Human Flower Project


Friday, March 05, 2010

The Flower Sellers of Badrian Street

Yet another big city tries to chase flower vendors out of downtown, this time with a ban on “wholesaling.”

imageMeasuring out marigolds in Chennai’s downtown flower district

Photo: Bijoy Ghosh for Hindu Business Line

First the wholesale flower market moved to the western outskirts of Chennai (Madras), and now the city authorities are moving to displace the retailers from their spots along Badrian Street.

N. Ramakrishnan wrote a fine piece last August for the Hindu Business Line about the vendors of Chennai’s old “poo-k-kadai,” flower market. The author interviewed several sellers and discovered that many of those who have shops out in the big new Koyambedu center prefer to keep doing business downtown.

Thangam Peter said that “Badrian Street is more easily accessible…especially for those wanting at the most, 1 kg of flowers.” It’s especially convenient for the women who make small bouquets and hair adornments to sell throughout the city. “Badrian Street offers flowers, plastic bags to carry them and fibre of the banana plant that is used to knot the flowers into garlands. So, a woman who sells flowers on a street corner in, say, Mylapore can get all that she requires” in this part of St. George Town, a precinct well connected by bus to the rest of Chennai.

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Posted by Julie on 03/05 at 05:47 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsPermalink

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Feel for the Real and the Artificial

When are artificial flowers in order, and when will only real blossoms do? Sandy Ao comes upon floral irony in Kolkata’s New Market.


A shop of artificial flowers, the only one amid many

flower stalls at Kolkata’s New Market

Photo: Sandy Ao

How do you feel about artificial flowers? Maybe these other terms—“silk” “faux” “plastic” “handmade” “fake” – would color your answer.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Texas, a beautiful Spanish style home and surrounding patios, gardens, and estate that are now an international gathering place for birders. On a sideboard in the livingroom stood a huge arrangement of lilies and what looked like proteas flowers. “Are these real!?” we yelped – and were told quietly, no.

There’s always a sheepish, sunken feeling then, at least for us. We tend to look away, as if after all there had been nothing to admire. What is that? Is it having been duped?

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Posted by Julie on 02/20 at 04:38 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsReligious RitualsPermalink

Monday, February 08, 2010

Olympic Bouquets, Green with Piety

After much deliberation, the Vancouver olympic committee has settled on a monochromatic bouquet for the 1800 winners. O (what’s with you?) Canada!

imageThe winner after 23 attempts: the design chosen for the 2010 Olympic bouquet.

Photo: Bill Keay, for Canwest News

The “green-gos” have spoken.  Last week, the powers that Olympicize introduced the bouquets that winners in the 2010 Winter games will wave.

“The Olympic bouquets are a soft, elegant green, with five B.C.-grown spider mums in the centre, surrounded by layers of monkey grass, aspidistra leaves and hypericum berries imported from Ecuador.”

What do you think?

We reported awhile back that June Strandberg, partnering with Margitta Schulz of North Vancouver, had won the contract to design and make the games’ 1800 victory bouquets. Strandberg’s Just Flowers, based in Surry, hires ex-convicts and trains them for livelihoods in floristry, giving her a conscionable advantage over the competition.

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Posted by Julie on 02/08 at 04:03 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Flag Football

For tomorrow’s Superbowl, we’re going with the Saints and their ancient floral insignia.


Emblazoned with a spiky “flower,” the fleur-de-lis, a helmet of the New Orleans Saints

Photo: Getty

We’re backing to Saints in tomorrow’s Superbowl for any number of reasons – but let’s keep it floral. The New Orleans NFL team’s insignia is the fleur-de-lis, a stylized flower with ancient roots and many manifestations around this city, the sensual capital of the U.S.A.

“It does not just represent the Saints,” running back Reggie Bush told The New York Times. “It’s amazing. You see it everywhere. You see it on churches and in restaurants.” The Times’ Joe LaPointe has a good synopsis of the emblem’s history, and we’ve run one here, too (sans pigskin).

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Posted by Julie on 02/06 at 09:26 PM
Art & MediaFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink
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