Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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

30 Amazing Protea Wedding Bouquets

Protea plants, also known as sugarbushes, have become a favorite in the wedding world. The blooms—which are native to South Africa—come in a number of different varieties, and each is beloved for its unique shape or color. These include the big king protea, the unusual pincushion protea, and the aptly-named blushing bride protea. Whichever you like, we recommend incorporating it into your wedding bouquet for a bold and beautiful arrangement. For inspiration, look no further than these unique protea wedding bouquet ideas.

There's so much to love about protea flowers.

Read more here

Plants & Nations: South Africa

South Africa is one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth. It occupies only about 2% of the world's land area but is home to some 24,000 species, nearly 15% of known marine species and 10% of the earth's plants.

South Africa has 19 national parks including Kruger National Park, a fantastic African safari destination; Table Mountain National Park, regarded as a wonder of nature, and Bontebok National Park with its colorful riches. From September 14 to 18, all national parks are free of charge to South Africans. In this article, we introduce three iconic plants that you can find in the ‘Rainbow Nation.'

Read more here.

2019 Unexpected Floral Trend – Dried Flowers
A 4,000-year-old trend is making its rounds again!

That’s right - preserving or drying flowers date back 4,000 years ago to the Egyptians. These dried flowers were presented in funeral ceremonies, with each flower being chosen for a symbolic meaning within their religion.

From Ancient Egypt to Victorian England, dried flowers are making their way back in 2019. The growing DIY movement and popularity of natural products is allowing dried florals to see a new light.

This is a great opportunity to let customers know after receiving or purchasing a fresh arrangement, they can hang and dry their flowers to give them more time to appreciate the arrangement.

Read more here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Warm Apricot & Cherry Crisp

Is there anything better to eat during the summer than fresh fruit picked right off the tree, I especially love apricots! When I looked outside this weekend and saw my tree was loaded with fruit, I knew it was time to get inspired.

And while apricots are oh so good fresh, they also cook up into the most scrumptious jams and tarts. Once I harvested a basket of apricots, I grabbed my new Wine Country Table cookbook to see what sweet treat I could whip up for everyone in the office. This new cookbook by the Wine Institute celebrates California's bountiful harvest and the sustainable soul behind the farmers who grow it. As I perused the pages, I found a recipe for a Warm Apricot and Cherry Crisp. How clever of nature to ripen apricots and cherries at the same time; I love the combination of the sweetness of apricots with tartness of the cherries, they pair so well together.

I had the apricots, but I still needed the rest of the ingredients. I visited my local farmer's market in search of California Grown cherries and walnuts, and then off to the grocery store for more baking essentials.

Ready to bake, I halved and pitted the apricots and cherries. Then tossed them with a little sugar and tapioca to thicken their juices, added a crunchy oat and walnut topping, and baked until bubbly. The sweet aroma filled the office!

As the crisp baked Mel created a cherry-apricot inspired bouquet to adorn the table. The way I see it, nothing goes better with food and wine, than California Grown flowers! It seems the Wine Institute thinks so too; Mel is one of the farmers featured in the cookbook. He combined yellow and orange pincushion with cherry red kangaroo paws to match the beautiful warm crisp that was now ready to be devoured.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

In the Field: Leucadendron Safari Sunset

It’s officially ‘Safari Season'! Often one of the first hints of the season in our fields... leucadendron Safari Sunset serves as a gauge for warmer and longer days. These barometers of summer begin to emerge as spring winds down, revealing their deep-red bracts and long stems from July all the way through October.

There’s no doubt, Safari Sunset is the most well-known leucadendron, with millions of stems being grown in numerous countries around the world. A New Zealand raised hybrid cultivar, this mix of L. Laureolum x L. Salignum has proven the importance of crossbreeding in the protea industry.

Like a burst of color in the field, Safari Sunset brings a rich look to floral designs as well. Stunning no matter how you display it, this leucadendron looks great when blended with an array of flowers and greens or even used as a focal flower in boutonnieres. Here are some wonderful ways you can enjoy this fabulous foliage during the summer and well into fall.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Summer Alert: Protea Eximea

It's almost eximea season here on the farm and time to put a spotlight on these awesome blossoms. To help you distinguish between the eximea species (originally called Latifolia) and its newer cultivars, we put together this handy chart.

Eximea, which means distinguished, is sometimes called rosespoon, ray-flowered protea, and broad-leaf sugarbush. In addition, as featured above, there are several cultivars now being grown and harvested: Cardinal, Susannae, Duchess and Sylvia. These improved varieties with brighter colors and better form, have kept eximea’s popularity alive. The large, colorful flowers have spoon-shaped bracts of reddish-pink and a soft central dome exposing a purplish wine color. While summer is the usual time for flowering, some of the varieties can be found throughout the year.

No matter how they’re arranged, eximea are stunning mixed in bouquets, centerpieces and especially wreaths!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Designed by Mel

We walk a prudent line when it comes to creating a ‘one-of-a-kind’ bouquet: too blasé and the bouquet can start to look like a mound of mis-matched proteas. Too planned and it ends up looking like a dull cookie-cutter Biedermeier. So, when an occasion calls for a little extra protea power, we step back and call in our favorite flower-farmer-florist, Mel. But in case you don’t have a passionate farmer to count on, we asked Mel to share some tips for creating one of his special protea bouquets.

“I think of designing a bouquet like planning a meal: once I decide on the main course, the side dishes fall into place. For this bouquet, the dramatic protea Arctic Ice took center stage. The most important thing to me is color and texture, as they immediately make a bouquet come to life. The King was an easy starting point, so I just played off of those fabulous, white, spikey bracts,” says Mel.

Whether you’re using flowers you purchased at your local market, a farmer’s market or clipping from your own garden, simply look for a few different varieties that go nicely together while creating contrast. In addition to the beautiful white King, this bouquet includes orange Banksia, red Leucospermum, silver-cone Leucadendron galpinii, lavender and white waxflower, woolly bush, boxwood, Grevillea and chocolate Agonis foliage.

“If you select your stems wisely, they’ll give you some hints when it comes time to put everything together. I let the flowers do most of the work for me and allow them to fall into place as I slowly twist and turn the bouquet. If you have an open mind and allow the bouquet to progress naturally, it will ultimately look much more spontaneous,” says Mel.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Event: CPA Member Appreciation Party

June is California Grown Flowers Month and the California Protea Association (CPA) kicked off the month-long celebration on June 1st by throwing a Member Appreciation party. The event was held at a beautiful estate in Hidden Meadows owned by the renowned local Visual Artist Pako Pablos. Pako’s artistic commentary on pop culture through the use of digital art, painting with acrylics and the creation of images in pastels has gained widespread exposure and popularity. Members had the opportunity to enjoy the estate’s panoramic views, tour the grounds and visit Pako's studio.

A delicious dinner was prepared by award winning chef Flor Franco. Garnering acclaim and a reputation for excellence, Flor has served as the Executive Chef for several award winning venues and restaurants, two Sundance Film Festivals, one Conde Nast dinner, hundreds of the world's best events, and has had the honor of designing and executing menus for Hollywood elite, dignitaries and national political figures.

It was a terrific event at a fabulous venue with scrumptious food and lots of great conversations with friends who love protea farming as much as we do!

Many thanks to Pako and Flor for their gracious hospitality!