bloom’ can occur. As a result, this irritant activates allergies for those who are sensitive.

Best: Carnations and Daffodils

To replace these beautifully plain options, one cannot go wrong with carnations or daffodils. With their vibrant colors and lively tones, these two are sure to make any bouquet pop, emphasizing their fun and exciting energy.

Worst: Chamomiles and Dahlias:

Effortlessly alluring and sure to decorate any bouquet with love, asters, chamomiles and dahlias are also known to make allergy-sufferers, suffer. While these are all pollen-rich flowers and are the main group known to cause allergies, fragranced flowers like jasmine and lilacs are also to be looked out for.

Best: Roses, Peonies, Orchids, Tulips

Exchangeably, roses, peonies, orchids or even tulips are an allergy-free and eloquent addition to any bouquet, as they are deemed suitable for any occasion. 

Worst and Best: Lillies

 The beautiful lily is another suitable choice for allergy sufferers if the pollens are removed.  Since allergens are typically found in a plant’s pollen, not having the substance is a major plus. While you can’t remove pollen from some lilies, many lilies contain pollen that can easily be removed. Asiatic lilies come in gorgeous pink, red, orange, and mixed colors, making it both hypo-allergenic and a sight for sore eyes. However, Oriental lilies such as Stargazer lilies are very fragrant, people either tend to adore their intense fragrance or really can’t abide it. Sensitivity to the smell may cause a headache.

 Today’s flower market is booming and blooming with options, but being considerate of allergies and other health concerns is just as thoughtful as is the initial idea of gifting flowers. So the next time you’re out searching for that special bouquet for someone, think about allergies and possibly avoiding an unpleasant situation, simply by picking the right bouquet. 

Author: Marian Sahakyan

The Gift of Giving

We live in a flower-giving-culture. Thoughtfully and sometimes thoughtlessly, we give flowers —when a baby is born, when someone graduates or succeeds in something. We give flowers to someone to make them feel special, we also give them during times of uncertainty, commemoration and death. The thought that flowers have established a strong presence in the cycle of life is justified through personal and historical testimonies. 

 

It is unknown when humans first started giving flowers to one another, but we know that it occurred with the hunter-gatherers, when the ‘hunter’ surprised the ‘gatherer’ with a handpicked bouquet to celebrate the day’s meal. This suggests that even then, gifting flowers was a means of communicating a special sentiment, which grew to be a tradition among cultures. 

 

Despite the noticeable evolution of customs since the times of hunter-gatherers, we learn that the message behind giving flowers has remained the same. Celebration, they say. 

 

Celebration of life: The ancient Greeks anointed the beginning of a child’s life by giving flowers after their birth. They believed that flowers were associated with Gods and by gifting flowers, they were declaring a strong and prosperous life upon the newborn. 

 

Celebration of growth: We give flowers when someone succeeds professionally or educationally or when they embark on an adventure. Perhaps this, too, signifies the celebration of improvement and advancement. 

Celebration of growth: We give flowers when someone succeeds professionally or educationally or when they embark on an adventure. Perhaps this, too, signifies the celebration of improvement and advancement. 

 

Celebration of love: Significant others have offered flowers as an expression of appreciation and thought for ages. For example, they were an effective means of message delivery during the Victorian times, when etiquette dictated discretion and that was everything.

 

An admirer could present a young woman with a bouquet that included a red tulip, and this would be his declaration of love and interest in her. Since then, we have replaced the red tulip with a red rose, which epitomizes all that love and passion capsulize. 

 

A celebration of life: What about using flowers in the event of one’s death. Regardless, funerals are not a happy time to be celebrated, what’s the role of flowers in this? 

The tradition of incorporating flowers at a farewell service has been around for centuries, but now plays a role different than its original. Previously, they were used as a means of covering the unpleasant odors of a decaying body. 

Nonetheless,  societies advanced and so did their techniques of deodorizing dead bodies. This is when the practice of embalming came about and replaced the use of flowers for smell. Now, flowers simply shed light and beauty among the heaviness of a funeral. They encapsulate comfort, love, sympathy and respect.

Regardless of the occasion—-happy or sad— flowers are everywhere. Their presence is often overlooked, but their absence is heavily noted. Above all, their cheerful and delicate essence reminds us of our own beautiful significance in the world.

Author: Marian Sahakyan

Easter Flowers

Easter is full of many customs, traditions, and symbols that we borrow from Christianity and the ancient world. Easter celebrations are filled with pastel colored flowers, different colored eggs and hopping bunnies that come to us from the ancient spring festivals. All these symbols represent fertility, new life, and rebirth. Easter flowers are also fitting emblems for this time of year with their soft, delicate petals and sprouting young buds.

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