Friday, March 29, 2019

Event: The Wine Country Table Launch

This week we ventured to Sacramento to help celebrate the launch of the Wine Institute’s new book, The Wine Country Table – a book we’re so excited to be featured in. Bursting with wine, food and our flowers, this tome conveys a fresh, meditative, 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.

Pictured above: Diana Roy, Francesca Marchini, Janet Fletcher,
John Taylor, Nick Matteis & Vincent Ricchiuti

Grape Harvest

Olive Harvest

Protea Harvest

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.

Roast Chicken with Lemons, Paprika & Olives - this recipe is fabulous and a perfect Spring weeknight meal!

Heirloom Apple Galette with Honey Ice Cream

And, there’s no doubt in our minds… Great food, wine and flowers make for the perfect pairing.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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

South Africa's Cape Floral Kingdom Has More Diverse Plant Life Than the Rain forest and Must Burn to Survive

South Africa's Cape Floral Region is a group of protected areas that have the highest concentration of plant species on Earth. With triple the number of plant varieties as the Amazon rainforest, the UNESCO World Heritage site is unique in another way — it must burn periodically to survive.

The group of eight protected areas that comprise the Cape Floral Kingdom outside of Cape Town is the smallest of the world's six floral kingdoms. The flammable ecosystem must burn every 10 to 20 years in order for the plants' seed to germinate and to destroy invasive species, reported.

Read more here.

Eruption of color is a rite of spring at
Carlsbad's Flower Fields

After a wet and wild winter, the Flower Fields in Carlsbad are shaping up for one of the best seasons ever.

For 10 weeks each year, the working farm lets the public wander its carefully manicured rows of white, red, yellow, purple, pink, and orange blossoms perched on 50 gently sloping acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The flowers are ranunculuses, a member of the buttercup family. But generations of cultivation have made them unlike any ranunculuses in the world.

Read more here.

Gardening Matters: Iconic Banksias call Australia home

The banksias are iconic Australian plants and are members of the Proteaceae family in company with the grevilleas, hakeas and South African proteas.

Banksias are almost uniquely Australian.

Banksia dentata, from the Northern Territory, is also found in New Guinea.

Over 70 Banksias call Australia home with the lion’s share of species occurring in the southwest corner of Western Australia.

NSW is well represented with 16 varieties. Until recently there was thought to be 15 NSW species, then a new banksia was discovered on the south coast. This new species is very rare and vulnerable with only 14 plants found so far.

Read more here.

Certified American Grown Flowers Star
at FTD World Cup 2019

The FTD World Cup 2019, considered the Olympics of floral design, was held last weekend in Philadelphia, marking the first time the competition has been held in the U.S. since 1985. But perhaps even more exciting than its return to the U.S. is the fact that global participants in the competition created some of their designs with over 14,000 Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens donated by American flower farmers!

Read more here.

10 Spring Wedding Themes That Are in Bloom for 2019

Springtime may call to mind fresh blooms and pastel hues, but those aren’t the only inspiring details for spring weddings. This year, modern couples are combining traditional elements with stark contrasts, including black accents and futuristic details, for their spring wedding celebrations.

For more ideas, top planners and designers are sharing with Brides the biggest spring wedding themes for 2019.

Read more here.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Nature’s Window

Creating a Nature’s Window is another simple way to bring a touch of nature indoors. This trendy, chic design showcases the entire flower, from stem to bloom transforming any space into a blooming botanical exhibition.

Our arrangements are only a start. In just a few simple steps you can create your own windows; and there are many ways to display them. One idea is to place several clear vases of the same size, or even different sizes down the length of the table versus using a traditional centerpiece. Or put a vase or two on a windowsill that faces the sun, allowing the light from outside to shine through the vase and through the blooms.

  1. Pour 2 or 3 inches of water into the vase. Cut the flower stems to varying lengths. 
  2. Position the shortest blooms in the vase. 
  3. Repeat with all the flowers, adding them by height and inserting the tallest last.

Leucadendron Tango

Banksia Coccenaea

Saturday, March 16, 2019

In the Field: Buttonbush

Berzelia, a genus of the Bruniaceae family, is one of the few plants endemic to the Cape floral kingdom and the Western Cape of South Africa. Berzelia or also called ‘Buttonbush’ is typically harvested when the clusters of round flower heads are still closed and green or cream in color, looking like masses of colorful peas attached to a sturdy stem. Below the flowering heads are wispy side shoots of small needle-like foliage which are grouped in whorls going up the long, woody stems.

This gorgeous and other-worldly botanical muse of plant lovers and floral designers around the world, is a longtime favorite of ours here on the farm. For all the visual impact these bobbles offer, their unique element of texture not only appeals to the sense of sight, but also to the tactile senses as well. Whether it’s Berzelia Lanuginosa or Red Jelly, these small, round buttons are engaging, making you want to reach out, touch and feel them.

Berzelia Lanuginosa

Berzelia Red Jelly

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Topiary

Topiary… the term may sound unfamiliar, but there’s no doubt you’ve seen the art around. Those hedges and shrubs that have been trimmed into amazing sculptures of everything from shapes to animals to people are topiaries. The art is defined as the horticultural practice of clipping shrubs or trees into shapes.

Topiaries date back to ancient Egypt, when rows of date palm were force-cut into shapes of cones. They returned in medieval times as a way of training fruit plants, and then again during the Italian Renaissance. In the 15th century, the Dutch became intrigued with creating topiary that resembled animals while the French preferred creating topiary into geometric shapes. Topiaries have continued to evolve, they’re not only restricted to formal landscaping structures, some are crafted from potted plants, like ivy or rosemary.

Today, creating a topiary no longer requires that you adhere to live plants, floral topiaries have become quite popular as well. Designing a floral topiary is a simple way to bring a touch of nature indoors… winter, spring, summer or fall. All you need are the flowers and foliage of your choice, floral foam, as well as a tree branch (or stick) and container to act as the support and showcase for your design. For our topiary, we’ve selected Serruria, Leucadendron, Phylica, Berzelia, Calycina and waxflower, blooms that can last two to three weeks with the proper care. Many of these botanicals will retain their structural design and to some extent their color long after their vase-life. They don’t die, they dry… Beautifully!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spring Forward

In like a lion, out like a lamb, March is a month of change and revival. The days grow longer and lighter and our souls tend to follow suit as well. Today, we ‘spring forward’ and set our sights on March 20th, the first day of spring. In many ways, this winter in Southern California has been an unusual one, lots of rain, lighting and thunder along with some of the coldest temperatures on record. The nearby mountain tops are snow packed surrounding our valley in a winter wonderland. While spring may still be a little over a week away, we’re ready to begin the seasonal transition. With brighter hues and plenty of texture… we’re 'Spring-Ready', even though winter is still rampaging through the fields like a lion.

Our remedy to ward-off the winter blues: a few gorgeous pink Protea burchellii, a couple stems of creamy-yellow Leucadendron Harvest and green clusters of textural Berzelia.