Saturday, January 12, 2019

Beating the Winter Blues

“I must have flowers, always and always,” said Claude Monet.

We can’t agree with him more! Especially in January, at the cusp of winter, when we’re all slowly coming out of a ‘Christmas Greens Coma’ and suffering from the 'Winter Blues'. But that’s not to say the Monets among us are out of luck. As the season settles in, we find ourselves shifting back to more traditional florals, and it dawns on us that winter is a choice.

One trip into the fields and there’s no doubt in our minds. As the weather gets colder, the colors become brighter and more intense. Leucadendron seemingly ‘wake up’ and make superb winter flowers in a variety of colors and textures. The Inca gold turns a bright yellow color with a touch of red on the tips. And the Safari Sunset, which is typically a red or burgundy hue, lives up to its name in winter as it changes to ‘Tricolor’ with lovely multicolored bracts in hues of maroon, green and gold.

With a few stems of beautiful protea, sprigs of sweet scented waxflower and plenty of colorful leucadendron, you can design a winter bouquet that takes the chill out of the season while providing inspiration for the next. Actually, we’ve found the trick to beating the ‘Winter Blues’ is to surround yourself with vivid color and pretend it’s almost spring.

Protea Susara

Protea Pink Mink

Protea Liebencherry

Protea Silvertips

Protea Coronata

Hybrid Waxflower

Leucadendron Inca Gold

Leucadendron Safari Tricolor

Friday, January 11, 2019

Protea: Everlasting-Flowers

photo by Yunus Karma

Did you know when handled properly, proteas are truly everlastings flowers. We know they last weeks in fresh bouquets and designs, but did you know they don’t die, they dry? Certain proteas even retain their shape and color long after most the other flowers and foliage have been discarded. When you assemble them in dry arrangements, they are as permanent as almost anything the botanical world offers.

If you enjoy craft projects, you can use your dried flowers as natural material for sculptural inventions. Protea by themselves or in a combination with other natural elements, decorative objects, and foraged finds, make creative ornaments, dolls and other decorative objects.

When protea blooms find their ultimate place in a dried arrangement, wreath or ornament, they finish a story that began in Gondwanaland and triumphed over a thousand adversities. They represent a special kind of bond, a link to the past and a reminder of the present and how new life springs eternal.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tis the Season: Waxflower

Waxflower season is upon us, and with it comes an abundance of those beloved fragrant flowers. Belonging to the Chamelaucium genus of shrubs and stemming from the myrtle family, they are related to Leptospermum and Thryptomene. Waxflower includes over a 100 varieties of Geraldton wax or Chamelaucium uncinatum and other Chamelaucium species and hybrids. Some of the more common hybrids are classified as Pearlflowers, Gemflowers or Starflowers. These amazing plants typically bloom early winter through spring and, are widely grown for their frilly eye-catching blooms.

The name waxflower is due to the slight waxy feel of the petals. The leaves, which contain oil glands, are small to medium in size and boast a beautiful lemony fresh scent when crushed. The blooms are delicate in style, flaunting five petals, ten stamens and a small, hardened fruit.

Also known as the flower of romance, waxflower is symbolic of patience and lasting love, which makes them a popular option for Valentine’s Day and weddings. These fabulous flowers have an abundance of uses in bouquets and arrangements, as well as in flower crowns and corsages, as cake embellishments, and simply, left all alone on a desk or table to be enjoyed for weeks.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

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

Mel Resendiz: A Protea Evangelist

The Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers supply the fresh blossoms sold at the “Festival of Trees” at the San Diego Floral Association’s December Nights celebration, in Room 101 of the Casa del Prado. Ismael “Mel” Resendiz began his career in agriculture as a young man picking cotton and harvesting sugar cane in the hot, dirt of Sinaloa, Mexico. He and his brothers, Profirio, Raul and Ramon farmed in various regions of Mexico until Mel stumbled upon an opportunity to work temporarily at Zorro Protea Farm in Vista in March 1978. The farm was growing protea from seed on 40 acres in the hills east of Rancho Santa Fe.

Read more here.


Petals on Parade

Floral growers have a national stage to show off their best blooms.

June and her husband, Rene now own Ocean Breeze Farms in Carpinteria on California’s central coast. They grow gerbera daisies in greenhouses on 27 acres, and field-grown mums, avocados and cucumber on a few more. About an hour away, their son grows for Ocean Breeze on another 12 acres in Nipomo.

Read more here.


North County farm grows exotic proteas

To get to the very top parcels of land in Rainbow owned by Ismael “Mel” Resendiz, you have to drive up a long, narrow road, much of it paved, some — oy — not, with more hairpin curves than the Grand Corniche above Monte Carlo. If Resendiz, who owns Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers and makes this drive up and down the mountain multiple times in the course of a day, is taking you up in his pickup truck, you’ll do it at a brisk speed that will swipe your breath away. Unconsciously, you’ll be clenching the seat and armrest while averting your eyes from the steep drop just below your window.

Read more here.


Waratah: 4 things you didn’t know
about the iconic flower

THE WARATAH is one of Australia’s most iconic flowers, and while it comes in many different forms, Telopea speciosissima, more commonly known as the New South Wales waratah, is the most well-recognisable. With its bulbous, crimson flower head, green, razored leaves and long stem, it’s possible the waratah has adorned more Australian paraphernalia than any other flower: from stamps, all the way through to tea towels and belts.

Read more here.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Holiday Wreath Workshop

From front doors to fireplace mantels and festive tabletops, our protea wreaths and garlands extend far beyond Christmas greens. One of our favorite holiday traditions? Helping old and new friends create fresh, unique holiday decor that they can display in and around their homes. This month, we hosted the UCCE Master Gardeners and several neighbors from the community for a fun filled morning of wreath and garland making.

By the time the workshop wrapped up we viewed over 40 beautiful wreaths and three festive garlands. Guests departed with their creation in one arm, and protea bouquets and plants in the other.

Friday, December 14, 2018

2019 Color of the Year: Living Coral

It's an annual announcement: Come early December we all eagerly await for the experts at Pantone to release the Color of the Year, forecasting a shade that they believe will set the tone for the year ahead.

It looks like 2019 is going to be brighter, more vibrant, and a bit tropical. Or at least, that’s the mood being set by Pantone’s Color of the Year 2019: Living Coral. It’s described as an animating and life-affirming coral hue, with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge. It’s meant to symbolize the human need for optimism and joyful pursuits, as well as the “desire for playful expression,” says Pantone.

"Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, Pantone Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color." In choosing the color of the year, Pantone looks at everything around us. They look to see what people are doing in art, fashion, beauty, film and entertainment industries. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and relevant social media platforms. When I learned of Pantone’s 2019 choice, I began to contemplate what flowers we grow might emulate this awesome color. Here are my coral inspirations...

Leucospermum Sunbrust

Grevillea Flowers

Leucospermum Spider

Halea bucculenta

Christmas Bush