This holiday season, if a competitor slams flowers as a “gift that dies,” florists have an elegant retort: That’s the point.
A new essay in The New York Times is a heartfelt take on the beauty of flowers and the importance of both giving and receiving flowers. Rather than lamenting the fact that flowers and plants eventually die, the writer tells her readers that the gifts’ ephemeral nature is part of their appeal.
“Why do we send flowers?” wonders Alisha Gordon, the former florist who wrote the essay, “One Bouquet of Fleeting Beauty, Please” for the Times’ long-running Modern Love column. “To make up for what is intangible? Those feelings we can’t hold in our hands and present as a gift to our loved ones?”
Gordon, who worked at Sammy’s Flowers in Portland, Oregon, for two years, goes on to write elegantly about the customers she encountered and the range of human emotions flowers helped them express. (One of the passages that might resonate with your design room or sales team: the sometimes humorous and often poignant card messages customers dictate.) She left Sammy’s in August and now works at Timber Press, also in Portland.
“I miss [the shop]!” said Gordon, in a follow-up interview with Ebrief editors. “Hearing from people who’ve read the essay — both people I know and people I don’t know — has been one of my favorite things about this.”
At the end of the essay, Gordon connected her time working in Sammy’s to the death of a loved one and reflects on how both experiences changed her perception of time.
“Now I measure months by what’s in season: sunflowers in July, dahlias in August, rosehips and maple in October, pine in December, hyacinth in March, crowd-pleasing peonies in May,” she said. “A favorite of mine is tulip magnolia, the way the buds erupt into blooms and the blooms into a litter of color on lawns, all in a matter of weeks while it’s snowing cherry blossoms. How startlingly beautiful impermanence can be.”
At press time, the essay had been shared more than 140 times from the Modern Love Facebook page and generated many sincere comments from readers on their own experiences giving and getting flowers.