22 March 2007
love thursday: flowers dried with love

I've read that it's bad luck to have dried flowers hanging around the house because they are a symbol of death--although that idea seems to be eroding a bit, proving that even ancient Chinese philosophies can be guilty of old wives' tales.

Maybe I'm taking a risk, but I love flowers in any form, and I don't see any reason why you can't still enjoy them for what they have become.


Overlooking my house's only staircase is this wrought iron structure. I started hanging bunches of flowers on it about three years ago, although there still aren't very many bouquets. This is because most of the flowers I receive, buy, or pick can't be dried as they're too fragile, but see those yellow ones? Those were my very first International Women's Day mimosa.

And although it'd be romantic to say that the big bunch of roses in the upper right corner were from P to mark some special occasion, it'd also be a lie. P's more of a pick-flowers-on-the-go kind of guy, which suits me just fine--I don't do well with fresh roses as I'm slightly allergic (my mom is full allergic). Plus I'm more of a wildflowers kind of gal anyway.

The roses you see were actually found in a rubbish bin near one of this village's thirteen churches. Only one of the churches still operates regularly, but for every church, there is at least one woman who opens it up weekly, cleans it, and puts in fresh flowers, candles, prayer cards, etc.

When I saw those roses, still mostly alive although admittedly past their prime, outside one of the smallest and best hidden churches, I marveled at how much care goes into beautifying something that only one other Being sees--that one other Being being the whole point of having the church.

And the little bouquet of red in the middle? In this village, we have many immigrants from Africa and Colombia as well as Kurds from Turkey and Iraq. Just after I arrived came Helen, a nine-year-old Ethiopian girl who had come here with all the men in her family; at that time, there were no other immigrant girls or women (although now there are, as many have rejoined their families).

Both of us hungry for some female companionship, we forged a friendship, taking walks, picking wildflowers, drawing (I keep a stash of colored pencils for children guests, well, and me), and learning Italian together--she much faster than I. One day when I answered a knock at my door, I opened to only fresh air. Then I looked down and saw a small bunch of roses lying on the doorstep. From the corner of my eye, I noticed Helen's head popping back behind the corner.

When I was thinking of a Love Thursday post, I thought of these dried flowers and how even though some may simply think of them as dead and ready for the rubbish bin, I keep them as reminders of times past--good and bad, but mostly good.

Either way, every bunch has a story.

Only as I was taking this photo did I realize that there happens to be a big heart in the middle of the iron structure, so maybe (hopefully) even under Feng Shui principles, that counteracts the death vibes.

Yes, of course I had noticed the heart there before, but you know how sometimes things around you become so commonplace that you don't appreciate their uniqueness anymore?

Guilty.

But I like to think I'm getting better.

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

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28 Comments:

Blogger cheeky said...

What a beautiful post. I don't buy into any of that "bad luck" stuff.
I love that you forged a friendship with the little girl from Africa, how sweet is that. This is what life is made of. LOVE.
The iron piece is lovely.It brings a certain feel with it.
I can still smell the banana cake.

Blogger Giulia said...

As always, a beautiful Love Thursday post! From what I can see of it, your kitchen has that nice "rustica" charm to it.

Blogger nikinpos said...

I always used to have a dried daisy chain hanging from the mirror in the car, and we tried to dry lots of the flowers that were sent to my mums funeral as keepsakes, maybe thats where the link is?

Blogger sognatrice said...

Cheeky, I don't believe in bad luck either (except for, you know, malocchio or something), although I do think the study of Feng Shui is interesting and try my best to comply--can't hurt!

Giulia, yes, the whole house is quite rustica, actually. I love terra cotta and neutral colors, probably because I can't wear clothes in any of those colors because of my pale-o skin tone.

Niki, yes, I think the dried flower-death connection is discussed in the first article I linked to, and then the author counteracts that with the Victorians' (and many after them) pressing flowers, etc., from positive events.

I kept petals from roses from both my grandparents' funerals, and I have those here with me too--each has his/her own wooden box, which were made in Lithuania (my grandfather's heritage). Probably a future post....

Anyway, I really like having them and other dried flowers more than I care about the bad luck. Obviously ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

we kept the flowers from our wedding and they looked lovely dried. The next time we went on holiday, my MIL came down and sping cleaned the house, threw away all those 'revolting dead flowers'.... replaced them with the ugly fake ones.... vanessa

Blogger sognatrice said...

Oh Vanessa, so awful! And yet so not surprising.

Anonymous heather said...

This is a beautiful post! I really love the idea, and the picture. I used to hang dried flowers all the time, and I loved the way they looked. I haven't started again in our apartment, but it is sure to be something that happens with the house, when we finally buy one!

Blogger meredith said...

I like your friend Helen's gesture of love, she sounds like a sweet girl. And from the little glimpse we get from the photo, I really like the looks of your house, dried flowers and all. Happy Love Thursday.

Anonymous bella said...

This is a beautiful entry for Love Thursday.
I love dried flowers just as much as fresh flowers.
It's funny because I always believed in the myth that the dried corn we usually hang in the fall brought bad luck to your house. I don't hang that stuff anymore.

Blogger stefanie said...

I love that wrought iron thing. It looks like your whole house is probably charming.

Sweet story about the little girl, too.

Blogger -R- said...

The story about Helen really got me!

Thanks for the comment on my blog - I had trouble posting last night and must have accidentally closed the comments. It is fixed now because I guess I have a desperate need for comments. =)

Blogger goodthomas said...

It is hard not to love a post about love.

I love the idea of loving flowers even after their dead, and I love the story about Helen, a young girl who certainly understands the meaning of "love."

I am woman enough to admit I choked up when I read about Helen leaving the flowers behind.

I live in a place where people seem to go out their way not to connect or even deal with people outside of their "circle". Your post is a postive and uplifting story we don't get to see too often these days.

Anonymous jessica said...

I too have hanging bunches of dried roses. I also have a dried lei, that I was given by a family friend in Hawaii. They say that you are supposed to throw the lei into the sea. I'm not sure if you're not supposed to keep it...they didn't say. They just said throw it. But I didn't and i keep it for the positive reason of remember good times and a blessed life...so hopefully nothing falls on my head for this.

Blogger goodthomas said...

Sorry, I meant "after they're dead" (not "their").

Ugh. And English is my first language.

Blogger Bongga Mom said...

Your house looks so warm and inviting and full of character! The dried flowers give it such a nice personal touch. It's as beautiful as the rest of the place you live in!

Blogger Ambra Celeste said...

Don't worry about the feng shui. Your heart has got it covered. I love dried flowers too. I get that from my mom...

Blogger Annika said...

That picture could come straight out of a home decoration magazine!

Blogger PastorMac's Ann said...

What a terrific picture for Love Thursday and how cool that you dry flowers and keep them. Sweet remembrances. Happy LT.

Blogger JennDZ said...

To me, there is something so old-fashioned and nice about dried flowers. I stopped hanging htem around because was worried about the feng shui stuff too, but now, if they are really special I keep them! :)

Blogger Catherine said...

Hmmm. I love dried flowers...much to my husband's chagrin...

Blogger Shan said...

Beautiful post and pictures, as always.

Blogger Nadine said...

Lovely post...I love the picture.

Blogger Waspgoddess said...

I think dried flowers are sometimes even more beautiful than when they were once fresh. And I agree with you, give me a bunch of wild flowers over 12 long-stemmed roses any day.

Anonymous Kristen said...

What a great use of dried flowers. Great post!

Anonymous Sara said...

I think this is exactly the kind of place Love Thursday should go. :)

Also, you're in Europe. European tradition has women and men drying flowers of many kinds for culinary, aromatic, and therapeutic purposes and hanging them up in various practical but also aesthetically pleasing areas of the home as part of their work and part of their wealth for thousands of years.

So the Chinese think it's better to put them in drawers. So what? You're not in China.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Hah, Sara! I like that :)

Anonymous AA said...

Nice stories and a nice picture.

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