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Legend of the Poinsettia

How does a plant used by the Aztecs for medicinal purposes and dyes become the quintessential Christmas flower? It began with the legend of the poinsettia. Legend has it that a poor Mexican girl named Pepita had no gift to give at the annual Christmas Eve service. Longing to honor the Virgin Mary and the Christ child, Peptia became distraught as she walked to the service. As tears flow from her face, she was comforted by an angel, her brother or her cousin (depending on the version). At the urging of her comforter, Peptia gathered a handful of common weeds from the roadside. Hesitant to take the unattractive weeds as her gift, Peptia had to be persuaded that giving something perceived as unworthy but from the heart was an admirable gift. Arriving at the church, Peptia sorrowfully placed her weeds as an offering on the alter. Joy overcame her when, as the weeds touch the alter, they burst into stunning red poinsettia blooms. From that day forward the poinsettia was known as Flor de Nochebuena (The Christmas Flower).

Red Christmas Poinsettia in a Wicker Basket

History of the Poinsettia

During the late 1820’s, Joel Poinsett was the American Ambassador to Mexico. Although a fine statesman, his passion revolved around botany. During his tenure in Mexico, he scanned the landscape for interesting plants and found the poinsettia. Upon his return to the United States, he introduced the poinsettia to several horticulturists in South Carolina. By the 1900’s, the Ecke Family of South California began producing poinsettias as a landscape plant and a cut flower. Many of the cultivars today are a result work by the Paul Ecke Ranch and the reason the poinsettia has become widely used as a Christmas flower.

Hot Pink Poinsettia From Ecke Ranch
Not actually flowers, the big red “blooms” of the poinsettia are actually bracts (modified leaves). The true flowers (cyathia) are the small insignificant yellow clusters in the center of the bract. Despite this misconception, the bract is often referred to as the poinsettia flower. This “flower” has been cultivated into colors other than red such as pink, cream, white, and purple. There are bi-color and marbled poinsettias as well.

Selecting a Poinsettia

Dark green foliage and completely colored bracts are a must when selecting a poinsettia. Optimum poinsettia specimens are full and balanced plants; 2 1/2 times taller than the container and attractive from all sides. Always avoid plants that are wilted, but have moist soil, droopy or yellow leaves all of which indicated the plant is under stress. Look for plants in the early stages of flowering. To find a poinsettia with young true flowers look at the base of the bract. Young true flowers will be green and red-tipped. The poinsettia bract will retain its color longer if you select one with young true flowers.

If the outside temperature is below 50 degrees have the store sleeve your plant. However do not leave the poinsettia in the sleeve for a long period of time. Plants held in decorative paper or sleeves will deteriorate quicker than those in a pot with good drainage.

Poinsettia Care

Keeping the soil moist, but not soggy, is essential when caring for poinsettias. This can be accomplished by watering it thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. Make sure the container has drain holes. It is imperative to remove any excess water from the saucer. Poinsettias do best in high humidity with a temperature range of 60 degrees at night and 72 degrees during the day. Avoid exposing poinsettias to temperature swings from cold drafts, heating vents or doorways. Poinsettias need approximately six hours of indirect light. Do not fertilize when the plant is blooming. Temperature swings, over-watering, under-watering, over exposure and lack of light will cause stress to the poinsettia. Stress of any type will cause the bracts to have a shorter life. Poinsettia care if done properly will keep your plant healthy for a long time.

How To Get Poinsettia To Bloom Again

Although getting a poinsettia to re-bloom the next season is a long and arduous process, it is not impossible. Once the holiday season has passed (late February – early March) cut the stems back leaving 4 to 6 inches to stimulate new growth. Continue with the same watering practice used during the holidays and begin fertilizing. Use a balanced (20-20-20) liquid soluble fertilizer every three to four weeks.

Poinsettias need to be re-potted in the late spring or early summer. Select a pot that is 2-3 inches bigger in diameter and has drain holes. Place in a sunny position and keep moist. Rotate the pot about once a week. Rotating encourages a symmetrically shaped plant. Pinch the growing shoots and the top by 1/4 inch to encourage branching. Fertilization and pinching can be done on the same day about every three weeks
Pink & White Marble Poinsettia from Ecke Ranch
Poinsettias can be plant outside once the nighttime temperature is above 50 degrees. Place poinsettia plants in a shady location for about two weeks to acclimate them to the outdoors. Poinsettias can be planted in a sunny but protect area; light shade in the afternoon is acceptable.

In early September move the poinsettia plants indoors and provide six hours of direct light. Poinsettia flowering is “photoperiodcally” induced, meaning flowers begin to appear when the nights are long enough. Hence the poinsettia needs a certain amount of darkness to bloom. From October 1st through mid-December, poinsettias must have 12-14 hours of darkness and 10-12 hours of natural light daily. Complete darkness is imperative to blooming. Once the bract begins to show color the light restrictions are less important and the original poinsettia care begins again.

Purple Poinsettia From Ecke Ranch
Florists know how important poinsettias are to the Christmas holidays. After all without an ornately decorated tree, a wreath and the Christmas flower (poinsettia) to adorn our homes the feeling of Christmas just wouldn’t be the same. Whether pink, white, purple or red, the poinsettia is the perfect flower for Christmas. Explore the poinsettia colors at your local florist today.
Send someone a poinsettia today!

Learning more about Poinsettia Trends on the Bloomin’ Blog.


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A Bounty Of Gift Basket Ideas

Gourmet & Fruit Gift Basket
Are you aware that flower shops offer more than just flowers? Need a gift, but in a time crunch? Have your florist make a fruit or gourmet gift basket for you. Florists offer gourmet and custom gift baskets in addition to their other services. They can incorporate delectable treats with flowers or plants to create a one-of-a-kind gift basket with little effort on your part. If you can imagine it, a florist can create it.

A gift basket is another way to express your feelings. In fact, a gift basket doesn’t even have to be an actual wicker basket. A baby bathtub can be filled will a rubber ducky, baby rattles and baby booties, along with some bibs and blankets for a great expectant mom gift. If you’re giving the gift prior to the birth, add some soothing bath salts for the mom, so she can soak her tootsies in it before the baby comes. Many florists carry a variety of baby gifts; discuss this gift basket idea with them and your gift delivery will be easier than the expectant mom’s.

Need to send a thank you to your neighbor for collecting your mail and watching your house while you were gone on vacation? Have a florist deliver a square red wood veneer tray; filled with a mellow merlot wine, a light chardonnay, chocolates, divinely tasty cheeses, garlic crackers and a cheese knife you picked up from your vacation. Your neighbor will enjoy this cheese and wine gift basket so much they will ask when your next vacation will be. If your florist isn’t able to deliver wine send a beautiful blooming plant or lovely bouquet as a substitute.

Have a friend who needs an escape from daily stress? Send them a relaxing luxurious spa gift basket overflowing with aromatherapy candles, a soothing music CD, along with a calming bubble bath and luscious body lotion. Your florist can even slip in a decadent chocolate treat. This gift basket delivery this will brighten anyone’s day!

With its healthy antioxidant benefits, a basket of tea is another great gift basket idea. Send a tea gift basket to a family member who’s a bit under the weather. In fact by using 4 box sizes, one can create a lovely gift basket. Choose a box large enough to include a mini-tea pot with matching cup. In another slightly smaller box add assorted teas: chamomile, white tea, green tea and Earl Grey. Place a small box of their favorite cookies in the 3rd smallest box. In the final box, place a small jar of honey. Stack the boxes on top of each other and wrap tightly with some ribbon. This gift will certainly clear up the weather. Check with your florist for unique herbal teas and accessories.

Need to give your golfer boss a gift? A golf gift basket is a wonderful gift idea and works really well if you have co-workers that want to chip in for the gift. Choose a large round tin, as the gift basket container, so that when emptied it can be used as a golf ball holder. Fill the tin with golf balls, golf tees, golf club cookies, a few bottles of premium bottled water and any other goodies you and your florist can think of. Florists can also create this type of theme gift basket for hunters, fishermen or any other sport.

Surprise your love with a picnic gift basket. Using a two-handle basket lined with a small table cloth, add a set of plates, gourmet cheese, a cheese knife and crackers, along with grapes and your love’s favorite wine or beverage. Your florist can also add a lovely bouquet of sunflowers or gerbera daisies to the basket. Write a simple note asking your love to meet you in the nearest park, tuck it in with all the other items and enjoy!

The great thing about a gift basket is it doesn’t have to be a basket at all; you can use baby bathtubs, wire baskets, boxes and any other type of container to hold the gifts you wish to give. Gift baskets have been around for ages, but with a modern twist, the gift basket now incorporates many styles of containers to wrap and transport gifts. After the gifts have been enjoyed so can the container. The gift basket isn’t just discarded like gift wrap and a paper box, but becomes an appreciated gift, along with the goodies it contains.

Whatever the occasion, whatever the reason, a gift basket can express any feeling you need to convey. From a graduation gift basket with gift certificates and snacks for the grad to use while at college … to a simple apology basket … to a warmhearted, thank you gift basket, a gift basket can say it all.

Florists are artists with flowers and foliage, and it is equally easy for them to create a gift basket that is unique, special and creative. Share your gift basket needs with a florist and let them create a wonderful basket full of inspiration and artistic expression.

Contributor: Leigh Morrisett

Do you have floral or plant questions? Are you interested in discussions that revolve around flowers, plants and floral designs? Then Bloomin’ Blog is the place for you. We invite you to join our flower friendly community.

The Power of Red Flowers

Holiday Bouquet Using Powerful Red Flowers

Since ancient man first broke the silence of pre-history and left his mark on a cave wall, he has harnessed the power of red to represent his most basic instinct and desire. Red has been splashed across the pages of time in every imaginable way: on rock, wood, scroll, parchment, tapestry, flag. It is the color of innumerable flower varieties, precious stones, consuming fire, spilled blood.

Red is a color that motivates, that charges the emotions & spurs the carnal appetite. Red bespeaks love and lust, beauty and battle, wealth and debt, power and danger, religious purity and the Devil himself. It is an enigma of opposites, a never-ending source of inspiration and fear. Nature throws red at the human eye from every possible cranny of creation, not the least through vivid crimson blooms that flower across the globe. These red flowers have been variously used as mascots, decorations, and tokens of love. A red flower can have innumerable associations; it is up to the bearer to capture its power for his own.

Red surrounds us, but it never fails to leave an impression. It is most closely associated with blood and thus with emotions that stir the blood: anger, passion, and love. The color red alone has been shown to stimulate a faster heartbeat and breathing. It has been symbolically used in just about every human culture.

In Asian cultures, it often represents the rich and powerful, good luck, or success. In India it is the color of a bridal dress and is the symbolic color for married women. The Russian words for “red” and “beauty” come from the same root, and are nearly synonymous. Western cultures have used red for the military, for royalty, for emergency and medical personnel, and especially for love.

Even religion does not allow red to be neutral: Christianity claims it both as a liturgical color representing the fire of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and as the burning evil of Satan. Is it any wonder, then, that red flowers have captured mankind’s imagination for centuries?

Legend has it that it was red clay into which God dipped His fingers and formed Adam. Other legends speculate that red flowers first appeared when the pure white blooms of Eden looked upon the nakedness of Adam and Eve and blushed. The red flowers of the Garden may have felt shame, but their progeny unabashedly filled the globe with infinite shades and varieties of red flowers.

Some, like roses, grow on sturdy bushes or climb tall, displaying each red flower in all its glory. Dahlias and gladioluses spike their clusters of brilliant red blooms proudly into the sky. The many red lily varieties spread huge colored blossoms to the admiration of all who behold them. Smaller tulips have red flowers that are no less vivid; they paint fields and hillsides with their dots of bright color. Other flowers, like carnations and gerbera daisies, are content in their simplicity and brighten the corners of gardens and flower arrangements.

With such a wide variety of red flowers, choosing the perfect species for an arrangement can be tricky. Take the size and shape of the blooms into account, but don’t forget to consider the shade of various flowers nor the message they can convey.

Modern societies associate red flowers with friendship or romance. Generally, the deeper the red the more romantic the sentiment, thus the traditional St. Valentine’s day gift of a dozen deep-red roses. A red rose denotes deepest love and respect and encourages deeper commitment. Carnations and tulips are also traditional envoys of love that can be incorporated into corsages and boutonnieres, or given “live” as a potted plant.

Gerbera Displayed As A Single Red Flower
But what if a sweetheart deserves an expression of love that goes beyond the traditional? Pick a red flower for its unique characteristics: scent, texture, appearance, and singularity. Remember that red is the spectral opposite of green, so even a single red blossom will still be striking against a background of green stem and leaves.

Try a red lily for a fragrant display in the home that can later be planted in the garden and enjoyed for years to come. A gerbera daisy alone or in a small cluster can brighten any room, a red dahlia can add intrigue and mystery to romance, and a protea can add a quirky mid-western twist to a simple gift.

Some red flowers can tantalize the nose and the ears as well as the eyes. Sweet William flowers cluster together and emit a spicy, clove-like scent. They can add height to floral arrangements and are also a splendid addition to the garden: the blooms are edible and their nectar attracts even more colorful fauna to them, such as birds, bees, and butterflies. The Sweet Pea plant lives up to its name, with a sugary scent that is sure to beguile the senses. Children are delighted by the Snapdragon’s red flower; not only do its climbing blooms add height and dimension to a flower arrangement, each blossom “snaps” when pinched, making an entertaining clicking sound!

It can be elegant or simple, classic or modern, stunning or understated, but a well-designed arrangement of red flowers never fails to impress. Think about the message you wish to send with flowers, and feel free to mix-and-match among traditional and unorthodox blooms. Whether seeking to enchant a loved one, cheer a sick bed, or congratulate a success, place a quick call to your local florist. Your florist will know how to expertly arrange just the right red flowers into a breath-taking arrangement that captures your sentiments exactly. Contact a local florist today to harness the harness the power of red for your own.

Contributor: Beth Roberts

Check out other newsletters involving romance, red or flowers.
Romantic Valentines Day Flower Ideas
Red Roses & Flower Meanings

Red Roses

Bird Of Paradise A Tropical Surprise

Bird of Paradise Bringing The Tropics To Everyone

Bird of Paradise … The name alone brings a warm tropical feeling. The brilliant flowers look similar to head plumes on a bird. Brought to England for King George, this plant with its orange and blue tinged bloom is native to South Africa. In honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (King George’s wife), it was named Strelitzia reginae. Bird of Paradise, also known as crane flower, is one of the most widely know flowering plants around the world.beautifult vases arrangment containing Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise Structure

The Bird of Paradise flower is composed of a series of highly colored bracts, or modified leaves, formed into green, red, and or purplish canoe-like structures. Bracts vary between 4-8 inches long, depending upon the age and size of the Bird of Paradise plant. Each bract contains 2 or more protruding Bird of Paradise florets of bright yellow or orange elongated petals and a bright blue tongue. The female part of the Bird of Paradise flower is the long extension of the blue tongue, which is extended well away from the stamens. The color, foliage and structure of the flower are distinct and unforgettable.

Bird of Paradise in Flower Arrangements

One of the most unique flowering plants used in flower arrangements, Bird of Paradise provides structure by forming lines and mass. The orange and blue flowers offer vibrant colors and a style that no other flower can. When using Bird of Paradise, you’ll find it lends itself to a good base mass and is easily incorporated into any tropical arrangement style. It is best to use the striking flowers as the most dramatic piece in the arrangement. When using Bird of Paradise keep other flowers and foliage lower in the design and choose material that complements the tropical feel.

beautifult vases arrangment containing Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise is typically used in spring and summer arrangements. But don’t hesitate to use Bird of Paradise in the winter or fall when we long for a little tropical feeling. This flower can be added to wedding centerpieces or even as a topper for the wedding cake. The only rule to abide by when using Bird of Paradise is to keep the accompanying flowers or foliage on the demure side. For a unique flower arrangement design pair Bird of Paradise with fruits such as grapes, kumquats or small vegetables. Bird of Paradise speaks for itself, so not much else is needed. In fact simplicity is best when using this flower.

Caring For Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise as a Cut Flower

Caring for Bird of Paradise as a cut flower is simple; requiring no more than a change of water every two to three days, and snipping about ¾” off the stems. This practice will help the flower last for weeks. If the flower is arranged in a way that you can’t change the water or snip the stems, add water and avoid letting the arrangement dry out.

Bird of Paradise as a Plant

When selecting a Bird of Paradise plant, look for a full healthy-looking plant with lots of new growth. Plants that are slightly crowded in their pots will bloom better. This clump forming, trunk-less plant will grow to a height of five foot and approximately five foot wide when planted outside. Bird of Paradise has thick, stiff leaves often referred to as paddle like and are approximately eight inches long and six inches wide. Overall Bird of Paradise screams tropical.

Bird of Paradise Outdoor Care

Easy to grow, Birds of Paradise does well in full sun or semi-shade. In areas where frost is not a danger it can be plant outdoors year round and requires rich loamy soil. Often you’ll find a time-release fertilizer through out the year brings the most out of this gorgeous plant. Bird of Paradise requires liberal amounts of water until well established. Planting in full sun will provide you with more flowers, while planting in shade will keep the foliage looking the best.

Bird of Paradise House Plant Care

When using Bird of Paradise as a houseplant, watch out for over watering. Plants should be watered only when soil is slightly dry. The best watering method for Bird of Paradise is to thoroughly wet the entire soil mix then allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. Daily misting maybe required in dry climates or in the winter, since Bird of Paradise is tropical by nature thriving in 60% moderate humidity. During the winter months watering should be slightly taper off; this is thought to encourage the flowering process. Use a time-release fertilizer March through September for optimum growth. Bird of Paradise oddly enough seemed to do better when slightly root bound. Keep pot size relevant to plant size; large pots or containers may be needed. Bird of Paradise plants naturally bloom September through May, although when grown and kept in greenhouses they can bloom year round.

Propagating Bird of Paradise

The best time to propagate Bird of Paradise is in early spring prior to new growth. Remove the plant from the pot, or ground and cut the rhizomes (underground stems) with a sharp knife so each division has a fan with roots. Then place these divisions into small pots, water and place in a warm location. Bright indirect light sunlight is best. After eight weeks, when plants have acclimated move them to a place with more direct sunlight. The new plant will bloom in two to three years. Bird of Paradise can also be grown from seed, but the plants may take four to ten years to bloom. Check with your seed supplier for special seed propagation instructions.

Bird of Paradise pest problems

Usually caused from over watering or a poor soil mixture, root rot maybe the only issue you may have with this plant. Pests that may affect Bird of Paradise are scale, mealy bug, whitefly or aphids, all of which can easily be treated with an insecticide. Check with your local garden center for a pyrethin based houseplant insecticide.

Bird of paradise used in flower arrangements or grown, as houseplants will give you the surprise of the tropics even in the dead of winter. You could send a Bird of Paradise to a family member or friend; this plant is the perfect way to bright any day. Find a local florist to send Bird of Paradise today.

Did you know that Bird of Paradise is the official flower of Los Angeles? Florists love Bird of Paradise.

Contributor: Leigh Morrisett

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Flowers

Did you know that wedding flowers are not just restricted to the day of the wedding? Wedding flowers can be used to usher in the wedding rehearsal dinner. Wedding rehearsal flowers are often used the next day, for both the wedding ceremony and the reception. Changing the floral arrangements for the next day can be as simple as adding accent flowers to coordinate with the theme of the wedding. Floral experts can utilize the floral arrangements and decorations in various imaginative and stylish ways for the entire wedding event.
Gerbera Vases for Hors D'oeuvre Table Picture by Stephen Smith Florists'Review
Flowers at the wedding rehearsal dinner allow for interesting and inviting floral decorations. Floral arrangements and decorations for the rehearsal dinner can easily be utilized in several locations. Consider the entry hall or foyer, and the room or rooms that will be used for the dinner. Other decorated locations can be the hors d’oeuvre tables, dining tables, buffet tables and even, in the restrooms. The wedding rehearsal flowers can set the tone of the rehearsal dinner. Whether choosing large formal arrangements or casual clusters of loosely gathered flowers, the beauty of flowers, plants, fruits, candles and containers can enhance this special occasion.

The wedding rehearsal dinner is a wonderful time to visit with the families of the bride and groom. The rehearsal dinner may be a small, intimate affair or a large party. Today, there is no limit as to who may be invited to this occasion. Invitations may be issued to the immediate family and the wedding party, or expanded to also include close friends and out of town guests. The rehearsal dinner is usually held the night before the wedding and has traditionally been hosted by the parents of the groom. This trend is beginning to change however, because many of today’s brides and grooms are older than in previous generations. Now, in many instances, the couple hosts the wedding rehearsal dinner. Yet, no matter who hosts the rehearsal dinner, this is the time to create a welcoming atmosphere for the invited guests. Your floral decorations are an extension of your hospitality.


Centerpiece Photo by Stephen Smith Florists' Review
When using floral decorations, remember that the guests sitting at the dining tables want to have a chance to visit. Avoid heavily-scented and shedding flowers that may cause allergic reactions. Table centerpieces should not obstruct the view of those dining. Floral centerpieces and decorations should either be low enough that guests can see over the top of the arrangement, or be tall enough that the decorations do not impede the guests’ view.

Flowers on the hors d’oeuvre tables, serving tables and buffet tables should provide visual treats. Floral experts are able to incorporate beautiful centerpieces and decorations that compliment, not detract from, the food.


The flowers chosen for your wedding rehearsal dinner may be as formal or casual as the theme and the budget of the event. Discuss with your florist the style or the look you want. Don’t hesitate to talk about what you like, and what you don’t like. Have pictures of flowers, centerpieces, bouquets and other decorations. Talk about the location, the menu and the number of guests. An experienced florist can help create the appropriate atmosphere for this important time, as well as help you avoid costly mistakes.


Based on the theme of the rehearsal dinner, the floral decorations may be contemporary or traditional. Exotic flowers are easier to order than they were previously, although they are oftentimes still very expensive. However, many exotic flowers have a long vase or display life.

More reasonably priced flowers can be found by selecting flowers that fall into two types of categories: Year-Round Flowers,or Seasonal Flowers. Here’s a quick selection guide:

Year-Round Flowers are easy to grow and are grown throughout year in greenhouses. Some of these flowers are carnations, baby’s breath, daisies, lilies, ivy, roses, gardenias, orchids, delphinium, and bachelor’s button.

Seasonal Flowers are easily accessible at particular times of the year. Your florist will help coordinate the theme of the wedding rehearsal dinner with seasonal flowers. The following are just a few of the choices available. You can check with a professional florist to find out more.

  • Spring Flowers are cherry blossoms, dogwood, forsythia, daffodils, jonquils, tulips, lilies, lilacs, iris, larkspur, peonies and violets
  • Summer Flowers are Queen Anne’s lace, daisies, asters, geraniums, calla lilies, hydrangeas, and roses.
  • Fall Flowers are chrysanthemums, marigolds, Shasta daisies, and zinnias.


Candle Centerpiece provided by Stephen Smith Florists' Review
The soft glow of candle light is not only flattering, but also creates a warm and inviting setting. The use of candles in floral centerpieces, arrangements and decorations are almost limitless. Possibilities range from tall and stately candelabrums, to floating candles used in interesting containers, or votive candles interspersed in arrangements. Battery operated; candles can be displayed where traditional candles may not be used. And, battery operated lights can also be incorporated in floral arrangements and in decorations.
Before planning your wedding reception read
Decorating Ideas For A Wedding Reception

Find a Florist for your wedding.

Check out Wedding and Party Network for all your wedding needs.

Learn more about wedding reception music.

Contributor: Staff

Lavender and the Pursuit of Happiness

We are constantly searching for good health and the pursuit of happiness. We crave the latest gadget, try the newest exercise trend and look for the cure-all drug, hoping they will make us healthy and happy. Sometimes, the simplest things in life can fulfill our pursuit of happiness and help us achieve good health. Flowers have always been a powerful influence in human health and happiness. In pursuing happiness, what could be easier than surrounding yourself with flowers?

Many believe the pursuit of happiness can only be achieved if one or more of the senses are involved. The Romans recognized that flowers had a therapeutic quality, both medicinally and spiritually. For centuries, lavender, particularly English lavender has been known to have medicinal, aromatic and culinary qualities. In their pursuit of happiness, the Romans used lavender in their bathing rituals, for cooking and as perfume for their linens and person. They also used it to maintain good health; realizing it had a calming influence and was a natural antiseptic.

In your quest for the pursuit of happiness and good health, take a look at lavender and it’s therapeutic qualities. A sweetly -scented tonic herb with many medicinal qualities, common or English lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) is an aromatic perennial plant popular in most herb gardens. English lavender has been used internally to relieve indigestion, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, tension headaches, migraines and bronchial complaints. Sunburns, rheumatism, muscular pain, skin complaints and insect bites have all been relieved externally with lavender. Although a lavender plant can become woody in nature and must be rotated every four years, the flowers and it’s oil can be easily harvested. As a result, English lavender is often used for calming and relaxing aromatherapy and high-quality perfumes.

The pursuit of happiness may be a constitutional right in the United States, but how can it be achieved? Start by removing the depression, anxiety and irritability in your life. Invest in lavender oil and create your own house of lavender aromatherapy, where an exquisitely-sweet, calming wave envelopes you as you walk through the door. Housework becomes enjoyable as the sweet smell of English lavender wafts through the air. Lavender oil used in aromatherapy triggers a comforting zone in the brain, removing the stresses of the day. With the stress and anxiety of the day gone, you’ll enjoy spending time with your family or taking a walk with your dog. Make sure the lavender oil is ready when you sit down to pay bills. A little calming aromatherapy will ease the anxiety of paying those bills.

Nervous tension, muscle aches and insomnia are detrimental to our good health, but lavender can send them far away. Step into a hot bath with lavender bath salts and within minutes, the nervous tension is washed away. The Latin meaning of lavender is “to wash” and wash away is just what lavender bath salt does – it washes away tension. The warmth of the bath and scent of English lavender opens the mind and relaxes the muscles. Often, happiness is found with an open mind and a relaxed body.

Aromatic qualities are great attributes, but who can resist something that appeals to our sense of taste? English lavender is a culinary experience that can turn the ordinary, into a work of art. Crystallized lavender flowers on a cake give the eyes something to feast on before the taste buds get their share. A soothing cup of lavender tea melts all your tension. The pursuit of happiness is achieved when every aspect of life becomes interesting. Taste buds are launched into a world of culinary interest when lavender flowers and oil are added to ordinary jams, ice creams and vinegars.

Sometimes the pursuit of happiness is more than our internal happiness; it is also the ability to spread happiness to others. Flowers have been an instrument in spreading happiness to others throughout the ages. In centuries past, lavender was given to newlyweds for good luck. It is known as the flower of devotion, and has been called the “love” herb because of its fresh clean scent and insect-repellent properties. Think about all the ways lavender can help you spread happiness to others. Give good luck to a newlywed couple with a lavender plant for their new home. Show your devotion on Valentine’s Day by burning lavender scented candles accompanied with a bouquet of lavender roses. Send a friend a spa basket filled with lavender bath products and a vase of iris. Loving your life and those in it is what the pursuit of happiness is all about. Good health is likely to follow when you have achieved the pursuit of happiness.

In your pursuit, visit your local florist. Many florists carry lavender aromatherapy products, lavender oils, lavender bath salts and spa products, as well as potted lavender plants. Florists caring gourmet food products often have lavender jams, teas and cakes. So, pursue happiness through your local florist who is ready to help you with your lavender needs and gifts.

Contributor: Jamie Jamison Adams

Flowers Spell Mother

Unique Gift for Mom
Mothers day was established to show our respect and appreciation for the wonderful woman we call mother. Everyone wants to send their mother a special gift on Mothers Day, but coming up with unique gifts for your mother can be perplexing and time consuming. Many are over-whelmed with the prospect of finding a special mothers day gift.

Flowers are great way to let Mom know you love and respect her. For years, the carnation was the ultimate Mothers Day flower. Although the carnation is a nice flower, meaning fascination, woman’s love, pride, it can be fun to try something new and different. Unique and special may be words used to describe your mother, so why not find flowers that express that sentiment.

Unique and special with relatively little effort, flowers can be the best Mothers day gift. But with all the unique and special flowers available, how do you decide which flowers best express your feelings? Start with what your mother means to you.

  • Does she carry herself in a dignified and noble fashion?
  • Maybe your mother is a delicate beauty.
  • Is the essence of your mother the ability to care and forgive?
  • Does admiration and protection come to mind when you think of your mother?
  • Is your mother a pillar of strength?
  • Will you always remember and be thankful for your mother?

It is well established that flowers are a great gift for Mothers day. With a little thought, this great gift can become a very special gift by choosing flowers that have specific meaning. You can send flowers that represent your mother’s unique traits or a special message you want to convey. Here are a few flowers you can send your mother; that will make your mother day gift unique and express a personal message to boot.

Magnolia flowers represent dignity and nobility. No other flower can compare to the dignity and nobility displayed in the beautiful white blooms of the magnolia. They stand proud on the leaves of the majestic magnolia tree and will do the same when placed in a flower arrangement. Sending your mother a magnolia arrangement will let her know that you think she has the nobility of a queen.

Orchids are a symbol of delicate beauty. The orchid has an undeniable mystique; looks delicate and fragile, but is really a hardy plant that is easy to maintain. Your mother may seem delicate, yet somehow she was always able to chase away the boogieman, scrape you up off the floor when you fell and she stood up for you against all others. A orchid in an exotic pot will let your mother know she maybe be beautiful and delicate, but you know her inner strength. Other orchid gifts could be: an orchid wrist corsage, orchid stems in a crystal vase or a botanical necklace of orchid blooms.

Tulips epitomize caring (pink tulips) and forgiveness (white tulips). After all, what other flower would emerge during the cold just to keep the end of winter from being so bleak? Sending your mother a pot of pink tulips that she can later plant will let her know she is a caring mother and you a caring child. White tulips arranged in a ginger jar vase will let your mother know you appreciate her forgiving nature. For a truly unique gift present your mother with pink and white striped tulips.

Heather symbolizes admiration (lavender heather) and protection or wishes will come true (white heather). Give your mother your heart and admiration with an arrangement that has lavender heather in the shape of a heart surrounded by roses and carnations. Make you mother’s wishes come true with a unique gift of a white heather topiary arrangement. Potted white heather may not protect your mother, but she’ll love the uniqueness of the plant.

Echinacea represents strength and immunity. A fantastic perennial plant, Echinacea makes a wonderful cutting garden plant, thriving in even the most difficult situations. So if your mother is the pillar of strength, let her know with a potted Echinacea plant. When it is in bloom from mid-summer to early autumn, your mother will be reminded of the unique mothers day gift you gave her.

Roses are the symbol of purity (white rose), thankfulness (pink rose) and remembrance (any tea rose). The elegant rose is always a great gift for mother; make it a unique mothers day gift by arranging it in a non-traditional way. Express purity with a tussie mussie or nose gay of white roses. Show your mother how thankful you are with a sweetheart bouquet of pink roses. Sometimes simple is unique. A single tea rose in her favorite color will let her know you love and remember her.

Finding a unique mothers day gift does not have to be difficult. Simply think of your mother, and talk to a local florist about what she means to you. Together you can find a flower or many flowers that symbolize the unique person you call mother. Your mother will love any gift showing respect and appreciation, but a unique flower arrangement as a mothers day gift, like the ones discussed here, will bring a tear to her eye.

Click here to find a florist to create that unique mothers day gift.

Want more ideas? Check out flower meanings; then discuss them with your local florist.

Read more about the flowers mentioned:
Roses and More Roses
Orchids and Orchid Care
Daffodils, Hyacinths, Freesias, and Tulips in Bloom

Have questions? Check out the FSN Blog; its a great forum for florists and plant lovers alike.

Author: Jamie Jamison Adams

The Language Of Flowers

Photo of Kate Collins - Flower Shop Mystery Series Author
“Belladona: A flower. In Italian, a beautiful lady; in English, a deadly poison”. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

During a question/answer session in a speech I gave to a college media class last month, a student asked why I’d chosen a flower shop as a backdrop for my mystery series. My quick response was that I liked flowers and I loved flower shops — the colors, the textures, and ah, those heavenly fragrances… But still, mixing murder with something as vibrant and alive as a flower? Isn’t that as unlikely as chocolate sauce on an omelet? (Yumm . . . Chocolate.) Okay, maybe that was a bad example.

Being the argumentative type, (a genetic trait common to most women) I had to come up with a good rebuttal. So basically it’s this: Who can think of a black orchid without visualizing intrigue — or the book or movie, The Black Dahlia, without thinking of murder? Who can picture a Venus fly trap without recalling Audrey II, that voracious man-eating plant in the cult favorite, The Little Shop of Horrors? And we haven’t even started to list the poisons that come from various plants, the castor bean plant being one.

Bouquet of Red Roses
But that got me to thinking about the other side of the coin. Who doesn’t associate red roses with love? Or white flowers of any kind with purity? A google search on the meaning of flowers produced a plethora of pages (5,270,000 to be exact) dedicated to that subject, which got me to wondering where this custom of equating feelings with flowers originated.

According to my research, floriography, or the language of flowers, was an important part of Victorian life, (roughly 1870-1901) allowing expressions of sentiment that could not be otherwise vocalized due to the rigid moral standards of the day. (They must be turning in their graves now.)

Flowers were used to adorn hair, clothing, men’s suit coats, home décor and stationery, to name a few.

A young man’s gifts of flowers could either please or displease a lady depending on his choice of blossom. Flowers conveyed love or dislike depending upon the type, size, how they were held, or even how they were grouped. Even the way in which flowers were delivered had a special meaning. A flower in an upright position represented a “positive thought; one presented in the opposite direction had a negative meaning. A flower offered by the right hand could signify a “yes” and one offered by the left hand a “no.”

Single Yellow Rose
One can understand why the wily Victorians referred to books such as flower dictionaries and herbals that recorded the virtues of plants as well as their myth and lore, in order to choose just the right blossom. Consider the language of roses alone:

Blue: mystery
Burgundy: beauty
Dark Pink: gratitude
Light Pink: admiration, sympathy
Orange: passion
Pink: grace
Red: love Yellow: dying love or platonic love or infidelity

Going back even further, literary annuals were being published as early as 1765, in France, and 1770, in Germany, and reached their peak of popularity in Europe and America from about 1820 through mid-century. But, as I discovered, there is much debate about the exact origins of the flower-sentiment associations.

Floriography appears to be based on ancient symbolic correlations taken from Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Greek, and Roman cultures, mythologies, and religions; possibly based on the actual physical description of the plants themselves — a distinguishing characteristic of the root, stem, leaf, bloom, or seed. One of the most frequently mentioned sources is the Turkish, Oriental, or Persian language of flowers or objects, referred to as the selam, which was in fact a system of memorization. Brent Elliott, Librarian to the Royal Horticultural Society, writes that the Turkish system was “not a language of meanings, but a mnemonic system – the names of the objects rhyme with standard lines of poetry, and are an aid by which the lines can be recalled.”

Single Pink Gerbera Daisy
But the meanings we associate with flowers today are actually a fairly modern invention used most often by poets, writers, artists, and designers. Indeed, literature itself may be credited with promoting the language of flowers, as you can see in the works of Shakespeare.

However, there isn’t one universal set of meanings because of the significant cultural differences concerning the types of sentiments and flowers in the vocabulary of the various countries of origin. Take these three flowers as typical examples of the diversity of meanings:

Daffodil – Respect; regard; unrequited love; deceit
Dahlia – Good taste; instability
Daisy – Innocence; loyal love; purity; faith; cheer; simplicity

If you are interested in finding out more about the language of flowers, visit Flower Shop Network Flower Meanings. In the meantime, by using a different floral theme for each of my mysteries, I am doing what writers through the centuries have done – inventing my own floriography. It’s not such a bad thing to be known for, is it? I’ll take one bouquet of blue roses, please.

Kate Collins writes the popular Flower Shop Mystery series, including MUM’S THE WORD, SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS, SNIPPED IN THE BUD, and ACTS OF VIOLETS (March, 2007). Kate’s next book in the series, A ROSE FROM THE DEAD, will be a December, 2007, release. Visit Kate at Kate Collins Books.

Show someone you care … Send flowers today. Find A Florist to help you express yourself.

Create A Unique Prom With Flowers

An ever so light breeze dances through the air of a perfect spring night. The moon glistens through the trees lighting the way as the party-goers glide to the entryway of the event. As the door swings open, lavish decorations and beautiful flowers cover every inch of the room. The exuberant conversations of the stylishly-dressed guys and the giddy laughter of the fashionably-dressed girls let us know that this event is the event of the year: PROM.

Prom season is a flurry of activities. In the midst of the entire hubbub, prom ideas and decisions are being made. In the cafeteria, you can hear conversations about prom theme ideas, decorations, entertainment and location. The latest prom trend ideas are the threads that bind all the conversations. Although a classic, subtle and sophisticated prom is the 2007 trend, it is a universal prom trend as well.

Prom decorations can be the difference between a venue with classic sophistication and a lackluster gym with streamers. The epitome of elegance can be achieved from the door to the bandstand with prom flowers. Feelings of enchantment will envelope prom-goers as they enter their prom through an archway interwoven with greenery and cascading flowers. Subtle sophistication greets them at the tables where prom decorations are simply a bud vase containing a single stem of the class flower. The bandstand is a mesmerizing display with strategically placed balloons and spectacular vase arrangements perched on ornately decorated pedestals. A touch of romance is found on the beverage table, with scattered rose petals and a rose tussie-mussie. A panoramic view of the room is a breathtaking look at a bounty of prom flowers.

Prom decorations are not limited to flowers, balloons and other glittery accoutrement. The participants add to the splendor of the atmosphere. A sea of colorful prom dresses and tuxedos create an awesome accent to the flowers and prom decorations. Prom attire is an important aspect of the whole prom experience and trend knowledge is the key. Prom dresses and tuxedos should compliment the prom decorations and theme. Remember that this year classic, subtle and sophisticated looks are the popular inspirations for prom.

A drop-dead, gorgeous look is amazingly simple; play on trend colors and styles; and remember that uniqueness is the foundation for a “tres chic” prom. No doubt wearing a rich chocolate brown prom dress with intricate beading will turn heads. However, wearing a beautiful botanical necklace to accessorize will elevate the look with a subtle uniqueness. The combination of flowers and jewelry is not only a unique idea but also the utmost trend in prom attire.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” retro is also in this prom season. Audrey Hepburn was the personification of sophistication in her black dress, upswept hair and tiara. Classic elegance will be transformed into chic elegance when the tiara is accented with flowers, like spray roses, orchids, baby’s breath or other small flowers. At prom, an up-do hairstyle goes from simple to glamorous just by wearing a tiara containing flowers. Remember, prom flowers are not just for decorating the event hall, but also the prom-goers.

In a sea of long flowing gowns, the short and flirty prom dress stands out. Interesting hemlines and fluid fabrics in rich jewel tones create a very alluring appearance. Turn that rich, sultry look into a delightfully provocative one with shoes enhanced with flowers. Prom beauty should be from head to toe; accentuating with prom flowers can definitely make all the difference.

What strikes fear in every guy attending prom? Getting a prom corsage for his date. There are three choices: a prom corsage you pin on, a wrist corsage or no corsage. Remember, the prom movie scene where the guy pricks his date as he tries to pin on her prom corsage. The fear of stabbing your date is the reason the wrist corsage is now the most popular prom corsage. Coordinating her dress color and the prom wrist corsage is very crucial. A new and exciting trend is to skip the corsage, and get her a tussie-mussie or nosegay instead. This wonderful way to give or receive flowers will never interfere with jewelry choices or dress styles. It is a romantic and unique twist on an old custom.

Guys can accentuate their look with flowers as well. Boutonnieres do not have to be run-of-the-mill anymore. Orchids and callas can make unique boutonnieres by themselves or with interesting embellishments.

Prom flowers can create a great platform in which you can show your individuality. Using flowers in your hair, on your shoes or as jewelry are one-of-a-kind accessories. Love the use of prom flowers in your attire? Try accessorizing your handbag or bracelet with roses or gerberas. Remember the purpose of prom is to have fun and show the world your uniqueness.

If you can dream it the local florist can make it. With their creative talent and decorative wires, local florists are a great source for the new prom jewelry. Whether you use flowers in your tiara or on your shoes, you can’t go wrong with this great prom trend. Your local florist can also help you create a trendy unique prom with flowers. Stop in and discuss the look you want with your local florist.

Click here and find a florist to make your prom flowers unique and your dreams come true.

For more party flower or balloon ideas read:
You’re Invited
Balloon Bouquets

Author: Jamie Jamison Adams

Funeral Flower Etiquette

Understanding funeral flower etiquette is important when deciding how to express your sympathy. When we think of funerals, we often think of flowers. However, different religions and cultures dictate when and where funeral flowers are appropriate.

Flowers are a part of many funeral services. Your professional florist can be of assistance when deciding the type of sympathy arrangement to be sent to the funeral home or to the family residence. Preference in flowers, colors and types of arrangements may be different in different regions of the country. When considering religious and cultural funeral customs, the professional florist filling your funeral flower order will help you with an appropriate selection.

Funeral Flowers in Table Arrangement Style
There are many types of arrangements available when ordering funeral flowers. Selecting the style and design usually falls within these categories:

VASE OR TABLE ARRANGEMENTS are usually funeral flower arrangements sent to the bereaved family’s home or taken home after the service. Choosing this type of arrangement can reflect the deceased’s tastes, style or personality. If uncertain as to the type of funeral flower arrangements to send, a discussion with the florist will help you with your selection.

FUNERAL FLOWERS FOR AN INFANT OR CHILD are usually smaller than regular funeral flower arrangements. The color theme may be that of soft pastels or of bright sunny colors. Funeral flower arrangements, sprays, bouquets, wreaths, angels and crosses are considered appropriate.

FUNERAL FLOWER WREATHS come in a variety of floral or other types of designs. Wreaths bring a special meaning to the service. The circular shape of the wreath is the symbol for eternal life. Crosses are also considered appropriate.

Casket Spray Funeral Arrangement
FUNERAL FLOWER CASKET SPRAYS come in an assortment of sizes. The two most common sizes are either full-length or half-length sizes. The full-length arrangement extends over the full length of the closed casket lid. The half-length arrangement covers the bottom half or the closed portion of the casket during an open casket funeral. The family usually orders funeral flower casket sprays.

FUNERAL FLOWER LID ARRANGEMENTS can be small floral bouquets, corsages or other types of small arrangements. These types of funeral flower arrangements are usually ordered by the family and represent the children or grandchildren of the deceased.

Standing Spray Funeral Flower Arrangement
FUNERAL FLOWER SPRAYS are delivered to the funeral home. Funeral flower sprays may be ordered from a wide selection of flowers and themes, and are presented on an easel during the service.

LIVE PLANTS are often welcomed as gestures of condolence and sympathy. Live plants can be sent to the funeral home, the residence, or even to the office.

SYMPATHY GIFT BASKETS containing flowers, plants, kosher, gourmet or specialty foods, and gifts are appreciated by family and colleagues. These types of baskets are delivered to the family residence or to the office. These types of baskets are not usually delivered to the funeral home.

SYMPATHY CARD: The Enclosure or Sympathy Card lists who gave or sent the flowers. On the back of the card the florist will list the type of arrangement, along with a description of the flowers, plant or sympathy basket.


The etiquette of sending funeral flowers differs by religion and custom. Understanding the type of service will help in your decision of whether or not to send flowers. If you are uncertain about the type of religious service, or the cultural customs of the deceased, then it is advised that you ask the family’s religious leader, the funeral home director or a professional florist.

Military Funerals usually follow these practices: When the flag is draped on the casket, then only standing sprays are used. Funeral flowers arrangements with ribbons in red, white and blue are often requested for a patriotic theme. Military symbols can be used with the funeral flower arrangements.

Japanese Services usually follow these practices: The incorporation of lots of flowers is used in the funeral service. It is considered appropriate to send flowers to the funeral home, such as large standing sprays and floor arrangements.

Cremation Services usually follow these practices: Funeral flower arrangements are generally considered appropriate. It is often recommended that you check with a member of the deceased’s family, the florist or the funeral director as how to best express your sympathy.

Roman Catholic Services usually follow these practices: It is considered appropriate to send flowers to the funeral home such as standing sprays, floor arrangements, standing arrangements, crosses and hearts. Sympathy gift baskets of fruit and food may be sent to the deceased’s residence, but not to the funeral home.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) Services usually follow these practices: It is considered appropriate to send sympathy cards and flowers. Funeral flower arrangements in the shape of a cross should not be sent.

Baptist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and other Protestant Services usually follow these practices: It is considered an appropriate expression of your sympathy to send flowers, cards and charitable donations in memory of the deceased.

Buddhist Ceremonies usually follow these practices: Flowers are considered appropriate; however do not send red flowers. White flowers are considered the symbol of mourning.

Understanding funeral flower etiquette is important. Talking with a professional florist can help answer your questions. The family and friends who have lost a loved one will appreciate your appropriate expression of sympathy.

Sending funeral flowers is easy with FlowerShop Network Directory of real local florists in the United States and Canada.

For more information concerning funeral flowers and etiquette, please read: Funeral Flowers In Lieu Of Flowers