A few years ago I joined the masses in the hatred of carnations, but I’m not sure why I ever did.
At the time I was a florist and I had seen enough carnations designed in the same tiresome way to last a lifetime. Then I watched François Trauffaut’s Bed & Board and began to rethink my position on the matter. In the film, Antoine Doinel, played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, dyes carnations in vibrant tones as a profession. He works out of a courtyard set up with green metal garden tables and enamel flower buckets (the kind you only find in France in the 1960s and 70s). A carnation is like a clean canvas, with a remarkable ability to “drink” any color in which their its stem is submerged. Consider this DIY from Martha Stewart; she uses green coloring, but I’m even thinking indigo dye could work.
Of course, un-dyed carnations are also very lovely if they are antique varieties:
Photography by Sophia Moreno-Bunge for Gardenista.
Above: See more of these antique carnations at Carnations: Rethinking a Supermarket Flower.