National Public Gardens Day – May 7th
The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) announced that it will once again team up with Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, to continue its successful campaign to raise public awareness of America’s public gardens and their important role in promoting environmental stewardship and education, plant and water conservation, and education in communities nationwide.Want to find a public garden near you? It shouldn’t be too hard since there are over 500 in the United States alone! There are plenty in Los Angeles to visit on the second annual National Public Gardens Day on May 7th. Check out The Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge or the South Coast Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes. Find a garden near you at http://www.nationalpublicgardensday.org/.
Flowers for Mother’s Day on May 9th
In the United States, Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in May. It is the most popular day for greeting cards and making long-distance telephone calls and the second most popular day for giving flowers (next to Valentine’s Day).
History of Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day was first suggested in the U.S. in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to peace. In 1907, a woman named Anna Jarvis began her celebration of motherhood by handing out 500 carnations one Sunday to all the mothers in attendance at the church in order to honor her own mother’s memory. She continued to campaign for the holiday until it was recognized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
Traditionally, carnations are a sign of admiration, love, and respect; so it’s no wonder it’s recognized as the official Mother’s Day flower.
Feel free to send or make flower arrangements with more uncommon flowers than carnations. Great scented flowers in season now are hyacinths, freesia and narcissus. Colorful and cheerful flowers include gerbera daisies and ranunculus. If your mom is more traditional, she’ll love roses and lilies.
Flower Pricing around Mother’s Day
While on Valentine’s Day, we florists see wholesale prices skyrocket and supply plunge for red, pink and purple flowers, on Mother’s Day, we see all types of flowers go up in price and supply reduced. If you are planning an event around Mother’s Day – like a wedding or big party where you will need specific types and colors of flowers, be sure to place your orders early from a reliable vendor and expect to pay 2-3 times more that you would during a normal week.
A better idea is to plan events two weeks before or after Mother’s Day to avoid any flower shortages.
Mother’s Day Flower Ideas
If you are buying flowers for Mother’s Day, the best idea is to just get what your Mom loves! If she likes purple calla lilies…get an arrangement for her that incorporates them. Here are some lovely spring flowers to help celebrate all the great things mothers do for us.
Meaning: Magnificent Beauty
Buying & Caring:
- Handle as little as possible, taking extra care to avoid touching the flower heads themselves.
- If using for a bridal or bridesmaid bouquet, note that the flower stems can drip, leaving stains on dresses. Let the flowers stay at least 30 minutes out of water before holding close to fabric or dip the ends of the stems in melted wax and allow to dry. This process will seal the ends of the flowers.
Meaning: Pride & Beauty
Buying & Caring:
- Buy carnations with closed buds which will open over the next few days after conditioning.
- When conditioning, be sure to cut above one of the nodes that runs up the flower’s stalk; this will allow the stem to more easily draw the water it needs.
- Carnations are especially sensitive to ethylene gas which causes flowers to deteriorate rapidly. Keep the blooms away from sources of this gas, which include ripening fruits like apples, pears and bananas.
Meaning: Beauty & Innocence
Buying & Caring:
- When buying Gerber daisies (aka Gerberas), look for flowers with stems that are firm and not bent near the flower head. Make sure the petals are not falling off or bent. They will turn brown quickly if they’ve been creased.
- Some florists slide a Gerbera straw up the stem to help support the flower head.
- Keep the water in the vase of your gerberas fresh, but at a low level. Gerberas love to drink water. If you put too much in the vase, the flower will drink it up and then become heavy and fall over. Replace the water every three days with cold water and watch the level closely so it does not dry out.
Buying & Caring:
- Buy Freesias with at least one flower open on the stem.
- Give them plenty of water and don’t let the stems dry out.
- Remove the old flower heads when they fade to encourage new ones to open.
- Freesias are especially sensitive to ethylene gas which causes flowers to deteriorate rapidly. Keep the blooms away from sources of this gas, which include ripening fruits like apples, pears and bananas.
Meaning: Constancy of Love
Buying & Caring:
- If Hyacinths are left on the bulb, it will significantly increase their vase life.
- Immediately place Hyacinths in a clean vase with 3/4″ of water. Water level should be no higher than the top of the bulb.
- If you do cut the bulb off, cut approximately 1/2″ above the bulb at a slant.
- If water becomes cloudy, replace with clean water.
Buying & Caring:
- Purchase Ranunculus when the blooms look like little balls and are still mostly closed.
- Rinse out stems near bottom – has a lot of sandy soil usually.
- Ranunculus flower stems have natural curves. To minimize the bending, store them upright in a taller container that will give the stems additional upright support.
If you are close to Carlsbad, California, check out the Flower Fields. – full of Ranunculus right now!
Taurus Florascope – 20 April – 20 May – Magnolia
For years, astrologers have linked personality traits with the night sky. A fun book called
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.
If you are a magnolia (or Taurus) you are a careful long-term thinker, are calm and loving and a shrewd investor. Magnolias get along well with tiger lilies, tulips, mums and other magnolias.
Famous magnolias include Cher, Queen Elizabeth II, William Shakespeare, Barbra Streisand and Willie Nelson.
Buying and Caring for Magnolias
Buy the blooms or cut blooms from a tree when they are still closed. Magnolia petals bruise quite easily and it will be easier to transport if the blooms are closed.
- If you are buying for an event where you want all the blooms wide open, buy the closed blooms 2-3 days ahead of time to allow
enough time for them to open.
- Magnolia leaves make wonderful wreaths with the glossy green leaves facing out as well as the soft and fuzzy brown bottoms showing, too. Check out our Facebook Page. for photos of our Christmas wreath class we taught at the Huntington last winter where we featured Magnolia leaves.
- Always condition your cut flowers or hardy branches when you get home. This will encourage the blooms to open. Remove any broken leaves from the
stems and re-cut the stems before putting them in a solution of water and floral food. NOTE: The hardy stems of Magnolia branches should not be smashed to try to get water up to the blooms. Use sharp tree pruners to make a clean cut.
Floral Design Book Review
Paula Pryke’s Flower School: Mastering the Art of Floral Design by Paula Pryke.
Written by a one of the world’s leading floral design artists, Paula Pryke’s book is a great choice for beginners and more experienced floral designers alike. Full of step-by-step instructions, full-color photos and lots of inspired design ideas, you’ll love looking at this book over and over again. We feel it’s a good idea to have lots of floral books in our library to get ideas for new designs. Ms. Pryke started her career in floristry by studying at the Constance Spry School for florists. You can tell her influence from Mrs. Spry’s great foundations who believed in breaking the rules back in the 1930s! When you buy this book, you’ll see how Paula has influenced many of today’s floral designers – including Flower Duet!