Florist offers touch o’ green for holiday |

Florist offers touch o’ green for holiday

For 41 years, waitresses in Nevada County have been sporting bright green carnation corsages as they serve meals on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s a small gesture of kindness bestowed by Marie Johnson, owner of Foothill Flowers, who got the idea in the late 1960s.

Of course there were far fewer restaurants – and waitresses – in those days. When she started, about 25 corsages would do. Now, she’s passing out 400 of the green carnations.


Johnson isn’t Irish, as you might expect, but Swedish. She just decided it would be a nice gesture one year and kept it up year after year.

Green carnations don’t really exist in nature, but flower growers pop the white carnations into green dye, which the flowers soak up immediately. Add a green bow, twist some floral tape around the stem and you’re good to go.

And the delivery isn’t made by some impersonal driver, Johnson said.

“I personally take them to the restaurants and pin them on all the wait people. It’s amazing to do. People are so happy,” she said.

“All the though the year, I hear about it. I’ll be stopped in the street and someone will say, ‘You’re the lady who gave me the green corsage on St. Patrick’s Day.'”

It’s the Irish-Swedish Flower Lady, just spreading her cheer.

To contact Readership Editor Dixie Redfearn, e-mail dixier or call 477-4238.

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