Friday, September 29, 2023

The Latest Floral Inspiration

How Pincushion Protea Flowers Are Grown in California

With their striking colors, intricate forms, and eye-catching textures, pincushion protea flowers are an extraordinary addition to any floral arrangement. These captivating blooms, known for their pin-like appearance and velvety texture, have been capturing the hearts of flower enthusiasts for years.

Read more here.

The Silver Tree

The genus is named after its most outstanding member, Leucadendron argenteum….known to botanists, gardeners and plant lovers throughout the world as the silver tree, but the early Dutch settlers dubbed it witteboom, literally ‘white tree’. In 1691 the botanist Plukenet used the name, translated into Latin, to describe the witteboom and related plants….Leucadendron, therefore, became the accepted name for this genus…

Marie Vogts, South Africa’s Proteaceae

On that projecting isthmus of land called the Cape Peninsula, at the bottom left hand corner of Africa, there can scarcely be anyone unfamiliar with the handsomest arboreal member of the protea family: silver tree or Witteboom, as it is known in high Dutch and its descendent language, Afrikaans. Always strikingly silver, it is transformed by the hot, drying, gale-force north winds of the cooler months of the year to a gleaming metallic lustre. The glory takes one’s breath away! Even the dry leaves of herbarium specimens retain their sheen, prompting Linnaeus, that first great modern plant namer, to exclaim at his desk in Uppsala, “this tree, the most shining and splendid of all plants.” I wonder if he was lucky enough to see a living specimen; the seeds were certainly available in Holland by then.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

7 Protea Wreaths That Showcase Fall’s Bounty

While pumpkins, wheat stalks, and colorful leaves tend to be favorites when it comes to autumn decor, few things say ‘fall’ better than a beautiful wreath. They are incredibly versatile and don't just need to be for doors, they are wonderful displayed on walls and mantles, and even used on the dining table.

Wreaths add to the cozy, welcoming ambiance of the fall. So, be sure to take advantage of the season’s warm hues and interesting textures as they can be an easy way to update your d├ęcor and mark the seasonal celebration of autumn.

For a wreath with longevity, proteas are perfect as they look stunning ‘fresh’ but ‘in the spirit of the harvest’, they also dry beautifully and will last for months… maybe even years to come.

Hopefully, this roundup of protea wreaths will inspire you to turn natural elements from your yard or garden, including leaves, sticks, cones, pods, and fabulous florals (like proteas) into unique arrangements. The design possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Growing Proteas

Did you know California is one of five Mediterranean-climate regions on the earth where proteas are grown? It’s true! And since autumn tends to be the ideal planting time… we have a few growing tips for you.

  • Plant in a sunny location where the air flows freely around the plant. 
  • Planting on slopes or slightly elevated mounds is often beneficial because water runoff decreases drainage problems. 
  • Proteas flourish in sandy, acidic, well-drained and rocky soils. 
  • Dig a hole twice the size of the pot the plant came in. Be sure to break up the soil that is removed from the hole to soften its texture. 
  • Never disturb the soil around the roots. 
  • Water deeply once a week for the first two years after planting. 
  • Apply mulch like bark or wood chips around the plant (a slight distance from the stem) as it helps control weed growth and keeps the soil cool. 
  • Fertilizers are not necessary as proteas grow naturally in very nutrient-poor soils.

Wondering how to prune your protea plants to keep them happy and ensure a bountiful harvest once they’re established? First, be sure to pick the flowers as it’s the best way to keep plants neat and compact. Remove the blooms with a good length of stem, leaving new growth behind. To encourage bushy growth… prune only the flowered stems as the un-flowered stems are next season’s blooms.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Firewood Banksia - Menziesii

Discover the mesmerizing allure of the rugged and yet stunning Banksia menziesii! The flower spike is showy and vibrant, wine-red that becomes mingled with yellow as the bloom matures, and set against a backdrop of chic, twisted grey-green leaves… it’s captivating.

Menziesii is also referred to as Port Wine Banksia or Raspberry Frost due to its amazing color and Firewood Banksia due to its quick burning properties. It typically blooms during autumn and into winter. Each spike is composed of up to 6,000 individual flowers, and yet only a few become filled with seeds. The seeds are enclosed in sacs attached to an indestructible cone until it’s burnt.

This spectacular banksia is thought to have a special flower essence. Australian Aboriginal people would use menziesii in their rituals and ceremonies for its healing capabilities for courage. Courage to help one release pain and to move ahead triumphantly, with renewed energy. This flower essence parallels with The Language of Flowers and the symbol of Protea - Diversity and Courage.

Whether flaunted alone or showcased with other florals, menziesii never fails to put on an amazing display.