Bees with evening primrose

I Hear you, Loud and Clear

Ears. We hear things even when we are not listening.  Our days are filled with noises that we need not consciously register. The hum of traffic, the wind, the spinning of a fan on a hot day. These kinds of sounds do not motivate us, or compel us to change our behaviours. They are so common, so insignificant in our everyday lives that we almost tune them out.

A door slamming, a plate shattering, a panicked scream….these sounds send shockwaves through our bodies. They propel us upwards and outwards, investigating where, what, and why?

Many living things rely on their hearing as we do…using there sense of sound to ascertain whether a situation is safe or should be avoided. Snakes for example, do not have visible ears like we do, their hearing apparatus is connected to their jaws, so they interpret the vibrations they hear to determine whether a situation is favourable.

Similarly, it seems, plants use their ‘ears’ as well. Although they do not have ears as we do, a recent study has shown that a plant that hears a buzzing bee nearby changes its ‘behaviour’, that is, it produces a more concentrated, sugary nectar to attract them.

“It’s important for them to be able to sense their environment—especially if they cannot go anywhere.”
LILACH HADANY, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

The study undertaken by Tel Aviv University, examined Evening Primrose flowers, Oenothera drummondii, and found that within mere minutes of sensing bees, the plant temporarily changed the concentration of sugar in their flowers’ nectar. In essence, the flowers themselves were acting as ears, sensing the frequencies produced by a pollinator’s wings, yet tuning out irrelevant sounds. Within just three minutes of exposure to recordings of buzzing bees, the sugar concentration in the plants was seen to increase from between 12 and 17 percent to 20 percent.

Evening Primrose flower
Evening Primrose flower. Source: Healthline

When you think about it, many flowers have a bell like shape, not unalike the anatomy of our ear. This shape allows them to receive and amplify sound waves. This was one of the many observations the team made throughout the research project.

So why would this finding be relevant? Well, just as animals use their senses to detect danger, and find mates, a sweeter nectar may be able to attract more pollinators. The more insects attracted, the more likely the chances of cross pollination. In fact, Lilach Hadany and her team found that in their observations it was evident that a pollinator was more attracted to plants another pollinator had visited within the 6 minutes prior.

“We were quite surprised when we found out that it actually worked,” Hadany says. “But after repeating it in other situations, in different seasons, and with plants grown both indoors and outdoors, we feel very confident in the result.”

Source: Steve Scott via USDA
Source: Steve Scott via USDA

Hadany, an evolutionary theoretician, began this study after realising that if plants were not able to utilise sound as animals do, they would be at a disadvantage. If plants could in fact listen to, and respond to the sounds they heard, it would help them survive, thrive and reproduce…

And I guess with so many plants around us, that have been surviving and adapting over the years, it seems impossible to think we ever considered they were not able to ‘hear’…

Certainly something interesting to consider in any case.

Fwf x

Feature Image via Twitter, YorkUScientists

Read More

Image of Eucalyptus Degupta Mindanao Gum Tree

A Home Among The Gum Trees

Firstly, let me welcome you to the first blog of 2019! Time seems to be moving ever faster but what a glorious start to the year it has been. On our way up to our holiday accommodation, I was musing….mesmerised by the glorious scenery along the way,  inspired by the colour palette that Mother Nature created for us. I was dreaming about ways I could use these palettes in another creative project.

One tree that continued to catch my eye along the way were the gum trees. The streaky trunks painted in watercolours bleeding into one another: muted greys, mauves, soft golds, dustry pinks, aubergines and chocolate.

IMG20190103111413
Eucalyptus trees in Hervey Bay. Supplied.

The summer skin of the gums standing there strong and proud…freshly naked. Freshly shed, brilliant bright orange in colour: an intoxicating tequila sunrise.

Image of Eucalyptus Degupta Mindanao Gum Tree

And who could forget the ghostly white gum tree? Pale and creamy,  illuminated against the backdrop of bright blue skies, and the thick green scrub.

Like many others I’m sure, I had assumed all gum trees were native to Australia, so like me you may be surprised to find that this is actually not the case.

Image of Eucalyptus Degupta Mindanao Gum Tree

One evening I was chatting to one of my best friends,  who just so happens to be a very talented,  inspired florist.  She was talking about this AMAZING variety of Eucalyptus, The Rainbow Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus deglupta. I’d never seen it or heard of it for that matter!

Image Source: Sarefo, via Wikimedia Commons.
This image shows the distribution of Eucalyptus. The Rainbow Eucalyptus is the only species occurring naturally in the northern hemisphere. Source: Sarefo, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rainbow Eucalyptus is also known as the Rainbow Gum or Mindanao Gum and is native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and The Phillipines. But what is also pretty unique is that this is the only Eucalyptus that extends into the northern hemisphere naturally.

In areas of the USA, the trees only grow to approx 100-125 feet tall, which is approximately half the height they grow to in their native environment. But, if you can provide them with a frost free environment,  you can grow a Rainbow Gum of your own…though remember it is a huge tree so it’s probably not suitable for most residential settings.

Image of Eucalyptus Degupta Mindanao Gum Tree

The defining feature of the Rainbow Eucalyptus is the multi coloured bark. The older bark sheds each year,  at different times, revealing the new layers of bright,  lime green trunk underneath. As the new layers age and mature,  the colour changes and deepens, revealing a multitude of vertical coloured stripes: in lime green, blue, purple, orange, red, maroon and grey.

Image of rainbow eucalyptus tree revealing gorgeous patterns and colours

The colours appear brightest and most intense when planted in native regions. The Rainbow Eucalyptus loves full sun, and rich, medium to wet soil. It does not tolerate frost, so is suitable for subtropical and tropical regions only.

It is the kind of plant that is almost unbelievable. But believe me, it’s real, and this is all completely natural. Wow!

Fwf x

Read More

Ants marching suggest rain is coming

Rain, Rain – Go Away, or Stay?

This week we have had armies of black ants marching single file along the length of our verandah… Miss 4 was alarmed and interested as is often the case with inquisitive little people and I told her what I had been told when I was small. Today, I know it to be true from observations. The ants are a sign that rain is coming 🐜🐜🐜🌧🌧🌧

Many believe that a change in ants behaviour can indicate that the weather may also be changing. You may notice that ant mounds begin popping up all over your lawn, or that the mounds that were already there start getting bigger. You may simply observe the armies of ants running. Inevitably they are looking for clean, dry shelter, which sometimes means they come inside. They are searching for food, and water of course, and as they travel, they leave a scent along the path to ensure they will be able to find their way back to the nest once the sun has dried out all the rain. ☀️☀️☀️

 

The night blooming cactus in flower suggests rain is coming
Source; Bill Lane via ABC
Peruvian Apple cactus has some pretty impressive flowers
Source: Amazon

Similarly, a variety of cactus, found in Central Queensland but originally from Peru, has caught the attention of weather watchers and gardeners as it appears to have weather predicting abilities. It won’t replace the weather reporter anytime soon though, and has now been determined ‘a pest’ and ‘biosecurity risk’.

Earlier in the year, Bill Lane, from Emerald, a thriving rural service centre in the Central Highlands of Queensland, shared a picture of his cactus via social media which flowers before it rains. Well, obviously this sparked amazing interest from other gardeners who wanted to get a cutting of the plant, and see for themselves.

The ‘cereus uruguayanus’ is also known as Willow Cactus, night blooming cereus and the Peruvian Apple Cactus.

Dense crops of the Rain Cactus are throughout the Central Highlands of Queensland
Source: Central Highlands Regional Council
The night blooming cactus is said to predict rain when it flowers
Source: Amazon

But like other species of cactus with delicious fruit that birds enjoy, the thousands of seeds within are spread easily. Cactus are plants that are able to survive in the most arid conditions, where very little else can, so these tough little guys can pop up everywhere, and have been, causing farmers great difficulties. This plant can be devastating for farmers, and many are pleading for people to be mindful of the consequences of sharing this species around.

This particular species has been on the list of priority pests since 2015, and whilst they have had some success with stem injection, physically injecting each plant stem in dense crops proves time consuming.

The willow cactus is a priority pest
Source: Central Highlands Regional Council

This cactus, as pretty as it is, is something we should avoid. These clues from Mother Nature herself may help those (like me) who are struggling to know when to hang the washing out, and when to cut your losses and head straight to the laundromat 😉:

Frogs croaking in the evening suggests rain. The louder the frogs, the more rain. 🐸

Ants build the walls of their anthills steeper when rain is on the way.🐜

Spiders retreat from their webs when rain is imminent. 🕷🕸

Cats clean their ears when rain is coming. 🐈

If there is dew on the grass in the morning, there is unlikely to be rain that day. ⛅️

Cattle lie down in the field when a severe storm is on its way. 🐄

The scent of flowering plants is stronger when rain is coming 🌸

A Halo around the moon at night (caused by the refraction is ice crystals in the upper atmosphere) suggest rain is going to fall within 24 hours. 🌝 🌛

Fwf x

Featured image L Church on Flickr

Read More

Image of a Sympathy Flower Arrangement by Florst with Flowers

The Etiquette of Sending Sympathy Flowers

Sending sympathy flowers to family members of the recently deceased is one way of showing your support, love, and friendship. Truly, there is no easy way to accept the death of family and friends.  Sympathy flowers are a sincere gesture of support for those left behind.

 

Here are some shopping tips for those who want to order sympathy flowers online but are clueless about flower-sending etiquette.

 

How to Choose Sympathy Flowers Sydney

 

In essence, sympathy flowers are arrangements that are sent directly to the bereaved family after the announcement of an individual’s passing. Traditionally, sympathy flowers come with sympathy cards expressing condolences to the family.

 

Customarily, a bouquet of sympathy flowers should be neutral in colour. Blooms in vibrant shades should be avoided as they are more appropriate for celebratory occasions.

 

You may also send a sympathy flower arrangement in place of a bouquet. The bereaved family can use the flower arrangement to decorate the service at the funeral home.

 

Make sure to send sympathy flowers a few days after a person’s death. If you have the time, you can request same day delivery sent to your home, so you can personally hand them when you have the chance to visit the funeral home or the funeral service.

 

If you want to send the bereaved family something more lasting than flowers, you may also send them sympathy plants instead. Plants can be displayed for months and can serve as a remembrance of a lost beloved.

 

Choose among the many sympathy flowers bouquets and arrangements here. To place an order, you may also reach us on 02 9871 1666.

Read More

Image of a Birthday Celebration Bouquet by Florist with Flowers

How to Pick the Perfect Birthday Flowers for Family, Friends and Loved Ones

Flowers delivered to someone celebrating a birthday is a sweet and thoughtful way of greeting them on the special occasion. Flowers express pleasant emotions from, “I love you.” to “I remember you.” Most importantly, sending birthday flowers is a sincere gift that can mean the world to the celebrant.

 

If this is your first time sending birthday flowers or ordering and buying birthday flowers online, here are some helpful tips:

There are specific types of flowers that are meant to celebrate birthdays. In addition, the type of birthday flower to buy online will depend on your relationship with the recipient.

 

  • For instance, if you are sending out flowers to family members and relatives you may choose to order lilies, daisies, or wildflowers in vibrant colours.
  • If you are sending out flowers to a loved one such as in the case of a girlfriend or wife, red roses certainly convey deep affection and love.

 

What type of birthday flowers should you give out?

 

  • Orchids

A pot of blooming orchids looks elegant, to say the least. This bloom essentially symbolises beauty, strength, and love—some qualities that the birthday celebrant also showcases.

 

  • Roses

Nothing can be more romantic than receiving a bouquet of fresh roses on your birthday. Obviously, red roses symbolise love and deep passion. You may also want to give friends and relatives yellow roses that symbolise joy and friendship. Pink roses are to be sent out as birthday flowers for celebrants that you inspire and admire.

 

  • Lilies

Lilies are the perfect birthday flowers as they represent happiness, positivity, and new beginnings. This is the perfect flower to send out to women close to you such as your mum, sister, aunt, or grandmother.
Whatever birthday flower you choose to send people on their birthday, make sure to include sincere well wishes to complete your thoughtful gift to them.

 

Check out our elegant birthday flowers and luscious bouquets here. For enquiries, you may also reach us on 02 9871 1666.

Read More

Flower Perfumes Attracting Pollinators for Millions of Years

When you think of fresh flowers a couple of defining features probably come to mind; aesthetic beauty of course, and fragrance. Flower fragrance compounds are used in modern day scents for human use, as well as perfumes for the home. They are used to make people seem more attractive; to draw them in, and intrigue them 😍. They are use to make a space more inviting, a fragrant version of ‘come hither’ 😉

Flower fragrances in nature are used for exactly the same reasons, to attract and intrigue, to invite and lure the pollinators.

A recent study has shown that flowers from the Cretaceous period may have had similar fragrances as their modern day counterparts. What is extraordinary, is that the study undertaken by Oregon State University has shown that primitive flower varieties used their fragrance to attract pollinators. Modern day flowers use both fragrance, as well as colourful petals and showy designs to lure pollinators, however these ancient ancestors relied on perfume alone.

The evidence shows that floral frangrance originated some 100 million years ago…we are talking back when dinosaurs roamed!

“I bet some of the dinosaurs could have detected the scents of these early flowers,” said George Poinar, an entomologist at Oregon State University. “In fact, floral essences from these early flowers could even have attracted these giant reptiles,” said Mr. Poinar.

Preserved flower encased in hardened tree sap
Source : Oregon State University

The flowers were immortalised in hardened tree sap, known as amber. The team researched glandular laurel flowers (Cascolaurus burmensis and veined star flowers (Tropidogyne pentaptera) found in Myanmar.

Whilst the scent of the flowers could not be retained within the amber, what was preserved was the tissue structure responsible for producing scents. They also found that the secretory tissue was similar to their modern day descendants. This suggests that these Cretaceous flowers could possibly have produced similar essences to modern flower varieties. Check out the resemblance to Christmas Bush from New South Wales.

Tropidogyne pentaptera. Source; Oregon State University
Christmas Bush
Christmas Bush has an uncanny resemblance to the Tropidogyne pentaptera preserved in Myanmar Amber. Image: John Tann / Wikicommons

“It’s obvious flowers were producing scents to make themselves more attractive to pollinators long before humans began using perfumes to make themselves more appealing to other humans,” said George Poinar.

We all know how vitally important pollination is. Without it, the world’s food production ceases. But it almost seems obsurd to think that flower essences, something we use today for cosmetic and hygienic purposes was key in plant reproduction all those years ago.

Fwf x

Feature image : Greg Nunamaker

Read More

IMG_0305

Farmers Best, But for Less.

These days when you go to the supermarket, or green grocer, you are presented with multiple options. The Western world is reknowned for only wanting the best of everything but refreshingly, I believe we are in the midst of change where many people are trying to make more mindful purchases. We are learning that something looking ‘perfect’ does not necessarily equal perfection. And we are also beginning to learn or appreciate that buying seasonal produce means that fresh products can be enjoyed at their best.

We are now given the option of buying what can only be described as ‘seconds’. And whilst their appearance may not be perfect, often the produce tastes the same (if not better) than their pretty peers.

Jamie Oliver has been pretty instrumental in Woolworths’ campaign dubbed ‘The Odd Bunch’, which provides seasonal produce that looks a bit ‘ugly’ but is marketed at a more attractive price. The farmers have set aside land, watered, fertilised and cared for this produce, and it would be so incredibly wasteful to simply cast them aside.

Buy seconds to reduce waste
Source: The Sun.

It was quite the breath of fresh air when I read in UK newspaper, The Sun, that one big retailer is trying the same concept with flowers. Flowers with smaller blooms, shorter stems or other ‘defects’.

The reality of flower production is pretty harsh. For stock grown outside, it is at the mercy of nature. Heavy rain can cause mildew or fungal problems. Harsh, dry temperature can result in smaller blooms, shorter stems, and sometimes a glut of produce all available at one time. Wind damage results in fewer blooms as well as damage to leaves and petals. Hail can have devastating effects on produce, wiping out whole crops, or causing horrendous damage that makes sale impossible.

The farmers are already up against so much, so this would be a wonderful scheme to implement and keep farmers on their properties, and able to make a living.

Drew Kirk, from Morrisons in the UK said: “It would be a shame to see these beautiful stems go to waste just because they’re a few centimetres too short.

“Our wonky range helps growers and farmers reduce waste and at the same time helps customers to afford to buy flowers more often.”

Truck full of fresh flowers
Source: At First Bite

And this is something that we could certainly apply here also. Flowers are often viewed as a luxury item, so of course, they will be the first item scratched from the list when the budget doesn’t allow it. People LOVE having fresh flowers in their home, and with this scheme, more people could afford to have them at home more often, whilst reducing the waste and loss for our local flower farmers. Sounds like a win, win to me

Fwf x

Read More

Wild Hibiscus

Walk on the Wild Side with Hibiscus

Have you ever seen a wild hibiscus in flower? Or, better yet, have you watched one bloom in a glass of bubbly?

Hibiscus blooms added to sparkling wine
A Rosella bloom unfurling in sparkling wine. Source: Elle Decor

Rosellas, are a tropical annual, which are also known as Wild Hibiscus, Florida Cranberry, Royal Roselle, Red Tea, Guinea/Indian/Red/Natal/Jamaican Sorrel, Jamaica tea flower, Java Jute, Nubia tea, Pink Lemonade, Queensland Jelly Plant, and Sour-Sour. The plant, originally from South Africa, grows beautifully throughout tropical and subtropical regions of India, Australia and Southeast Asia.

If I’m really honest, I may have sold Rosellas as a Native flower at some stage over my career 🤔 I’m sure I’m not the first, nor the last to do this….The Hibiscus is often associated with Australian bush tucker, and has been popular with Indigenous Australians since being introduced here, so I guess I just assumed they had been native. They grow prolifically in Queensland and Northern Australia. Having grown here for thousands of years now, there are some differences in our plants characteristics from those in neighbouring countries.

The Hibiscus grows on the edge of forests and rainforests, and in sand dune regions. It is a hardy, drought resistant plant however it is sensitive to frost. Rosellas have a unique tart flavour, making them popular for use in jams, cordials, teas and as a decorative addition to your drink.

Rosella blooms
Source: A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui

Their botanical name is Hibiscus sabdariffa, and they are a member of the Mallow family. The seeds, leaves, fruits and even the roots of the Rosella are used in various foods. The fleshy red calyx, and the characteristic 5 petalled funnel shaped flower is perhaps the most popular part of the plant.

Hibiscus macaroons
Hibiscus macaroons. Source: Mushita

The product that has become internationally recognised is the Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup, which were first produced by an Australian family business, headed by Lee Ethrington. After initially producing the wildly popular Rosella Jam for local markets, he then branched out to a range of Australian Bushfoods seeing the potential for both international guests and loving locals. Queenslanders were mad for the Rosella Jam, made from the Hibiscus growing all through the north of the state. Believe it or not, but according to their website, the moment of discovery that led to the creation of their most popular product, was entirely by chance:

“…Lee and partner, Jocelyn and their guests dropped a rosella flower into a glass of champagne (the flowers and other native fruits were always on hand for making the bushfood produce). Watching in amazement as the flower started to unfurl and look particularly special in the glass, the idea was sparked by Lee to create the first bottled whole hibiscus flowers in syrup.”

Rosella fruit stems
Rosella fruit stems. Source: Robin Powell

 

The flowers are preserved in a concoction of sparkling water and cane sugar and can be used up to 36 months after bottling. Due to the seasonal nature of the plant, demand was not being met, so they were forced to travel and establish a supply network across the Australasian tropical belt. Wow!

I think it is incredibly interesting to see flowers used in ways outside floral arrangement. We know that many creatures in nature find sustenance from flowers, so why not us too, right?

Fwf x

Read More

Jane+Alex wedding-1642

A Bride’s Guide to Choosing the Right Epping Florist

Flowers are undeniably an important part of any wedding day. For a soon-to-be-bride, her wedding day is a special occasion where she carries an exquisite flower bouquet and is surrounded with the most beautiful blooms during the wedding ceremony.

 

Choosing the right type of flowers for a wedding can be challenging. This is where the expertise of an Epping florist comes in. Before you call the first Epping florist & flower delivery service you have found online, you need to remember a few things when choosing which flower shop in Epping to get your bridal flower from.

 

Why should you obtain the services of a florist?

 

While a bride can certainly design and style her own wedding bouquet, hiring a florist is practical in more ways than one. Sourcing flowers for your wedding is not as easy as picking the most beautiful blooms from a flower shop in Sydney. To make sure that you have a perfect bouquet to match your dress, a florist will do all the leg work for you.

 

A florist wll be responsible for taking those early morning trips to flower dealers, negotiate directly with suppliers and make last-minute decisions if the chosen flowers are not yet in full bloom.

 

The best Epping florists are experts in maintaining the freshness of flowers for a long period of time. An experienced florist is also skilled at various wedding flower arrangements, not only for the bouquet but for flower decorations for the reception tables and other areas in the venue as well. A florist will work until the wee hours of the morning to make sure all arrangements are finished before the start of the wedding ceremony.

 

Lastly, an Epping florist and flower delivery service will bring all flowers to the venue on time. With a florist taking care of all these things, a bride can focus on more important tasks before her wedding.
If you need a reliable and affordable florist and flower delivery service on your special day, let us know and call us on 02 9871 1666. Click here to check out our beautiful arrangements for all occasions.

Read More

image of girl given a bouquet of roses

How to Choose a Florist in Macquarie Park

If you check out the top 25 florists near Macquarie Park, you will notice that all of them offer impressive flower arrangements and same day delivery services at affordable prices. Amidst the abundance of florists in Macquarie Park, you may be curious on how you can obtain the services of the best florists in NSW.

 

In this post, we will guide you through the process of choosing a florist:

 

 

  • Make a list of florists that operate in Macquarie Park

 

 

If you are a Macquarie Park resident, it is only sensible and practical to seek the expertise of a florist in the vicinity. Create a list of the top 25 florists near Macquarie Park. You can narrow down the list once you have established a few requirements and your budget.

 

Compare flower arrangements of at least 4 to 5 florists. This will make it easier for you to choose which florist meets your style.

 

 

  • Check out their portfolio

 

 

It is imperative to do your research before you make a decision on who to hire or buy flowers from. In the case of weddings, you need to request for photos of past flower arrangements. The style of flower arrangements should match your requirements. It may also be important for you to share your vision with prospective florists so they can get an idea of what you want on your big day. A skilled florist should be able to translate your vision into reality.

 

 

  • Have  clear budget

 

 

Have a clear budget. A sizeable proportion of the wedding budget is usually appropriated to the bride’s bouquet and other wedding flowers arrangements. Make sure to create a list of flower arrangements that are well suited for your budget. A florist should be able to recommend flower arrangements which best suit your budget.

 

Enlisting the help of a reputed florist for your wedding bouquet and flower arrangements can take the pressure off you and allow you to focus on other important tasks to be completed in preparation for your wedding day.

 

Try our same day delivery at Macquarie Park and everything we have to offer. To request for a quote, call us on 02 9871 1666 today.

Read More