We are so excited to launch our weekly floral journal in which we will discuss floral symbolism and its origins! Each week we will feature a different flower. Our goal is to start a conversation in which we discuss where flowers come from and how they have been influential on popular culture. More importantly, we want everyone to love flowers as much as we do!
Floral symbolism is present in almost every culture in the world, but sadly, mostly no one takes it seriously, and thus there is little consensus on what flower symbolism means. (I’ve tried more than once to convince academics that it's a thing, but they remain unconvinced.) So, since there's no “flower bible” to which we have recourse, we will be taking our authority in these posts from two books that have been hugely influential on our imaginations: Kate Greenaway’s The Language of Flowers, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
For our first post we thought we would explain the story behind our name: Persephone. According to Greek myth, Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Wherever Persephone went flowers would spring up around her. One day she was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld, and forced to become his bride. Without Persephone all the flowers faded and the earth grew barren and cold until Zeus sent Hermes to bring her home. Had she not eaten pomegranate seeds in the underworld, Persephone would have lived happily again with her mother. However, because she had eaten the food of the dead, she had to return to the underworld. As Zeus did not want the earth to perish, he made it so Persephone only had to spend one month in the underworld for each seed she ate and the other months she could spend on earth.
Persephone embodies the changing of the seasons; in her absence we have winter and with her return, we have spring. With Persephone as our patroness, we try to mimic her ability to bring flowers wherever she goes, while respecting the limitations of the seasons. We do so by sourcing flowers locally and seasonally as much as possible. What this means on a practical level is that we use our local flower farmers when flowers are available in Chicago, and during the winter we source from American growers in warmer climates. Our goal is to use as little fuel as possible to get flowers to you.