Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Day of the Dead

Just like witches, black cats and pumpkins are typical symbols of Halloween, skulls, orange marigolds and monarch butterflies are associated with Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. However, this annual fete, is not a Mexican version of Halloween. Though related, the holidays differ greatly in traditions and ambience. Whereas Halloween is a night of terror and tricks, Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in a burst of color and life-sustaining joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the intention is to show love and respect for deceased family members.

Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico and Central America where native tribes had specific days when they honored their loved ones based on whether the deceased was an adult or a child. When the Spanish arrived, this ritual of memorializing the dead became two holidays: All Saints Day on November 1st and All Soul’s Day on the 2nd. Día de los Muertos is typically celebrated on the 1st as a day to remember children who have passed away, and the 2nd to honor adults.

These ancient tribes believed that death was part of the journey of life. Rather than death being the end of life, families view death as the beginning of the cycle of seasons and new life. This cycle is often associated with the cyclical nature of agriculture, like crops grown from the ground where the last crop lies buried.

The Day of the Dead is an occasion to remember and celebrate the lives of departed loved ones. It is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit their living families in homes, businesses and cemeteries. And as with many celebrations, the days are filled with music and dancing. The ofrenda, is the most recognized symbol. This temporary altar is a way for families to honor their loved ones and provide them what they love while on their journey.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Simply Gourd-geous Centerpieces

Because they’re both born in the garden or on a farm, pumpkins and flowers pair perfectly in centerpieces and displays, especially when the pumpkin stands in for a traditional container. Plus, there’s a bounty of pumpkin varieties to choose from, white ones, green ones, speckled ones, tall ones and squat ones... hundreds of pumpkin varieties exist. Bright colors, interesting shapes and an array of textures make them ideal containers. And, they are watertight, at least for the duration of the vase life of most of the blooms you put in them.

Pairing pumpkins and flowers (especially protea) delivers a festive yet elegant take on fall decorating: they make perfect porch displays for Halloween, lovely Thanksgiving centerpieces or even wonderful gifts.

Here’s what you need to make your own:
  • Fresh pumpkin 
  • Knife 
  • Clear plastic sheet or container 
  • Floral foam (optional) 
  • Flowers, foliage, berries, fruit 
  • Clippers
Make it!

Carve your pumpkin so that you have a wide opening near the center of the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.

Line the inside of the pumpkin with a sheet of plastic or container.

If desired, cut a piece of floral foam with the knife to fit inside the pumpkin. Soak the foam in water while you prepare your flowers.

Choose flowers and foliage with strong straight stems (proteas are perfect)!

Insert the floral foam into the inside of the pumpkin and create your arrangement. Start with foliage, then add flowers, fruit, and other embellishments to create a full and interesting centerpiece.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

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

21 Compote Centerpieces
That'll Upgrade Your Reception Tables

When it's time to choose your wedding centerpieces, you want to consider what type of reception table dynamic you're looking for. If you're attempting to create a high-drama, big-impact floral arrangement, you'll likely go with sky-high, vertical arrangement. These types of displays might make your guests' jaws drop, but they do have one downside—they definitely limit conversation once all attendees have taken their seats. If you want to encourage across-the-table, mid-dinner mingling, smaller-scale centerpieces are a better option. Luckily, going small doesn't have to mean sacrificing that wow factor.

Read more here.

Certified American Grown farms shine
at Fresh Summit booth

Certified American Grown staff members were joined by six certified farms in a large booth at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, last week. Within the 20×50 booth space, each farm had dedicated space to put their American Grown Flowers and Greens front and center. A sign over the booth ensured that no one on the show floor could miss them, a huge Certified American Grown logo heart created with Certified American Grown Flowers attracted lots of attention.

Read more here.

The wonderland that is
Kirstenbosch Garden, South Africa, in Spring

If you find yourself in Cape Town, South Africa in Spring, as I did, then you simply must visit the amazing Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, a mere 13 kilometres from downtown Cape Town. Acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch offers visitors not only the chance to view one of the most biodiverse environments on the planet, but also to enjoy the warm, friendly and relaxed African charm, entertainment and cuisine at the wonderful Moyo Kirstenbosch restaurant nestled inside the gardens.

Read more here.

American Flower Farmers Participate in Trade Mission
to South Korea, Vietnam

During the trip, the delegation hosted an industry seminar in Seoul to introduce U.S. cut flower and foliage varieties, and to provide handling, shipping and display techniques to preserve shelf life and maximize profitability. Five U.S. cut flower and foliage farmers spoke and presented to the group of approximately 16 South Korean import companies and Pruitt gave a keynote address. The delegation then traveled to Vietnam, an emerging market for American Grown Flowers and Greens, where they met with cut flower and foliage import companies and toured the domestic growing region. They also met with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to discuss market opportunities and challenges.

Read more here.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

In the Field: Protea Grandicolor

The protea fields are more colorful this fall thanks to 'Grandicolor’.
A cross of P. grandiceps and P. aurea, this hybrid cultivar from Australia combines features from both parent plants in a unique combination. The greenish-cream bracts, which deepen to tan at the base, have a delicate pinkish rim and conspicuous hairs like the grandiceps and surround rusty-red centers. The egg-shape foliage is small and leathery with a silvery-green hue and the stems straight and upright like the aurea. Grandicolor produces dainty, medium sized blooms off and on from autumn through spring.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Banksia Integrifolia Wreath

If you’re looking for thriving organic floral displays in your home or office, you need to ponder beyond just flowers – the foliage is just as important as the blooms you choose. Leaves come in all shapes, sizes and colors and now, Banksia integrifolia is in the limelight. If you are not familiar with integrifolia or sometimes called Coast banksia or white honeysuckle, the foliage is fickle: the younger leaves are usually broad and irregular toothed, while the mature leaves are smooth and spear shaped. They have white undersides that tend to give the leaves a silvery look.

Integrifolia is lush and long-lasting, making it the perfect textured foliage for any wreath. Plus, it blends well with just about any flowers or greens enabling you to create your own unique display.