Sunday, November 17, 2019

Cornucopia: A Symbol of the Harvest

Chances are you’ve seen a cornucopia before—you know, one of these horn-shaped baskets that appears everywhere during the harvest season. It’s possible, as you read this, you might even be planning to create one for your Thanksgiving gathering. A lovely, eye-catching display using your favorite flowers, foliage, fruit, cones and pods for your friends and family to enjoy. After all, Thanksgiving and cornucopias go together like turkey and stuffing or mashed potatoes and gravy. They all pair perfectly.

Thanksgiving has always been epic to harvest time, and it's always taken place in the autumn… so it's natural that the holiday would include the cornucopia, which traditionally represents all of those things. Beyond that premise though, at what time the cornucopia made its way into our country's consciousness as a Thanksgiving symbol is difficult to say. But with its meaning of abundance, prosperity and good fortune, the horn of plenty now embodies Americans’ thoughts of thankfulness. Whether referred to as a cornucopia or horn of plenty… the meaning of this ancient symbol still resonates today.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Day of the Dead

Just like witches, black cats and pumpkins are typical symbols of Halloween, skulls, orange marigolds and monarch butterflies are associated with Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. However, this annual fete, is not a Mexican version of Halloween. Though related, the holidays differ greatly in traditions and ambience. Whereas Halloween is a night of terror and tricks, Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in a burst of color and life-sustaining joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the intention is to show love and respect for deceased family members.

Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico and Central America where native tribes had specific days when they honored their loved ones based on whether the deceased was an adult or a child. When the Spanish arrived, this ritual of memorializing the dead became two holidays: All Saints Day on November 1st and All Soul’s Day on the 2nd. Día de los Muertos is typically celebrated on the 1st as a day to remember children who have passed away, and the 2nd to honor adults.

These ancient tribes believed that death was part of the journey of life. Rather than death being the end of life, families view death as the beginning of the cycle of seasons and new life. This cycle is often associated with the cyclical nature of agriculture, like crops grown from the ground where the last crop lies buried.

The Day of the Dead is an occasion to remember and celebrate the lives of departed loved ones. It is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit their living families in homes, businesses and cemeteries. And as with many celebrations, the days are filled with music and dancing. The ofrenda, is the most recognized symbol. This temporary altar is a way for families to honor their loved ones and provide them what they love while on their journey.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Simply Gourd-geous Centerpieces

Because they’re both born in the garden or on a farm, pumpkins and flowers pair perfectly in centerpieces and displays, especially when the pumpkin stands in for a traditional container. Plus, there’s a bounty of pumpkin varieties to choose from, white ones, green ones, speckled ones, tall ones and squat ones... hundreds of pumpkin varieties exist. Bright colors, interesting shapes and an array of textures make them ideal containers. And, they are watertight, at least for the duration of the vase life of most of the blooms you put in them.

Pairing pumpkins and flowers (especially protea) delivers a festive yet elegant take on fall decorating: they make perfect porch displays for Halloween, lovely Thanksgiving centerpieces or even wonderful gifts.

Here’s what you need to make your own:
  • Fresh pumpkin 
  • Knife 
  • Clear plastic sheet or container 
  • Floral foam (optional) 
  • Flowers, foliage, berries, fruit 
  • Clippers
Make it!

Carve your pumpkin so that you have a wide opening near the center of the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.

Line the inside of the pumpkin with a sheet of plastic or container.

If desired, cut a piece of floral foam with the knife to fit inside the pumpkin. Soak the foam in water while you prepare your flowers.

Choose flowers and foliage with strong straight stems (proteas are perfect)!

Insert the floral foam into the inside of the pumpkin and create your arrangement. Start with foliage, then add flowers, fruit, and other embellishments to create a full and interesting centerpiece.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Flower News: October’s Stories of Interest from Around the World

21 Compote Centerpieces
That'll Upgrade Your Reception Tables

When it's time to choose your wedding centerpieces, you want to consider what type of reception table dynamic you're looking for. If you're attempting to create a high-drama, big-impact floral arrangement, you'll likely go with sky-high, vertical arrangement. These types of displays might make your guests' jaws drop, but they do have one downside—they definitely limit conversation once all attendees have taken their seats. If you want to encourage across-the-table, mid-dinner mingling, smaller-scale centerpieces are a better option. Luckily, going small doesn't have to mean sacrificing that wow factor.

Read more here.

Certified American Grown farms shine
at Fresh Summit booth

Certified American Grown staff members were joined by six certified farms in a large booth at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, last week. Within the 20×50 booth space, each farm had dedicated space to put their American Grown Flowers and Greens front and center. A sign over the booth ensured that no one on the show floor could miss them, a huge Certified American Grown logo heart created with Certified American Grown Flowers attracted lots of attention.

Read more here.

The wonderland that is
Kirstenbosch Garden, South Africa, in Spring

If you find yourself in Cape Town, South Africa in Spring, as I did, then you simply must visit the amazing Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, a mere 13 kilometres from downtown Cape Town. Acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch offers visitors not only the chance to view one of the most biodiverse environments on the planet, but also to enjoy the warm, friendly and relaxed African charm, entertainment and cuisine at the wonderful Moyo Kirstenbosch restaurant nestled inside the gardens.

Read more here.

American Flower Farmers Participate in Trade Mission
to South Korea, Vietnam

During the trip, the delegation hosted an industry seminar in Seoul to introduce U.S. cut flower and foliage varieties, and to provide handling, shipping and display techniques to preserve shelf life and maximize profitability. Five U.S. cut flower and foliage farmers spoke and presented to the group of approximately 16 South Korean import companies and Pruitt gave a keynote address. The delegation then traveled to Vietnam, an emerging market for American Grown Flowers and Greens, where they met with cut flower and foliage import companies and toured the domestic growing region. They also met with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to discuss market opportunities and challenges.

Read more here.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

In the Field: Protea Grandicolor

The protea fields are more colorful this fall thanks to 'Grandicolor’.
A cross of P. grandiceps and P. aurea, this hybrid cultivar from Australia combines features from both parent plants in a unique combination. The greenish-cream bracts, which deepen to tan at the base, have a delicate pinkish rim and conspicuous hairs like the grandiceps and surround rusty-red centers. The egg-shape foliage is small and leathery with a silvery-green hue and the stems straight and upright like the aurea. Grandicolor produces dainty, medium sized blooms off and on from autumn through spring.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Banksia Integrifolia Wreath

If you’re looking for thriving organic floral displays in your home or office, you need to ponder beyond just flowers – the foliage is just as important as the blooms you choose. Leaves come in all shapes, sizes and colors and now, Banksia integrifolia is in the limelight. If you are not familiar with integrifolia or sometimes called Coast banksia or white honeysuckle, the foliage is fickle: the younger leaves are usually broad and irregular toothed, while the mature leaves are smooth and spear shaped. They have white undersides that tend to give the leaves a silvery look.

Integrifolia is lush and long-lasting, making it the perfect textured foliage for any wreath. Plus, it blends well with just about any flowers or greens enabling you to create your own unique display.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Flower News: September’s Stories of Interest from Around the World

Waratah is an icon of the Aussie bush
(and very nearly the national emblem)

On one of my first field trips as a young student, searching in sweltering September heat for banksia trees in the bush around Sydney, my eye was caught by a flash of remarkable crimson. Trudging over the red dust, we saw the beautiful waratah flower. The cone-shaped flower sat upon a green leaf throne, sepals facing upward towards the heavens. The sun lit the red petals just right, and I felt a sense of awe for the flower emblem of New South Wales.

The rounded flower head and the green razored leaves are iconic. The long stem that can grow up to 4 meters tall allows it to stand above the other vegetation.

Read more here.

The King Protea: South Africa's National Flower

Proclaimed as South Africa's national flower in 1976, the king protea (Protea cynaroides) is a flowering bush as beautiful and unique as the country itself. Found exclusively in the Cape Floristic Region, the king protea belongs to the Protea genus, which is in turn part of the Proteaceae family - a group that includes around 1,350 different species.

The king protea has the largest flower head of its genus and is prized for its artichoke-like blooms. Growing up to 300mm in diameter, these breathtaking flowers vary in color from creamy white to pale pink or deep crimson.

Read more here.

11 Protea Ideas for your Wedding

Whether you’re looking for a large statement flower or minimalist bouquet, the versatile protea flower if perfect for both! Measuring up to 12 inches wide, you can use a single flower as a simple bouquet, or create an extravagant arrangement with greenery and lush florals. They’re also long-lasting, sturdy flowers, so you can rest assured that they’ll look great throughout your celebration!

Protea Flower Types

There are over 1600 species of protea. Because of how diverse they are, the genus was named after Proteus, a Greek god who would morph into many shapes These five types of protea are popular in wedding bouquets:

Read more here.

Why Australian Natives are the Trendiest Flowers of 2019

Our native flowers in Australia are known for their rich, earthy colours and bold, unique forms that allow their natural beauty to shine through. We are fortunate to have access to the most beautiful native foliage and flowers, but it’s also something that we often take for granted.

So as florists, we’re thrilled to see that native flowers have undergone a sort of renaissance the past couple of years. Their popularity has grown and they’re now considered the trendiest flowers of 2019.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to native Australian flowers. It will introduce you to native flowers that are most popular, to choose the best native flowers for different occasions and understand the many presentation styles you can purchase online.

Whether it be for your home, a friend's birthday, decorations for a baby shower or a bouquet at a wedding, find out why these flowers are Australia’s favourite right now.

Read more here.