Living on Air

Everyone likes something low maintenance right? In today’s modern world, we seem to be over scheduled and over committed, and as a result, our plant friends seem to take somewhat of a sideline. So what could be more low maintenance than a plant that basically lives on air?

Image: Day Lilies in Australia

An Epiphyte, is a plant that lives on the nutrients it gathers from the air and rain, and lives on another tree without taking any nutrients from that plant, unlike a parasite. Epiphytes or air plants as they are more commonly known, live on other plants/trees for physical support only, and to position themselves where there is less competition for light, but they do not draw negatively from the host. They are generally found in moist tropical areas where they are able to grow above ground in a dense shaded rain forest environment accessing moisture, sunlight and resourcefully exploiting the nutrients available from fallen leaves and other organic debris.

Epiphytes are mostly angiosperms, or flowering plants and make fantastic houseplants as they do not require large quantities of soil or water. The most popular varieties of epiphytes used as houseplants are Orchids, Ferns and Bromeliads. Other epiphytes include various Mosses and Algaes.

Image: Wikimedia
Image: Finding Florida

Epiphytic plants contribute to our rich ecosystem and provide a canopy and shelter. But not all plants in this group are tree epiphytes. Plants, such as mosses, are epiphytic but may be seen growing on rocks instead or the sides of houses and other inorganic surfaces. Instead of using the tree branches for physical support, they instead use the rock body, or other structure to position themselves where they have access to optimal light and moisture requirements. Water is generally gathered from the rain or water vapour in the air, and nutrients are sourced from debris from the host.

Bromeliad leaves typically arranged in a tightly overlapping spiral at their base to form a cup like structure whereby water gathers. The cup also is able to capture debris which then decomposes and goes on to provide the plant with its required nutrients. The central cup can also be an excellent habitat for small creatures. In fact many animals drink from the Bromeliad and some even breed or live in the pool, such as dart frogs. When Bromeliad varieties are epiphytes they use their roots primarily as anchors. The roots grasp the structure (tree/branch/mount) and fasten the plant securely. The trichomes (scale like structures on their leaves) take in water from the air.

Image: Flickr

Many Orchids varieties are epiphytes, and by having the ability to grow without any soil, the orchid is able to grow in places with little competition for light, moisture and the compost from other plants in order to source it’s own nutrients.  In nature, the roots of the orchids are often covered with mosses or ferns which also favour the same environments, so the orchids roots rarely get an opportunity to dry out. They also add to the humidity in the air of the ennvironment which the orchids love.

When housing an orchid in your home, it is important to emulate these conditions as closely as possible. Cover the roots with some moss, and position your orchid somewhere it will have access to filtered natural light, and moist air, like your bathroom.

Image via Pinterest
Image: Via Philippine Horticultural Society Facebook page

Live in a shoe box with limited space? Air plants will work for you too! Try a Tillandsia in a hanging votive, or some Old Man’s Beard (Spanish Moss).

Image: Gem Found

Fwf x


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Day in the Life- Things People Say to Florists

A video has been circulating over the last few days which I know has given alot of my friends and former colleagues a great laugh. It is by Tanya Hennessy, a comedian and breakfast radio host based in Canberra, and is entitled “Things people say to Florists”.

It’s by no means the first video of this style she has done, and whilst some people may be embarrassed to find some phrases they have used before in the compilation, this by no means is intended to offend anyone. It’s all the more funny because we all know it is true. And Tanya Hennessy has certainly done her research, because each and every florist who has been  in the industry some time, has heard these….EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

For anyone who has worked in the industry, or has someone close to them that has, this skit portrays a day in the life so well, you could find yourself peeing your pants…just a little. From the misunderstanding that floristry is a mindless skill less job, to the elaborately woven stories of backyard family BBQ’s created to cover up the fact that the order is for a wedding. I kid you not, this really happens.

Any customer service role requires a level of decorum, as well as a thick skin as not to be offended by people’s opinions of you and your creative style. It also requires the ability to bite your tongue and be as diplomatic as possible in response to somewhat offensive situations.

Take a look at the video here:

“Honestly this looks like the easiest job….like I’m going to do this as my retirement job…just play with flowers….and do nothing….I just can’t WAIT to do that. Like, do you just nap sometimes in the flowers?”

Anyone who has ever worked as a florists knows that it is not an easy road. Granted, many florists may not have a university degree, and by no means would we suggest it was rocket science, or brain surgery, but it is a skill nonetheless. Alarm clocks ringing at 3.30am, knock off times well after dinner, bump in and bump out times that basically take up all the possible sleep time in between, working as a florist could quite possibly be the hardest job you’ve ever had.


The hilarious video got me to thinking of all the ridiculous things that have been said to myself or my colleagues over the years, and just how much laughter has roared out from the back rooms when we have retold the stories.

From “Could you wrap these (supermarket/fruit shop/competitor) flowers for me, so they look a bit nicer….I’m happy to pay for the wrapping.” Nope. Just nope *forced smile*

Or my personal favourite “What do you suggest?” only to systematically decline each and every suggestion. Breathe.

“Will you/Can you make it nice for me please?….Not sure, I’ll try but I’m generally in the business of making it as ugly as possible :-(

“Is this all you have?” never gets old for me. Even when I answer, they tend to ask again, but in a different way “You haven’t got anything else out the back or in the fridge?” It’s as if they think I am hiding the best stuff from them. Do I look untrustworthy???


Wedding flower enquiries are great fodder also. Things I have heard over the years include; “My dress is isn’t really a white, but it’s not a cream either, so I don’t want white or cream flowers. Could you colour match my dress?”

“I was just going to go to the markets and pick up the flowers myself, because I just want that ‘thrown together look’ that is really ‘in’ at the moment”.


“Could you show me how to wire some flowers as I’m going to do my best friend’s wedding bouquets because I’m really creative….”

“I really want penonies (yes, I know), and I’m getting married in February….they are still available right? No? Well, Can you import them from somewhere for me BUT I’m on a really tight budget”

“I just LOVED what (enter appropriate over-the-top celeb name here) did for their recent wedding, and was hoping to do something like that….just on a smaller scale….do you think it will still look as good?”

“Will the flowers still look good the next day? I was hoping to give them to my Mother-in-law (or appropriate family member)….No? Well, I don’t really want to pay this amount of money just for something for one day!” *Thinks* You might want to consider the whole wedding day then….

If you enjoyed this video as much as we did check out some of her others here

Til next time

Fwf x


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Styling Your Garden

My husband and I, along with our three young children recently moved. We had been bursting at the seams for a couple of years already, but hadn’t had any luck finding what we were after….and for the right price. We had never envisaged raising three inquisitive little people within 4 walls, and struggled daily with finding a balance between keeping a neat house and letting them explore and be creative. So, after 15 years in apartment living, we needed LAND, glorious land, and luckily earlier this year we found our dream home, packed up our bongos and moved.

One of the selling points had been the quarter acre block of land, and even though there were some established gardens I knew my hubby, a horticulturist, was itching to get into the place and put his own mark on it. But who knew there was so much to consider and that something I thought I was happy for him to have complete ownership of, I had such strong (sometimes opposing) opinions on! Ha!

What is your vision for your garden? Do you want a formal garden?  This garden style, originating from Europe was reserved for only exclusive properties, owned by the likes of royalty and noble families. However, in the modern world this style is widely used in domestic properties and the term ‘formal garden’  refers more to the plants you choose and the carefully planned symmetry of the design lay out. Hedges are central to this garden style, and they, along with the lawns of the property should be kept neatly clipped for maximum effect.

Image BHG

This garden style favours classic, green plants, perhaps with some white flowering plants added. This design style looks fantastic as it has an amazing visual impact in its uniformity and dense linear hedges, and symmetry.

This garden does require plants to grow into it. What does that mean? If you choose to buy mature plants to achieve an ‘instant’ garden, it is extremely costly, but furthermore, you will find that the overall look and shape of your hedges is inconsistent. When you slowly plant, and allow plants to grow into a space, when you trim, prune and shape, you are able to achieve a much more cohesive look.

The key in keeping it look its best is regular maintenance. If you are irregular in your maintenance, the garden will become overgrown and lose it’s ‘shape’. You will then be required to give it a hard trim, which can result in seeing thick pieces of branches within the hedge as it has been let go for to long.

Image: Backyard Gardening

Clever planting should draw your eye in and around the design,which requires careful consideration in order to create interest by using different textured foliage and varying heights of plants. Repetition is certainly key to this design style; by using one variety of plant along a whole border, the border looks strong and uniform. You can also choose to use water features such as a pond or fountain in a central position, to create a focal point.

Another option is a Cottage garden where you use dense plantings, informal design, traditional garden materials and a mixture of both ornamental and edible plants. They are more relaxed in their look and feel, and focus less on rules, and more on the love of gardening. As the garden blossoms throughout the seasons, you will be forever enjoying a new and different landscape. Originally, the cottage garden was a mixture of vegetables, herbs, fruit trees with flowers filling in all the gaps, but as time has gone on, the flowers have become more dominant.

Image: Serenity Secret Garden
Image: Houzz
Image: Mississauga

This garden style lacks the rigidity of the borders and hedges, and does not use repetition to create formality or uniformity. Instead, this garden is a mixture of anything and everything that takes your fancy and its appeal lies in the discoveries you may make in little pockets of garden today, that you perhaps did not notice there the day before. Choose different colours and textures to add interest to your garden space.

Today people tend to favour low maintenance gardens, doing away with large grassed areas, and choosing plants that required little or no care like succulents, agaves, etc with feature pavers or rocks. Australia has such a beautiful range of sub tropical, tropical and native plants available which grow throughout the country that can be utilised to create a unique cottage garden, which is less traditionally English in style (see below examples).

For us, our garden is just a blank canvas for now. Hubby felt it needed to be stripped back completely before he could start again, so stay tuned for some progress reports. And as far as style goes, I think we have decided to go for a relatively informal garden, with a decidedly tropical/sub tropical feel and a dedicated kitchen garden for herbs, some citrus trees and vegetables. As a horticulturist, my husband understandably wants to showcase some unique specimens, so a formal garden which requires the plants to be en masse just isn’t viable.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good project, and can’t wait to get stuck into this one!

Stay tuned

Fwf x

Image via Style Estate


Image: Roger’s Garden
Image: Rogers gardens





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Wedding Inspirations: Watercolours

My latest infatuation for wedding themes is Watercolours. The options are truly endless, but the one commonality is the soft blotted texture and the blurred lines between the colours. Choose between soft pastel colourings, or stronger pops of colours to personalise this theme.

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WELCOME BOARD Image: Etsy via Pinterest

Get the look:

The thing that is great with using watercolours throughout your wedding is that you can use it as a stand alone theme, or choose to combine it with another theme.

Do you want to have a botanical influence? Or perhaps a bohemian affair with feathers? Something geometric perhaps?

Alternatively, you can choose to just use blotted colour blocks throughout.

Aside from using it on invitations to introduce the wedding theme, you can purchase key items like the bridesmaids gowns (or even wedding gown, if you are game) to emphasise this theme.


WATERCOLOUR GEOMETRIC Image: Etsy via Pinterest


Image: Wedding Party App
Wedding Gown with softly blotted colourings Image: Southbound Bride


The brilliance of this theme is that there are no limitations to the colours you can choose, but before you get started you certainly have to choose what direction you wish to go and tie everything together from there.

For me, the Watercolour trend works beautifully with a blend of soft pastel tones in an almost ‘ombre’ range. Think soft pinks, peaches, salmon and corals. Or what about soft grey together with pewter, browns and oyster tones accented with amethyst and pops of purple.

But like I said, there really are no limits, so you could choose to use more vibrant, iridescent colours within this theme also. What about gold, coral and fuschia tones with accents of black and lime green?

Even a Monochromatic, black, charcoal and white theme would work with this technique, just be sure to soften some other details, like the fabric you choose for gowns.

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Textured elements:

Using watercolours on invitations, place settings, table plans and welcome signs certainly makes sense as it is easy to see the colour link. More so though, choose the texture of the paper/card carefully. Papers with a texture or pulp throughout will emphasise the blotted paint, central to this theme.

Similarly, use foliage and berries or buds throughout the bouquets tobreak up the blocks of colour. This will create a more ‘blurred’ appearance. If the colours are too strongly blocked, the softly blotted look of the watercolours will be lost. By ensuring you use a variety of sizes and shapes within the bouquet you will also help blur the lines within the bunch. So increase the variety of flowers you use rather than sticking to one colour tone, or one shaped bloom.

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Feature flowers:

This will be guided by you colour choices of course, but in keeping with the soft blotted texture of watercolours, I would choose flouncy, soft, textured, rambling blooms. This could include papery poppies, fluffy peonies, rambling roses, ranunculas, gildarose(snowball) lisianthus, anenomes, cosmos, zinnias, berries, leafy greens and lacey cineraria.


Think soft capped sleeves, flowing gowns, honeycomb party decorations, confetti, splashes of colour on cakes, rock salt dyed silk table runners or drapery, coordinated candles. Channel you inner artist and get creative!


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Helleborus- The Winter Rose

Winter’s Rose you would assume, like anyone, was some gorgeous variety of rose bloom. And fair enough, too. But in this case, you would be wrong, much like when people think a ‘peony rose’ is a rose. It is not.

The Winter Rose, or Helleborus, can also be known as a Snow Rose, Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose (more for the Northern Hemisphere as Christmas occurs in winter) and Oracle Rose however it comes from the family Ranunculacea, and has 20 herbaceous and perennial evergreen flowering species. As their name suggests, they tend to flower in late Winter and into Spring.

I love Helleborus, as I find their ‘faces’stunningly beautiful, and the range of colours are to die for. After years of cross breeding and hybridisation, the colour range has been transformed with them available from darker plum shades, burgundy and almost blacks, to vibrant yellows, bright, clean whites and a whole range of pinks and soft greens. You will also find some of the blooms are plain, whilst others are intricately patterned.

By Nzfauna - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
By Nzfauna via wikipedia
By Nzfauna via wikipedia
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By Nzfauna via wikipedia
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By Nzfauna via wikipedia

They make a gorgeous addition to any garden and tend to favour more shaded spots, underneath the canopies of deciduous trees, with little attention required, and left to go to seed. They flower from late winter to spring, and the blooms last months on the plant. Throughout the autumn months, the plant provides a clumpy green covering. They are also often planted among other plants with complementary colourings where they can grow up throughout creating a wonderfully intricate display.

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Image: Gorgeous low clumping Helleborus foliage when not in flower via Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

These days you can get your hands on all the standard varieties; flowers shaped like a cup or bowl, mostly single, with five petals,  as well as double-flowered and anemone-centred plants. It is no surprise really that, they are a popular wedding bloom, and fittingly so, have just come into season in time for the starts of wedding season!

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Image: Wedding bouquet featuring Helleborus via

I love Helleborus as a cut flower, and certainly have a special spot in my heart having used them in a very dear friends wedding some years ago. Each year as the time approaches and I see all the wonderful ingredients we used begin to appear again and I am reminded of their anniversary and the hoot we had in the Southern Highlands, freezing our socks off, working on the outdoor porch making the arrangements.

The only problem with the Helleborus as a cut flower is that their heads tend to droop rather quickly, so they are best used with other flowers or foliage used to prop them up and support them. Some people also find the age old trick of scolding the base of their stems helpful in extending the vase life.

Image: Cut Helleborus flower blooms via UCANR

To scold flowers; simply cut the base, and place about an inch of the flower stem into boiling water for approx 30 secs, remove the stems and place directly into a vase of cold water.

Alternatively, why not cut off their heads and float them in a bowl of water? That way you get to enjoy all the intricacies of the blooms without watching them droop and decay so quickly, and you know what, anybody can make that vase of flowers look good! You’re welcome 😉

Fwf x

Gorgeous featured image by Marcia Mitchell 


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