Sending carnations is a special way of sending a significant message to one’s beloved. The red variety says “My heart aches for you" and talks of a deep admiration while the pink carnation says, “I’ll never forget you”. A white carnation is believed to symbolize sweet, lovely innocence, a kind of woman’s good luck gift; while the purple shade shows capriciousness. Red carnation for "alas for my poor heart", striped for refusal, yellow for disdain, pink for woman's love.
Dianthus, it the botanical name for a carnation means divine flower. Carnation was the flesh-pink colour Elizabethan portrait painters used as a background wash. The carnation is available as a standard carnation - one large flower per stem, or a spray carnation with lots of smaller flowers. It is an incredibly versatile flowers, long lasting and available all year round in a huge range of colours, almost all except blue. A mauve carnation with a blue tinge has been developed by Florigene in Australia. But they look best in hot Latin shades of red, pink and orange.
New varieties have been bred which look like old-fashioned garden pinks, but in bright colours. They have daintier relatives, the fantastically fragrant Sweet Williams and Pinks.
Though carnations have gone through a period of bad press over the last 20 or 30 years as result of rise of designer London florists and style gurus, but carnations are still the UK's best-selling cut flower, by miles. They are an excellent cut-flower, great value, very long-lasting, and are now having a mini revival. The are particularly popular on mothering Sunday, and in Canada you wear a red flower if your mother is alive or a white flower if your mother has died.