Thursday, July 28, 2022

Christmas in July - Protea Angels

It's no secret that I love protea. And I'm a firm believer that it's never too early to start preparing for Christmas! I’ve been watching the Hallmark’s Christmas in July movies and getting into the spirit. If you want to start doing a little Christmas in July crafting read on for a fun project, you can start making today!

DIY Protea Angels - Is there anything better than Christmas decor that is hand-made and natural?

Protea angels are not only pretty ornaments on a tree though… Imagine how sweet they could be sitting on a shelf, or adorning a holiday table? Best of all, they only take a few minutes to make.

First, you need to gather your supplies. Here's what I used:

  • Dried protea blooms and pods 
  • Protea leaves 
  • Everlastings and other decorative flowers 
  • Small wooden doll head 
  • Sharpie markers 
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Twine

To make these you need to drill a small whole in the bottom of the wooden doll head and then design the face (eyes, nose, mouth and hair) with the colored markers. Repeat this step for as many angels as you'd like to make.

Then select the dried protea blooms you prefer to use for the body of the angels. Next you need to affix the wood doll head to the stem of the protea flower using the hot glue to secure it in place.

Cut a small piece of twine, twist it in half and attach it to the head with a dab of the hot glue. Finally, use the everlastings and other decorative blooms to fashion the angels with a floral crown and dress garnishing.

Just like a snowflake, no two protea angels you create will be exactly alike. That’s the beauty of nature and handmaking your own Christmas ornaments. Each is unique and different and beautiful.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

CPA Brunch

TOGETHER AGAIN! It has been three [long] years since the California Protea Association (CPA) - had its last member gathering. Yes, after the dark days of Covid, events are back and this month we went all out and hosted an alfresco brunch at the Institute of Contemporary Art - in Encinitas. How appropriate is that? This brunch was a real culinary treat as we partnered with Chef, Flor Franco - once again, and I’m so delighted to share it with you.

Garnering acclaim and a reputation for excellence, Flor Franco 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, national political figures and of course, CPA members.

We added festive protea flare to the brunch by designing a gorgeous wreath to welcome guests and created 20 colorful arrangements to garnish the tables and to set the scene.

Everyone mingled throughout the brunch, enjoying the delicious Spanish cuisine, and refreshing beverages plus, the lively mariachi band.

A unique group of farmers and gardeners gathered in one place for one moment to share the most universal human conversation: a meal. Chef Flor and her team created an amazing menu that left us all feeling like we had just eaten at a Five Star restaurant.

I hope this alfresco brunch in the museum gardens inspires you in some small way. To me, it felt like the perfect way to rekindle relationships with fellow protea farmers and friends as well as celebrate... July – American Grown Flowers Month!

Monday, July 25, 2022

Grevillea Flowers

Grevillea flowers or also nicknamed Spiderman + Bush Lollies bloom pretty much year-round here on the farm putting on a show month after month. They’re what we call “Australian native superstars”. These come-back friends – are fuss-free sun-lovers that stand up to the rising mercury and deliver some much-needed color - especially during the summer. These lollipop-like flowers provide masses of unique blooms in an array of wonderful colors, and their texture, can only be matched by the Leucospermum - pincushion.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, this Australian Proteaceae genus – named in honor of Charles Francis Greville - is now being grown in many parts of the world. There are over a hundred species and cultivars being grown in the United States, with the majority found here in California. Grevilleas are also grown in South Africa, Mediterranean Europe, South Asia and of course, extensively in Australia where over three hundred species have been identified.

Luckily, now is the perfect time to think about adding some of these fun and awe-inspiring blooms to your summer designs. Read on to learn about some of our favorites.

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

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

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

'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.