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Thursday, August 30, 2012

When And How To Prune Roses

Rose bushes that are not pruned can grow into large tangled messes with small and inferior blooms. The following should allow you to grow an attractive well shaped and sized bush with large lovely blooms

Pruning at the right time can be just as important as how you prune. Bushes should not be pruned untill they begin comming out of dormancy. This can be as early as January in warm weather areas to as late as April in very cold areas. In colder areas do not prune untill all danger of frost is past

Using the proper tools is also very important. You need a good set of pruning shears, the type that have one side for cutting and one side for supporting. The shears must be sharp, otherwise they can tear your canes instead of cutting them. For older larger canes you will also need a good sharp fine toothed curved cutting saw that is lubricated. It is also a good idea to have some type of pruning paint or sealer to seal larger cuts. Do not forget good heavy canvas or leather gloves that can protect your hands

Do not cut canes straight across. All cuts should be at an angle of between 40 to 65 degrees. Always make sure that the shear's cutting blade is on the lower side of the cane in order to insure a clean cut. This way any injury to the plant will be on the upper part of the cane which will be discarded

How much you prune depends on what you are trying to accomplish and on how well established the plant is. Moderate pruning, leaving 5 or more canes of up to 24 inches in length, will develope a large bush with nice moderate sized blooms. Light pruning, canes 3 to 4 feet in length, will produce an even larger bush but with smaller blooms on shorter stems and is good for newer or weaker plants. Heavy pruning, 3 to 4 canes from 6 to 12 inches in length will produce the largest, showiest blooms, however if the plant is too new or weak you may end up reducing the life span of the plant

When pruning, remove all suckers as these grow from the root stock which is different from the grafted bush and may eventually take over and kill the bush. Cut out all week, spindly and deformed canes, and if possible cut out canes growing toward the center of the bush. If canes cross each other remove the weaker one. Proper shaping makes for a lovelier bush and allows proper air circulation which makes for a healthier plant

Try to make all cuts down to a cane or if necessary down to about one quarter inch from a strong outside bud union or eye, the eye is where new growth stems from.

After pruning paint all major cuts with a sealer in order to aid in healing and to help keep out insects and diseases.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bring The Smell Of Nature Into Your Home

A lot of money is spent in this country to reproduce fragrances for perfumes and air fresheners. The majority of these manufactured fragrances have alcohol and other additives that can actually irritate the membranes in your nose. Nature has done it the best and these are some of the most heavenly fragrances you’ll ever smell.

1) Hyacinth! This highly fragrant flower is actually a member of the lily family. Lily’s tend to grow much larger than the hyacinth but if you look closely at this flower you will see that the clusters of these blooms are tubular in shape just like the lily. Hyacinths have been a popular garden flower since the 17 hundreds because of the brilliance of there color (of every shade) and because of the incredible fragrance they have. Whether you have them planted out doors or in a pot in your home, this beautiful flower will brighten up any space and give off a constant heavenly fragrance, but, it is not overpowering. I just can’t imagine a perfume that smells any better than this. And men, instead of giving her some fresh cut flowers, try giving her a hyacinth plant. It will last longer and she can replant it again next year if she wants to put it in a garden.

2) The most fragrant flowers are the pure white Casa Blanca and the dark pink Stargazer lily. They are absolutely beautiful, but beware; the fragrance they give off is so strong, that, one bouquet of lilies can fill up an entire room. Don’t place them where you are going to sit for any length of time unless, that is what you want. They don’t do well in direct sunlight or drafts so place them in a more diffused lit area. If you replace the water every couple of days and add flower food plus a new snip of the ends, you’ll have a long lasting, beautiful fragrant arrangement.

3) Tuber roses are not actually roses. Like the hyacinth, a tuber rose has a stem with clusters of flowers that are all white. Once again, the smell is fantastic. I once picked off one little petal from the cluster and put it in my car. A few hours later I return to my vehicle and was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful it smelled. My children noticed it as well. It was the perfect natural air freshener.

4) Gardenias! These flowers that bloom on trees have a very short life after they are cut, but for the little time you have them in your home is worth it. Generally gardenias are made into a corsage for special occasions, but if you don’t want to do that, you can place the flower in a low dish of water and then just leave them alone to do their work.

5) There are some roses that have been bred for their fragrance such as the peach colored Oceana rose or the Sterling Silver rose (which is actually purple). Each of these have a light perfume to them. Any of the purple roses have a wonderful smell.
Rather than putting chemicals in the air, you may want to get some flowers now and again and enjoy nature’s perfume.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Is A Lily, Really?

Lilies are members of the Lilium genus. What could be a simpler answer to the question posed by the title than that? But within that simple description is a wealth of possibilities.

Lilies are typically distinguished by divisions. Here are a few examples:

Division I contains the Asiatic hybrids. The flowers face upward and have no scent. As the name suggests, they're native to Asia where they grow wild and from which the domesticated species have been developed.

Division II encompasses the Martagon lily species. These hybrids are based on L. martagon and L. hansonii, and several are simply stunning. With their small, delicate, curved petals of an amazing variety of styles and colors, they offer an unparalleled floral display.

As an example, of a delicate Martagon, consider the dazzling Mahogany Bell. Scarlet red with tiny dark dots, and a Turk's Cap shape, it would work well as the centerpiece for a fine dining table decoration. Atop a white tablecloth, they provide a brightly colored contrast that strongly draws the eye, just where you want it to be.

Skipping over a few, Division VI houses the Trumpet lilies. Named for their resemblance to the musical instrument, they'll make anyone who owns them break out in song. Their lovely scent, which is even more prominent at night, only adds to their value.

The Black Dragon is a stellar example. Despite the name, these flowers are white, with a delicate yellow throat.

Division VII offers the Oriental hybrids, based on L. auratum and L. speciosum. But the scientific names don't begin to convey how lovely these fragrant lilies are. They're also among the taller types and the petals are typically much longer than those of other divisions.

Picture a pink and white Stargazer, a member of the Oriental division. With its white striped pink petals and lovely green central stamen it offers an image of Hawaii in the home. That makes it perfect for a garden party, a wedding reception, or just to beautify the home.

For comparison, consider the Secret Message, a hybrid of Oriental and Trumpet styles. Its yellow petals have a central orange throat that looks as if it were lightly brushed on by a painter. The message couldn't be clearer. If you want a flower that is both hardy and provides outstanding beauty, this will serve the purpose with flair.

There are several other divisions worthy of mention. But rather than simply name them all, it might be better to concentrate on how any of the divisions can liven up your home, inside or out. So, maybe the better question would be, what's a lily for, really?

All this useful technical and floral display information has a point, of course. That is to show some of the many options that lilies offer for weddings, home decoration, and simply bringing enjoyment to the viewer. What's the point of that? Well, that needs no justification, does it? Beauty is its own reward.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Ancient Crinum Lily

William Bartram, a notable, early American botanist, extensively explored the Island of St. Simons in Georgia; describing vividly the landscape, animals and plants in the area, along with his personal encounters with islanders, and in most cases, their generous offers of food, shelter and conversation and hospitality to him in March of the year 1774.

Near present day Fort Frederica, beautifully described by Bartram, as near a “venerable grove of live oaks, under whose spreading boughs opened a spacious avenue leading to the former seat (Headquarters) of General Oglethorpe, but now near the property of Capt. Raimond Demere” (the ancestor of many descendants still living on the Georgia Islands). After leaving this town he went 5 miles to south St. Simons where; “the lively breezes were perfumed by the fragrant breath of the superb Crinum, called by the inhabitants, ‘white lily’…the delicate structure of its spadix (flower), for its broad green leaves and the texture and whiteness of its flowers at once charmed me”.

In William Bartrams book, Travels, he had discovered the Crinum asiaticum that he named “Lilium superbum” and wrote that it represented pride and vanity, a puzzling statement. This population of Crinum has greatly multiplied after two centuries and is cultivated on an extensive scale throughout St. Simons Island and nearby at the Cloister Hotel on Sea Island, the famous tourist, five- star resort, where all Presidents of the United States since Calvin Coolidge and many Kings, Queens and Heads of State have visited and vacationed. Giant clumps of these 6 foot tall lilies can be viewed publicly at the old slave cabins at the edge of St. Simon’s present day airport. The lily, Crinum asiaticum, produces giant clusters of fragrant white flowers on sturdy stems up to six feet tall, and the plant can bloom any month of the year, but most prolifically during late spring and early summer. After blooming the flowers can produce giant green seeds, the size of a quarter that can be planted on top of the soil immediately while green to produce small bulbs that eventually develop into large plants. These lilies are evergreen in zones 8-11, but usually will re-sprout from the bulbs after killing freezes that are often experienced in zone 7.

These Crinum plants develop into small tree- like umbrellas in Hawaii, with trunks up to 8 ft. tall topped by a rosette of 6 inch wide leaves spectacularly perched at the top of the stump. In the U.S. these lilies do not often exceed 6 ft in height, however, the stem of the Crinum asiaticum can be as big around as a large leg. When these stems are cut off and replanted in the soil, they will root easily and quickly will develop to form another bulb at the base with roots about the diameter of fingers that extend out from the bulb, like spokes on a bicycle wheel. A large Crinum will eventually form small offset bulbs that can be removed from the parent bulb for increasing the numbers in a planting. Occasionally, the bulb will divide itself into two, large equal sized plants. The Crinum is very easy to transplant in any kind of soil and hardly ever shows any dramatic or stunting shock after replanting.

Some modern botanists feel that although William Bartram’s original name of ‘Lilium superbum’ is not acceptable to replace with, Crinum asiaticum, that the name, Crinum asiaticum may not be acceptable either, because the habitat and the colonization of this lily was firmly established into mature colonies along the coast of the Eastern U.S. in the month of March during the year, 1774, when Bartram discovered and described it as growing there in a pure and naturalized state. It seems impossible that Crinum asiaticum could have migrated to the Eastern coast of the United States, except by seed, which understandably can float in salt water and germinate later, after it has been washed ashore. This remote possibility of seed floating from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic to the Eastern seaboard does not seem likely, since seed could only migrate through the southern limits of Brazil and Argentina at the bottom of South America - against strong trans-ocean currents and in water so cold that the seed would not survive exposure of the frigid temperatures through the Drake Passage near Cape Horn, Argentina.

There is an early botanical historical description of Crinum americanum, a lily that is reported to be native to the Eastern U.S., however, this Crinum does not fit the William Bartram description of “broad” leaves, since Crinum americanum has very narrow leaves and Crinum asiaticum has very “broad” leaves. Additionally, Bartram observed that the Crinum, ‘Lilium superbum’, produced: the “fragrant breath of the superb Crinum….and whiteness of flowers at once charmed me”. He recorded these Crinum flowers as blooming during the month of March of the year, l774, which could only be the flowers of Crinum asiaticum, since Crinum americium only blooms in late summer and during the fall – and never in the month of March. These facts prove that the description of the lily as described by William Bartram was Crinum asiaticum.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where Flowers Come From - A Global Arrangement

Published in the Edmonton Sun - June 2011

Flowers speak a universal language. They shout color, they whisper elegance, and they sing beauty. Their dialect is expression, and their tongue is Mother Nature. They grow and thrive wherever there is sun, soil, and water, and their vibrant glory astounds and enchants. People love flowers. They love to give and receive them, and they love to decorate a home with them. For all their graceful, colorful, enchanting beauty, cut flowers are very big business.

The cut flower market is driven by consumption. Most people buy them as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays. Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Easter are particularly busy times of the year for florists. Weddings make up a large portion of the commercial market demand, followed by funerals. Florists rely on growers all over the world to supply the species they need to make gorgeous arrangements and fulfill customer demand for specific varieties. When certain types of flowers are needed that are not native growers, florists must import them from different countries that collectively supply cut flowers and buds suitable for bouquets, mixed arrangements, or other ornamental purposes.

The leading cut flower exporters to Canada and the United States are Holland and South America. Holland is the largest and busiest market exporter. As the international flower trade center, they are also a leading importer of goods that are then re-exported. In Europe, the primary market for Dutch imports is Germany, followed by the markets of Switzerland, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Africa and other European countries also provide the bulk of supply to Europe’s main markets. Kenya in particular is a large exporter to the Dutch auction houses, shipping over 60% of its production. Israel is also a large supplier.

Canada and the United States import the majority of their cut flowers from Holland and South America. Holland, backed by years of experience and well-managed trade practices, consistently and reliably provides the highest quality flower products. The South American imports are just as beautiful and well-tended. These come mainly from the countries of Columbia and Ecuador. Columbia exports approximately 95% of its total production, while maintaining a small home market. Although Canada imports substantially large numbers from Holland and South American countries, it produces a great deal for its own market, as do Japan, India, and China. 

The leading internationally traded product is the lovely rose, followed by the noble carnation and the hardy chrysanthemum. These three species alone make up close to half of the world cut flower trade. Orchids, gladioli, and other flowers make up the other trade half. The rose is so popular that Ecuador devotes more than half of its cultivation area to growing roses. Ecuadorian rose farms are famous worldwide for their sturdy, large-headed roses that thrive in the high altitude. The rose is France’s favorite, while the carnation is more popular in the United Kingdom and in Italy.

To successfully meet market demand and consumption, growers must have optimum climate and acreage. Post-harvest handling operations must have efficient systems in place for transportation and distribution of such delicate, perishable goods. For prime cultivation, a growing area must have proper light exposure, plenty of water, and a temperate climate with no extremes. Growers must be knowledgeable in botany and ecology, they must know how and when to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and they must have proper skills for planting, seed spacing, growing, pruning, harvesting, and general garden management and organization. Product quality is extremely important in the competitive cut flower market.

Harvesting is just as important for top-quality flowers as growing. Time is of the essence as soon as flowers are cut. Even a few hours of neglect or overly warm temperatures can completely ruin a harvest. Proper inspection procedures, packaging, preservative application, and a consecutive cold chain of treatment must begin immediately, with refrigerated storage, trucks, and shipping freight containers throughout the transportation period. The importance of good roads and highway infrastructure systems cannot be underestimated. Speedy delivery is essential at the post-harvest stage. Strong post-harvest management determines a grower’s reputation and, subsequently, success or failure.

In both growing and harvesting facilities, greater demand has led to environmentally safer production. This includes reducing or eliminating pesticide use, finding less toxic and more organic substances to use, ensuring careful handling of such chemicals when in use, greater protection for workers, and implementing more efficient water recycling and irrigation systems. These conscientious measures not only benefit the planet, they also serve to enhance the cut flower industry’s reputation. After all, it is the consumer that discerns top-quality, fresh cut flowers. It is the consumer’s heart that will hear their colorful, elegant beauty sing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Your Wedding Bouquet

What are your wedding bouquet options? Practically unlimited! Wedding bouquets are an ancient tradition, meant to symbolize fertility, happiness and a new life. All those values and more are embodied by the thousands of choices available today.

A traditional wedding bouquet might be made of roses gathered in a bunch and held by the stems. But even within this familiar choice there are hundreds of stellar varieties. Roses themselves come in red, pink, yellow, white and even black. The flower size ranges from huge American Beauty roses to tiny, delicate Dog Rose.

Naturally, as wedding ceremonies have evolved, the variety of flowers used has expanded. It now includes everything that has ever been used in history: Hydrangea, Carnation, Tulip, Calla Lily and many more.

Beyond the choice of species, wedding bouquets come in a number of styles.

Cascades are a traditional, but still highly popular, type. Whether Stephanotis or White Roses, they spill down into a waterfall of loveliness. Another classic is the Hand-Tied that resemble a group of blooms that have just been picked. These are particularly popular in Spring.

The Pomander looks like a large ball of blooms suspended from a ribbon. They're a great choice for anyone in any season, whether made from Peonies or any other species. The Biedermeier is a nosegay made of concentric circles of varying species that makes for a very colorful display.

Beyond these ball or circular designs there is yet one more option: the Arm bouquet or Sheath. These are long-stemmed and drape across the forearm, rather than being carried in the hands. Calla Lilies or Orchids make for an excellent species for this choice.

Fabric or other materials can be chosen to compliment or match the wedding gown. Sometimes, they can be created from the actual material of the gown itself. Or, designers can create a deliberate contrast by using material of a complimentary color, created by dyeing the fabric.

The choices available for wedding bouquets is as great as the imagination of designers and brides. And that's pretty vast.

Friday, August 10, 2012

World's Largest & Smallest Flower

The flower with the world's largest bloom is the Rafflesia arnoldii. This rare flower is found in the rainforests of Indonesia. It can grow to be 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! It is a parasitic plant, with no visible leaves, roots, or stem. 

It attaches itself to a host plant to obtain water and nutrients. When in bloom, the Rafflesia emits a repulsive odor, similar to that of rotting meat. This odor attracts insects that pollinate the plant. Unlike any other plant, the flower is a total parasite. It is devoid of any leaves or stem, and depends completely on its host plant for water and nutrients.

Another enormous flower found in Indonesia is the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan arum. It is also known as the "corpse flower" for its unpleasant odor. Like the Rafflesia, the Titan emits the smell of rotting flesh to attract pollinators. 

Technically, the Titan arum is not a single flower. It is a cluster of many tiny flowers, called an inflorescence. The Titan arum has the largest unbranched inflorescence of all flowering plants. The plant can reach heights of 7 to 12 feet and weigh as much as 170 pounds!

Water-meal is one of the duckweeds in the family Lemnaceae that contains some 38 species of the smallest and simplest flowering plants. The plant itself averages 1/42” long and 1/85” wide or about the size of one candy sprinkle. 

It can weigh about 1/190,000 of an ounce, equivalent to two grains of table salt. They are very hard to see! Imagine if you tried to fill a thimble with them, it is estimated that you would need some 5000 plants!
Each Wolffia flower consists of a single pistil and stamen; it also produces the world’s smallest fruit, called a utricle. The plant is found in quiet freshwater lakes or marshes with species worldwide. 

Since the plants have no roots, they can easily float on the surface of the water, where they resemble cornmeal. Water-meal is sometimes used in cold-water aquaria since it is easy to propagate.

The Basics Of Natural Rock Gardens

While "Rock Gardens" is the modern name, another term used in connection with natural rock gardening is "rockeries". The biggest problem is to determine the plants that are likely to succeed under the conditions that can be provided. There are no plants that can be counted as rock plants in every part of the country; therefore, plants must be selected for the particular locality where they are to be grown. 

The background or setting for the rock garden varies greatly because of the topography and character of the country. In a rough, rocky country rock garden sites are sometimes found almost readymade, but in other sections they must be created from materials collected for the purpose. In the latter case care is necessary in order to produce a result that does not look forced or out of place. 

When building a house on a rocky hillside it may often be possible to reserve an adjacent area that may be made into a most attractive garden with but little modification. Even old quarries can be and are converted into attractive gardens. Where, however, such features have to be built, it takes a good student of nature to reproduce naturalistic rock ledges and other stone outcroppings. 

Boulders (rounded, waterworn stones) may be scattered over a gentle slope, whereas on a steeper slope the stones must be placed close together, at some points even resting on one another. Even rock walls may be part of a rock garden.

Rock Walls Quarried or angular field stones often may be appropriately used to hold artificial banks. Stones with weathered faces are usually more attractive than those with newly cut or broken faces. Where there is a gentle slope, a row of stones may be placed at the bottom, with spaces between them two or three times as wide as the stones; other stones may be placed behind these spaces with the bottom as high as the tops of the front stones and back far enough to hold the soil at the desired slope. 

Where the bank is steep the space between the stones, often only 2" or 3", may be filled with soil and the next stone laid over this opening, resting on both the lower stones and set as far back as the desired slope of the wall will permit. 

Stones should not be uniform in size, and those more irregular in outline than is desired for building purposes make a more attractive wall. If the stone has a relatively flat upper surface, the surface should be so placed that water falling on it will drain back into the wall and not off.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Feeding Your Orchids

Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to care for. Some species are. But most will respond well if you remember the old saying 'feed weakly, weekly.' Fine advice, but feed what?

Like all plants, orchids thrive on a combination of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Some of that they get from the growing medium and air. But potted plants (which cover most orchid plantings) need supplements. That's especially true since orchids are not potted in soil but bark, rocks, sand or some other appropriate medium.

Those supplements come in a variety of forms: pellets, liquid, mulch and others. But whichever form suits your convenience the essential fact is the ratio of these three elements.

When you see a bottle or package of fertilizer, they will often be labeled 30-10-10 or 15-5-5 or even 20-20-20. These are the relative amounts (in percentage terms) of the three ingredients. Observe that they don't add up to 100%. That's normal. The remainder is composed of inactive ingredients - sometimes water, sometimes an inert material to hold the substances together.

For orchids growing in the barks of house trees, a common decorative method that emulates the behavior of some species (epiphytes) in the wild, the stronger mixture (30-10-10) is desirable. Potted orchids will do well with an even amount (20-20-20). But even those ratios should be altered at different times of the year.

When the Summer fades and you want to give a final boost to your orchid blooms a 10-30-20 mixture is a good idea. The early Spring, before the first bloom, is also a good time to provide a little more of those needed elements. That produces full, healthy flowers.

But take care not to overdo it. Orchids are sensitive plants for the most part and fertilizer burn is common for overfed samples. To avoid that problem, fertilize once per month at full strength, then dilute the mixture to one-quarter strength for the other weekly feedings. Also once per month, simply water without feeding at all to rinse out any accumulated salts in the soil.

Potassium and other elements combine readily with elements or molecules in the soil (Chlorine, CO2, ...) to form salts that alter water absorption, change biochemical reactions and have other effects. A small amount won't kill the plant. But everything in gardening is a matter of degrees. Too much is harmful.

Sometimes fertilizer mixtures will list 'potash' on the label. This is nothing more than a traditional word for potassium, since that compound was a common source of the element for generations.

Since it can be leached out of the soil very easily, owing to its ready ability to dissolve in water, it's helpful to provide it in multiple forms. Liquid potash comes in sprays that can be applied directly to the leaves or sprayed onto the soil.

In general, it's better to apply too little than too much fertilizer. But if you follow the directions that came with your species you will often get it just right. Regularity is key.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Making Dried Flower Wreaths

Dried flower wreaths can be especially beautiful and add that little bit of elegance to the interior of your home, or can be used as a door wreath, as you prefer. Personally I like to make them and hang them on a mirror of a buffet cabinet in the dining room or on a round wall mirror in the living room. I call these “grandmother’s” wreaths, because I choose to make them in the old fashioned way in which my grandmother made them.

You will want to gather a bag full of “trimming” material, vines etc with leaves on them as well as fall flowers and lay them out to dry in a cool yet dry area, such as a garage. When your wreath making materials are completely dry, then you will be ready for the next step, the actual making of the wreath. You will want to cover your work area with newspapers to avoid messy cleanups as much as possible.

I like to use a wire coat hanger as a base for this kind of wreath rather than buying a wreath base, simply because my grandmother did it this way and she taught me. You may prefer to buy a wreath base or perhaps to try it both ways to see which way you like best. You will need your wire snips and you also might want to wear gloves for this, sometimes the vines will have unsuspected “prickers” on them and getting one of those in a finger doesn’t exactly add to the pleasure of wreath making.

Cut your foliage pieces, vines etc, into six inch lengths, take several of them and put them together, what ever amount looks right to you, I like to use three, then add some dried flowers to this mixture, this is called making a bundle. Wire your bundle to the top part of the hanger, next to the hook. Make another bundle and do the same thing, overlapping the first bundle so that the stems are covered. Do this around the circle of your wreath base until it is covered. The stems on the last bundle should be tucked up under the first bundle and wired in place. If you used a store bought wreath base, make a circle with the wire to hang the wreath by, then wrap and cut the wire, tucking the end in securely to avoid later injuries. If you used a coat hanger, the hook part is already there to use as a hanger so you just need to cut the wire and secure it. You may want to take this outside and lightly spray it with some sort of preservative, to hold it all in place. Some folks use extra firm hair spray for this purpose. Now give yourself a pat on the back, you have worked hard and you have made a beautiful decoration for your home.

Flowers For The Kitchen

Published in the Edmonton Sun - April, 2011

There are a lot of new interior kitchen trends today. Open floor plans, creative seating areas and huge islands. The number one new trend is bringing nature into the kitchen and there is no better way to do that than with fresh cut flowers.
It doesn’t matter if you have a kitchen that is relaxing, stylish, functional, elegant or just family orientated, you can accent it with flowers to help inspire that atmosphere. There are not any rules really, but here are some guidelines to help you get on your way!
Try Classic or strong colors and containers.
  • If you would like to be bold with color, choose 2 colours at a time. For example; Yellow and Orange flowers look amazing together. Another thing to remember is that with flowers, Green is a neutral and white is considered a colour. 
  • If you prefer a simple look, select a variety of flowers but all in one colour. A monochromatic colour scheme is a great way to get that modern beauty into your kitchen.
Dabble in both dramatic and everyday designs.
  • When you are arranging with a variety of flowers, think about scale and texture. By mixing large headed flowers, such as sunflowers, hydrangeas and peonies, with smaller blooms such as carnations or asters, you will create a lot of interest in your arrangement. Try to add some fun texture to it such as bells of Ireland, delphinium, Lisianthus or Globe Thistle. 
  • Monobotanical flowers, all one variety is a great way to get a simple and elegant look. Use roses, tulips, gerbera daisies, carnations, even babies breath on its own is wonderful. If you are looking for a more dramatic look but love the monobotanical idea, place the flowers in something different! Remember, if it holds water, it will hold flowers. Try things like a jug, coffee tin or a wine carafe. 
  • Another option is to mix everyday flowers like daisies or carnations with the show off flowers such as peonies and hydrangeas. If you do this though, keep the colour palette simple. That way the flowers shine!
Some other ideas for flowers in the kitchen are:
  • Cut the flowers short and place flowers in an everyday kitchen item such as jelly jars, wine glasses, tea tins or what ever matches your style.
  • Choose citrus coloured flowers for a sunny feeling. Place a budvase holding a few stems of yellow and orange blossoms in a bowl filled with oranges. Or take a large vase of the citrus flowers and put lemons and limes in the vase.
  • Line up 3 decorative bottles in the middle of your kitchen table or along the back of your sink and add a bold flower in each one such as a Gerbera Daisy or Cymbidium Orchid. For added drama, use a vine or grass and connect the vases. This will surely inspire a conversation when guests drop by!

It doesn’t matter what your style is, bringing flowers into your home will brighten up a room. Place the flowers on the countertop where clutter usually finds its way to congregate, this will inspire neatness and even prevent future messes from sitting there.

The kitchen is where we spend the majority of our time and the most important thing about flowers is to enjoy them everyday! Besides, it’s the most convenient room to add water!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Carnation Facts & Trivia

At Oxford University, it is customary to wear a Carnation to an exam. White Carnations are worn to the first exam, red to the last, and pink Carnations to every exam in between.

From an old Italian word meaning complexion. The earliest carnations bore flesh-coloured flowers, which gave rise to the name.

The carnation is the national symbol of Slovenia. Koreans put three carnations in a young girl's hair to tell her fortune. If the bottom bloom dies first the girl will have a hard time her whole life. If the top flower dies first only the end of her life will be hard. If the middle then she will have trouble in her youth but then life will improve.

Carnation is the flower associated with Mother's Day. Red carnations for moms who are still living, and white carnations for mothers that have passed away.

The white carnation is the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket requires approximately 350 carnations, glued to green velveteen spread and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds. The flowers are shipped from California or Bogota, Columbia.

The carnation is thought to originally be from the Mediterranean area of the world. It is a symbolic type of flower, used in ceremonies, for special occasions and also as a flower that represents nations and states. Some believe it originates from the word "corone," meaning floral garland.

In 1907 Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia selected the pink carnation as the symbol for Mother's Day. 

In Europe the carnation was formerly used as a treatment for fevers. It was also used to spice wine and ale during Elizabethan times, as a substitute for the more expensive clove.

The Carnation symbolizes different things in different countries. In Rome it was known as "Jove's Flower", after a beloved Roman God. In Korea, young girls put carnations in their hair, believing the order of the death of the carnations determines the difficulty level and order that they will face in their life. In Portugal it is a symbol of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution that occurred in April of 1974.