Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Berzelia Berries

Looking for stems of beautiful berries for cut flower bouquets, arrangements or even wreaths? How about using Berzelia or often referred to as Buttonbush? Clusters of round-shaped flowers adorn these lush evergreen plants, complemented by soft, fern-like foliage that surrounds the entire stem from top to bottom in a spiral-like design.

Berzelia lanuginosa

Berzelia Red Jelly

These ‘other-worldly’ botanicals flower from early winter and last well into spring. The berries are often massed in spherical heads and range in color from several shades of green, yellow, creamy-white and some varieties are even two-toned. Berzelia’s unique texture not only appeals to your sense of sight, but also to your tactile senses. Whether it is the lanuginosa or Red Jelly variety, these berries are certainly engaging, making you want to just reach out and touch them. It’s easy to see why this amazing botanical has become popular among designers around the world for its exotic appearance and fabulous texture that complements a range of stylist moods.

Berzelia, is one of approximately eight species found in the Bruniaceae family, one of the few families that is endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom. It grows naturally in the wild from the northwestern to the southwestern parts of the Western Cape.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Firewheel Tree

Wow! What's that? This flowering beauty never fails to amaze, with its intricately formed, unusual blooms, held in large shiny foliage.

Stenocarpus sinuatus,or known as the Firewheel tree, an Australian rainforest tree in the Protea family is famed for its strikingly, bright red, orange and yellow whorled flowers, which as the name implies looks like wheels of fire! The flowers resemble several members of the family, like Grevilleas and Leucospermum, but they’re arranged in circular clusters (called inflorescences) and resemble the spokes of a wheel. The name comes from the Greek stenos, meaning “narrow” and carpos meaning “fruit”. The species name is derived from the Latin sinuatus meaning “wavy” referring to the leaves rounded edges.

This evergreen tree can reach up to 30’ tall and 20’wide. The long, shiny green leaves are deeply lobed while the tree is young, but older trees lose that youthful trait. The spectacular flowers are 2 to 3” long, usually appearing in summer and fall, but may show up whenever the tree feels like it.

Nectar-seeking birds pollinate the flowers while bats appreciate the taste of its nectar and tree kangaroos and wombats feast on the leaves.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Winter Bliss

Need a little extra "oomph" during these cold, gloomy winter days? You got it. Plenty of winter proteas bloom during the year's shortest and darkest days, just when you need color the most! It’s easy to capture the beauty of the season with these fabulous florals and there’s such a surprising diversity of varieties and colors to choose from. So why not enjoy all that’s available?

Protea like Andrea, Brenda and Pink Ice are eagerly available and when mixed in an arrangement they’re sure to brighten your sacred space. Surprising foliage like Leucadendron Tricolor, Duet and Salignum can bring unexpected color and lovely texture to a design too. Plus, some varieties of Leucospermum like Sunrise start blooming in early winter and the striking orange hue adds a lovely contrast. Soft silvery-green argenteum or Silver Tree, spiky Grevillea flowers and fragrant eucalyptus Parvifolia with heart shaped leaves can transform a classic design into a cheerful wintry display.

There’s no doubt, the best way to turn the ‘Winter Blues’ into 'Winter Bliss' is to surround yourself with plenty of vivid colors and extraordinary textures. With proteas, it's easy to create a design that takes the chill out of the season and delivers a well-deserved pick-me-up.