You neednít be a collector to appreciate the charm of 17 new flower-related postage stamps to be released by the U.S. Postal Service throughout 2011. This year, gardeners and lovers of botanical art will enjoy posting letters and postcards which bear stamps celebrating gardens, herbs, roses and an American botanist.
Garden of Love Garden of Love is a set of ten different stamps which continue the Love series first begun by the Postal Service in 1973. Stamps in this series are popular for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and also wedding mailings. The stamps in this year’s series fit together as one large, brilliantly-hued garden mosaic. Vines wind their way through the stamps, which are decorated with a strawberry, butterfly, doves, leaves and stylized flowers, all composed of heart shapes. The word “love” is printed on each stamp in white script on a halcyon blue background.
Garden of Love’s creator, award-winning illustrator Jose Ortega, says his work “depicts the abundance of life, its generosity, whose spirit is to be shared by all its creatures. Love’s definition is broader than romantic love. Love is that colorful, full feeling you get when you enjoy being a part of and sharing in the generosity of life.” Ortega, who works in New York and Toronto, says his abstract garden design was influenced by tapestries, textiles and mosaics. The Garden of Love stamp set is slated for issue on May 19, 2011.
Garden of Love, release date May 19, 2011
Herbs Herbs, issued on April 7, 2011, is a set of five different designs depicting popular herb plants. The stamps’ face value reflects a new 29-cent postcard rate going into effect the same month. Phil Jordan designed the new postage, which features the artwork of Teresa Fasolino. The herbs, taken from Fasolino’s original oil paintings, depict each plant’s flower, as well as its typical leaf and seed formation. The herbs are labeled with their common names, and include Origanum vulgare, or oregano; Linum perenne, flax; Digitalis purpurea, foxglove; Lavandula angustifolia, lavender; and Salvia officinalis, sage.
Since ancient times people have employed herbs for culinary, pharmaceutical and spiritual uses. Pungent oregano adds flavor to many dishes, particularly in Italian cuisine. The flax plant's stems can be transformed into linen, and its seeds into oil; its beautiful blue flowers were once believed to provide protection against sorcery. The stately foxglove, so named because its speckled bell-shaped flowers resembled the fingers of gloves for fairies or the "little folk,” served as a primitive medicine despite the plant's toxicity. The aromatic bluish-violet flowers of the lavender plant lend a characteristically pleasant and clean fragrance to perfumes, soaps and potpourris. Gray-leaved sage is a kitchen garden standby, useful for flavoring meats and stuffing.
Herbs, release date April 7, 2011
Botanist Asa Gray The third set in a Postal Service series called American Scientists is scheduled for release on June 16, 2011. Among this year's honorees is Asa Gray (1810-1888), who is regarded as the pre-eminent American botanist of the 19th century. Originally trained as a physician, Gray dedicated himself to botany and served as professor of natural history at Harvard University. His vast knowledge of American flowers proved helpful to the studies of Charles Darwin, whom Gray considered a colleague and mentor. The most popular of Asa Gray’s works, “Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, from New England to Wisconsin and South to Ohio and Pennsylvania Inclusive,” came to be called simply “Gray’s Manual,” and remains a botanical standard to this day.
American Scientists is the work of art director Ethel Kessler and Greg Berger, who collaborated to design collages showcasing important men and women of science. Each stamp carries a photograph, signature, and items or symbols meaningful to each scientist’s body of work. Besides Asa Gray, chemist Melvin Calvin, physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer and biochemist Severo Ochoa are also recognized.
American Scientists, release date June 16, 2011
Wedding Roses Scheduled for release in August, 2011, Wedding Roses is a continuation of the Postal Service’s Weddings series. This series is sought after for wedding RSVP mailings as well as bridal shower invitations, wedding announcements and thank you notes. The stamp’s serenely beautiful photograph, taken by Renee Comet of Washington, D.C., features two white roses delicately placed atop wedding correspondence. The rose, long a symbol of love and romance, is the quintessential wedding flower. White roses in particular are appropriate, as they signify new beginnings, honor and reverence.
Images provided courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service
About Gwen Bruno
After spending 28 years as a teacher and librarian, Gwen Bruno is now a full-time freelance writer residing in suburban Chicago. As a preschooler, she lovingly tended a small patch of weeds in her backyard. Luckily, her parents supported her budding horticultural endeavors, and she's been gardening ever since.