Sunday, May 24, 2020

May Articles of Interest

A Blushing Bride on Your Wedding

Protea Blushing Bride is one of the most sought after wedding flowers. These are truly one of a kind. Think of a tropical peony, and you get the protea Blushing Bride, which is actually a member of the Proteaceae, endemic to South Africa. Some call this beauty serruria Florida.

Pointed petals that range from ivory-white to pale green to pale pink, open to reveal a blush center, hint the name, Blushing Bride. Combine with cymbidiums and spider chrysants for a tropical bouquet or combine with ranunculus and orlaya flowers for a romantic bouquet.

Read more here.

The Prototypical Protea

There are stunning flowers, and there are stunning flowers. The protea, also known as the sugarbush, belongs to the latter category. You’ve probably seen these whimsical flowers in stylish bouquets and centerpieces, where their unusual beauty draws you in for a closer look. There are more than 1,500 species of protea, which is native to New Zealand, Australia, South America, and South Africa (stateside, they’re grown in California and Hawaii). King Protea, the largest, is so bulbous, so heavy, it’s a wonder it doesn’t just tip right over.

Read more here.

Pick of the Proteas

Proteas have existed for over 300 million years, making them one of the oldest groups of flowering plants in the world. Despite their ancient roots, they look beautifully modern in any garden. They’re also low care, make great cut flowers, are bird attracting and share the same care needs as our own Aussie natives. Discover the most popular protea varieties as well as their South African cousins - leucadendrons, leucospermum and serruria - below.

Read more here.

Benefits of Having Flowers and Plants at Home

Certainly, we all like to receive flowers and be able to decorate each of our spaces, or even with plants, both for its delicate beauty or for its aroma, but did you know that not only serve as decoration? Having flowers or plants has many benefits, and of course when you know you will try to have them in your home and work more frequently.

Read more here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Protea Nitida - Waboom

Commonly known as waboom (Afrikaans for wagon tree) and botanically known as Protea nitida or arborea. This is a South African shrub, native to the dry slopes of South Africa where it often attains a knotted picturesque habit, has both functional and ornamental uses. In Africa waboom was traditionally used to make ink and construct wheel-wheels.

However, this protea is also a lovely shrub or tree with large, ivory flowers and beautiful foliage. Waboom has long, oval leaves that are leathery and fully evergreen. They emerge opaque magenta but mature to a light bluish 'sea-green' or silver. Large, white flowers bloom mainly during the winter and early spring. Each blossom opens from a tidy bud to an impressive flower with creamy-white spike-like stamens.

Once the flowers dry, beautiful pods remain to be enjoyed.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Flowers for Our Frontliners

Frontline workers like doctors, nurses and first responders are working extremely hard during this Covid-19 crisis, and we’re all looking for ways to show our appreciation. We’ve seen many examples of companies and even individuals who are discovering their passion is leading to a new purpose… the Gift of Giving. For those of us who are passionate about flowers, we can offer a gift of joy with a stress relieving benefit as well.

That’s exactly what our friends at Floral Fresh Inc. in Sacramento, CA have been doing… giving gifts of flowers to healthcare workers. The first delivery was to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton and the following was to Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento. Then last week, 350 Protea bouquets were delivered to the staff at UC Davis Medical Center. This is all being done through a special GoFundMe campaign set up by Flora Fresh called “Flowers for Our Frontliners”.

"The message is to show our appreciation and gratitude for their compassion to be nurses and physicians, people on the front line…not just dealing with the COVID-19 but every day they are out there," said Allan Nishita, owner of FloraFresh.

This GoFundMe fundraiser has currently raised $9,743 of its $50,000 goal. All donations are being used to purchase fresh flowers and greens from farms, like ours, and then Flora Fresh delivers them to a new hospital every week! They are extremely passionate about giving back to the amazing healthcare heroes that are fighting the Coronavirus and hope to continue doing so until there is finally a vaccine! They have seen firsthand the positive impact and joy that flowers bring to our healthcare professionals during this unprecedented time. Let's help spread the word about this wonderful campaign so Flora Fresh can continue to spread the beauty to our courageous healthcare workers!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Banksia

Strong, resilient and bold, Banksias are far from delicate flowers, yet when they bloom, their effervescence and textures are unrivaled. As with the Leucospermum, the inflorescence of these robust plants consists entirely of the choreography of flower paths, they have no bracts or colored leaves. Most of these blooms look like corn cobs… tall, cylindrical and hard to the core.

Banksia are truly one of the best known and spectacular genera in the Australian plant family Proteaceae with nearly 175 species. These Australian wildflowers grow naturally in and around most of Australia’s coastal regions. Some varieties have growth habits similar to ground cover, others like shrubs and some trees. Colors range from silvery green through brilliant gold, yellows and orange to violet, deep red and even black tones. Banksia foliage varies greatly from small and piney to long and narrow to large, leathery and with deep serrated teeth.

Praemorsa – Cut Leaf Banksia

Ashbyii – Ashby’s Banksia

Ericifolia – Heath-Leaved Banksia

Banksia speciosa – rickrack banksia or Mint Julep

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mellow Yellow

There’s no doubt the color yellow sparks a broad spectrum of emotions in all of us. While it can be playful and radiant, yellow can also be unforgiving and ominous, which makes it a wildly fascinating hue. The many facets of the color yellow reveal its extremely impactful spirit.

Yellow flowers and foliage can liven up any space instantly. It is, perhaps, one of the easiest ways to bring sunshine indoors and enjoy the soothing energy of nature while relaxing in your home. Yellow advances from surrounding colors and enlarges any space. It mimics a sun-filled space, creating feelings of liveliness and good cheer.

Some of my favorite yellow flowers are the Leucospermum High Gold and Leucadendron Pisa, they are bright and cheerful and mix nicely with most other colors. For this arrangement, I mixed the High Gold and Pisa with Grevillea flowers, Solanum rantonnetii, yellow genista, roses, Leucadendron Gold Strike, eucalyptus, loquat branches and even some interesting twigs from my garden.

Monday, April 27, 2020

April Blogs & Articles of Interest

Certified American Grown Flower and Greens Farms

What are you doing to celebrate the wonderful moms in your life this year? With Mother’s Day just a couple of weeks away, why not give her fresh-cut blooms shipped directly from Certified American Grown flower and greens farms - it’s a great way to support local businesses especially during this difficult time.

Certified American Grown is a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower and greens farms representing small and large entities that grow everything from fragrant garden roses to bright field flowers to lush foliage. Yesterday, I received several boxes of beautifully grown blooms and greens - columbines, hellebores, roses, anemones, tulips, Ornithogalum, delphiniums, pittosporums, podocarps, lily grass, lace ferns and so many more - all the highest quality and freshness. I took them out right away and made some gorgeous arrangements for my home.

Read more here.

Flower lovers cheer for the exotic ‘King Protea’

The annual Rose Parade winding down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day is a flower enthusiast’s dream.

Every float is covered with lush blooms and greenery from around the world, as well as natural materials such as coconut fibers, seeds and coffee grounds.

The oldest, and certainly one of the showiest, flower on display in the 2020 parade was the King Protea, Protea cynaroides, the national flower of South Africa.

Read more here.

Protea blooming in popularity

Researchers, breeders in Hawaii exploring design trends
with exotic cut flowers

Quick, where does protea grow? If you answered the Western Cape of South Africa, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The King protea is the national flower of South Africa. Plants in the protea family also occur in the cool, dry areas of Australia, New Zealand and South America. If your fresh holiday arrangement includes exotic cut protea flowers purchased at a local florist shop, chances are they came from a family-run protea farm in Hawaii, where the flower has been introduced and many new varieties are being hybridized by breeders at the University of Hawaii.

Read more here.

Friday, April 24, 2020

In the Cynaroides Realm

At once spiky and delicate, King protea or cynaroides have evolved to survive in the harsh South African climate, while attracting pollinators at the same time. Obviously, a very compatible comb as these chic blooms are some of the most ancient flowers, evolving more than one hundred million years ago.

King protea are perennial plants. They tolerate fires thanks to their thick underground stem filled with numerous dormant buds which starts to sprout shortly after a fire. Fires also assist with drying the cones and releasing seed, while the wind helps spread the seed and seasonal rain triggers germination.

The artichoke-like appearance of the king’s flower-head led to the name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’… the artichoke. The name does no justice to the beautiful blooms of this protea, which is the largest in the genus. There are over eighty varieties of kings and they're divided into groups according to their leaf type. The leathery leaves vary from large and rounded to small and narrow and their huge flowers can be wide open, almost like a 12” dinner plate or a narrow funnel shape. These flower heads consist of numerous small, tubular-shaped blooms or also called an inflorescence. Their color can range from greenish-white through soft silvery pink to deep red, with each variety having its own flowering time.

A luxurious King protea is the crowning glory of a design or bouquet - they offer an enchanting world filled with color, texture, and sizes to try.