July 2010 Newsletter

Floral Trends - Volume 4

Red, White and Blue Flowers

Red, White & Blue Flowers

All About Blue Flowers

Blue – the color of the sky, our oceans, and glacier ice. While we see blue everyday all around us, when it comes to blue flowers, there just aren’t many to be found. There is a demand for blue flowers; however, so that is why you might see some wholesale flower vendors dye their best creamy roses to an unreal blue. We don’t care for this look and have some recommendations on blue flowers that you can integrate into your arrangements that are naturally blue and beautiful.
July 4th Flowers
Being close to our country’s birthday, this is time of year that the nurseries are full of red, white and blue flowering plants and florists also create some fun arrangements in the good ol’ red, white and blue! At left, we created this design using white hydrangea, blue delphinium and red spray roses.

Delphinium

We created this Burgee – pictured above at top of page – (a Burgee is a distinguishing flag, regardless of its shape, of a recreational boating organization) to honor our brother who had taken over as Commodore (the chief officer) of his yacht club. It was made in floral foam atop a large cutting board. We cut it to the pennant shape, and painstakingly placed each delphinium flower to make the blue, and then added full headed red carnations, and white spray carnations for the anchor. To finish it off we ran navy blue ribbon around the edge and simply pinned it into the foam.

Hydrangea

Both hydrangea and delphinium both come in an electric cobalt blue and a soft baby blue. Both flowers are known for their little florets. Hydrangea heads often mimic a big ball of flowers and delphinium flowers climb up the stem like a ladder. Flower Duet combined this duet of blue at The Huntington recently to honor the painting of Blue Boy. We created and taught dramatic arrangements that were suitable décor for a formal mantel or dining table.

Cornflower

Another blue flower is Cornflower – I know you can picture the Crayon, it is also known as a bachelor’s button. It is actually a wildflower. We used this flower for a wedding at the 4th of July last summer! This is Wikipedia Commons Photo
Blue Cornflower

Bees like blue flowers, too, in fact. Bees will go for brightly colored flowers with petals that are usually blue or yellow or a mixture of these (apparently bees cannot see red). So plant blue in your garden and mix it with white and red for a winning combination. A good option would be to get petunias in red, white and purple. The purple looks pretty close to blue.

 

Tropical Flowers

Bird of Paradise

Exotics…that is what most people say when they are referring to Tropical Flowers. Exotic indeed – when one thinks about the locale these sorts of flowers call home. While Hawaii is home to many of the tropical flowers we are able to purchase here from our mainland vendors, that was not always the case. Many of these exotic flowers are originally from Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka and South America. For example, the Bird-of-Paradise shown above is originally from South Africa.

Besides their wild colors and bold shapes, tropical flowers have a longer vase life than most cut flowers. The flowers can last up to 14 days and the tropical leaves up to 30 days. Both do best under warmer conditions and should not be refrigerated below 55 degrees F. They all do well with a warm misting occasionally to mimic their native humid climates.

Heliconias

Heliconias are striking and sometimes confused with birds of paradise. Native to the tropical Americas and the Pacific Ocean islands west to Indonesia, they can be found upright or hanging – pictured below.
This is Wikipedia Commons Photo
Heliconia

Ginger

Gingers are one of the most beautiful and colorful flowers in the world of flowers. Ginger is a rhizome of the herb which is found in India. The word ginger conjures up images of the thinly sliced goodness on your sushi plate or ground in your ginger snap cookies.

Ginger

Dendrobium Orchids

Orchids are found just about everywhere, besides deserts and glaciers. The great majority are to be found in the tropics, mostly Asia, South America and Central America, but they are also found above the Arctic Circle, in southern Patagonia and even on Macquarie Island, close to Antarctica. Easily available are the Dendrobium orchids which are sold in bunches of 10. They come in White, Purple, Green, light pink and a variegated purple and white. Just ten in a vase will give an instant exotic feel to a room.

Dendrobium Orchids

During part of Casey’s cruise ship career, one of her jobs was to maintain the flower arrangements on the ship – and then later to create flower designs for all the ship’s public rooms. Sometimes, a local florist would come on board and take care of creating the flower arrangements. In Singapore, the florist was a woman named Dolly. Casey says it was amazing when she would board the ship in Singapore with hundreds of orchid stems and she would build these amazing masses of orchids throughout the ship. They would easily last the length of the voyage, which made her job easier while maintaining them.

Pink AnthuriumAnthirium

Anthurium is a tropical flower is one that looks and feels like plastic – but of course it’s not! They do certainly last a very long time in a cut vase which is why you see them a lot in restaurants when you are on vacation in Hawaii. Coming in green, white, pink and red they are great flower to include in any tropical bouquet. There are close to 1000 species and can be grown as houseplants, or outdoors in mild climates in shady spots. They are also a fun valentine flower as they are heart shaped.

If you want to learn more about tropical flowers, come to our class this month at The Huntington Library, we’ll we create a high-style design with orchids and other topical flowers!

Cancer Florascope – 21 June – 22 July – Lotus

Lotus Flower

About Florascopes

For years, astrologers have linked personality traits with the night sky. A fun book called Florascope: The Secret Astrology of Flowers offers a different take on your everyday horoscope. This is meant to entertain and if you are so intrigued,
buy the book! It makes a great gift.

Lotus Flower (Cancer) Traits

If you are a Lotus Flower (or Cancer) you are compassionate, deeply loving and caring of humanity which is why it was Buddha’s favorite flower. Lotus is willing to strive for a well-paid job and solid home. The Lotus Child take time adjusting to kindergarten, but are highly imaginative and love to tell a story.
Lotus Flowers get along well with sunflowers, tulips, poppies, magnolias, passion flowers and other lotus blossoms.
Lotus Flowers include Louis Armstrong, Bill Cosby, Tom Cruise, Princess Dianna, Tom Hanks, Helen Keller, Meryl Streep and Robin Williams.

About Lotus Flowers – Botanical Information

The Lotus is an aquatic perennial – which means – it grows in fresh water and blooms around the same time every year – in the summer. It should not be confused with a Water Lily as it is a completely different plant with a different structure all together. Lotus flowers come in pink and white only, while Water Lilies come in all different colors. The Lotus is native to India and is the national flower to India and Vietnam. The roots of the plant hold onto the bottom of the river, pond or lake where it lives. The stem of the flower can be up to 5 feet and the flowers can be as wide as 7 inches.

It’s edible!

The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and roots are all edible. In Asia, the petals are used sometimes for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food, not frequently eaten.

The roots are used as a vegetable in soups, deep-fried, stir-fried, and in traditional Asian herbal medicine and are often pickled with rice vinegar, sugar, chili and/or garlic.

The petals, leaves, and roots can also all be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasites, so they should be cooked before eating.

Mystical Ties

In Greek mythology, the lotus-eaters lived on an island near North Africa that had a lot of lotus plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were narcotic and addictive, causing the people to sleep in peaceful apathy.

From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions representing the virtues of sexual purity and non-attachment.

Hindus revere the lotus flower with the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography.

In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind.

In Floral design

At the floral mart, during the summer season you can find the green seed heads that resemble the spouts of watering cans.

This is a Wikipedia Commons Photo.

Green Lotus Pods

These Lotus pod heads are dried and can be purchased all year round at floral supply stores and online. You can glue them to picks and then place them in fall arrangements for an interesting texture.
FSS Floral Supply Photo

Dried Lotus Pods

The tall stems of the Lotus blossom are harder to come by, but you might be able to find a vendor who will special order them for you. Link to online supplier: Wholeblossoms.com

Lotus Stems

Flower Arranging Book Review

Book: The Meaning of Flowers


The Meaning of Flowers

by Gretchen Scoble & Ann Field

Filled with pretty illustrations, this would be a great gift for any lover of flowers and as a reference for you so that you know what the special meanings are for flowers that you arrange with everyday.

You can learn all about the history of the Floriography – the Victorian Age’s study of the meaning of flowers and look up what each flower means. Here is a excerpt on Daisies: “Daisies suggest innocence. The name comes from the Old English “day’s eye,” so called because of the pupil-like yellow center of this round white flower, and from the habit of daisies to shut their petals when the sun is gone.”

Floral Tool – Flower Food

Flower Food

We are always telling our students to use commercially prepared flower food. We provide a free packet for each student at our workshops because it’s a product we believe in.

Why Use It?
Some flowers have to travel far distances before they arrive to us to arrange them artfully. It is our job to ensure they last a long time for our students, clients, brides and for us.

Flowers are cut from their plant and packaged up, then often shipped out of water in a chilly container. When they arrive to the wholesaler or local flower shop they need some reviving. This process is called conditioning. The right mix of flower food and water will assist in feeding the flowers to what they were similarly receiving from their plant.

When the cut flowers have the chance to drink up this mixture of flower food and water, the stems “harden” and firm up in order to hold up those heavy heads…especially in roses.

Every few days, you should change the water in your arrangements, but be sure to include the flower food and water mixture so that the flowers last longer.

What Exactly Is It?
From Floralife® :
“Floralife® Flower Food contains three main ingredients: a sugar (for nutrition), an acidifier (to lower the pH of the water) and a class of compounds called stem unpluggers.”

Homemade Flower Food Alternatives?
So what about adding aspirin, pennies, bleach, sugar, club soda, and 7-Up to the water? We have all heard some of these ideas to lengthen the vase life of flowers. Flower Duet will be doing a case study with the result in our August Newsletter. We will take one bunch of flowers and give them all a different cocktail and see which combination does the best. Tune in again in August. In the meantime, pull that floral food out of the kitchen drawer and use it.