With the new year, it’s human nature to reflect on the passing year. In 2017, we celebrated prom and Valentine’s Day in a big way. We showed the true power of flowers through Petal It Forward, randomly surprising people with flowers in more than 465 cities in all 50 states, and by participating with Wish of Lifetime on a “Cupid Crew,” delivering Valentine’s Day roses to seniors in assisted living communities. We got an inside look at the U.S. Postal Service’s new Celebration stamps, showcasing a corsage and boutonnière. And we saw some really neat trends, including Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, “Boroccan” weddings, flower crowns, kokedamas, and much, much more.

Thank you to our contributors for their trend-spotting and sharing their floral expertise. And a great big thanks to YOU for reading and sharing the ideas on all things floral.

And now, please enjoy our look back at some of the most popular Flower Factor posts of 2017:

Wonderful WristletsProm is such a special time! As a florist for more than 40 years, we have seen the prom corsage design change over the years. Even with all the change, flowers continue to be the star of the corsage, also known as “wristlet.” However, over the past couple of years not only has the flower been the main component of the wristlet, ribbon and flower accents have become a great way to add personality and make your wristlet uniquely yours.

Prom Wristlets - Photo Courtesy: Floral design created by Tricia Upshaw, AIFD, AMF and Aaron Lemaster of Shirley’s Flower Studio Rogers, Arkansas. Photography by Lumos Images

How to Be a Valentine’s Day ProThe holiday of love can be a stressful event. Couples together for years are on the hunt for a new twist on the flower gifting. Those in a new relationship are wondering how to send the correct message without being over-zealous or too remote. Singles raise their hand and ask, “What about me?” There’s no need to be a Valentine’s Day amateur. Everyone can feel like a Valentine’s gifting pro with a little help from your flower friends.

Valentine’s Day - Photo Courtesy Leanne and David Kesler, Floral Design Institute, Inc., in Portland, Oregon, www.floraldesigninstitute.com

Personalized Prom Corsages and Accessories: It’s prom time, and such an exciting time as you search for just the right dress, the perfect shoes, schedule hair and nail appointments, and plan so many other details. One important detail is the selection of your prom flowers. They are a creative expression of your unique personality and style.

Prom Floral Fashion — Photo Courtesy Suzie Kostick, AIFD, CF, PFCI, Fitz Design

Trends: Here Comes “Borrocan” Weddings: When it comes to inspiration for 2017 weddings, there is one trend that is not just retro but also has a global influence. This growing “Boroccan” trend is the combination of the alternative lifestyle of Bohemian, which has been around for several years, with the rich ornate Moroccan culture.

“Borrocan Wedding” — Photo Courtesy Accent Decor

Flowers Inspire Connection Nationwide: Floral industry members — from Maine to Florida, and California to Oregon to Alaska, and everywhere in between — took to the streets of their communities to randomly surprise people with flowers. Lucky flower recipients in more than 465 cities in all 50 states received two bouquets – one to keep, and one to share, with a loved one, colleague or even a complete stranger.

Flowers and Smiles Brighten Seniors’ Days: As seniors age, they experience different living situations and greater life changes, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Research shows that one solution to the challenges seniors face can be as simple as a gesture of kindness. In fact, a study by Rutgers University demonstrates that the receipt of flowers decreases depression and encourages companionship as we age. The research also shows that seniors perform higher on everyday memory tasks and experience enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.

Spring Flowers and Plants Celebrate Easter: For many, thoughts of Easter signal a feeling of new beginnings. Whether you look at spring in nature or to your inner self for an emergence of new hope for humanity, a glance at bright flowers reassures the psyche. Flowers bring peace, wonder and comfort in their simple beauty.

Easter Flowers by Lisa Greene, AAF, AIFD, PFCI: Blue hydrangea, peach hypericum, green roses, blue delphinium, iris and cymbidium orchids accented with pussy willow, eucalyptus and English ivy fill a ruffled white cache pot.

Endless Summer: Dry and Preserve Your Flowers: A fun way to preserve the colors and textures of summer and bring them indoors is with dried flowers. You can dry and preserve your own garden beauties or go to a local florist and choose your favorite blooms in a variety of colors.

Shutterstock image courtesy of Michael Skaff.

Shutterstock image courtesy of Michael Skaff.

Three More Outstanding Flowers for 2017: During the Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Flower Varieties Competition last September, a panel of floral experts evaluated 184 types of flowers during one of the floral industry’s biggest flower competitions. They awarded 11 “Best in Class” ribbons to the flowers that earned top marks in their category, such as best rose or best carnation. Earlier, we looked at five of them, including the Best in Show and People’s Choice pick. Here is a look at three more.

‘Ingrid’ African Violet

USPS Celebrates Boutonnières and Corsages In my career, I have designed flowers for many different occasions large and small, happy and sad. I’ve created flowers to say “I’m sorry,” “I love you” and sometimes just “Wow.” I approached holidays, weddings, birthdays and funerals, creating an appropriate design for each one, thousands and thousands of them over the years. Recently, I had the opportunity to create a floral design for something I had never done before — a U.S. postage stamp.

Celebration Boutonniere This new Forever stamp is similar in design to the two-ounce Celebration Corsage stamp and can be used for weddings and RSVP cards. It also is perfect for party invitations, thank-you notes, announcements, birthday cards, Father's Day cards and other occasions. The stamp art features a photograph of an arrangement of ranunculus, with floral accents of succulents, Astrantia, Berzelia, and clubmoss greenery. The ribbon wrapping the stems harmonizes with the colors and textures of the plant material. The boutonniere was arranged by floral designer Carol Caggiano and photographed by Renée Comet. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp.

Celebration Boutonniere Stamp

Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year Shows Great Promise: For floral table decor, bridal bouquets, floral jewelry and more, go gaga for the Pantone Color of the Year 2017 “Greenery.” This choice is so versatile and complementary to so many other floral color palette inspirations. Pantone describes Greenery as “a refreshing and revitalizing shade, symbolic of new beginnings.” Florists are excited to see this color hit the forefront, as green is a way to add freshness and impact to floral designs.

Greenery Collage: — Photo Courtesy Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCI, Trend On Design in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, http://www.trendondesign.com/

Flower Crowns Rule: Flower crowns have increased in popularity over the past few years. They can be worn during any festive occasion, such as weddings and proms, and for special photo shoots, like maternity photos or senior class pictures. I love flower crowns! If I could wear one every day, I would.

Poppies with lush greens and forsythia make a great statement for spring. Photo by Mandy Stansberry Photography, Floral design by Lenzee Bilke of Madeline’s Flowers in Edmond, Oklahoma

Don’t Hurt My Grandson’s Feelings: My 4-year-old grandson and I were walking through an inside public area that had many planters. He walked up to one plant with brown leaves, visibly in need of water. “This hurts my feelings,” he said. Seeing the plant in bad shape made him sad.

Photo Courtesy Ardith Beveridge, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CAFA,Koehler & Dramm's Institute of Floristry in Minneapolis, https://www.kdfloralinstitute.com/

Awesome Aesthetics at Art in Bloom: This year’s Art In Bloom at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts had some amazing displays. Floral designers paired works of art with tropical flowers. Another interpreted a black-and-white modern painting with flowers. There was even a floral arrangement designed differently on two sides to complement a Reliquary Figure. And there was one floral design that wasn’t paired with a specific work of art — it literally mimicked art.

“Flowers in Frame” by Paeonia Designs

“Flowers in Frame” by Paeonia Designs

Go Green in Your Office with PlantsNeed to add some character to your workplace? Houseplants, or in this case office plants, help promote well-being and create natural space and separations in an office climate.

Office Plants at Work — Photo Courtesy Brian Wheat, AAF, PFCI, of Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado. www.lafayetteflorist.com

Celebrate Christmas with Kokedamas: For the holidays, kokedamas can be displayed in a decorative bowl with ornaments, hung individually for a whimsical display, or in a grouping for an eclectic, suspended Christmas tree alternative. They can also be a unique gift for everyone on your list. Below are a few inspirations for contemporary kokedama Christmas décor.

Christmas Kokedama — Photo courtesy Lynne Tischler, AAF, CPFD, PFCI, with Keith Osborne and Jessie Thompson of Your Enchanted Florist in St. Paul, Minnesota. https://yourenchantedflorist.net/

Thank you again for reading the Flower Factor!

What floral ideas would you like to know more about in 2018?