Sunday, September 26, 2021

'Tis the Season: Protea Pink Ice

There is something about autumn that seems to always set things into motion. And… if fall was a protea, Pink Ice would be that protea. They are autumn to a 'T' and simply stunning! The goblet shaped bloom is surrounded by fuzzy silvery-pink bracts that overlap and a beautiful rose-colored central dome with a splash of wine at the tip.

Protea Pink Ice, Neriifolia x Susannae, is one of the hardiest and most abundant plants here on the farm! And… the blooms? They’re fabulous no matter how you arrange them. I love mixing them with a variety of other flowers like roses, dahlias, zinnias, etc. or simply arranged all on their own. Here are few design ideas that will hopefully stir your creativity and get you 'falling' for Pink Ice!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

A Season of Abundance

In a season of abundance, make full use of those richly colored flowers and foliage that flourish in the transition from summer into fall. Protea and Leucadendron come an array of hues, and when paired with other seasonal blooms, they add character to your design. Pictured here, I used a mix of botanicals, including dahlias, zinnias, amaranths, yarrow, Australian pine, fruited branches, and banksia integrifolia with cones - placed in a rustic ceramic container.

Not all crops come in the traditional fall hues of reds, oranges, and yellows. Bring in new colors and textures with fruit, whether tucked amongst the floral centerpiece or displayed off to the side to polish off the vignette. In this design, I used a mix of protea, a banksia, grevillea blooms and Leucadendron, Amaryllis Belladonna, dahlias, hydrangea, eucalyptus, and passion fruit.

When autumn calls for an extra special arrangement, a cornucopia brimming with fresh flowers and fruit will surely do the trick.

So, gather up your favorite fruit, flowers + foliage and create something beautiful!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Proteas: The Myth and The Meanings

Dating back approximately 300 million years, Proteas are one of the oldest families of flowering plants on the planet. It is believed that the protea genus originated on the super-continent Gondwana. When the continent eventually split, they were spread primarily across Australia and South Africa.

Proteas were named after the sea god Proteus in Greek mythology, who was the prophetic old man of the sea and shepherd of the sea's flock. Proteus protected the seals of Poseidon on the island of Pharos, near the mouth of the Nile, and was able to adopt any shape he wished. He knew all things - past, present, and future and disliked sharing his knowledge. If you wanted to consult him, you had to surprise him during his siesta and tie him up. Even when caught, he would try to escape by assuming many different shapes. If you were able to trap Proteus, he would return to his original shape, answer your questions, and plunge back into the sea.

Because of the intriguing myth that it comes with genus, and their unique charm, the family is known to symbolize extraordinary beauty, embracing diversity and individuality + the courage to stay true to oneself.

Diversity… Named after the god Proteus, it’s no wonder that the proteas symbolize diversity. It’s also associated with social unity and accepting one’s individuality. After all, they’re unique in so many ways, and can be found in many colors, hues, textures, shapes and sizes.

Courage & Resilience… The fact that proteas have existed for so long, thrive in extreme geographical areas and can endure harsh weather conditions - even wildfires, makes them the perfect symbol for strength, resilience and courage.

Transformation & Change… Proteas often represent change, transformation and hope, since the plant gracefully restores itself after severe wildfires.

Beauty and Individuality… This family also represents beauty, which is fitting for their exotic and unique appearance. When placed next to other beautiful flowers, proteas will stand out in any arrangement. The flower’s unique appearance is often perceived as a symbol of distinctive beauty, individuality and courage to stay true to oneself.

Longevity… Dating back 300 million years, Proteas are among the oldest flowers we know. This link associates it with longevity and long life.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Autumn Protea Wreath

We’re starting to see early signs of fall here on the farm. We've dusted off all the wreath making equipment and ordered plenty of extra supplies. Designing and creating a gorgeous Protea wreath is one of our favorite crafts, it's like painting but with a palette of flowers, and it definitely puts you in an autumn mode! With a ten beautiful Protea, Grevillea Ivanhoe, Leucadendron Safari Sunset, Galpinii and Inca Gold as well as seeded Eucalyptus, we anxiously observe as another unique masterpiece is created.

The wreath... a symbol of welcome, eternity and a joyful spirit! When protea find their way into a wreath, they no doubt fulfill the promise of eternity, as they don't die, they dry beautifully and become timeless!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Leucadendron Argenteum

Did you know Leucadendron Argenteum or more commonly called Silver Tree has given its name to an entire genus of Proteaceae? The tree also divulges the obvious allure of this unique group – the splendor of its foliage. The name Leucadendron is derived from the Greek leukas meaning ‘white’ and dendron meaning ‘tree’.

Referred to as Silver Tree because its soft, elliptical leaves, which remain on the trees for years giving it evergreen status, are covered with hairs that look amazingly like silver in the sunlight and shimmers in the wind. These trees can reach up to forty feet in height.

You don't know whether it is a male or a female until the day it flowers and shows off with large, pure silver egg-like cones (female) or yellow pollen surrounding small silver buds (male). The Silver Tree relies on wind for dispersing its seeds instead of having to attract birds or other dispersers. Each fruit looks like a small nut and is equipped with a "parachute". Once the seed is freed by strong winds, it can travel a considerable distance thanks to its design.

Silver Tree branches are stunning when used in arrangements and its individual leaves are ideal in corsages and boutonnieres.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

July Articles of Interest

50 Wedding Centerpiece Ideas We Love

As you're planning your wedding, you'll likely need to put some thought into how you'll decorate your reception. While most couples opt for floral arrangements—which they place in the center of their tables—the options extend far beyond simple bundles of one kind of bloom. With so many flower varieties out there, as well a whole spectrum of petal shades, choosing blossoms for your centerpieces can be overwhelming. Plus, not all brides and grooms want to use flowers at all—some choose to work with other elements, like candles. How can you decide on the right decorations for your celebration’s color scheme and theme?

Read more here.

Fynbos: why fire is important for its survival

The ‘Cape Floral Kingdom’ is home to thousands of plants unique to South Africa, and while fynbos thrives after fire, ecologists feel there are vital lessons to be learnt from the flames.

South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest but the most diverse: “There are approximately 9600 plant species in the Cape Floral Kingdom, and about 70% of them are found nowhere else in the world,” says van Wilgen. Most of this is fynbos, the hardy, shrubby plants with fine, small leaves, bulb plants and reeds that can be found from along the Cape’s coasts to mountain tops.

Ecologist Dr Jasper Slingsby explains that “fynbos and the Cape Floristic Region are the richest temperate flora in the world, making up roughly 3% of all known vascular plant species on the planet”.

Read more here.

African Protea

Proteas were named after the Greek god Proteus, son of Poseidon, who had the ability to transform himself into many different shapes—and proteas do come in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes, hues, and textures. These plants are known for their unusual and beautiful flowers, which seem rather mythological themselves, like blooms from an alien landscape—some can reach 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) across. Proteas are considered to be among the oldest of flowering plants, and from the king protea Protea cynaroides to the tall silver tree Leucadendron argenteum to the nodding pincushion Leucospermum cordifolium, they have the allure of another time.

Read more here.

The Outside Story: How flowers get their color

To quote the French dramatist Jean Giradoux, “The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” Flowering plants fill our summer fields and gardens, bring bright spots of color to our woods, and since their arrival on the scene some 130 million years ago have evolved along with animal life to become an essential part of the food web.

Read more here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Spirited Floral Décor

Bring on the red, white and blue!

Although the New Year officially begins in January, here on the farm we can’t help but think that July deserves a little tribute too. There’s something about the month, perhaps it’s the fact we’ve reached the year’s halfway mark or maybe because it's the time to celebrate America… that seems to muster up a little nostalgia. With that in mind, these ‘dog days of summer’ aren’t always easy to shake off.

Whether you’re planning your next get-together or simply spending more time outdoors, we’ve created a spirited summer-inspired arrangement. This festive red, white and blue design includes several of our seasonal faves: protea, grevillea, banksia, dahlias, lily of the nile, hydrangea, crocosmia, with the foliage choices as a nod to the ‘summer essentials’ trend, as well as some blackberries for an extra splash of color and texture.

Cheers to summer bliss!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Grevillea Flowers

Now, about mid-summer, is the time we anticipate the inevitable dog days to come as we watch our pincushion fields go barren and eagerly wait for protea season. However, the warm weather is no match for Grevillea flowers, they’re fuss-free sun-lovers that stand up to the rising mercury and add some much-needed color during this transitional period. These lollipop-like flowers, also referred to as Bush Lollies, Bush Toothbrush and Spiderman, provide masses of summery blooms that add, color, and fabulous texture in and out of the fields. Their popularity comes from their willingness to flower and flower. Here are just a few of the varieties being harvested.

‘Moonlight’ This popular variety has attractive deeply divided foliage and bears beautiful, lemon-yellow toothbrush flowers.

'Honey Gem' A fabulous of cultivar G. banksii and G. pteridifolia. Flowers are apricot with orange-yellow style and the leaves have silvery reverse.

'Misty Pink' A vigorous and hardy free flowering shrub with grayish leaves. Spectacular pink and cream 6 to 7” blooms in terminal clusters of six or more.

'Superb' One of the best bloomers with pink, peach and creamy colored flowers.

'Sylvia' Large dense, deep red flower spikes are produced on the plant for most of the year.

Can you picture these fabulous flowers in your garden or favorite arrangement?

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Mingling Florals & Fruit

Fruit looks gorgeous in the garden, and even better served on a platter or mixed in your favorite dessert. But did you know, adding seasonal fruit into a flower arrangement, to bring in a fresh element of color, texture and shape, is often the recipe needed to transform a design from beautiful to eye-catching and unique?

What kinds of fruit can be added to a flower arrangement? More than you might think. Vines with berries, grapes and passion fruit, or even lemons, oranges, peaches and persimmons can be used to expand your palette of materials. A cluster of kumquats might give you a pop of smooth orange amongst green foliage, or a pomegranate snuggled amid lush blooms can lend rich color to a design.

Fruits that grow on branches, stems, or vines are easiest to include if you leave them attached. For example, a blackberry vine can be tucked and mingled in around your primary flowers quite easily. For larger fruits, the key to success is a sturdy stem. You can use the existing stem or create a stem by putting them on a skewer, so it can be secured in the arrangement. And… just as you would remove the leaves of your florals below the vase water line, do this with your fruit, as well.

Plus, using galvanized containers, vintage baskets and even other fruit like pumpkins are all fun ways to go from garden to table. Here are several of our seasonal designs: