Friday, September 30, 2011

Banksia Menziesii

Ruby is the color of love, blood, passion, wine, fire and Menziesii, a fabulous fall banksia! Menziesii is also referred to as Menzies' banksia, firewood banksia, port wine banksia or 'Raspberry Frost' – all very suitable nicknames. 

Menziesii blooms in the fall when the reddish flowers begin to open from the base. Gradually taking their time, sometimes taking weeks, row after row of flowers open until the flowering reaches the top of the cone, looking like splendid candles on a Christmas tree. When this beautiful bloom has finished the flower spikes into an interesting seed cone that lasts for an eternity!

It has been said that Menziesii also has a special flower essence - the essential healing energy of a flower, a distinctive dynamic inner life force that differentiates it from other flowers. Aboriginal People from all over the world have used flowers in their rituals and ceremonies, aware of their subtle healing properties. Menziesii’s special healing power is “Courage” – the courage to release pain and to move ahead triumphantly, and that “Triumph” over disaster leads to renewed energy.

This banksia’s essence certainly seems to parallel with The Language of Flowers and the symbol of Protea - Diversity and Courage!  Menziesii, not only is a beautiful flower, but strong and powerful one as well; and looks fabulous mixed with other flowers in arrangements and bouquets (more to come on this design by Susan)!.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

120 Minutes…Top Designers…A Mystery Assignment

The Sylvia Cup Design Competition is the longest running, live, national annual floral design competition. Sponsored by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), the Sylvia Cup tested the skills of 22 designers. Among them were winners of state and regional floral industry design contests, serial design competitors, designers of the year and members of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD).

John Hosek, AIFD, PFCI, CAFA, CF, of the Design Circle, in Verona, Wis., won the grand prize in this year's 44th Competition held on Sept. 15th during SAF Palm Springs 2011 - Congratulations to John and all the contestants!

It was exciting to see all the wonderful bouquets and designs that were created using the same product assortment of beautiful California Grown flowers and foliage, including our very own Protea Fiesta and Leucadendron Safari Sunset!  Here's a glimpse of some of these creative designs - Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Protea Attraction

The ability of protea to attract nectar-seeking birds is one of their greatest advantages. In South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom protea are primarily bird-pollinated, and it is common to see the beaks and heads of birds covered in pollen that is being efficiently transferred between flowers.

In addition, protea are an excellent food source, especially over the long winter months. In the Cape Floral Region, Cape Sugarbirds are seldom found far from the Proteaceae, especially in the early morning when nectar flows in abundance attracting a multitude of insects which in turn attract the Sugarbirds. Each bird has its own personal bush which it guards jealously from the other Sugarbirds. For the artist or photographer, these birds are a welcome subject since they do not flee at the sight of a human being.

Here are a few of my favorite bird and protea photographs - Enjoy!!!