Monday, January 28, 2019

When Protea is the Way to Your Heart

If you really want to melt hearts this Valentine’s Day, you might want to think outside the vase. Perfect for besties and sweeties alike, these gorgeous protea wreaths make for thoughtful, long lasting gifts.

A one-of-a-kind handmade gift designed for your one-of-a-kind Valentine.

Flower News: January’s Articles of Interest from Around the World

Search the internet today for “proteas wedding flowers,” and you will find an abundance of eye-catching photos—far more than just five years ago. Some will come from trendy bridal magazines and websites. But a good many will have been created or promoted by just one California flower farm.

Read more here

Gardening: Five of the best gardens to visit around the world when you're on holiday

If you're planning your holidays and fancy taking in some gardens while you're away, here are five to savour and inspire:

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, South Africa: Anyone lucky enough to get to Cape Town shouldn't miss a trip to these stunning botanical gardens on the lower eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The 36-hectare nature reserve supports fynbos (shrub and heathland), forest and a variety of animals. It was the first national garden in the world devoted to a country's indigenous plants and is home to many collections, including cycads, proteas, ericas, pelargoniums and succulents. Best time to visit: January (summer), when the agapanthus are in bloom, May to October when the Protea Garden is in flower, or September and October when wild flowers bring a riot of colour (

Read more here.

Allsup: Updated weddings start with florals

It may be hard to predict what a bride will want for her wedding day, but it is likely to include gorgeous flowers. Barn weddings with rustic materials have been popular for years, but now are shifting toward 1970s bohemian styles and elegant industrial styles. Here are some specific trends brides are asking their floral designers for this year.

Read more here.

Gardening Matters: Native plants of the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains National Park (BMNP), west of Sydney is one of a number of national parks that virtually surround the NSW capital in the north and south as well as west. BMNP has an area of 270,000 hectares and provides a sanctuary for a wide range of native plants. As an example, over 90 species of eucalyptus are found in the park.

This time we will concentrate on plants that have horticultural potential. Some are already in favour with local gardeners whilst others are waiting to come into local cultivation. In spring probably the most visible plant is the Telopea speciosissima, the Waratah. The large, beautiful red flower is in fact a number of individual blooms supported by red floral bracts.

Read more here.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

In the Field: Leucospermum

These chic flowers are all style… or perhaps better said, all styles. In other words, their lively, round heads are formed mainly by the long, sprout-like structures, each one ending in a globular knob called a pollen presenter. Together, the mass of styles look a lot like pins bristling from a “pincushion”, a similarity that has given rise to the popular name for this genus.

So appropriate is the name “Pincushion Protea” that it has in fact replaced the original South African name of “Luisies” which refers to the grayish-white, rounded seeds found crumpled in the dried flower-heads.

Leucospermum comprises some forty-eight species, of which all but three are endemic to South Africa’s Cape Province. Flowering time is generally early winter through late spring. Unlike flowers of the genus Protea, which rely on their showy bracts for visual appeal, leucospermum put all their art into the colors of the flowers themselves as well as the flowing shape of each curving component.

In the 1970's the University of Hawaii’s Protea Research Project started working on an exclusive collection of new and improved cultivars of pincushions. The goals were aimed at improved color, increased vase life and good stem length. The results - some amazing and gorgeous hybrids, many of which have quite complex ancestry, some with even ten species parents.

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 everlasting 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.