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Sweet Florals – FSN Member Lori Himes Featured in Florist Review!

Lori Himes featured in Florist ReviewCongratulations to Lori Himes, AIFD of A’Bloom LTD for her great floral designs recently selected for “Best Cake Decor” in the Picture Perfect Wedding Contest in the Florist Review – April Issue 2013.

Lori contributed floral designs for a wedding last fall at The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit in Walkersville, Maryland, and was recognized for her excellent work when incorporating flowers into the wedding cake. She took a moment from the busy Mother’s Day order rush to talk to me about her featured flowers.

“I’ve known the bride and her family for a long time. She was very open to our ideas. When given that opportunity we like to do more of a natural style that goes with the season. Autumn colors are my favorite and I love to use what is available in this area like bittersweet vine. You have to know where to find it. We have a secret spot where we go collect our own so don’t tell anyone where it is. You have to be sure and get it before the first frost.”

The winning cake decor consisted of fresh ‘Orange Unique’ roses, red and orange spray roses, mixed spray chrysanthemums, sunflowers and miniature dahlias and hypericum placed directly on the icing.

The autumn colors beautifully set off all 3 layers of decadent white cake. Placed in front of a large mirror in the reception area, this towering delight was nestled on a tabled with a fabulous scatter of preserved oak leaves, colorful flower petals, and Lori’s own secret store of bittersweet vine.

Lori’s Expert Tips for Working with Cake Florals [Read more…]

Are Fresh Cut Flowers Safe To Use On Wedding Cakes?

Fresh Flowers on Wedding CakeAsk the Expert: Placing fresh cut flowers on wedding cakes My customer would like a cake topper with florals, and many flowers cascading at an angle around the cake. Is it safe to place the stem in to the cake and well as the flower resting on the cake icing?

How do you begin to charge for this.

Thanks Pat

Flower Shop Network Expert Reply:

Answering the question “What is an edible flower?” isn’t easy. The answer can vary even within a particular bloom depending on the way it was grown and processed. The strongest factor is that the flower can not be inherently poisonous. This doesn’t mean that the flower necessarily tastes good.

The best way I can answer your question is to first clarify the difference between edible flowers and flowers that are safe to use on wedding cakes.

Edible flowers are those flowers that are safe to consume. These flowers are grown specifically for human consumption and will be organically grown or treated with safe pesticides only.  This does not mean everyone can eat them. Just as with certain foods, some people may be allergic to the flowers.

Petals are usually the edible part of the flower, however this isn’t necessarily true. Always verify which part of the flower is edible. Remember even edible flowers should be eaten in moderation.

One rule of thumb when preparing edible flowers is to remove the pistil and stamen before eating the flower.

Flowers safe to use on wedding cakes are used strictly as a garnish and for decoration. Although these are non-poisonous flowers, they are not necessarily organically grown and therefore should not be eaten. It is extremely important to washed the flowers thoroughly before using them. It is important to have a barrier between these flowers and the cake. NEVER place a flower stem directly into the wedding cake!

Many wedding florists use specially designed holders when placing flowers on the cake. These holders give florists the ability to arrange flowers in the cake without exposing the the cake directly to the flower.  They also make it easier to remove the flowers when serving the cake.   

A good rule of thumb for selecting wedding cake flowers is “When in doubt leave it out!”

Below is a list of common edible flowers:

Bachelor button Bee balm Borage
Calendula Chamomile Chive flowers
Chrysanthemum Dandelion Daylily
Dianthus Fuchsia Gardenia
Gladiolus Hibiscus Hollyhock
Impatiens Lilac Marigold
Mint Nasturtium Pansy
Roses Sage Squash blossom
Snapdragon Sunflower Violet

Hopefully this list will help you get started. Remember any flower not certified as organic should be used only as decoration and not eaten.

To learn more about edible flowers read NC State University’s Edible Flowers article. I also found information about this subject on the National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service site’s Edible Flowers pages.

Do not use the following poisonous flowers:

Azalea Belladonna Calla Lily
Crocus Foxglove Hyacinth
Larkspur Lily-of-the-Valley Rhododendron

The lists above are just an abbreviated list of the non-toxic and toxic flowers available. Check with your local extension services or horticultural departments for a more in-depth reference.

This flower question was brought to you by the local florists in Kansas City.

Painting Hydrangeas To Use On A Wedding Cake

wedding-cake-with-purple-hydrangea-bloomsAsk the Expert: Can you paint hydrangeas and put on cake?

We are doing a wedding this weekend with Hydrangea. Since they are very expensive in colors we are using white hydrangea and painting them purple. I have some reservation about using painted flowers on a cake. Will it smear on to the icing? I am pretty sure the ones in the attached picture are painted but I just wanted to make sure.Please let tell me what you would suggest! Thanks. Whitney

Plant Expert Reply:

Hydrangea would not be my choice for cake flowers. If you need to use them begin by hydrating them properly. Without a water source the hydrangeas will curl quickly. So, proper hydrangea hydration is essential.

As for painting the blooms, you need to use the right type of paint.  You need paint specially designed for flowers.  Design Masters’ “Just For Flowers” floral paints come in several different shades.  Choose one that has the right tint and test it on one of the hydrangea blooms. This is the only way you will be able to tell if the color will run. Using a paint specifically for flowers is critical.  Other paints will not be absorbed by the flower correctly and will cause issues like: blotchy and smearing.

Good luck and please let me know how it turns out.

This flower design tip is brought ot you by local Phoenix Florists.