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In Loving Memory of Amaryllis

Amaryllis | Hippeastrum

Today’s exceptional post was shared with us by Olivia Nicholas, a writer and a busy mom. She is always happy to share her passion for life and experiences through her work.

I’ve never been sure what made me remember Grandmother’s amaryllis obsession when autumn first began to turn the leaves this year. It could have been a flash of scarlet fabric seen from the corner of my eye, or maybe a stately bell-shaped flower struggling to carry on its existence despite the slow creep of cold weather. Whatever the case, I found myself driving to the local greenhouse one day instead of going directly home as I usually did after work. The clerk was very helpful, directing me to the perennial bulb section and setting me up with flower pots, soil, and everything else necessary to cultivate and continue my grandmother’s flower legacy. Excited, I got to work as soon as I got home.

The feel of the amaryllis bulbs in my hand and the rich smell of potting soil evoked even more memories of planting flowers at my grandparents’ home. Like my grandmother herself, amaryllis is a winter beauty, as dainty and gorgeous as it is tough and hardy; both thrive in cold weather and wilt in the heat. In my mind, the two of them had always been synonymous, especially since my grandmother was also called Amaryllis.

[Read more…]

Get Out, Get Inspired! Visit Your Local Botanic Garden

If you need a boost of creativity this summer, get out to your local botanic garden. If you’re a florist, or just a flower-lover, there are huge benefits to visiting gardens FULL of summer beauty.

Inspiration At Botanical GardensGet In The Mood For Summer – The gardens will definitely put you in the right mood for the season. The vivid colors of the flowers and the incredible variety you will see will certainly set you on a course for inspiration.

Be Impressed – At a botanic garden, you will see dozens, if not hundreds of unique flowers, plants and trees that you probably have never even heard of before. The surprise is, they are actually growing in your area! (It’s always astonishing to me to see just what’s possible in my area with a little love and some hard work.)

Keep Track of Creativity – Most botanic gardens divide their grounds into several themed smaller gardens, such as butterfly gardens, four seasons gardens, Japanese gardens, etc. These can be very inspirational. Carry a journal along with your camera to keep track of color patterns you see, creative use of flower pairs, and anything else than inspires you.

I am fortunate enough to live close to the Memphis Botanic Garden, which offers visitors 96 acres of small gardens and trails, thousands of flowers, but also thousands of unique trees. That is one thing to keep in mind when visiting the gardens — Look Up!

With 152 different species of trees, the Memphis Botanic Garden is classified as a Level IV Arboretum by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. This Level IV designation makes the Garden one of four in the state and the only one in West Tennessee. “We estimate there are at least 2000 trees in the Garden – with lots of duplicates,” says Adult Education Manager Laurie Williams.
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Show Your Patriotic Pride With Red, White & BLOOMS!

Over the years, Memorial Day has become synonymous with shopping, car races, trips to the lake/beach, family get-togethers, etc. It marks the start of the summer vacation period, and with the hustle and bustle of our day off work, it’s easy to overlook the true meaning of the holiday.

Memorial Day commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service.

Many Americans observe Memorial Day by:

  • Visiting cemeteries and memorials and placing patriotic flowers on our fallen veterans’ graves.
  • Observing a national moment of remembrance which takes place at 3 p.m. local time
  • Fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.

Patriotic Memorial Funeral FlowersSo, how can you enjoy the best of both worlds?

Although it’s a significant US holiday, 3 day weekends are scarce in most working American’s routines. How can we enjoy our weekend, while keeping in mind the real reason for the extended time off?

First, start your weekend by ordering beautiful red, white and blue flowers to decorate your house. Especially if you are planning a Memorial Day BBQ or block-party. Use your patriotic florals as your table centerpiece or buffet table decoration.

During your celebration, have everyone take a few moments of silence to remember our fallen soldiers. Turn the music off, and make sure you have everyone, including the kid’s attention. Have each guest recall memories of fallen veteran family members and friends, such as a grandfather, aunt or uncle. It’s good for us to remember our past veterans and the contributions they have made for all of us. Children especially need to see respect and honor given to those who have given their lives to make our country safe for us to live.

After your celebration is over, take your patriotic flowers and flags to decorate the grave of a veteran friend or family member as a perfect ending to your Memorial Day celebration.

Make this a tradition in your family.

The Most Popular Iris In The World — Flag Iris

One of the most well known symbols, the fleur-de-lis is seen all over the globe! While it’s name means “Lily Flower” it’s beginnings did not start with the lily. Instead, it’s widely thought to be a stylized version of the species Iris pseudacorus or the Flag Iris.

Yellow Flag Iris - Fleur De Lis

As you can see, the flag iris is a bit different from the normal irises we usually see in our gardens. The upper petals are not as pronounced as regular bearded irises, but it looks just like the fleur de lis.

According to Pierre-Augustin Boissier de Sauvages, a French naturalist and lexicographer:

Flag Iris - Fleur De LisThis flower, or iris, looks like our fleur-de-lis not just because of its yellow colour but also because of its shape: of the six petals, or leaves, that it has, three of them are alternatively straight and meet at their tops. The other three on the opposite, bend down so that the middle one seems to make one with the stalk and only the two ones facing out from left and right can clearly be seen, which is again similar with our fleurs-de-lis.

The fleur de lis has been used throughout history as a political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic icon, especially for heraldry, all over the world and as far back as history can remember. It’s interesting to see see this yellow flower pop up in anything from the oldest paintings to the most modern fashion. The fleur de lis is a classic symbol that is sure to be around for generations to come. Whether you’re in the French Quarter for Mardi Gras, New York for fashion week, or strolling the streets of Europe, keep your eyes peeled for the world’s favorite iris — the Flag Iris!

Who Else Has Never Heard Of A Flower Frog?

Recently, while visiting a family friend, I discovered a new love for Flower Frogs. As an avid thrift store enthusiast, I had seen a ton of these little things before, but never put 2 and 2 together to realize they go with flowers! (doh!) Nor had I ever heard them called flower frogs.. I took as many pictures as I could to share with you guys, hope you enjoy..

Early Metal Versions

Vintage Flower Frogs

What is a Flower Frog?

A flower frog is simply something to hold flowers up, either with holes, a grid or a comb of metal. Some were intended to be placed in the bottom of a container to hold tricky stems, others were incredibly ornate vases themselves with holes to insert stems. Flower frogs were made of metal, ceramic, glass, and plastic.

How To Use Flower Frogs

Most people keep different varieties on hand. The spiky ones are good for thin, flimsy stems; ones with holes are suited to the thicker stems of tulips and lilies; and hairpin frogs with wire loops are best for stiff stems and branches.

This is a very decorative ceramic flower frog:

Decorative Flower Frog Decorative Ceramic Flower Frog With Bird
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Florist Predictions For The Royal Wedding Bouquet

About a month ago, we asked our florist friends to submit their predictions for the Royal Wedding bouquet! We were blown away by the incredible submissions! Only about 1 more day left before we FINALLY get to see what we’ve all been waiting on!

The Royal Family has done an excellent job keeping the details of Kate’s bouquet top secret! We do know they have chosen renounced London-based, floral designer Shane Connolly to head up their wedding flower team. He also holds a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales, making him an official supplier of flowers for royal events, including Princes Charles’s 2005 wedding.

Royal Wedding Bouquet?According to the royal wedding website, he is known for his sustainable approach to floristry, using growing, rather than cut, plants and trees, and for producing “elegant and unique displays” using seasonal, natural and organic flowers.

While the bouquet is still a mystery, we know that the floral displays in Westminster Abbey feature a variety of seasonal growing and cut British flowers and trees sourced from Royal Estates and other growers around the country. The flowers and plants include blossoms, azaleas (rhododendron), euphorbias, beech, wisteria and lilac.

The floral displays in the Abbey itself will include eight 20 feet-high trees: six English Field Maple and two Hornbeam. All the trees will be growing in planters, which have also been designed by Mr. Connolly and which were made by craftsmen at Highgrove, The Prince of Wales’s Residence in Gloucestershire.

Also, according to the Royal Wedding website, the couple has taken an interest in traditional Language of Flowers and are using these flower meanings to tell a story through their flowers. So far the flowers they’ve chosen mean:

  • Azaleas (rhododendron) – “Take care of yourself for me, temperance, fragile passion”
  • Lilac – youthful innocence
  • Beech Trees – harmony, peace, balance and all that is good.
  • Wisteria – honor, memory, patience

After the wedding, the flowers and plants will be left in position in Westminster Abbey for the public to view until Friday 6th May 2011. Following this, many of the trees will be taken to Highgrove Gardens, where they will be planted. The Couple’s intention is that many of the cut plants and flowers and all the growing plants will be donated to charities or re-planted.

Now, take a look at the at the amazing designs created by real florists all across the US and Canada. Which one do you think will be the closest to the real design for the Royal Wedding Bouquet?? Let us know in the comments below! [Read more…]

Texas Woman Grows GIANT Rose!

Giant Rose Found In TexasADDISON TX | APRIL 1 — A local woman has just revealed a stunning new botany experiment that can change the face of flowers as we know it. Botanist, Margaret Eddington and her father, Claud, have been working tirelessly for the past 3 years in their greenhouse on an Addison, TX farm. Locals had no idea what they were working on, but did report strange noises coming from the greenhouse late at night. Just when suspicion was at it’s most tense, Margaret and Claud revealed the fruits of their labor today, wowing the town and the nation. An enormous, peach rose they lovingly named King Peaches.

“A rose this big should not exist,” explains botanist and rose expert Lee Johnson of the California Giant Society, “It’s just not possible!”

The emergence of the giant rose has gained interest from botanists and scientists from around the world. Food experts are looking into the methods used by Claud and Margaret for possible use in growing giant, natural food for third world countries. Botanists are looking to use the new rose as attractions in botanical gardens. This could be one of the biggest horticultural developments of our time.

We will keep you posted when more information becomes available.

(Happy 1st of April!)

This post is brought to you by Flower Shop Network, your source for finding a REAL local florist.

Local Florist on Winning Design Team at Philly Flower Show

Last July, when Janet P. Frye AIFD, CFD of The Enchanted Florist, Asheville NC was asked to join Schaffer Designs’ team of floral artists for the Philadelphia Flower Show, she never imagined the experience would be so grand.

Philadelphia Flower ShowThe Major Exhibitor’s (category) entry won Best In Show; Display Gardens-Floral with an amazing 106 points, out of a possible 100! (The judges were so impressed they awarded the flower decked vignettes extra points.) The exhibit also took the Emile H. Geschick Memorial Award for distinctive orchid display, held for 191 years by horticulture groups. An amazing 3rd prize was the Society of American Florists Flower Show Award, given for best artistic presentation of flowers and plants for public enjoyment..

Frye was part of a dream-team of 28 floral artists from across the US who converged on Philadelphia to create a floral fantasy. Working with gloved hands, bundled in layers to withstand the cold environment needed to keep the blooms at their freshest, Frye and the rest brought the vision to life.

Philadelphia Flower Show - Schaffer Designs

Schaffer Designs’ owner Bill Schaffer, AIFD and partner Kristine Kratt interpreted the show’s “Springtime In Paris” theme with an exhibit celebrating a movie classic, An American in Paris, on it‘s 60th anniversary. Show-goers experienced the classic movie in a way never seen before. The exhibit interpreted four, magical scenes of the film through a 360-degree diorama of vignettes. The true-to-the-period set added life to the spectacular floral designs. Designers created magical elements in moving, over-scaled designs, colors and incorporated original audio and video of the movie.

Philadelphia Flower Show

Most of the designers, including Frye, are Accredited and Certified with the American Institute of Floral Designers. To obtain Accreditation a designer must pass written and rigorous hands-on testing. Only the best of the best qualify to be inducted into full membership. Frye is the only Accredited AIFD designer in the Asheville, NC area. (More info at AIFD.org)

Frye also got news the same day that The Enchanted Florist Asheville had again received the Readers Choice Award for Brides Book magazine (for WNC area). This award is chosen totally by North Carolina brides and is awarded in each of NC’s major destination wedding areas. [Read more…]

Meeting Florists Friends At ISFA Convention

Local Illinois Florist

While we were at the Illinois State Florist Convention, we had the pleasure of meeting some of our wonderful member florists. One of our most memorable encounters was with LaRonda Lambert of Country Creations Floral & Antiques in Marion IL. LaRonda does flowers a little differently than most florists. Her shop features floral and antiques, so she uses the vintage theme throughout her creations. She even uses some of her antique items as vases for flower arrangements.

Grandma's Country GardenIt’s no surprise LaRonda put her own, classic spin on this years Land of Lincoln Cup competition. The theme was “Let It Rock!” and, while most people used actual rocks or went with a rockin’ music theme, LaRonda’s entry was completely out-of-the-box.

To LaRonda, rock is the slow creaking sound of her grandmother’s rocking chair on a country porch, and this is just what she created. LaRonda’s entry was more than just a pretty flower design, it was a true work of flower art that really made viewers think. The first thing to catch your attention was the screen door in the very front of the design. Looking through the screen you see the side view of a full-size rocking chair (It was actually cut in half to fit dimensions of the competition). Draped over the arm of the chair was a gorgeous, spring-color, patchwork quilt all made of flowers. For me, this floral work of art sparked great memories of going to Grandmas. She could always be found on her front porch knitting or crocheting something.

Watch The Video:

One thing about being a florist that is different than most professions is we get to mix business with pleasure. Incorporating our favorite hobbies into what we love further strengthens our passion for flowers and the business.

This post is brought to you by Flower Shop Network, your source for finding a REAL local florist.

What To Do With 30 Year Old Dried Flowers

Ask The Expert: I have some dried pansies that my mom pressed between wax paper…..They have been that way for probably for 30 plus years. I would like to do something with them but am afraid they would crumble to nothing…..I thought about using them in scrapbooks and make some bookmarks for family…..
How do you think they will react to me taking off the wax paper?
All thoughts are welcome


Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Vaye, It’s hard to say what will happen when you remove them from the wax paper. As long as they have been kept away from moisture, they should be fine and come out of the wax paper easily. Once they are out, they will be extremely fragile. Using them on anything that can bend, like bookmarks and scrapbook paper, may not be a good idea. If you put the flowers on a sturdy backing, such as cardboard, they may be okay. Make sure your scrapbook paper is acid-free.

Here are a few other ideas for using dried flowers:

  • Dried Flowers Under GlassFrame them. Make a pattern, or arrange them like a bouquet and place them in a frame under glass. This will protect and display them for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Make Jewelry. There are jewelry kits you can get to put small items under resin. You can easily place your pressed flowers into a charm and fill with resin for a lasting keepsake.
  • Home Decor. If resin peaks your interest, you can make all sorts of great home decor with kits. Make coasters, paperweights and more!
  • Candles. Melt wax to create new candles and press your dried flowers into the outside for a unique, decorative touch.
  • Découpage. Decoupage your flowers onto clear glass, such as vases or plates for a unique dried flower gift.

Hope this helps!