Posts Tagged ‘Flowers’


January 1, 2010

Late last year I received the gift of a potted sunflower (a dwarf version, about one and a half feet high), and it’s such a great gift!

I’ve already repotted it into a bigger pot and put it in pride of place at the front door, where it is such a cheerful and welcoming and, well, sunny little sentinel.

I’d recommend this as a great gift for anyone.  Also good for the ‘hard to buy for’ crew, as it is: inexpensive, cheerful, different and impermanent.  The significance of the latter?  Well, if the recipient isn’t crazy about sunflowers, or lacks a green thumb, this gift won’t be around for years and years, to annoy and embarrass them.  It’ll just be around for as long as the summer lasts, bringing six months of floral sunshine.  And if they love it a lot, getting another one next summer won’t cost them a fortune.


Flowers or flour?

October 31, 2009

Author Shonagh Koea, in her excellent memoir The Kindness of Strangers, recalls – following the untimely death of her husband – being given a posy of flowers by a visitor.

Someone called in one day to give me a bunch of pansies when there was hardly any food left in the cupboard and I just thought, “What the hell use is this fucking bunch of pansies when I’m hungry?”

The Kindness of Strangers – Kitchen Memoirs, Shonagh Koea, 2007, Random House New Zealand

Such an angry thought! The point being, of course, that pretty flowers are precious little comfort when one is hungry, and a practical gift, like food or money, would have been much better.

But I have mixed emotions on this one. How was her guest to have known that the newly widowed Shonagh could not afford groceries?

A word on gratitude

June 8, 2009

With Mother’s Day coming up (in the US),  and also having recently mentioned that garden shops are a good place to look for gifts, I was remembering when my dad bought my mother a gift from one.

He decided to get her something for Mother’s Day (as a thank-you for her being mother to his children, I guess), and I remember being there when he stopped by a garden shop and bought a potted cyclamen for her. 

I can’t put my finger on the name of the colour, exactly, but the flower was a rather lively shade of deep pink.  Mauve, perhaps.  It’s a strong, vibrant color that still seems very popular with cyclamen breeders.

Unfortunately, it was not popular with my mother.  She yelled at him for getting such a horrible color – it clashed with her decor – and made him take it back to the store straight away.  Whether to exchange or just get a refund, I’m not sure. 

I don’t recall what my father’s reaction was.  He was the strong, silent type (and I was only eight years old, or so – a long time ago now) – but I remember feeling bad for him, that he had bought her a present and got screamed at for his trouble.  I bet he wished he never bothered.  And I’d wager that the following year, he didn’t bother buying a gift at all.

So ladies, if you receive something unwanted this Mother’s Day…please be kind…

…and remember, pot plants that don’t much please you can always be tucked out of sight in a spare room.

P.S.  In spite of my dad’s experience, I still believe that garden stores are good places to look for gift ideas!


Say it with flowers

May 29, 2009

I like the part in Piers Morgan’s diary where he wants to send his would-be girlfriend flowers, but knows that ordinary blooms won’t stand out from the crowd. 

Celia hates flowers, probably because she gets bombarded with the contents of Kew Gardens every week from admiring suitors.  But boring roses are one thing… I had an altogether more sinister idea in mind.

He sends her a nepenthes pitcher plant – exotic, carnivorous – with a witty note.  Celia loves the attention the unusual gift attracts at her office.

She rang in the afternoon, slight hysteria in her voice.

“That ugly plant you sent me has just shot some vile substance all over my desk, causing mass newsroom panic.”

“You liked it, then?”

“I loved it.”

Not for everyone, but he showed excellent insight into what would work for that particular woman.  And it’s always flattering when someone has that insight.

Me, I’d prefer “boring roses”.

Don’t You Know Who I Am?  Piers Morgan, Ebury Press, 2007