Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Banksia

Strong, resilient and bold, Banksias are far from delicate flowers, yet when they bloom, their effervescence and textures are unrivaled. As with the Leucospermum, the inflorescence of these robust plants consists entirely of the choreography of flower paths, they have no bracts or colored leaves. Most of these blooms look like corn cobs… tall, cylindrical and hard to the core.

Banksia are truly one of the best known and spectacular genera in the Australian plant family Proteaceae with nearly 175 species. These Australian wildflowers grow naturally in and around most of Australia’s coastal regions. Some varieties have growth habits similar to ground cover, others like shrubs and some trees. Colors range from silvery green through brilliant gold, yellows and orange to violet, deep red and even black tones. Banksia foliage varies greatly from small and piney to long and narrow to large, leathery and with deep serrated teeth.

Praemorsa – Cut Leaf Banksia

Ashbyii – Ashby’s Banksia

Ericifolia – Heath-Leaved Banksia

Banksia speciosa – rickrack banksia or Mint Julep

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mellow Yellow

There’s no doubt the color yellow sparks a broad spectrum of emotions in all of us. While it can be playful and radiant, yellow can also be unforgiving and ominous, which makes it a wildly fascinating hue. The many facets of the color yellow reveal its extremely impactful spirit.

Yellow flowers and foliage can liven up any space instantly. It is, perhaps, one of the easiest ways to bring sunshine indoors and enjoy the soothing energy of nature while relaxing in your home. Yellow advances from surrounding colors and enlarges any space. It mimics a sun-filled space, creating feelings of liveliness and good cheer.

Some of my favorite yellow flowers are the Leucospermum High Gold and Leucadendron Pisa, they are bright and cheerful and mix nicely with most other colors. For this arrangement, I mixed the High Gold and Pisa with Grevillea flowers, Solanum rantonnetii, yellow genista, roses, Leucadendron Gold Strike, eucalyptus, loquat branches and even some interesting twigs from my garden.

Monday, April 27, 2020

April Blogs & Articles of Interest

Certified American Grown Flower and Greens Farms

What are you doing to celebrate the wonderful moms in your life this year? With Mother’s Day just a couple of weeks away, why not give her fresh-cut blooms shipped directly from Certified American Grown flower and greens farms - it’s a great way to support local businesses especially during this difficult time.

Certified American Grown is a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower and greens farms representing small and large entities that grow everything from fragrant garden roses to bright field flowers to lush foliage. Yesterday, I received several boxes of beautifully grown blooms and greens - columbines, hellebores, roses, anemones, tulips, Ornithogalum, delphiniums, pittosporums, podocarps, lily grass, lace ferns and so many more - all the highest quality and freshness. I took them out right away and made some gorgeous arrangements for my home.

Read more here.

Flower lovers cheer for the exotic ‘King Protea’

The annual Rose Parade winding down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day is a flower enthusiast’s dream.

Every float is covered with lush blooms and greenery from around the world, as well as natural materials such as coconut fibers, seeds and coffee grounds.

The oldest, and certainly one of the showiest, flower on display in the 2020 parade was the King Protea, Protea cynaroides, the national flower of South Africa.

Read more here.

Protea blooming in popularity

Researchers, breeders in Hawaii exploring design trends
with exotic cut flowers

Quick, where does protea grow? If you answered the Western Cape of South Africa, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The King protea is the national flower of South Africa. Plants in the protea family also occur in the cool, dry areas of Australia, New Zealand and South America. If your fresh holiday arrangement includes exotic cut protea flowers purchased at a local florist shop, chances are they came from a family-run protea farm in Hawaii, where the flower has been introduced and many new varieties are being hybridized by breeders at the University of Hawaii.

Read more here.

Friday, April 24, 2020

In the Cynaroides Realm

At once spiky and delicate, King protea or cynaroides have evolved to survive in the harsh South African climate, while attracting pollinators at the same time. Obviously, a very compatible combo as these chic blooms are some of the most ancient flowers, evolving more than one hundred million years ago.

King protea are perennial plants. They tolerate fires thanks to their thick underground stem filled with numerous dormant buds which starts to sprout shortly after a fire. Fires also assist with drying the cones and releasing seed, while the wind helps spread the seed and seasonal rain triggers germination.

The artichoke-like appearance of the king’s flower-head led to the name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’… the artichoke. The name does no justice to the beautiful blooms of this protea, which is the largest in the genus. There are over eighty varieties of kings and they're divided into groups according to their leaf type. The leathery leaves vary from large and rounded to small and narrow and their huge flowers can be wide open, almost like a 12” dinner plate or a narrow funnel shape. These flower heads consist of numerous small, tubular-shaped blooms or also called an inflorescence. Their color can range from greenish-white through soft silvery pink to deep red, with each variety having its own flowering time.

A luxurious King protea is the crowning glory of a design or bouquet - they offer an enchanting world filled with color, texture, and sizes to try.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


Waratah. Think Gorgeous! They’re a diverse group of flowers that are part of the Protea family. The name Waratah, an Aboriginal name for “beautiful” comes from the Eora people, the original inhabitants of the Sydney area. The botanical term for this flower is perfect, seeing that the blooms are big and visible from far away... Telopea which comes from the Greek word “Telepos” literally means “seen from afar”. Anyone who has seen a waratah in the field would agree with the suitability of the name.

The large red blooms stand out amongst the green of the bush, and the shrub stands tall, strong and erect with long, leathery leaves. Each waratah flower is actually comprised of a group or cluster of flowers. Exactly how many depends on the species… ranging from as few as 10 to as many as 240 individual flowers, surrounded by a circle of floral bracts.

For those who believe in the special healing power or essence of flowers, Waratah represents hope where all seems hopeless, offering the necessary life support and courage needed during dark times. It offers strength and courage to cope with crisis and will bring survival skills to the front. Whatever the Waratah’s magical and spiritual properties maybe… there’s no doubt these beautiful flowers will bring cheer and joy to anyone’s day.