Watch Someone Else Do It

There’s a reason for these flowers


Have you been wondering what the deal was with the Olympic
flowers? I have. When I first saw the yellow/chartreuse bouquets, I wondered if they had
some kind of significance to Vancouver, because they are so unlike the
traditional flowers you might expect—any color roses would be the norm, you’d
think. Not that I’m disappointed they’re not roses; like Susan, I find florist
roses to be pathetic, chemicalized clichés.

From the distance of the TV screen, the Olympic bouquets,
given to both male and female medalists, look to be homely bunches of ordinary
flowers, though it’s hard to distinguish the individual cultivars. I did find
an article
about them
though, and here’s the deal. The flowers are green mums and hypericum berries. Well, that’s what the Yahoo article
says. Technically, they should be called regular incurve chrysanthemums and (I
think) Hypericum androsaemum. I’m no mum or hypericum expert, though I’ve
certainly bought enough of them as excellent components of long-lasting
arrangements. That said, I’m not a fan of the traditional fall mums. The
Olympics ones are a prettier variety.

Apparently, 58 florists competed for the Vancouver bouquet
concession, and the winners were Just Beginning Flowers and Margitta’s Flowers,
both local to BC. Just Beginning teaches floristry to women who have left
prison, are recovering from addiction, or are victims of violence. In other
words, the program makes a useful trade available to women who need a fresh

The Beijing Olympics had roses. In Turin,
they used rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias. While both of those choices
may be more interesting or elegant, I like this year’s choice of common flowers
we all buy for our household vases. And I love the Just Beginning project.

Our friends at the Human
Flower Project also had a post on this.

Oh, and by the way, I am loving the Olympics. I have not
watched it in years and so far I am vastly entertained by the snowboarding
and the figure skating. Awesome outfits! And let’s face it, the outfits are key.

Posted by on February 20, 2010 at 5:00 am, in the category Watch Someone Else Do It.
Comments are off for this post

15 responses to “There’s a reason for these flowers”

  1. I think this thing is not right to put flowers where nothing will see them

  2. Yolana says:

    I love those flowers. Unfortunately, I’m now compelled to find some for my garden.

  3. Erin says:

    I’ve been wondering myself. Thanks for doing the legwork for me!

  4. I love hypericum berries and agree with your thoughts on the good sense in choosing simple, everyday flowers for the bouquets. Mums get a bad rap, especially with all of the hothouse ones around in the fall. Just Beginning Flowers sounds like a wonderful enterprise.

  5. The World had a nice piece about the florists and purpose, too.

  6. Pam J. says:

    You’re right Eliz…the Olympics is ALL about the costumes. And the hair. And of course the falls & spills.

  7. I’d been wondering about those bouquets, too – thanks for the article!

  8. You talked about the flowers, but it’s the foliage that’s a standout in my mind. I love the loops of bear grass and big folded over tea leaves, although I think I would have skipped the leather leaf fern. Over all the hand tied bouquets are unique and understated which seems perfect for the times.

  9. Great post… I noticed the flower, too. Loved the green.

  10. Julie Ardery says:


    Thanks for checking out Human Flower Project on the green torch and giving us a mention here. I hope this summer’s blogger gathering in Buffalo takes the gold.


  11. Chiot's Run says:

    I’m a HUGE fan of green mums, so I love the simplicity of these. I didn’t know anything about them till this article – love what’s behind them!

    We LOVE LOVE LOVE the winter olympics and got cable for the month again just for these games. We’ve been watching hours and hours each day, haven’t missed hardly any of the events. Thank goodness for the DVR so we can fast forward through all the commercials!

  12. Sheila says:

    While I think the bouquets are pretty, I’m not wowed by them. Just watching the athletes standing on the podium, they don’t seemed to be wowed by the flower bouquets either. One of the athletes threw his bouquet to the crowd. I told my husband if it was me, I would have treasured my bouquet! Winter is so drabby that I would have liked to see more color.

  13. Riz Reyes says:

    I blogged about the Olympic bouquets as well and what an honor to be selected to make them!

    The arrangements look great and the monochromatic theme is growing on me as they don’t detract from the athletes.

    I find it fascinating as I read somewhere that it’s an official Olympic rule that each medalist is required to receive a commemorative bouquet.


  14. fetu says:

    Coming from Hawaii, the first thing I noticed was that they used Ti leaves around the side of the mums to give them some support as they wave their bouquets at their fans. I would presume the ti leaves came from Hawaii. funny that you did not even mention the ti leaves in your article. I guess it proves that we are all looking at what is important to us.

  15. chuck b. says:

    There was an audio segment on NPR about the two florists who won the bid. One of them has been in the business for 60 years or something.