Flowers are generally not the first thought when we think of Burn’s Night celebrations but increasingly, people are asking what flowers are appropriate for table displays and arrangements.
On 25th January every year, Scots and their descendants all over the world celebrate the life and works of their national Bard, Robert Burns.
The event can be formal or informal and a great deal of ceremony surrounds the serving of the traditional feast of Haggis, neeps and tatties.
Although there is no tradition surrounding floral displays for the event, Burns did refer to flowers quite often in his poems and it is to these we can turn for inspiration.
The thistle is the national flower of Scotland and referred to by Burn’s in his work “Gudewife of Wauchope-House.”
Thistles are rather prickly and generally not available in winter. However, a good substitute would be eryngium or artichoke.
Artichokes and Eryngium are great as dried flowers too and can add more colour than you may think to a display.
Varying hues of greens, blues and hazy purples are all present and redolent of the landscape of the Scottish Isles.
Red roses are a must for Burn’s Night, paying reference to his classic 1794 poem “Red Red Rose”
Readily available due to the proximity of the date to Valentine’s day, they can however be very expensive, so use them wisely and sparingly, perhaps as a feature flower in a display rather than in groups.
A single red rose bloom nestling on glass beads in the bottom of a brandy glass can be quite eye catching.
Burns referred to this humble plant in his work “To A Mountain Daisy”, where he described it as “snowy” with a “crimson-tipped” head, so white
flowers from the daisy family with darker centres would be ideal.
Again, wild daisies are not found at this time of year but flat, single flowered, white chrysanthemums or similar would fit in well.
Heather is synonymous with Scotland, cloaking great swathes of land in purples and pinks of many shades.
Including sprigs of white, lilac and purple heather in your display will act as great fillers and instantly add a Scottish flavour.
Don’t be shy with the greenery
Opt for grass like foliage including rushes and reeds which could represent Burn’s “Green Grow the Rashes o”.
The fertile land and woodlands of Scotland provide a home for many grasses, evergreens and ferns, so these would be quite at home in your arrangement.
Tartan ribbons and fabrics can be used as an embellishment, background or wrappings to transform or hide a pot or container.