Graduation Flowers - Ardith Beveridge, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CAFAGraduation festivities are part of every family, starting with the adorable singing, dancing and alphabet recitals of preschool graduations progressing to the pomp and circumstance of college graduations. Graduating from one grade, or even one step in a program such as scouts, is part of a series of accomplishments we often acknowledge and celebrate. Each goal reached, we stop, take notice, mark and honor the success of others and ourselves.

The tradition of graduation brings closure to a phase of life, while opening the way for the next phase. Graduations are lifetime milestones; every step recognized and celebrated.

There is something magical about marking milestones like graduations with flowers. Giving a personalized floral gift adds to the sense of accomplishment and increases the enjoyment of the achievement. Tell your florist about the graduate so the floral gift can be customized to reflect school colors, sports teams or activities. Ask your florist to incorporate special items into the design. Bring in a mortarboard with the tassel for your florist to add to the arrangement. For the tennis playing grad, bring in an old racquet and some tennis balls. A small instrument with musical notes moving through the flowers brings that personal touch. Or simply ask for flowers in the whimsical palette, characterized by bold, contrasting colors. Those hues set an upbeat tone, ideal for graduations.

If hosting a graduation party, ask your florist for ideas for centerpieces and other decorations. Consider corsages and boutonnieres for parents, grandparents, special teachers or friends to acknowledge their support and growth through the years. Your local florist will know school traditions; such as if boys wear blue ribbons while the girls wear white. Look around both indoors and outdoors, and consider adding green plants to your home for the festivities. Plants add life to a room — tall stately ones to use in home décor to fill a corner, smaller ones for a table stand, and dish gardens for the smaller areas. Flowering pots on the patio, front door and steps brighten the exterior and welcome guests. Your florist can talk with you about how to care for the plants.

The sensorial qualities of flowers and plants make them a natural to commemorate milestones and enhance celebrations. They are an easy, uncomplicated but very special way to express congratulations or simply add a festive atmosphere to a gathering! A Rutgers University study says it best: Flowers create instant happiness, a perfect sentiment for graduates.

How are you celebrating the Class of 2014?