The Green Carnation

22 Jan

Rarely, when I go out, I like to wear a buttonhole. Being a fan of Oscar Wilde (and all the French authors he plagiarised) it has occurred to me that I might try to get hold of a green carnation but until now I hadn’t looked into the idea.

Some green flowers do exist in nature, but the carnation is not one of these. Oscar would sit his carnations in green dye until they took the colour on. I’ll let someone else tell the tale . . .

Elsewhere online – the green carnation story

I have never grown carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus). They seem twee to me. Their one attraction to me is their foliage, which is strongly glaucous. Oscar might have found me a way round this though; his carnations were apparently of the Malmaison type. These seem to be fairly easily available for mail order. Malmaison carnations resemble roses and smell strongly of cloves. Oscar’s favourite scent, I now discover, was Malmaison by Floris (now discontinued). So if I were to go in for these, i’d have something that isn’t shaped like a typical carnation, doesn’t smell like a typical carnation, and then i’d dye it green so it wouldn’t look like a carnation either. Acceptable!

Plus it fits in with the programme on two scores: glaucous foliage and good scent.

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7 Responses to “The Green Carnation”

  1. Becca January 23, 2013 at 1:31 am #

    Interesting story! I can’t grow carnations (gardening in zone 10B and being a lazy waterer) but the flowers of string of pearls senecio have a lovely clove scent (which, of course, is essential for a goth garden!). They would not make a good buttonhole, however. :)

    • thechthonianlife January 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Fully 10B! My word, the things you can grow there. Still jealous.

      I will get over my zone envy eventually btw

      • Becca January 24, 2013 at 4:02 am #

        I’m sure people in your neighborhood are thoroughly sick of hearing californians recount how they were raised on ‘The Secret Garden’ and really want that kind of garden and how lucky you are…but, yeah…there it is. Also, you probably aren’t weeding at this time of year. Weeds grow great in this zone, and all year long, as well.

  2. Mark and Gaz January 23, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Interesting story! Even with his choice of favourite carnation, Oscar Wilde was never traditional :)

    • thechthonianlife January 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      I recommend visiting his grave in Paris next time you go, if you haven’t been already. It’s very characterful and yep, not at all traditional!

  3. Peter/Outlaw January 23, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Learned a lot from this interesting post. Good luck growing and dying these!

    • thechthonianlife January 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Bit late now to have them ready for friday night I reckon.

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