I’m not usually much of a sports person, but I do love the Olympics. Much of the next two weeks will find me glued to my TV or computer screen, checking out the amazing talents of people from around the globe. Medal ceremonies, regardless of who tops the podium, nearly always give me goosebumps, as the flags slowly rise and the world pauses for a moment to salute people who do what very few others can. And as the Olympic champions stand there, singing their national anthems with medals around their necks, they clutch bouquets of flowers – bouquets that have been specially designed for those Olympic games to symbolize the best of the host country.
For 2012, the bouquets will feature that classic English flower – the rose. The rose is England’s national flower, dating back to the Wars of Roses between the Houses of York (represented by a white rose) and Lancaster (represented by a red rose). When Henry Tudor took the throne and united the kingdom once again, he created the heraldic emblem called the Tudor Rose, which combines the two colors and which has symbolized England ever since.
The entirely home-grown London Olympics bouquets include roses of pink, yellow, orange, and green. In addition to roses, the bouquets include apple mint, rosemary, and English lavender, chosen for their ability to provide fragrance without causing possible allergic reaction. They also include wheat, which symbolizes energy, the underlying theme of the London games. The design of the bouquet is divided into fours to reflect the 2012 Olympic logo, as envisioned by legendary floral designer Jane Packer before her death in late 2011.
Flowers will feature in another important way throughout these Olympics games, via the wildflower meadows planted throughout the Olympic park and venues. These are the largest man-made wildflower meadows ever made in the United Kingdom, carefully sown exactly 77 days before the opening ceremonies to be in full flower by the start of the games. Many of the flowers feature yellow blooms, ensuring “fields of gold” will stun athletes and spectators alike. (Click here to see more more photos of the wildflower meadows.)
Are you in London at the Olympic games? Tell us all about the flowers and more in the comments below – we’d love to hear about your experiences!