Fashion reporter Teri Agins answers readers' questions
Q: For the prom, my 17-year-old son recently gave his date a wrist corsage of orchids - and he wore a tiny rose on his jacket. Now, my husband is talking about wearing a boutonniere to two fancy weddings we are going to this summer? What flowers look best with fashions nowadays? --G.A., Scottsdale, Ariz.
A: Casual dress codes have hurt the fashion prospects for corsages and boutonnieres, which seem to turn up only at rituals such as proms, weddings and funerals. It's no wonder that most folks haven't bothered to think beyond a white carnation when it comes to wearing fresh flowers. For both sexes, there's much more to choose from.
There is something utterly dashing about a guy who can pull off a boutonniere: Exhibit A is menswear designer Tom Ford, who often wears a fresh gardenia in the lapel of his double-breasted tuxedo. Your husband will probably wear a navy or dark gray suit to those weddings, so consider a gardenia, a cluster of mini calla lilies or tiny dendrobium orchids. The best florist in town will have the most varieties to choose from. Talk it over a few weeks in advance so that the shop can reserve your choice.
Frankly, ladies, it's hard to wear most corsages without looking matronly. That's why I prefer a wrist corsage to a pinned style. It looks festive and flirty with all kinds of strapless cocktail dresses and can instantly soften a little black dress or a pastel sheath. Your wrists can carry a big tropical hibiscus, as well as the daintier orchids and other exotic varieties. Tear out flower images from magazines to show your florist.
If your style is sassier, don't forget that fresh tropical flowers such as hibiscus can be dramatic hair accessories. Pin them to the side of your face or clip them into your updo.
Mature ladies in dressy cocktail suits can also look smart in oversize silk mums worn like a shoulder brooch, a look made popular by actress Sarah Jessica Parker on "Sex and the City."
We've noticed that our cattleya orchids (white one shown above, also available in purple, pure white, and white with purple lip) are becoming more popular.
Splashy hair ornaments? What could be better than a beautiful cattleya - and they are very unusual and hard to find.
For tiny roses, try our sweetheart varieties Volare, Sacha (red), Valerie (pink), Eskimo (white), or Frisco (yellow). Or the many spray roses.
Our discussions with our florist customers about wrist corsages echoes what she says above - that's what most people are wearing instead of a pinned on corsage. They are really beautiful and one of the best parts is that the wearer can admire it too. How about a wrist corsage using Lavande roses? They smell delightful and would make the experience of wearing flowers an even more beautiful experience.
I recently told about my poor little cheapo "feeder" goldfish which were released into the Chinese pot fountain to fend for themselves. They aren't very good at it, because several of them immediately went over the side with the overflowing water.
Then Jim noticed one was alive on the rocks and he rescued it! But a few days later it was gone too.
But this experience made me wonder if any of them made it into the hidden basin beneath the fountain and are living down there...like cave creatures with no eyes...Gollum???
Meanwhile to put the electric connection in for the fountain he had to go into the area under the house (fondly referred to as "the pit of hell") and found the above-pictured plant growing under there.
It's a shoot of the Harlequin Glorybower tree. What an enterprising plant. We have a beautiful tree which was actually the product of a sucker beneath somebody else's tree. It blooms in August and smells wonderful, and also attracts interesting moths such as the Hummingbird Moth. We did actually think it was a hummingbird for a while!!!!
The Harlequin Glorybower tree has a vast netted root system which lies shallow under the ground, and whenever it gets the opportunity it will send up shoots. Somehow under the house must have seemed inviting!
So you never know what is lurking under there in the dark!