The Sweetest Pea

With the turn of the seasons, and with winter fast approaching, we florists start to look forward to all the colder climate plants which will begin really flourishing and becoming readily available. Quite often throughout the cooler months we are blessed with many varieties of flowers that are as intoxicating in appearance as they are in scent, which makes a welcome change.

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There is something special about sweet peas; the delicate blooms, with their sweet soft fragrance, remain a firm favourite. The combination of their ruffled appearance as well as their soft perfume has the ability to transport us to another time and place, usually to a time filled with innocence,  beauty and wonder; to childhood. They are special. They are simple. They are unforgettable. There is something so beautifully understated about a small vase or bottle of ‘pea’ as they are affectionately called, sitting on a bedside, or a coffee table.

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Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) belong to the legume family but obviously have more appeal to the wider community than a bowl of lentils. It is an annual, which is a climber, reaching heights of 1-2 metres where they can find suitable support. The terminal tendril twines around surrounding plants and structures, helping the pea to climb.  By providing a structure such as a tee pee or obelisk (as pictured) you will help support the pea as it grows and reaches. It is recommended that you pick your flowers every second day to encourage more blooms and growth.

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Sweet peas in the wild are purple, however since cultivation began in the 17th century, the range of colours has widened greatly. Today, you can get sweet peas in;

White or cream
Lavender and Purple
Delicate Flushes
Flakes or Stripes

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Sweet Pea do suffer from some pests, so if you do decide to try growing them yourself, you will need to keep an eye out for mildew and  aphids in particular. Aphids suck the life out of the plant, by draining the sap, and therefore reducing the plant growth. Other pests may include caterpillars, slugs and snails. Peas are also ethylene sensitive so it is recommended that they are grown away from fruit trees as it reduced their own plant life.

Sweet pea are popular flowers to use in posies, as well as bridal bouquets as they are delicate, soft and feminine, and because of the wide variety of colours available now, it is easy to coordinate with many colour palettes.

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They are currently available in store, so if you favour blooms that are as beautiful to smell as they are to look at, they may be the perfect choice for you.

Fwf x

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A Whole New World- Life Inside a Terrarium

ter·rar·i·um [tuh-rair-ee-uhm] noun:

a glass container, chiefly or wholly enclosed, for growing and displaying plants.

Terrariums have in the last few years become one of the most popular gift choices. The miniature worlds contained inside the glass vessels provide a unique growing environment and specific climate that allows plants to flourish. Besides just being aesthetically appealing, they can also be created to provide the ideal habitat for some animals should you be interested in introducing reptile pets (among other things) into your life.

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Image: Happy Place Terrariums

Many websites will instruct those keen to D.I.Y on the dos and don’ts and provide basic instruction in construction, we aren’t going to do that here, and the truth is, to do it properly, you require specific ingredients and a level of care and expertise that many of us just do not possess. Add to that the fact that terrariums require a special soil mix (usually a combination of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite) as well as charcoal to ensure both good growing conditions and to reduce the risks of microbial damage. Plus the soil mix MUST be sterile, to avoid introducing harmful microbes, so sometimes the quickest, easiest and most cost effective way to get your hands on one of these little wonders, is to trust the professionals.

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Image: Trouva

Terrariums are generally made in sealable glass container that can be opened for general maintenance and to access the inside when required. A sealed container creates a unique environment for the plant, with the transparent walls allowing heat and light inside, and in turn creating a small scale water cycle. This is due to the moisture from the soil evaporating in the elevated temperatures within the terrarium. This water vapour then collects on the walls of the container, where it then slides down back onto the plants and soil below. Beside allowing light and heat into the terrarium, the transparent walls are equally important for the process of photosynthesis, which is integral to plant growth.

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Image: My Pet Warehouse

Ideal plants for a closed terrarium include orchids, mosses, ferns and air plants, because they will flourish in the humidity and sheltered atmosphere which is created within the vessel, that is similar to their natural tropical environment.

Closed terrariums should be opened once a week to remove excessive moisture and in turn reduce the risk of mould growth which would result in damaged plants, or a discoloured container.

Whilst keeping the vessel closed encourages the water cycle, at times, the terrarium may also require additional water- if you notice the absence of condensation on the walls of the vessel or any of your plants wilting, this is a sign you may need to water your terrarium.

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Image: Terrarium Town via facebook

Terrariums can indeed be made in containers that are open and have access to the outside atmosphere. Open terrariums are more suited to plants that have adapted to dry climates such as succulents, which will not flourish in the inherently moist environment of the closed terrariums. Open terrariums also work well for plants that require more direct sunlight, as closed terrariums can trap too much heat potentially killing any plants inside.

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Image: Terrarium Town

The quirkiness of your terrarium is limited only by the creativity of your supplier and your expectations. Ornaments, special features and colour can change the overall appearance, and take a fairly conservative piece into the realm of kitsch. Animals from your African safari, smurfs and shells are common additions, as are fairies and mushrooms. Tell your supplier what elements you would or would not like to see in your bespoke piece.

Have you got a terrarium at your place, or have you given one as a gift? What a wonderful choice for a house warming or a long lasting gift after the birth of a child. Terrariums are a great gift that will give many months (or more) of pleasure to the recipient. If you think they may be a little beyond your plant caring expertise for the moment, check out our plant range here– we have a range of easy to care for planted succulents, orchids and other house plants to get your skills up!

Fwf x

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Being a Florist on Mother’s Day

As we gear up for the biggest day (read: week) of our calendar year, we want to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Mother’s day to all our beautiful mothers, to the new mummies out there finding their feet, mummies-to-be, godmothers, grandmothers and those fabulous people who fill the role of mother for those who do not have them.

Image: Today I Found Out

Mother’s Day is quite simply a day in which we celebrate the matriarch of the family, as well as the idea of motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Anna Jarvis began to campaign to have Mother’s Day recognised as a holiday in the United States in 1905, the year her beloved mother passed away and in 1908, she held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.  Wikipedia says ‘Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed that they were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”‘

When you are a florist, unfortunately those around you have to compromise to an extent on these big days; important days in everyone else’s calendar that don’t manage to get the same acknowledgement simply because we do not have the time or energy to see anyone when it is all said and done.

Florists rarely celebrate Valentine’s day, and quite often take a cynical view on the day of lurve…..no doubt largely due to the fact that when you are working that hard, if the day passes with little or no acknowledgement from your special someone, it can feel like an almighty punch in the proverbial face! happy-mothers-day-diet-quotes

Similarly, each Mother’s Day, I kind of get this unshakeable feeling of guilt because I know I am not going to be able to make the day as special as I would like. I have a truly awesome mother, who I love and adore beyond words. I know that she already knows this. But every Mother’s Day, the poor love isn’t taken out to breakfast, lunch or dinner by me (or my rather hopeless younger brother) and rarely does she see me in the lead up or in the days following the Mother’s Day either. Despite knowing after 16 years of me being in this industry that it is all just part of the job, every year I feel like she misses out somehow. Let’s face it, Mum misses out again :-(

I take comfort in the fact that she is lucky enough to spend the day with her own mother who turns 90 this year, a pretty amazing woman in her own right, living alone at home, independant and self sufficient. And most of the time mum’s sister will also get together with them as her own children all live interstate. I guess beyond everything, these three women make the day special by being together.

My own two girls are incredibly blessed to not only have a mother, but also an aunt, grandmother, great aunt and great grandmother; all alive and with all their faculties, healthy and active and involved  in their lives and their upbringing. So many of life’s important lessons have come from these strong, interesting, inspiring and loving women, not simply from me. Hell, I probably can’t credit for a lot of it!

Image: Woman’s Day

I can’t wait for a time where I get to lie in bed and have my gorgeous family bring me breakfast, or jump into beds for long cuddles, rather than try to catch me on my way to or from the shower rushing to get ready. I suppose once those days come, I  will feel restless and unsure of what to do with myself after the ritual of so many years spent on the tools for these big days.

Mother’s Day can also be an incredibly sad and sensitive time for those who have not been able to have children despite having all the hope and love in their heart, for those who have lost children and for those who have lost their mums. Be sensitive to those around you as you celebrate- you never really know what people are dealing with.

If there is someone special who might need some extra love sent their way this weekend, it is not too late to order. Our fantastic team can help you create something totally unique if you wish to call them on 02 9871 1666. Alternatively you can easily order online from our gorgeous Mother’s Day range here.


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