Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic Victory Bouquets ...



Numbers ... they do appear everywhere at the moment ... number of minutes and seconds each race, distance jumped ... hop, skip and jump – or pole vaulted – or height or length ...  number of medals won ... and so it goes on ....
Victory Bouquet - Jane Packer


... I never thought I’d write about the number of apple mint stems grown for the bouquets presented to each medal winner – 50,000 apparently – the nursery were only asked two months ago to take on the challenge.  Perhaps the dreadful weather had taken its toll on another nursery ...


Apple Mint

The plants took five weeks to plant up and grow to Olympic standard length for those early medal ceremonies, but then continue on over the Olympics and Paralympics – until 9th September – some task as apple mint grows three or four inches a week.



Aqua Rose
The bouquets look wonderful and a few medallists have been tempted to smell the pretty bunches – I bet the scent wafting from them must be lovely ...


The unique bouquets are divided into quadrants, each with a yellow, orange, green and pink rose section to match the colours of the London 2012 logo – herbs of English lavender, rosemary, wheat and apple mint intersperse those roses.



Rosemary in flower
The bouquet represents the vibrancy of the Games, the roses are iconic British flowers, while the herbs and grasses grow in and around our countryside.


The bouquet has been fashioned in the style of a nosegay set off by the four rose varieties – the Ilios (yellow rose), Marie Claire (orange rose) Wimbledon (green rose) and Aqua (the pink rose).

Ilios Rose

Jane Packer who designed these charming bouquets – very sadly and extremely unexpectedly passed away last November. 


Some other numbers ... 302 Victory ceremonies in over 30 venues – 40 podiums will be used, and 4,400 medal-winning athletes will stand on them to celebrate their success formally and be presented with a beautiful nosegay.


Lavender field near Lullingstone Castle
Some history on the nosegay, tussie-mussie, or posy is a small flower bouquet, typically given as a gift – they have existed in some form since at least medieval times, when they were carried or worn around the head of bodice.



Marie Claire Rose
The term nosegay arose in the 15th century as a combination of nose and gay (which then meant ornament): so a nosegay was an ornament that appeals to the nose.



Wheat Ear at the
late milk stage
The term tussie-mussie comes from the reign of Queen Victoria when the small bouquets became a popular fashion accessory.  


Typically tussie-mussies include floral symbolism from the Language of Flowers, therefore may be used to send a message to the recipient.

Wimbledon Rose

I wonder if the symbolism of the Victory Bouquet is Higher Stronger Faster ... the Olympic motto – usually in Latin! = Citius, Altius, Fortius. 


Enjoy the Olympic Games if you’re watching – there is some history here though!!

PS The four herbs symbolised: ...

Rosemary - remembrance
Mint - virtue
Lavender - serenity
Wheat - energy

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

24 comments:

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow! That is a lot of flowers...I hadn't even thought about all the flowers involved in the Olympics. I'm for sure going to look tonight when we watch. :)

Super post, Hilary!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Hilary thanks for all this information, I have said to Nigel a couple of times, 'What is the story behind the bouquets', he did not know. Now we are both much wiser. I never thought to Goggle them!
Have a great week, Diane

Jo said...

I have been thinking what attractive bouquets they were, but didn't go beyond that. How lovely and thank you so much for the explanation and history.

Jo said...

I have a friend who's name is Gay and she gets really mad about the current usage of the name.

Old Kitty said...

I find it so sweet when all athletes (male and female) are given these very vibrant and very sweet bouquet of flowers during the medal ceremony! I think it just adds a touch of elegance after such competitiveness!!

Thank you for enlightening me on how these delicate beauties come to be!

Take care
x

Chuck said...

Hilary, interesting as always. After reading this and thinking about it, the amount of time assembling these awards for the short life they live must be a devotion. Thanks for once again rounding out my knowledge of part of the Olympic award ceremony.

Susan said...

Sorry I've been such a poor correspondent as of late. I haven't been following the Olympics, but I do love your portraits of Olympic floweres!

Slamdunk said...

Very interesting Hilary. I focus on the athletes and the drama and often miss the simple beauty--thanks for making me take notice.

Theresa Milstein said...

I want a victory bouquet. Such beautiful flowers.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - I've loved the bouquets and wanted to find out more - just very glad I could find out the details.

@ Diane - I've been wanting to write about the bouquets and they're even more beautiful now I know how and why they're like they are.

@ Jo - glad you enjoyed the info .. and as to 'Gay' - so many words/names have changed meaning over time haven't they.

@ Old Kitty - these posies look so gorgeous and so simple, yet full of symbolism - and as you say elegance after their races. They are beauties aren't they ...

@ Chuck - the volunteers and helpers are getting them made up apparently - like you I wonder how long they will last ... but it's an extra snippet to the Olympics life.

@ Susan - no worries always good to see friends when they come back - I've been a bit distracted recently .. glad you enjoyed the post though.

@ Slamdunk - it's so easy to focus on the action isn't it and not look around at the whole .. I hope you enjoy those little extras now ...

@ Theresa - I'd love one too .. they are so gorgeous looking ..

Thanks to you all for being here - have good weeks - Hilary

A Lady's Life said...

So much meaning here and the flowers are so beautiful . What memories for the people who receive them.:)
We are watching London. Boy what a fabulous year she is having. :)

juliet said...

How marvellous to have this information about the Olympic nosegays. I think the design is fantastic - attending to fragrance, texture and colour. Thank you Hilary for unearthing another item of great interest.

MorningAJ said...

I sort of assumed that the bouquets would mean something but I had no idea about the herbs.
Thanks.

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

flowers make everything more exciting.

So many flowers- how wonderful.

Teresa

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, Hilary, *thank you*!!! I've been wondering about these bouquets and, far from Googling a random answer, I loved reading your informative post, especially the historical bits. I feel like I can smell them right now...

Friko said...

I have not seen these bouquets at other Olympics. Are they a special invention for the London Olympics?

I must say, I was surprised at first, but I now think they are rather sweet.

Arlee Bird said...

So many details most of us never think about when we watch such events. I'm sure it provides boosts to certain segments of the economy. Hope it's enough to make up for all the costs to other segments. What a massive undertaking the Olympics are!


Lee
Tossing It Out

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ A Lady's Life - well I hope the athletes appreciate them .. they'd look wonderful dried and pressed I guess. London is enjoying itself by the sound of it ...

@ Juliet - yes I didn't mention the texture .. the woolly leaves of the apple mint - giving it its other name of woolly mint. Delighted you enjoyed my digging!

@ Morning AJ - glad I've enlightened you and me - I didn't know the details .. but I'm pleased I found out, and as you say the herbs and grasses.

@ Teresa - they are delightful aren't they and I was glad I was able to find the photos ...

@ Deniz - pleasure! - one satisfied commenter - so pleased to know! I just thought the snippet about the 'nosegay' was worth adding in. Like you I'd love one or two bouquets delivered every day!

@ Friko - yes the bouquets are always given - not sure at which Games the idea started .. this is the link for Vancouver Winter 2010
http://www.canadianfloristmag.com/content/view/2886/57/ - now I know more about them I think they're delightful.

So happy you're all enjoying this post - cheers Hilary

Laura Eno said...

I never really gave the flowers much thought before. There's certainly a huge task to putting it all together on time!

Patsy said...

Those Olympic bouquets do indeed look lovely!

I based my own wedding bouquet on a tussie-mussie and every plant included was there for a special reason.

btw, I've awarded your lovely blog the sunshine award. More details over at mine.

Clarissa Draper said...

It's sad that the designer didn't live long enough to see the people enjoy the bouquets. I think they're beautiful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Laura - it's those little extra touches and the co-ordinating of everything ... just so well done and the results are beautiful.

@ Patsy - so fascinating to know you based your recent wedding bouquet on a tussie-mussie ... they're fun and yet practical because they're compact. Well done on each plant having that special meaning ...

Thanks so much for the Sunshine Award - really appreciate the thought.

@ Clarissa - she died very young - in her 50s and very suddenly .. the bouquets must be gorgeous to have .. do I have to win a medal to get one?!

Thanks Laura, Patsy and Clarissa - it's damp here .. hope you're having a good week though ... Hilary

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Hilary! What an interesting post. I've enjoyed seeing the medal winners receive the bouquets, but had no idea on the meaning of them.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne .. many thanks for coming by .. does enhance the process if we can think about the stunning flowers and herbs included in each bouquet.

So pleased you enjoyed the post - cheers Hilary