Laurel for the victors

Ancient greek pottery

The fauna of youth

In this weeks arrangement we’ve added the foliage of all foliage. The fountain of youth for flora and fauna. This stuff just does not get old. The ever-green Laurel. I think it looks rather splendid amongst the roses, bouvardia and gypsophila don’t you?

A photo of this weeks arrangement
This weeks extravaganza

Marcus L-Aurel-ius and co

When you think of laurel, you think of a few things. The first one that comes into your head is laurel wreaths worn by dashing Romans and Ancient Greeks. Swanning around starkers after defeating a lion or something and wearing a glorious crown of laurel leaves. But why?

A laurel wreath is a symbol of victory and honour. In ancient Greece, wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympics and poetic meets.

Worn by some emperors as a token of their own divinity. The Roman Emperors Trajan, Caligula and Marcus Aurelius are all seen on their coins wearing a laurel wreath on their heads.

A image of a Roman coin
Marcus L-Aurel- ius 

The Story of the laurel wreath

Apollo got shot by Cupids arrow and fell big time for the nymph, Daphne. But alas Daph did not love him back… At all. So Daphne’s father Peneus decides the best way to save his daughter from love-crazy Apollo is to transform her into a laurel tree. (We’re not quite sure what his reasoning is on this one, but apparently it made sense to the ancient Greeks.)

Apollo feels rubbish about how it all went down, so he “honours” Daphne by making the laurel his sacred tree. He also gives the tree some of his own eternal youth to make it an evergreen. So, even though Daphne is the one who turns into the tree, the laurel ends up being a symbol of Apollo himself. The god is often depicted in art as wearing a wreath of laurel, and his lyre and bow are usually decorated with laurel leaves.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t rest on your laurels” when warning another person not to get too cocky after a big win? Well, now you know where that comes from – the phrase references none other than the laurel wreaths that were awarded for a victory. It’s kind of weird that what started out as a symbol of Apollo’s defeat in love became a symbol of human victory.

Painting by Antonio del Pollaiolo
Daphne and Apollo by Antonio del Pollaiolo.

Who remembers?

Other than laurel wreaths the other one that comes to mind is Laurel & Hardy. For those of you that don’t know, Laurel and Hardy were a comedy double act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. They seemed to have disappeared on TV now but I remember when I was younger they were a big part of my telly watching.

Photo of Laurel & Hardy
Laurel & Hardy

 

Let’s have a cheeky peak

This arrangement is a breath of fresh air. And actually features a flower called ‘baby’s breath’ (Gypsophila). A lovely delicate arrangement but with the laurel making it also look rather handsome.

What’s in the bunch?

Avalanche roses

Avalanche roses
Gorg avalanche roses

Bouvardia

Bouvardia
Bouvardia to die for

Laurel

A photo of this weeks arrangement
Holding up the fort – Laurel

Baby’s breath – Gypsophila

Gypsophila
A breath of air

Our fleurs are so incredibly fresh that some of them will arrive closed. They’ll open up over the next few days and we hope you enjoy watching them open up.

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £22 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.