Every February, Mardi Gras gives us a chance to kick convention to the curb and fatten up with a day of drinking and debauchery before settling in to the Lenten season of austerity and repentance. Around the world, versions of this crazy carnival are happening in the streets with dancing, parades and elaborate costumes. Traditional colors of purple, gold and green decorate the streets and perhaps a King Cake on your kitchen table. Whether you celebrate this Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday for religious purposes, or simply want to have a good time, here are 5 flowers perfect for letting you laissez le bon temps rouler.
These delightfully delicate flowers unfurl from the buds of lisianthus like crepe paper from a parade float. One of the truest shades of purple you can find in the natural world, these gorgeous stems are whimsical and festive with several blooms on long, nodding stems. Consider making a few buds into a beautiful boutonniere for the day or placing several stems, trimmed short, in a round, glass bowl. They look amazing on their own or else gussied up with a bit of green hypericum berry and a gold ribbon for the festivities.
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Bells of Ireland
Tall, green and bizarrely shaped, these wacky flowers add height and dimension to an arrangement. With hardy stems as long as 2 to 3 feet, these sturdy flowers will hold up well for days and can be worked into elaborate forms or simply plopped in a tall, glass vase. Both stem and blooms of this flower are a true shape of green. Small green “bells” open up from bottom to top, some with tiny white flowers inside, and taper off at the top. This strange and unusual bloom will last long after the party is over.
A new cultivar of this old-fashioned standby now comes in a shocking shade of purple. “Moonlight” carnations, as they are called, are a great addition to your Mardi Gras decor and are now available through florist around the country. Hardy like traditional carnations, this bloom is a great choice of flower for a day of feasting and carrying on.
Green Kermit Mums
Absolutely charming, like the Muppet Show mister frog they are named for, the compact, green kermit mum is a must for your Fat Tuesday flower arrangement. Long lasting and economical, this round flower is more densely petaled than traditional mums and has blooms about the size of a large coin across on long stems. Consider mixing these with the purple lisianthus or simply beheading the blooms from the stems and throwing them about in lieu of beads.
Wildly impractical this time of year, the firework effect of large dahlia flowers will be expensive, opulent and completely out of season for February. That said, these bright and explosive flowers have petals in every color of the rainbow and come in sizes as big as a dinner plate. If you want to go big on a day made for excess, perhaps these are the best choice.