Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Banksia Flowers & Fruit

Did you know there are about 173 species of banksia, and all but one occur naturally only in Australia? Banksias have distinctive cone-shaped blooms that are made up of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of tiny flowers grouped together in pairs that are open from the base, giving them a fluffy-like appearance. The color of these amazing flowers ranges from yellow and green to red and even silver, purple and black.

The fruits of banksias also called 'follicles' are hard and woody, and are often grouped together to resemble cones. The fruits protect the seeds from hungry animals and from fire. In many species the fruits will not open until they have been burnt or are completely dried out.

Banksias have definitely become very popular cut flowers due to their unique shape and extremely long vase life. Many varieties can be dried successfully and have no scent. Banksia cones 'fruit' are also used in floral designs because of their unusual shape and wonderful texture.

Banksia Care Tips: 

1. Keep cool when possible. 
2. Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem 
3. Re-cut at least 1/2” off each stem and place in cold water 
4. Replace vase water every day as Banksia are very thirsty flowers. 
5. Never mist banksias as this could cause black marks to appear.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Anigozanthos - Kangaroo Paw

The Kangaroo Paw is one of the most recognizable and popular of all the Australian native flowers. There are 11 species of Kangaroo Paw within the Anigozanthos family, and they're considered perennial herbs which grow from an underground rhizome system. They have an extensive flowering season, usually from spring to early summer and they come in a wide range of colors and sizes.

Kangaroo Paw flowers are most colorful when they're in bud stage, as it is the fine hairs covering the bud that give them their color. When the flowers bloom, they add a new contrast to the overall look of the plant, and come in a variety of colors, some with white petals and orange stamen, others with green petals and red stamen. Their fascinating double life as both bud and flower is what makes them so popular among gardeners and within floral designs.

Kangaroo Paws add wonderful color and texture to arrangements and bouquets.  They also dry well and have no fragrance.

Some Interesting K-Paw Facts:

Kangaroo Paws are mainly pollinated by birds. The shape of the flowers and the position of the pollen-bearing anthers allows pollen to be deposited on the head of feeding birds. This pollen is transferred from flower to flower as the birds feed. Different species usually deposit pollen on different areas of the birds’ head. This means that pollen from one species is unlikely to be deposited in the flowers of another species.

The generic name Anigozanthos is probably derived from the Greek ‘anises’, meaning ‘unequal’ or ‘oblique’, and ‘anthos’, meaning ‘flower’, in reference to the division of the floral extremities into six unequal parts. The red-green A. Manglesii is the state emblem of Western Australia. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

California Grown Floral Inspirations

My passion for flowers is certainly no secret. I love seeing fields covered with colorful blooms, pickup trucks overflowing with the mornings harvest and bouquets loaded with textural treats created and prepared for shipping. All these daily occurrences inspire me to want to grab an armload of flowers and design something fresh and unique.

This month I thought it would be great to share some of our California grown flowers with three very talented designers and see how they might be inspired. Each designer was sent the same box of Proteas, fillers and foliage and asked to create something special. What happened? Three very different personalities, styles and moods were revealed - all beautiful and creative.

The designers involved were Carmel from Mt. Lebanon Floral Shop in Pennsylvania, a Alicia from Bella Fiori in Washington and Laurie from Fleurie in California.

Here's what they created

Carmel made a variety of charming designs by mixing her Proteas with roses, orchids, ranunculus, fruit, feathers and ribbon.

Mt Lebanon Floral

Mt Lebanon Floral

Mt Lebanon Floral

Mt Lebanon Floral

Alicia created a beautiful centerpiece featuring the orange and yellow pincushions combined with some greenery from her back yard.

Bella Fiori

Bella Fiori

Laurie designed a wonderful cascading Protea bouquet and gorgeous floral halo highlighting a High Gold pincushion.



Many thanks to Alicia, Carmel and Laurie for sharing their floral inspirations!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Trends Unveiled

Something old, something new—something eye-popping and unexpected. That's what brides look for these days when selecting flowers they'll carry to the altar, according to floral design expert RenĂ© van Rems. In this month's issue of Bountiful California magazine Rene’ went on to say, "There are just tons of new floral products available. Brides are moving away from traditional designs in wedding flowers and selecting really cool things - line flowers (long-stemmed flowers and foliage) for cascading bouquets that move as a bride walks, hand-tied farm flowers and new hybrids with petals edged in surprising colors.”

Another trend in bridal flowers is the use of protea especially the King Protea. These large exotic flowers have been featured in several Wedding Blogs over the last twelve months and they’ve been in very high demand. Here are a few of my favorite blogs which feature Kings mixed with an array of other gorgeous flowers and foliage:

A Chic Southwest-inspired Wedding from Braedon Photography - The Knot Blog.

Frank Lloyd Wright Wedding Inspiration - Ruffled Blog.

Romantic Day After Shoot from Barncoprata - Style Me Pretty Blog

Burnetts boards Daily Wedding Inspiration

Bright, colorful & rustic wedding inspiration - 100 Layer Cake Blog