Sunday, August 11, 2019

Gum Trees - Corymbia Ficifolia

What’s trending this season? Eucalyptus… from leafy garlands, to lush wreaths and verdant displays this fabulous foliage is showing up everywhere! However, did you know that some varieties of eucalyptus produce a profusion of bright flower clusters during the summer? These flowers are not typical flowers though, as these showy blooms are made up mostly of anthers and styles, rather than petals. And in species like, Corymbia ficifolia, the buds appear in masses on a single stem that develops on the axil of the leaves. These nectar-rich flowers can be found in hues of white, yellow, cream, red, pink, salmon, orange or even bi-colors and the stamens are held in small cup-like bases.

The best part? While they look amazing outside high up in the trees, once harvested, these bright, colorful branches look beautiful mixed with other flowers or simply displayed on their own.

Corymbia ficifolia Baby Orange

Baby Orange is loved for its bright orange flowers and compact form. The new leaves appear bronze-red then turn green providing a lovely contrast of color when flowers appear in July and August.

Corymbia ficifolia Wild Sunset

Wild Sunset has beautiful dense foliage with a wealth of bright red flowers delivering an amazing display.

Corymbia ficifolia Fairy Floss

Prefer a softer color palette? Fairy Floss is for you. Stunning, pink flowers decorate the branches.

Corymbia ficifolia Snowflake

If dark green foliage and stunning, white blooms are your thing, then Snowflake is ideal.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Mighty Banksia

We absolutely adore the mighty Banksia! Strong, resilient and bold, this bristly protea is far from a delicate flower, yet when it blooms, its vibrancy and textures are unrivaled. From long, distinctive cylinder-like flowers to petite round blooms, there’s over 175 species (including Dryandra) to choose from. And unlike many of the Australian Proteaceae, the main flush of Banksia come not in spring but in summer and autumn. Here are a few of our favorites:

Victoriae or also called Woolly Orange. A lovely acorn shaped bloom when its fully developed, this Banksia starts as an intriguing woolly, greyish-white bud and becomes a brilliant orange as the styles open out. These styles form an inflorescence that’s made up of hundreds of tiny flowers that open from the base, giving them a fluffy appearance. Victoriae blooms range in size from 6 to 10" in length and 5" in diameter and have fabulous serrated foliage on long rigid stems.

Baxteri is also referred to as Bird’s-Nest Banksia, Baxter’s Banksia or in Hawaii, where it is fittingly known as ‘Summer Lime’. This Banksia’s squat, lime-green buds fully open to form globe-shaped flowers on long stems surrounded by unique, deeply serrated foliage.

Sceptrum, commonly known as the sceptre banksia or ‘Popcorn Banksia’ because of its freshly popped popcorn with rich creamy butter aroma. This is one of the most striking yellow-flowered banksias of all, especially when its tall bright yellow spikes are beautifully displayed.

Burdettii is also called Golden Acorn or Golden Banksia. This Banksia develops from a silvery-grey bud into a beautiful orange acorn shaped flower. Blooms typically range in size from 4 to 6" in length and 4" in diameter and it makes a wonderful cut flower, both fresh and dried.

Monday, July 29, 2019

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

Gardening | Enduring love affair with pretty proteas

Proteas are often admired in floral arrangements and are bought for their ability to last several weeks in a vase.

Because they are related horticulturally to a large group of Australian native plants, including banksias, grevilleas and waratahs, they require similar growing conditions. They have a low tolerance for artificial fertilizers. Applications of superphosphate will kill proteas.

However, they require magnesium, and this can be applied as Epsom salts, scattered over the root areas and then watered in well. Spring is an ideal time in which to do this.

Read more here.

A Floral Trend We're Loving: Garland Wedding Bouquets

If you've been searching for nontraditional bridal bouquet options, you've probably come across a few creative alternatives. Chances are, you've even stumbled upon one of our favorite new bouquet iterations—the garland. These trailing, flower-studded vines first gained popularity on wedding tablescapes, as substitutes for more traditional floral centerpieces. They've now migrated on over to the bouquet sphere, and we're so glad brides and florists alike have helped make it happen.

Read more here.

Protea Christmas Angels

Shirley Bovshow stops by to create Protea Christmas Angels for the holidays.

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 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.

Read more here.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Tropical Fruit & Flower Centerpiece

Fruit and Flowers are both grown and harvested in a yard or on a farm, and they compliment each other beautifully in many arrangements and displays, especially when the fruit stands in for a traditional container. Summer offers an absolute treasure trove of potential containers: pineapples, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Bright colors, interesting shapes and a variety of textures makes fruit ideal containers. Many of them are watertight, at least for the life span of most of the blooms you put in them.

Unique and bold designs can be easily put together by combining flowers with fruits. With its long body and rotund belly, the pineapple is definitely one of the most appealing of all fruits.

Begin by selecting a large ripe pineapple.

Using a knife cut off the top of the pineapple by laying the pineapple on its side. Using a spoon scoop out the middle of the pineapple to make enough room for the cup. As the inside of the pineapple is hard you will need to use a small paring knife to cut away the hard areas.

All the removed interior fruit of the pineapple can be disposed of or eaten once removed from the pineapple.

Test placing the cup inside the pineapple. If it does not completely fit continue scooping out more of the middle of the pineapple.

Once the cup fits inside the pineapple fill the cup up with water.

Fill the cup with your choice of flowers.

For this centerpiece, I used protea Eximea, Leucospermum, Grevillea Ivanhoe & flowers, bottlebrush, Leucadendron, oregano, date palm berries and garden roses to give it a tropical feel and complement the yellow and green in the pineapple.

Remember to check the vase daily and add fresh water as there is only a small amount of water in the cup. Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Heirloom Apple Galette

Do you love apple pie? We can never get enough of them! A savory apple pie is prefect any time of the year, right? If you agree, I’m certain you're going to love this walnut and apple Galette in the Wine Institute’s latest book, Wine Country Table! The walnut filling, that’s similar to a frangipane, makes this galette stand out from the crowd and adding the sparkling sugar on the rim creates a gleam.

The Wine Country Table is a book we’re thrilled to be featured in, bursting with wine, food and our flowers too! This book conveys a fresh and beautifully photographed celebration of California, its natural beauty, its unrivaled bounty, and its determination to remain just as productive for generations to come. It’s all about sustainable farming, taking readers on a visual tour of 23 stunning farms and wineries throughout the state, introducing them to some of the vintners, winemakers, and farmers (like Mel) whose harvests are profiled.

Written by award-winning author Janet Fletcher with photographs by Robert Holmes and Sara Remington, the book highlights California's key wine regions, its eminent fruit, vegetable and flower crops, with suggestions on how to select and use them. It also includes fifty rustic-elegant recipes covering all bases, from breakfast to dessert and pairs them with the perfect California wines.

Heirloom Apple Galette - this recipe is fabulous and perfect for any occasion! Print Recipe

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Summer Gatherings

Everyone loves the lazy days of summer… especially when they’re on holiday. Fireworks! Picnics and Bike rides! The sounds, smells, textures and sights of summer fill the days and nights with feelings of exhilaration and delight.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, potential flower arrangements bloom mere footsteps from your own back door. Otherwise, shops, roadside stands and farmers markets are brimming with flowers, often making it difficult to decide what to take home.

During warm summer days, spending hours arranging flowers can be brutal. What looks best are casual, fresh flowers thrust into a galvanized tin or bucket or even a wicker basket. Our projects for the season are inevitably the easiest of the year: mixing Grevillea flowers, hydrangea, fox glove and a lily in a metal container to adorn a small table, filling a bicycle basket with banksia, grevillea, alstroemeria and lilies to make a welcoming display, and placing a whimsical bouquet in a galvanized basket to decorate the picnic table or wine barrel.

"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." - Henry James

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Grevillea Flowers

Now, about mid-summer, is the time we anticipate the inevitable dog days to come as we watch our pincushion fields go barren and eagerly wait for protea season. However, the warm weather is no match for Grevillea flowers, they’re fuss-free sun-lovers that stand up to the rising mercury and add some much-needed color during this transitional period. These lollipop-like flowers, also referred to as Bush Lollies, Bush Toothbrush and Spiderman, provide masses of summery blooms that add excitement, color, and fabulous texture in and out of the fields. Their popularity comes from their willingness to flower and flower. Here are just a few of the varieties being harvested.

'Sylvia' Large dense, deep red flower spikes are produced on the plant for most of the year.

'Honey Gem' A fabulous of cultivar G. banksii and G. pteridifolia. Flowers are apricot with orange-yellow style and the leaves have silvery reverse.

“Moonlight’ This popular variety has attractive deeply divided foliage and bears beautiful, lemon-yellow toothbrush flowers.

'Misty Pink' A vigorous and hardy free flowering shrub with grayish leaves. Spectacular pink and cream 6 to 7” blooms in terminal clusters of six or more.

'Superb' One of the best bloomers with pink, peach and creamy colored flowers.