Floral Designs

If you’re looking for a discussion on floral designs this site is the right one. It includes all the information you need about the issue of floral designs. It’s a topic that can be discussed throughout the year. There are about 400,000 flowering plant species (2010) throughout the world. As a result, the number of possible floral designs is almost unlimited.

That’s what this site is all about. The goal is to celebrate the activity of floral design whether it’s done as a hobby or profession. It starts with what floral design is all about. It’s the arrangement of fresh or artificial flowers or leaves in a new and eye-catching way. The arrangement can be a small design for a dining room table or a big design for events like weddings.

Another important skill for floral designers is know-how about the various plants, flowers, and foliage they work with. This will help to create arrangements using the right plants/flowers for certain occasions. For example, it’s important to know the lifespan of certain flowers so you’ll how to maximize the longevity/beauty.

Important tools for floral designers including the right range of vases, pots, and other vessels. That will help to produce the best results in terms of the overlook look of the arrangement. For example, it’s important to select the right one for certain events including Valentine’s Day, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, and so on. Besides the vessels the arrangements are placed on there are other items such as cards and gifts can also help to add to the overall quality of the arrangement.

A floral arranger should also know how to effectively use various embellishments including ribbons and other items to help boost the arrangement as creative and eye-catching as possible. Picking the right container for a certain arrangement is also important in order to produce the best results.

Goal

The goal of the blog is to provide visitors with the latest and greatest news/information about floral arrangements. There were many possible formats but the blog was picked mainly due to the interactive nature. There’s a post made almost every day. This provides all sorts of information including tips and tricks for designs. This will help you to make more creative and eye-catching designs whether they’re during your free time or while working at a florist.

I also provide photos and descriptions for recent projects that I’ve completed. This will help to give you ideas for your own arrangements. You could either use the instructions as a template if you want to recreate the exact design that I’ve made. On the other hand, you could also tweak it if you want to make a unique design that’s somewhat different. It’s really up to you.

Photos are one of the most important components of the blogs. The reason is that you can see exactly how the arrangement should look when you’re done. It’s been said a picture is worth “a thousand words” and that’s definitely the case in terms of directions for floral designs. It’s one thing to give step-by-step directions. However, it’s even better when you can see what the finished product should look like. As always you can make tweaks to put your own signature on the arrangement but it’s important to get a sense of what the design should look like when it’s done.

The blog also includes text content for various reasons. One is that there’s a story about each design that my florist creates. The goal of the story is to create a context for the design. It will explain some of the issues and problems the shop had to deal with in order to provide the finished product. It also helps to make everything more personable. We don’t want the blog just to be a “how to” site that gives steps for making floral design templates. Instead, we want to connect with our visitors and followers, and one way to do that is to provide the whole story.

We hope that you’ll visit our blog and visit it often. Always feel free to Like and Share the posts on Facebook or Twitter. You can also make comments if you want to join the discussion about whatever is being discussed in the post. This is important so you can join and improve the discussion about floral designs and arrangements.

In fact, you can also complete our Contact form if you have any questions or concerns you want to bring up with our staff. We’ll try to answer them as soon as possible. We value your feedback and it helps to improve the quality of our site.

Editor’s Journal

Sunflower Princess

I let go of my mom’s hand as I ran towards the white tables piled high with brilliant flowers of every type imaginable. I skittered past the roses, the peonies, the irises. I scuffled farther past orchids and mums until I rounded the corner and saw a splash of brilliant warm yellows. Looking among the sunny petals, specifically drawing closer to a cluster of bright yellow and brown, my mission was to find out whether or not my Giant Sunflower would be adorned with a silk ribbon indicating its rank among other sunflowers. As I scanned the rows of flowers I began to panic. Where did they put my flower? It was missing from its spot, and a white piece of table showed in between several vases.

That morning I had delighted at getting to use the ‘secret’ entrance to the New York State Fair. We had to explain to a man in a booth that we were exhibitors, and that made us important enough to drive through the normally car-free paths of the fair to the horticulture building to unload our bounty. I was wearing my navy blue shirt with sunflowers on it which I almost wanted to show to the man in the booth as proof that we belong with the sunflowers.

I spent the trip to the fair with a crate on my lap bursting with the color of summer. I stared at the petals and noticed that, though not all straight and orderly like some flowers, sunflowers had a beautiful randomness to the direction in which the petals fell. The petals seemed to almost push each other out of the way, competing for the kiss of the sun. The center of the flowers though was so geometrically ordered it fascinated me as it swirled perfectly towards the center. Others, too, I’m told, have been as intrigued by this natural perfection, so much so as to figure out the precise formulas and math determining their layout. For me, I’d rather just star and be drawn in by the golden angles.

The sunflower’s heads were about the size of a typical dinner plate, though they had started much smaller. Months ago, I sat in the breezeway of my house with my mom and we filled up tiny containers with potting soil. My mom put her pinky finger into the soil, making a hole for the seeds that I was holding in my 9 year old hands. Each container got one hole, and my job was to put the seeds in and close the holes. I checked on my seeds every day, and watered them when necessary. The containers had plastic bubbled lids that allowed sunlight to penetrate in, and gentle watering brought the first bit of green to poke through the dark soil days later. A few more days of observation and the poke of green began to resemble a pair of leaves. When mom decided that they were too big for their containers, we grabbed shovels and headed to the side of the driveway.

My mom has never been one for rules or keeping up appearances. To her the neighborhood lacked color. (Except for our neighbors who were “colorful” in a different, and kind of crazy way). So, instead of planting polite peonies or expected azaleas, my mom decided that lining the driveway with towering sunflowers would be just wonderful. I remember we started to dig just off the pavement of our driveway, because our property line wasn’t marked by much and the neighbors could sometimes get a bit squirrelly about who was mowing and raking where. But this didn’t seem to matter today as we both bent over side by side and put our hands in the dirt. I wore a pair of my mom’s gardening gloves that were far too large for my fingers, but made me feel like I was really doing it. My brother played with the hose in the front yard within earshot as we delicately transplanted the seedlings into the newly-turned soil. The summer had just begun and it was great to be outside on a warm day. My mom explained to me gently that not all of the sunflowers we planted would survive, and that we might have to pick some to make room for the others to grow. I nodded solemnly.

I am not sure that either of us had really read the small package of seeds purchased at Agway a few weeks ago. Though the label ‘Giant’ should have given us a hint, we didn’t know just how far that little seedling had to go. Soon the seedlings shot up to my knee’s height. Then they were as tall as my little brother, then taller. My mom and I watered them with the hose and fed them a little miracle grow, which I helped mix in our watering pot. I wondered why it was fake blue and whether it would turn the flowers blue in the end. Around my birthday, they were as tall as I was, and their hairy broad leaves began to delightfully cloud our view of the neighbors. After time, they were as tall as mom and began to create buds for flowers. But they didn’t stop growing then, either. When the flowers opened, I couldn’t reach them even on my Dad’s shoulders. When I look back at pictures of our house that summer, it seems to be bordered by a tall green fence topped with monuments to the sun gods. How strange it must have been to see such a weird enormous plant growing in such a generically planted neighborhood.

On the day of the competition, my brother and I took on the task of choosing the best four to be sacrificed and displayed at the fair for all to see. I remember selecting mine carefully based on the leaf appearance, petal size and overall beauty. My brother, barely six at the time, picked the ones he thought were “perfect.”

So as I scanned frantically for one of my perfect flowers that was now missing, I realized that my brother had one a third place ribbon for one of the ones he chose. “Look! Greg won a pink ribbon!” I said. By the time my parents and brother made it to where I had ran to, I determined that my sunflower was definitely missing. “Maybe something happened to it,” my dad said and shrugged.

My mom could see that I was not going to accept that as an answer after all of our work, and decided to ask one of the fair staff about it. I couldn’t hear them talking but my mom came back with a smile on her face. She lead me to a corner display of several different flowers, the vases laid out on a black velvet cloth. There, on the second tier, was my sunflower – it had won first place among all the sunflowers, and princess of show (2nd place) among all the other flowers. My flower that started out from a seed in my little hand in the hole that my mom’s little finger made for me got me a dazzling ribbon and fame.

People walking through the flower exhibit smiled at my joyful expression and explanation. People asked me how I did it, and all of my answers started with “we,” making sure that I told the whole story from the seeds to the towering plants. Several serious gardeners asked me my techniques with a little bit of condescension (having just been beaten by a 10 year old) and to them I replied that my secret was growing them with love.

Breezy’s Distinctive Floral: Joplin, Missouri’s Truly “Distinctive” Florist

Breezy’s Distinctive Floral  amp; Event Design remains one of the most highly-recommended florists in the Joplin, Missouri area even after changing up the business name and relocating to a larger city two-and-a-half years ago.

Formerly Breezy’s Floral  amp; Gifts, the business moved from it’s original location in the quaint, Mayberry-esque town of Seneca, MO to nearby Joplin, MO in the fall of 2006. After two years of day-to-day floral and gift sales, owner Debbie Mitchell re-conformed her business to almost exclusively wedding and event floral services. Leading up to the business transition was a six-month run of services for the recently-opened Downstream Casino  amp; Resort near Quapaw, OK, which may have served as inspiration to focus more on event planning.

The “events only” business move has proven successful with dozens of weddings, bridal showers, receptions, fundraisers, and parties having come to fruition to date and many more on the calendar. Even without day-to-day floral orders, Debbie remains busy.

“Life is to be celebrated, and people are always celebrating something,” Debbie comments in regard to her calendar remaining relatively full of weddings and other events to provide decor for. “You do notice that with changes in the economy there are changes in customers’ spending habits, but even a few flowers can make all the difference in the ‘vibe’ at your party.”

The ‘vibe’ at the events Debbie provides for is certainly a positive one – even cool and funky. The Breezy’s business has prided itself on being distinctive in its work compared to other florists by “breaking out of the ordinary and bringing you the extraordinary.” You’ll seldom see carnations or Baby’s Breath in Debbie’s arrangements or bouquets, but rather the more exotic Maggie Oei and Lady Slipper orchids or Calla lilies, just for example (I admit I had to “Google” those just to figure out what they were, having been a carnations and Baby’s Breath man myself for years.).

When I casually talk about Breezy’s with locals, the most common rave is along the lines of the business being “one of the best – if not THE best – around.” It says something significant, I think, when one can identify an artists’ work just by sight. At a reception set-up for the annual Girls Night Out fundraiser held at Downstream Casino Resort in June , some passerbys noticed the centerpieces and simply commented, “Oh yeah, those are cool. Definitely from Breezy’s!”

The Breezy’s website underwent some renovation in the summer and includes photo galleries of various arrangements, bouquets, and event set-ups as well as a more information on Debbie’s background in the floral industry. Even with her vast experience, Debbie admits that she is always looking outside her own little “extraordinary flower shop” for further inspiration from florists from around the world. She attended a floral design institute in Portland, Oregon in the spring and plans on further studies with the American Institute of Floral Designers.

“There’s always something new out there, things we haven’t tried,” Debbie said, adding, “and we hope to continue striving to provide the best for our customers and make whatever their occasion is as positively memorable as possible. You put some love in the work, and you make it happen.”

Flowers for a Blue Themed Garden

Everything these days has a color theme and gardens are no exception. Single colors or combinations of colors are used to create a certain garden style or mood. Blue theme gardens have a relaxing effect and there are enough different shades of blue so a blue themed garden will not come off as monochromatic.

Bulbs

Variegated Sweet Iris has blueish lavender flowers that are very fragrant and bloom in the early summer. They can grow to 30 inches tall, look great against a white fence and also make good container plants. They are hardy in zones 4 to 9 and are deer resistant.

Annuals

Blue Pimpernel grows 9 inches high and has a 20 inch spread, has light blue petals with red centers and blooms from late spring to early fall. It can be planted as a perennial in zones 9 to 11.

Anchusa Undulata is drought resistant and produces small dark blue purple flowers. It is also deer and snail resistant. It can be grown as a perennial in zones 9 to 11.

Perennials

Campanula Blue Clipshas heart shaped leaves and blue bell shaped flowers that will bloom though out the summer. It will grow to about 12 inches high and is hardy in zones 3 to 8.

Wonder of Staffa Aster looks like a daisy with its lavender blue petals and yellow center. It blooms all summer into the fall, is deer resistant and is hardy in zones 5 to 8.

Bushes

Blue Butterfly Delphinium has a deep blue color. It attracts butterflies but deer will leave it alone. It grows to about 14 inches high, making it a perfect choice for a border. Flowers appear in the early part of summer and it will bloom all season long. It is hardy in zones 4 – 8.

Blue Bird Rose of Sharo n will bloom for a minimum of three months from late summer all the way to first frost. It can get as tall as 8 feet, is deer resistant, and is hardy in zones 4 to 9.

Vines

Jackmanii Climbing Clematis grows up to 14 feet height and makes a great privacy plant. The purple blue flowers bloom from mid summer through the fall and it is hardy in zones 3 to 8.

Ground Covers

Evergreen Vinca grows 6 inches high and has blue star shaped flowers that bloom in the early spring. It likes shade, so it can go under trees and it is deer resistant. It is hardy in zones 4 to 9.

Trailing Bellflower is a trailing ground cover that grows 8 inches long and 28 inches wide. It is an evergreen with star shaped lilac blue flowers. It can also be used in hanging pot and it attracts butterflies. It is hardy in zones 4 to 7.

What are heat press machines?

Heat press machines are a type of equipment that you would need in the graphic design or art business. With this piece of machinery, you can make significant profits through the printing of t-shirt, mug and other types of custom designs. With this kind of machine, you can do any kind of print work that is necessary, with relatively little effort. Using this kind of printing equipment, you can add graphics to blank or plain t-shirts, ceramics, etc. So if you have got a graphical design or art business, you should definitely get a machine that is capable of heat pressing designs onto shirts and cups.

A heat press machine is also called a heat transfer printing machine. This is because it uses heat to transfer ink and print it on a plain t-shirt. This kind of t-shirt printing technology is the modern way to print artwork onto shirts. Compared to other kinds of shirt printing technologies, using a heat press for t-shirt printing is definitely a much better idea. Any graphic or printing business should look into investing in a heat press if they want to sell custom printing services. This kind of machine is much better at printing artwork onto t-shirts or cups, and at a better price too. It also prints designs much faster as well.

The quality of the printing that a heat press will create is also awesome. The ink that will be printed onto the shirt or ceramic will be vivid and the colors will pop. The lines of the ink will be sharp and detailed. If you do not like the muddy looking printing results of other custom printing equipment, you should check out a heat press printing machine in action. There is definitely a huge improvement in how the heat press machine creates and prints designs onto whatever you need.

Using a heat press for t-shirt printing, you can get a graphic design that will last for a long time. The results of using a heat press for t-shirt printing are very excellent. The ink that you have printed onto the t-shirts will not easily fade away. And you would be surprised how long the printed ink will stay on the shirt, no matter how many washes it has been through.

Heat press machines are definitely the best kind of shirt printing equipment to get. If you compare it to older shirt printing equipment, such as screen printing machines, a heat press just makes much more sense to get. This kind of shirt printing technology would serve your needs and the needs of your customer much better! It prints faster, cheaper, and with a better quality as well. It is no wonder that many other graphic design businesses have also adopted the use of a heat press in their own t-shirt printing services. If you are looking to expand your graphic design business, or want to upgrade your current t-shirt printing equipment, you should get a heat press. This kind of equipment is a great buy if you need to print artwork onto shirts or mugs.

 

Floral Design Classes in San Diego

Designing flowers is a wonderful, almost beautiful career to pursue. With Floral Design Classes in San Diego, the pursuit of a new career, change of career or even dream career is possible. In fact the Floral Design Classes offered in San Diego are part of a Floral Design Certificate Program ideal for assisting one in beginning a new career.

The Floral Design Classes in San Diego that offer a certificate program consists of a four-part program. The Floral Design Certificate Program is broken up into the following; Floral Design I Introduction to Floral Design, Floral Design II Special Events, Floral Design III Weddings and Corporate Events, and Master Floral Designer’s Class.

The first Floral Design Class, Floral Design I which is a basic class where students will work with a variety of flowers including daisies, dandelions and more. With the growth in the industry expected to boom over the next six years, the level of professionalism is very high in this class. Students are expected to invest $100.00 in their initial supplies plus an additional $15.00 classroom supply fee. This class meets for three Saturdays for approximately 5 hours per class.

Floral Design II Special Events takes the floral design to a different level as students are challenged a little bit more in their ability to create a beautiful yet professional arrangement. The fee for Floral Design II Special Events is $120.00. This class meets for 3 Saturdays for 5 hours, or for three weeks on Tuesday and Thursdays for 2 ½ hours.

The next in the sequence of Floral Design Classes in San Diego is Floral Design III Weddings and Corporate Events. In this class students learn to tastefully create special event floral décor with the utmost skill and taste creating an impeccable and appropriate design for each. The fee for attending the Floral Design III Weddings and Corporate Events is $120.00. The class meets for either 3 Saturdays for 5 hours, or for 2 ½ hours for 3 weeks meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The final segment of the Floral Design Classes in San Diego to be eligible for certification is the Master Floral Designers’ Class. This is an advanced class designed to take the talent and skills of the floral designer to the next professional level. Students have the opportunity to work with local designers, books, floral accessories, lighting and more direct from professional shows. It is in this segment of the Floral Design Certificate Program where students may enter their work in competitions. The fee for the Master Floral Designer’s Class is $120.00 plus a$20.00 material fee. This class also meets for 3 Saturdays.

How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

To attract butterflies to your garden is as effortless as planting flower producing trees. However, your choice of plants and the flowers they produce can have an effect on the populace of butterflies. Flowers vary in type, color, the nectar they produce, and the butterfly is eager to come to those gardens that have an abundance of nectar. For example, funnel-shaped flowers are exceptional producers of nectar and butterflies naturally get attracted to gardens having such flowers. Lantanas and Zinnias are equally good producers of nectar and the butterflies get attracted to them. Educate yourself on the type of plants and flowers fancied by the butterflies and caterpillars, and follow the methods envisaged to attract butterflies to your garden.

This way, you can watch on the complete life cycle of an assortment of lovely butterflies and relish every moment with them. Butterflies have a liking for fragrant flowers with big petals to land themselves on, in the red /yellow color category. A few of the ideal choices to attract butterflies to your garden are marigold, salvia, zinnia, cosmos, sunflower, daisy, straw flower, etc. You can try perennials and constantly blooming flowers such as, butterfly bush, lavender, roses, hibiscus, hydrangeas and others of the same category. Always include plants that are cultivated in your area to attract butterflies to your garden. The garden should ideally locate in an area where there is good sunlight. Another idea is to arrange a sprinkler in your garden, which will help you to water the plants and also the puddles formed by the sprinkler will attract butterflies seeking water. Several of the flowers that attract the butterflies to your garden are easy to cultivate.

It is not possible to attract butterflies to your garden without creating a habitat for caterpillars. In order to do that, you must have plants they love to eat. It is possible to attract butterflies your garden by providing a place for butterfly larvae to live. This can be done by by planting the right variety of food plants in your garden. Plant trees like willow and shrubs such as hackberry, spicebush and sassafras as habitats for caterpillars. Let plantains, milk weeds, clovers and thistles grow. Seasonal cutting of the vegetation should be done cautiously as the plant stems may have chrysalis of butterfly larva.

Numerous adult butterflies are partial to decomposing fruits. Arrange a board in a sunlit area and put mashed bananas and citrus fruits on it during warm weather and when the adult butterflies are very active to create a butterfly feeding station. This also will attract butterflies to your garden. Avoid the use of insecticides in your butterfly garden. The all pervasive use of insecticides is the main cause for the decline in butterfly populace.

Succlentla Floral Design Firm Los Angeles: Green Floral Gifts

Catchy name Succlentla, and perfect for the single plant focus for a floral artist. Succulentla is a unique Floral Design Firm located in Los Angles that is committed to creating unique and creative succulent arrangements that can no less be sent as gifts around the country and are considered Green floral gifts.

Everyone has a friend that is difficult to buy for. Couple that with him or her being an environmental activist who is serious about living Green. Succulentla Floral Design Firm in Los Angeles has the perfect gift for your loveable tree-hugging friend. The succulent gifts created at Succulentla Floral Design Firm are fully Green gifts.

Succulentla is a premier unique Floral Design Firm committed to creating eco-friendly plants that thrive without using large amounts of water and or care. Sending flowers is great particularly for the recipient. But sending succulents is not a bad idea either particularly the arrangements created from Succlenta. Succulentla Floral Design Firm in Los Angeles doesn’t just create Green Floral Gifts; their creations include unique designs in artisan containers filled with organic soil.

The current selection of succulent plants that can be sent via mail from Succulentla Floral Design Firm consists of a collection of four uniquely designed succulents. Each of the uniquely designed earth friendly succulent plants are planted in an artisan quality container, which is also earth friendly. Each of the specially packaged pesticide free succulent plants is carefully planted with organic soil and organic lava rock.

The final touch for the totally Green gift is for Succulentla Floral Design Firm in Los Angeles to package the designer plants in totally recycled renewable packing material cushioned with biodegradable peanuts made from corn starch. As a final eco-friendly gesture the complete package is then boxed neatly in a recycled cardboard box and shipped to the earth friendly recipient.

The unique succulent floral designs created by the talented florist at Succulentala Flora Design Firm in Los Angeles each measures 5″ x 8″ and retails for approximately $45.00 plus shipping and handling.

The collection of succulent designs available for local pick up offers a wide selection of designs, sizes, and artisan containers from which to select. The unique choice of succulents lends a peaceful air and bit of ambiance to an environment in addition to saving the earth’s resources. If looking for something special in succulents for a specific area contact in your home or garden, contact Succulentla for a consultation.

The Best Flowers and Arrangements for a Cutting Garden

Do you love cut flowers in your home? Then a cutting garden is perfect for you. There are several ways to arrange the cutting garden to have the best display inside the house and in the yard.

Arrange the flowers by height:

When you want the most appeal from the outside you need to put the tallest flowers to the back of the garden. Make sure that they are not in front of shorter plant when facing the sun. It is simple reasoning that a taller flower blocks the sun and thwarts the plant in its shadow.

Check the sun requirement for the shorter flowers. Full sun means as it says, the sun all day. Don’t plant taller plants behind these. Most plants can thrive in partial sun.

Arrange by color and blossoming time:

Are you a monochromatic kind of person? Develop your color the same way in the garden. Plant clumps of color to get the full effect of it and contrast. I am not the best in organizing anything, and the color scheme of my garden had to be simple. Once I placed the plants in the right area, sun or shade, I simply made the colors go by the light spectrum and from the light shade of that color to dark.

The blossoming time of perennials vary quite a bit. Annuals, once flowering bloom a lot longer. Keep the blossoming times in mind and try to mix the plants so there is always something blooming.

Grow interesting foliage if you are going to use the garden for bouquets. You want to have variety in the vase.

Great flowers for a cutting garden:

Perennials:

Peonies: These beautiful bushy plants can be used all alone in an arrangement. Their flowers are big and varied, due to new hybrids. Giant multicolored, pink, white, or red flowers with a heavenly scent will grace your table around Memorial Day. Use the plant vivid dark green foliage as the background. WARNING: Shake the ants out of the flowers before bringing them in. There’s always some there.

Bellflowers: These beautiful blue flowers have several varieties. Check the height in the seed catalogue.

Poppies: The Oriental Poppy has a short life in the garden. It actually lasts longer when it’s brought indoors.

The Balloon flower: They look like a balloon until they pop open.

Lilies: There are so many types of Lilies. I have never tried the Day lily, but Oriental lilies and Stargazers last a long time.

Lilac: Snip a branch of the bush and add it to the bouquet. The fragrance calms even the most beastly of guests.

Roses: Well, of course.

Daisy types of flowers like the Echinacea, Shasta daisy, Black-eyed Susan, and Gaillardia all make great additions.

Chrysanthemums: Football weather is just around the corner when the mums start blooming. These hardy fall bloomers come in all shapes and sizes. They also can be annuals or perennials.

Lupines: Brilliant colors on a stalk.

Monarda: Bee balm is it’s common name.

Baby’s Breath: Don’t forget the accent flower.

Choose a bulb: All the spring flowers that we love like Tulips and Daffodils can be brought in doors. Warning: Paper whites STINK!

Gladiolas are dramatic accent flowers also.

The list is endless. Most wild flowers don’t do well, and ground cover or short-stemmed flowers are out of the question.

Annuals For the Vase:

Snap dragons: Another favorite of mine. The oil is used as food in Russia and has a wonderful folk tale about how the plant’s oil came to be given to the Russian people. If you squeeze the sides of the mouth of the individual flower (You’ll know what I mean if you see it.) You can make it talk. I play with these as my puppets until Mike takes them away from me and hides them. They are fun.

Cosmos: These are stunning daisy like flowers that are prolific. They are so simple to grow you see many communities plant them along roadways.

Calendula: Like oranges and yellow? If you do this one screams, “Pick me, pick me.”

Salvia: Another red dynamite flower.

Sunflowers: There are smaller versions that are multi head. These are great for bouquets.

Sweet peas: Charming plants.

Zinnias: Big and beautiful.

Larkspur: The annual of the Delphiniums.

Carnations: Yes you can grow them and they smell wonderful.

Spider flower: They have a unique shape that adds eye appeal

Corn flowers: Bachelor buttons are a member of this group. They are great for drying.

Don’t forget the foliage:

Try a few plants like fennel (I am officially a fennel pusher) for its lacy leaf and lemon balm for the scent to add interest to your cutting garden and bouquets.

There are more that I think of even now, like the Poor man’s orchid also know as the Butterfly flower. This is just a starting point for your unique cutting garden.

What Kinds of Flowers Are Most Popular to Give on Valentine’s Day, and What Do They Mean?

The tradition of giving flowers on Valentine’s Day is based on the very legend that gave rise to the holiday.

It is said that back in the days of the Roman Emperor Claudius II, a priest named Valentine-the man who was eventually to be canonized as Saint Valentine-while awaiting execution for protecting persecuted Christians and performing marriages not recognized by the state, befriended the jailer and the jailer’s blind daughter, sending a card and a single red rose to the daughter just before his death. Giving Valentine’s Day cards and flowers, then, is a way of recreating and honoring the actions of Saint Valentine.

Flowers have long been appreciated for their beauty, but in some cultures people can be said to have communicated with flowers. Different types of flowers were assigned different meanings. (There was no formal authority that designated what flowers were to mean; it was more a matter of imprecise and changing meanings arising out of convention.)

Such florography, or floral symbolica, has been practiced in such disparate lands and times as ancient China, India, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and Turkey, as well as in Victorian England, where several special dictionaries were published to provide all the flower meanings.

Regardless of whether legend is correct that the rose was the first ever flower given for Valentine’s Day, roses certainly are number one in popularity today, especially red and pink roses.

Which flowers to choose for Valentine’s Day is of course a matter of personal preference. One needn’t go with roses just because they’re popular. Indeed, you may be able to get a very good deal on perfectly lovely flowers of other varieties that happen not to be as much in demand for this particular holiday.

You may, if you wish, base your choice in part on the conventional meanings of the various flowers:

* Roses, as most people would surmise, convey a message of love. In addition, red roses symbolize perfection and beauty; pink roses symbolize elegance, grace, and joy; orange roses symbolize passion and desire; yellow roses symbolize happiness and warmth; lavender roses symbolize the enchantment of a new love, and white roses symbolize purity and innocence, as well as serving as an appropriate flower for Valentine’s Day weddings.

* Another popular Valentine’s Day flower is the carnation. Carnations symbolize love, distinction and fascination.

* Tulips symbolize perfect love. Tulips are not so much for the initial infatuation, but for when you’re sure you’ve found “the one.”

* Orchids symbolize a delicate, rare beauty. They can also symbolize wealth, and of course love, which all the flowers represent in one way or another.

* Peruvian lilies symbolize devotion and friendship, and are good for when you are not confident about declaring a full-fledged romantic love.

* Sunflowers symbolize, not surprisingly, the sun, and thereby warmth and caring.

If you do decide to go with one of these varieties of flowers due to its conventional meaning, be sure to reference that meaning in a card or when presenting the flowers to your Valentine. There’s not much point in choosing a certain message if that message is not received.

But really the best flowers to give for Valentine’s Day are whichever the recipient will like best, and will accept as a beautiful token of your love.

Edible Flowers Add a New Dimension to Your Menu

Flowers are pretty and so nice to grow in the spring and summer. They are not difficult to raise to make a lovely impression on your landscape but did you know they are also useful? There are some edible flowers that are not difficult to grow that make you an instant gourmet. Flower is a Middle English word that means “the best of anything” and they are the best to look at and the edible varieties are good for the body as all good foods are.

One edible flower we are all familiar with is the sunflower. These are hardy plants and the seeds are just delicious. Sprinkle some in salads, use some in cookies or just eat plain. Other edible flowers are varieties of roses, daisies, pansies, and dandelions.

Roses can be used to flavor water or tea. Daisies and dandilons can be used for the same. Dandilion greens are eaten when the flower is still young before bloom so next time you want to curse those dandilions in your yard, don’t use poison to kill them, just eat them instead.

Pansies and so pretty and can be used in salads, as a decoration on cakes, in cocktails and even soups! Have you ever seen a spritzer with some pretty pansies on top? You could pay a lot for a drink like that at a restaurant but you could also grow your own and make youself the envy of the neighborhood at your next BBQ by serving exotic drinks with pansies in them.

Not only are flowers edible, but they are also nutritious. Some flowers are used for medicinal purposes, or in serums to treat or prevent colds. Each specific type of flower varies in its uses, but most have more than one purpose. Check your local library for medicinal herbs for uses or search the internet for more information. Some flowers are poisonous and could be harmful, so this research is key.

Many annual herbs flower often throughout the season. My favorite by far is basil: The leaves of basil are often dried and used as seasoning, but the flowers can also be eaten fresh on a salad or as a decorative addition. Often, people deflower their basil plants just discard those flowers. Now you have another use for them!

There are many more edible flowers grown around you every day. Don’t just stop to smell the roses, take a bite out of them too. Just remember before grazing in the flower garden, do your research and know what you’re eating.

So You Want to Become a Floral Designer?

The first thing I’d like to pose to you is a question. Are you sure you want to be a floral designer? The reason I ask this is because in truth once confronted with the reality of what the job entails many people change their minds. I’ve seen a lot of rapid turnover of flower shop employees through the years. To help you with your decision let me provide you with some information I’ve learned in my 17 years as a professional floral designer.

This is a feast or famine industry. Either business is coming in at breakneck speed or at a trickle. The majority of American flower shops allow no sitting on the job so be prepared to spend up to 16 hours on your feet during busy times. During the holidays ( and you’ll get precious little time off for the holidays, usually only the day itself) you’ll work possibly as much as 70 hours a week and you will stand for nearly every hour of it. Things will be fast paced and you’ll be under pressure to perform. Because many customers come out of the woodwork strictly for holidays there will be more complaints and unrealistic expectations from clients. The hours, while long during the holidays are also unpredictable and make things like childcare and family relations difficult to plan.

During January and the summer months business can become very slow and in many shops this will result in a lack of labor hours. You may not get enough hours to live on during these times. This can be a real problem as floral design positions do not pay well for the amount of skill required. Health insurance and other benefits may be non-existent due to the small size of the business and the seasonal lack of hours. You won’t get rich being a florist – it’s a labor of love.

A typical day working in a flower shop might be about like this:

You have been working at a flower shop for several weeks now and you are beginning to get the hang of answering the phones and waiting on customers. Hopefully soon someone will begin training you in the art of floral design. In the morning you wash flower buckets with disinfectant and set them aside to air dry. Then you go out into the store and sweep up any mess that may have tracked around the retail area of the store. If it’s a slow day you might mop the retail and cooler floors. Once the flower buckets have dried you fill a number of them with preservative water and set them out in the design area in preparation for today’s shipment of flowers. When the flowers arrive you remove their wrappers, strip off their lower leaves, give them a fresh cut with a flower guillotine and put them into buckets separated by color and variety. After the flowers have had some time to hydrate (one of your supervisors advises you on this) you display them in the cooler. Afterward you take out the big pile of garbage created by the flower waste. Then you go out into the store and dust the shelves…………….not very romantic, is it? You can plan on about 6 months to a year of similar work.

You will get dirty and ruin plenty of clothes. The frequent exposure to moisture, the handling of floral product, and the almost constant use of tools will make your hands chapped, callused, nicked, and sometimes sore. You may come home footsore and tired. You may need to pick up an extra job to supplement your income. The work environment may be extremely chaotic due to the constantly changing priorities balancing the necessity of answering phones, waiting on customers, and producing the arrangements on a tight schedule.

If you aren’t daunted by these obstacles and have a profound love of flowers, an eye for color, and artistic sensibilities – floral design might be for you. For me, it’s all worth it. After 17 years in the business, I still get as excited as a kid on Christmas morning when the flower shipment arrives. While it’s not a peaceful occupation floral design can allow you to express your creativity and bring joy and beauty into people’s lives.

Flowers for Winter Bloom

In the Long Beach area, you can have flowers blooming in your garden all through the winter months. This is the time of the year when floral beauty attains its greatest value. This is when skies are often gray and when the sun is not a daily visitor. By planting now you will have color in your landscape during the middle of the winter season.

Calendulas are one of your best bets for cool weather. The name of the flower is associated with calendar and is interpreted to mean that the flowers bloom throughout the calendar year. They have the greatest value in winter because flowers at that time are comparatively rare. Calendulas are often referred to as winter marigolds.

One of the most amazing features of the calendula is its ability to flower even when the sun falls to shine. However, it is advisable to set the plants or sow seed out in the open. Plants started now should flower some time in December and will continue for months at a time. Several types of calendula arc available, most of them carrying tones of yellow, orange and gold.

Snapdragons are also an excellent variety for winter culture in the Long Beach area. They prefer a cool growing season and are excellent both in the garden and inside the home for floral decorations. Practically all available strains are now rust-proof. Should any plants be stricken with this disease they should be removed from the garden immediately. Rust appears as chocolate-colored pustules that show up on the under side of the leaves and also on the stems. For extra large flowers select the Tetra strain of snaps. The blooms are giants and the plants are stronger and taller than most strains. They grow to about two and one-half feet at maturity.

Pansy plants are available in Southern California throughout fall, winter and spring. Actually the plants will thrive in the warmer part of the year if sufficient moisture is supplied. But it is probably easier to grow the plants when the weather is somewhat on the cooler side.

The Swiss Giants are undoubtedly the preferred strain for this locality. The flowers are larger and the plants taller. But this means that more water must be supplied than for the low growing types. This is because the roots must pump sufficient moisture to the tops of the plants. Unless the soil has a high water content the plants will strain themselves in their effort to supply the topgrowth with sufficient moisture. So don’t let the plants go thirsty.

Stocks do well at this time and one strain, because it likes cool weather so well, has been named the Giant Winter variety. Actually in Southern California stocks can be grown outdoors throughout the year. This contrasts interestingly with the culture of stocks back east, where they are mainly a greenhouse plant during the winter. The plants attain a height of 18 inches and flower from seed in three months or less. The Winter Nice stock is apparently the most popular variety for general garden purposes in this area. The double giant column stock is preferred if exhibition blooms are desired.

Other plants that do a good job of flowering during cool weather include: Violas, African daisies, winter-flowering sweet peas, larkspur, centaurea, verbena, sweet William, arctotis and primulas. Keep in mind that generally plants grow more slowly in cool weather. So don’t be too impatient if the flowers fail to appear as early as you wish.



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