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Flowers in the Arts

Flowers in the Arts

History and Traditions of Flowers in Dance

November 10, 2016

Nothing makes dancers smile more after a performance than showering them with bouquets of flowers! Whether it is their first or last dance recital, gifting them with flowers after a flawless performance is a traditional gesture to express how proud you are of their dancing achievements.

For years, ballerinas have been presented with beautiful robust bouquets at curtain call as a congratulatory gift for their exceptional performance. Over the course of this tradition, certain rules have been established to ensure successful performances and equality among the dancers.

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Flowers in the Arts

Flowering Cacti: An Interview with Greg Krehel, the “Echinopsis Freak”

September 16, 2016

Here at, we love cacti and flowers, which means we especially love flowering cacti. We came across some of Greg Krehel’s amazing timelapse videos of echonopsis cactus flowers during their blooming cycle and had SO many questions. Luckily, Greg was able to answer some of these for us and we thought you may be interested in Greg’s impressive artwork, too!

eroica-gif-p1-avec-devise Continue Reading…

Flowers in the Arts

Symbolic Flowers in Movies

July 16, 2016

Flowers can be symbolic in a number of ways and for a number of a reasons, but one of our favorites is the use of flowers in movies. From the type of flowers used to their placement throughout films, many directors have relied on flowers to give beautiful meaning to their movies, and we think they have certainly succeeded! Below, we’re sharing our top 10 films where flowers played a significant role.

Film camera chalkboard and roll on wooden table

single-long-stem-red-rose-infinityBeauty and the Beast

In Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast, the rose is used to symbolize love and the ability to love. For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, the beast is told that the enchanted rose will bloom until he turns 21 years old, and if he is able to learn to love again before it died, the spell placed on him would be broken.

The Wizard of Oz

In 1939, Judy Garland amazed us all with her performance in The Wizard of Oz, but we were also equally amazed with the famous poppy flower scene. One of the most vibrant scenes of the film, Dorothy is found sleeping in a large field of scarlet poppies, which have long been used to represent sleep and peace throughout history. Continue Reading…

Flowers in the Arts

Famous Artists Who Were Also Flower Enthusiasts

May 12, 2015

Throughout history, flowers have been an inspiration to all who understand their value and beauty. From literature to fashion and even to financial bubbles (see: Tulip Mania), flowers of all varieties have made their way into elements of culture. One of the most prevalent ways to see the influence of flowers is through art. To celebrate the effect on flowers on art, here are four famous artists who were also flower enthusiasts!

Artists with Flower Paintings

Claude Monet

Fans of Monet know that it is not just his Impressionist style that is instantly recognizable; his appreciation of nature as both inspiration and as a subject matter is just as widely known. In fact, many would find it difficult to think about Monet’s greatest works without instantly thinking of his garden-inspired series, which was painted in his famous “Monet’s Gardens,” pictured below.

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Flowers in the Arts

The Origin of April Showers Bring May Flowers

March 9, 2015

april-showers-bring-may-flowers-tulipsOnce April 1st comes around, it’s time to take out of storage those rain boots, umbrellas, ponchos and of course – vases for your spring flowers. The age-old saying “April Showers Bring May Flowers” still holds true today. But just how did this fun saying originate? Today we’re diving into the history of this poem and prepping for the rainy months ahead of us!

April Showers Bring May Flowers: A History

The poem as we know it today originated all the way in 1157, in the form of a short poem written by Thomas Tusser. The poem can be found in the April section of a collection of his writings titled, “A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry.” The poem goes as follows:
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Flowers in the Arts

Art in Bloom: A Closer Look at Jeff Koons’ Split Rocker

August 4, 2014

jeff-koons-split-rocker-rockefeller-centerHalf toy rocking horse, half dinosaur rocking horse, towering at 37 feet and adorned in over 50,000 flowering plants, Jeff Koons’ exhibit, Split Rocker, seems like something from a fairy tale.

In an interview with The Fondation Beyeler, Koons describes his work of art as “…a division where these two forms don’t go together, but it also represents a unity, because the only way this split really exists is by experiencing it. If you try in any other form…you can never really replicate it.”

We took his advice and decided to experience it for ourselves! So on the next sunny day we hopped on the train to the The Rockefeller Center while this whimsical exhibit took bloom in NYC. Continue Reading…

Flowers in the Arts

Gardens of the Written Word: Popular Literature with Plants and Flowers in Their Title

July 23, 2014

From food to fashion, flowers have been prevalent in every aspect of culture and man-made creations, and literature is no exception.

flowers-in-literature-book-with-flowersPlants and Flowers in Literature:

“Flowers for Algernon,” Daniel Keyes

This classic American fictional short story follows the progress of Charlie, a man with a low IQ who undergoes an experimental surgery that turns him into a genius. The effects of the surgery are short-lived, yet the story he tells is one that will live on forever.
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Flowers in the Arts

Flower Photography in High-Def: An Interview With Filmmaker and Photographer Andrew Zuckerman

March 6, 2013
Peony Cultivar
Peony Cultivar

Image courtesy of Andrew Zuckerman

Here at Petal Talk, we live and breathe flowers in their every form. Whether we’re discovering new ways to decorate with fresh blossoms, creating our own DIY flowers or spotting our favorite blooms in works of art, flowers are what make us smile. So you can imagine the excitement we felt when we came across the newly released book Flower by filmmaker and photographer Andrew Zuckerman. His mesmerizing high-definition images capture flowers in all their glory, creating a vibrant bouquet of photographs that will take your breath away. We were so fascinated by Zuckerman’s flower photography that we just had to reach out to him personally and learn more about his inspiration. Here, Zuckerman himself gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how he brought his latest project to full bloom.

Throughout your career, you’ve photographed a variety of subjects: legendary artists, politicians, business and religious leaders, as well as birds and other wild animals. Why did you choose flowers as your most recent subject?

My interest in flowers was twofold, really. For one thing, since I began exploring the natural world with Creature, I found myself wanting to create a kind of collection of two-dimensional taxonomy, which I equate most immediately with turn of the century naturalist drawings. Flower was the next step in this process. In addition, I like to work with self-imposed constraints and I tend to be inspired by subjects that have been exhausted. Since flowers are one of the oldest subjects in art (their appearance dates back to ancient Egypt), they presented a unique challenge. I was really interested in divorcing the flowers from all their symbolic and metaphorical associations, as well as their ecological contexts, in order to reveal their essential qualities.

In your book Flower, you show intimate close-ups of 150 flower species. How many flower species did you shoot in total while working on the book? How did you select the final 150 images?

I shot around 250 species in total, all of which are included on the project’s microsite, I like to be pretty comprehensive once I start investigating a subject, and I work across a few platforms to create more points of entry into the work. So the projects will include films, a website, taxonomical index, and of course the book, which I consider as an object, so how all the images work together and flow from page to page is important. I usually start with my favorite images and go from there, making sure every image makes sense as part of the larger whole.

Peony Cultivar

Photo courtesy of Andrew Zuckerman

The bright colors of your flowers set against a sharp white background give your photos a surreal effect, putting an intense focus on the flowers themselves and nothing else. Why do you shoot your photos this way?

I find this reductive approach suits both my taxonomical impulses and my desire to reveal the essence of a subject.

Many of the exotic flower species you shot for your book aren’t the kinds of flowers you see every day. How did you collect them for your photo shoots?

We were very fortunate to have the support of amazing institutions like the New York Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Institute, and Fairchild Tropical Garden. But I wanted the project to be a broad survey of the botanical world, so you’ll find a lot of New York City deli flowers mixed in with the incredibly rare orchids and tropicals.

Working at 1-800-Flowers, we know how delicate flowers are and how carefully they need to be handled. What would you say was the most difficult thing about working with such a perishable item?

I was actually surprised by how resilient they were! We work with very hot lights at the studio (and on location), and I expected the process to be much more delicate than it was. But we also handled them with care. We had coolers and water on hand, and we benefitted from working closely with the horticulturalists at many of the institutions. Continue Reading…