The Language of Flowers

Floriography: What Flowers Have to Say
Meredith Waga Perez arranging hydrangea flowers on a table

Hydrangea and anemones in pink tones designed on vases on a tableAnemone flowers and hydrangea bouquets arranged on a table.Belle Fleur’s Chief Floral Officer, Meredith Waga Perez, may enjoy “fleurting” with French words, but her true fluency is articulated through the language of flowers.  “I’m fascinated by the historical symbolism of flowers and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I get swept away in the romance of it all,” says Meredith who works closely with her team to source, import, and hand-select over one hundred different varieties of blooms on any given week.

Floriography, the communication through the symbolic definition of a particular variety of bloom, became popular in Victorian England and the United States during the 19th century.  Flowers became the subject of books and poetry and a tool for painters to convey a visual narrative.  The wiry and elegant Anemone, the “forsaken” flower, has an ominous reputation across many cultures.  In Greek mythology, Anemone – translating into “daughter of the wind” – is transformed from nymph to wildflower and banished from society for her unruly nature concerning matters of the heart.  The Chinese refer to her as the “flower of death.” An early European custom was to run past a field carrying this spindly beauty.  What is universally mesmerizing about the Anemone is her power – the vulnerability that her seemingly naked form evokes.  Her strength and resilience pull at the heartstrings, mimicking the passion Meredith throws into each Belle Fleur bouquet.  “I am a true romantic,” states Meredith, “I gravitate toward Hydrangeas and Sweet Peas to convey gratitude, Garden Roses to communicate humility, Peonies to wish prosperity and luck, Tulips for true love, Freesias for friendship, and Ranunculus to charm and adore.”

A self-professed fleuriste, Meredith insists on taking the floral language a step beyond the hidden symbolism of each petal.  “As a liaison of sentiment, I want to be as articulate as possible.”  What does this mean?  Meredith and her team delve into the dynamic world of each Belle Fleur recipient.  “We extract as much information as we can from our clients to make a heartfelt impact,” says Meredith.  “If a gentleman calls for an anniversary bouquet and he’s completely perplexed on what to send, we’ll request a photo from their wedding ceremony so we can replicate what his wife carried down the aisle. Suppose a fashion designer has a flurry of thank-you bouquets to send out. In that case, we'll take a deep dive into their collection to facilitate the inspiration. If someone’s feelings are hurt, and a posy is being sent to make amends, we will instead suggest Tulips as a symbol of sincerity and forgiveness. For many of our regulars, we have a large library of their personal stationery, which is included in branded deliveries.”  The range of colors, scents, textures, and vases are considered when crafting a Belle Fleur bouquet.  “Sending something to the Upper East Side may evoke a femme and luxe style, while we may embrace an edgier composition to those living in Tribeca.  This city may be small, but the districts can dictate a vibe and design sensibility."

In a rapidly moving world of technology and information, sentiments often get lost in translation - not everyone will stop to smell the roses.  Not to fret. Meredith and her Fleurettes have made blossoms both their mission and mantra: flowers are mood enhancers, and the Belle Fleur atelier is definitively in the business of delivering love.  In the words of the Bloom Master herself, “understanding the narrative of what the bouquet should convey is equally as important as the finished work of art.”

About author Annelise Peterson

Regular columnist for Hamptons Magazine and The Purist, Annelise Peterson's resume includes key business development and marketing positions at Shiseido, NET-A-PORTER, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Alberta Ferretti, Vogue. Ms. Peterson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barnard College with a degree in Economics.

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When Art Imitates Life

Everyday, as we send out your bouquets, and your Box of Blooms, I cherish and value the messages that I carefully scribble on a note card - those sentiments feed my soul.
When Art Imitates Life

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to buy this beautiful photograph. Initially my motive was to support the arts, but I came to realize that this image spoke to me - it symbolized and represented a very blurry and dizzying 2020. It was an unforgettable year, and on reflection, I wanted something tangible that would live in my home and remind me to embrace the imperfect and unfocused.

For those who know Belle Fleur’s design philosophy, we color within the lines; our style and business practice has always been unapologetically polished and refined. We had to go out of our comfort zone to reinvent ourselves in order to meet the challenges of 2020. We launched a DIY business, Box of Blooms, with a Create / Learn / Share edict that has become an essential part of our business. Its success can be attributed to how it supercharges creativity, feeds the hunger in all of us to learn, and allows us to share what we've created with the world.

Life has shifted for all of us as we’ve had to pause, practice patience and place importance on our well-being, realizing that true beauty lies in our connections with each other. Every day, as we send out your bouquets and your Box of Blooms, I cherish the thought of what each recipient will feel when they receive our blooms. I'm grateful to be your messenger, it feeds my soul. Our team of Fleurettes design with intent and our raison d'etre is conveying your affections through our flowers.

Let’s go into the new year with focus that the doors of 2020 have officially closed and the open doors of 2021 are revealing a more meaningful purpose with new possibilities. Join Belle Fleur as we look through life’s lens with a clear perspective and a mindset based on love, empathy and justice. Flowers continue to bloom and butterflies will gracefully flutter around them, representing hope and the vitality of life.

Wishes upon wishes for a beautiful and safe year ahead for all.

X Meredith

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Our 'Petal' It Forward Initiative for 2020

With your help, we will 'Petal it Forward' to twelve charities near and dear to our hearts. This month, we are contributing to the AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS in support of Australia's communities and wildlife, so devastatingly affected by bushfires.

Events Flowers
Our 'Petal' It Forward Initiative for 2020

We wanted to reach out and make an impact with our first post of 2020 and we think you'll be delighted to hear about our new, year-long charity initiative. 

Belle Fleur Flowers is thrilled to be celebrating our 25th year of being part of the most wonderful and heartwarming moments. Using flowers as our medium, we have played cupid for thousands of New Yorkers; we’ve designed weddings for hundreds of blissful couples, the Queen Bee, and even a prince. Our blooms have healed souls and mended friendships, and turned chaos into order; little girls receiving Sweet Peas from their Dads; bosses thanking assistants for burning the midnight oil. We’ve sent posies from dogs to cats, and have chartered a helicopter to deliver orchids to the Hamptons. Some outrageous orders, but mostly just sincere and heartfelt.

We share in this collective narrative and we are grateful for being your fleuriste.

As a way to honor you, our loyal clients, we will be your liaison to 'Petal' it Forward. Each month Belle Fleur will donate a portion of our floral gifting business to a charity carefully selected and close to our hearts. 

Thank you all for your support! - Meredith & the Belle Fleur team.

January 2020: Australian Red Cross February 2020: American Heart Association March 2020: GirlForward April 2020: Pure Earth May 2020: Every Mother Counts June 2020: The Trevor Project July 2020: The Honeybee Conservancy August 2020: Healthy Child Healthy World September 2020: Pajama Program October 2020: Pink Pony Promise November 2020: City Harvest December 2020: Make A Wish Foundation

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In dense urban environments, the magic of hidden gardens happen in the most unexpected of places

Events Flowers Fragrance

Although a rarity, experiencing an intimate rooftop in New York City is one of the most splendid and surprising wonders of city life. As New Yorkers, we rarely look up as we make our way through the stone and glass canyons that surround us on our daily pilgrimage to and from work. It’s difficult to imagine that housed atop some of these structures exist tiny gems of lush intimacy - jewels in the sky that offer respite from the noise and harshness of a bustling city below.

One such place, where we had the honor of designing and hosting an intimate gathering of industry friends a few weeks ago for a night of music, dinner and drinks, was 620 Loft and Garden. One would never think that hidden atop the two, six story buildings flanking the Fifth Avenue walkway to Rockefeller Center, exists not one but two stunningly beautiful and intimate oases. Though far from being high in the sky, this intimate setting offers the most spectacular views of Midtown East and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. For the event, two long communal dining tables adorned with feathery, pinkish astilbe centerpieces under a cascading canopy of eucalyptus, were set in the middle of the garden with the scent of our Velvet Santal wafting throughout. The perfectly manicured bushes, blooming flowers and the azure reflecting pool couldn't help but give the feeling of being transported to the grounds of a lovely chateau in the French countryside, though oddly surrounded by the surreal vignettes of classic Midtown New York City.

Interested in what that night may have smelled like? Try our Velvet Santal, an exotic blend of spice, sandalwood, oud and Turkish rose absolute.

images 3, 4, 5 & 6 Photograph by Roey Yohai

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The Curious Flower That Only Blooms One Night A Year

The elusive Night-Blooming Cereus is a wondrous
oddity with a spellbinding aroma

Flowers Fragrance

CereusCereusCereusCereusIf ever there was a flower with the allure of a rarely seen, reclusive rock star, it’s the Night-Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum). Its star power will draw dedicated, adoring, champagne wielding fans to gather in remote desert locales to celebrate its one-night a year appearance. Adding to the allure is the most beautiful and magnetic aroma of all floral species, which it emits from trumpet shaped, waxy, white flowers.

The bloom, nicknamed the ‘Queen of the Night’, will arrive sometime between sunset and midnight on a summer night, usually on or close to a full moon. Over the course of just one to two hours, the petals unfold, and a thick perfume resembling magnolia or gardenia permeates the air to further intoxicate any partygoers fortunate to witness this rarity.

The Night-Blooming Cereus is a species of cactus flower and is one of the rarest plants to live in the desert. Adding to its mystique is its inconspicuousness and location - desert flats and washes between 3000 and 5000 feet above sea level, and that it is rarely seen in the wild. Although magic might seems at play for this exquisite flower, rainfall, temperature and humidity as well as the lunar cycle are key to its blooming.

Add this to our bucket list!

credits: photo 1 - Pat Jarrett / photo 2 - Dean Kanuth

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