Let’s hope we have reason to celebrate every trip around the sun, but if the approach of a big birthday milestone is heading toward someone you love like an extinction-causing asteroid, send them flowering stock to remind them of the earthly pleasures of growing another year older. These tall, luscious annuals are native to cool, temperate climates and take time to mature and develop into the rich, densely-flowered stems that they are. Unlike the hothouse buds that come and go like a falling star, these delicate but substantial blooms will brighten up a room like a comet across the night sky.
Few things are as lovely and distinguished as a vase full of flowering stock. Upright, lush and thick with blooms, the succulent stems of stock bear flowers in the purest white, deepest magenta and velvety purples. Individual double-petaled flowers line the entire upper stalk, opening all at once to reveal soft lines of rich colors. While frequently mixed in with other flowers to add color and smell to a vase arrangement, flowering stock have been too long overlooked as filler flowers behind roses and lilies. Much more affordable at only $1-$3 a stem, make an impact by filling a vase with a dozen stems in a solid color. No greens or other distracting accessory flowers are necessary, as these beauties can hold their own.
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Perhaps the most beguiling feature of this gorgeous Mediterranean native is its delicious scent. Spicy and complex, the smell is refined and mature, much like your birthday gal. Unlike the cloying sweetness of young roses or the powdery perfume of aging lilies, the scent of flowering stock can fill a room like an intriguing question in a quiet audience; subtle and thought provoking.
According to the language of flowers, also known as floriography, flowering stock is a symbol of a happy life and is thought to represent a contented existence. While the sentiment is a pleasant one, and surely only comes with age and maturity, the seductive stems of flowering stock will remind your aging beauty that romance and passion are still a part of life long after the bloom of youth may have faded.
Flowering stock are available year-round from florists and will last over a week as cut flowers. The key to keeping these lovelies looking fresh is to be sure they have plenty of fresh water and replacing the water in the vase every few days will have these blooms looking their best in the days to come. Surprise your lady of a certain age with flowers that are certain to please.