When you hear the term ‘Carnivorous’, if you are anything like me, you imagine not merely a meat eater, but perhaps even a flesh eating creature, hell, a man eater. But in the case of plants, a carnivorous plant, simply eats insects and other anthropods. The plants have adapted to life in areas where the soil is thin, or poor in nutrition, but where there is ample light. They are structurally designed to capture their prey in order to survive, and absorb the necessary nutrients from that prey, to thrive. Carnivorous plants derive most of their nutrients from eating animals they have trapped within their plant structure, an adaptation due to the environment in which they are found. Charles Darwin wrote the first literature on this plant type, ‘Insectivorous Plants’, in 1875.
There are at least 583 species of carnivorous plants that trap and kill their prey, each displaying one of the 5 different trapping mechanisms;
Lobster pots (aka eel traps).
Pitfall Traps: generally trap their prey within a rolled leaf structure which contains a pool of digestive enzymes at the base. They are a passive trap, attracting prey with nectar secretions. The pitcher plant uses this trapping mechanism. The inside of the pitcher plant is covered in a slippery wax, which causes the insects to fall into the pitcher. Once inside, the digestive enzymes and bacteria begin to break down the prey so that the plant can begin to absorb it.
Like most of the plants within the pineapple family, the Bromeliad Brocchinia Reducta has a tightly packed spiral of waxy leaves that form somewhat of a cup. Water collects in this cup and often provides a habitat for frogs and insects, however in this case, the cup turns into a specialised insect trap.
Flypaper Traps: use a sticky mucilage, like glue. The leaves have mucilage secreting glands, but also a rapidly responsive leaf surface with responds to the prey; rolling the leaf blade to prevent the insect being washed away by rain, or the leaf creating a dish like surface underneath the prey to form a shallow digestive pit.
Snap Traps: The most well known snap trap is the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula). The trapping mechanism has sometimes been described as a mouse trap/bear trap or man trap referring to the speed of movement and the shape.
The Snap Trap is an active trap as it used rapid movement in order to trap it’s prey. Snap traps have fine hairs inside the lobes which are sensitive to touch. They also have a hinge -like mechanism along the midrib, which changes in shape, and is caused to quickly slam shut when the hairs are triggered. The process takes less than 1 second!
Bladder Traps: pump ions out of their interiors, with water following which creates a partial vacuum inside of the bladder. At the opening of the bladder sits a small opening/door which has a pair of long trigger hairs. When the hairs are touched, the door is opened and the invertebrae is sucked in.
Lobster Pot Traps: have a chamber that is easy to enter, but extremely difficult to exit because the exit is either hard to find obstructed.
There is a great variety of carnivorous plants available that can be grown in your gardens, and they make an interesting addition to arrangements too, undoubtedly due to their unique shapes, and colourings. Experiment with these delightful plants for something fun, new and interesting- you are sure to create a talking point at least!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 😉
1. the art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed varieties of trees and shrubs in pots.
2. an ornamental tree or shrub grown using the art of bonsai.
They say good things come in small packages right? And in this case, it is certainly true. Bonsai plants, are uniquely grown and make a fabulous addition to any gardener’s collection, or a gift for people with a special interest in plants willing to take the time to care for them.
BUT Bonsai are not for everyone. They have been slowly and carefully grown to a point and once established, are planted in a display pot before sale. But unlike your average indoor plant, Bonsai are a tree, and the implications of that is that the Bonsai require careful consideration, care and upkeep.
Bonsai are often thought to be simply a dwarfed plant, however dwarfing generally refers to plant cultivars that are permanent, genetic miniatures of an existing species. Bonsai does not require genetically dwarfed trees, but rather is grown from regular stock and seeds and uses cultivation techniques such as pruning, root reduction and potting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees. Bonsai meaning “plantings in tray”, is often used as a blanket term for all miniature trees in pots. The ancient Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years.
Bonsai is grown for different reasons than many ordinary plants, that may be grown say for medicinal uses, or for food. They are grown both for the viewers contemplation and the pleasure in the effort in shaping and growing the plant. It is a long term commitment.
A Bonsai may be started from a cutting, seedling or a small tree of a species appropriate for development. They can be created from nearly any shrub species that produces true branches or perennial woody stemmed tree that can be kept small by way of pot confinement, and crown and root pruning. Some species are more popular for Bonsai cultivation as they are more visually appropriate, having small leaves or needles. The species needs to be shaped and kept small to meet the aesthetic standards of Bonsai.
The practice of bonsai development incorporates a number of techniques including;
Leaf trimming- removal of selected leaves/needles
Pruning- branches/roots or trunk
Clamping- using devices to artificially shape the tree’s trunks and branches
Wiring- artificially designing the formation of the tree’s general form, branches and leaf formation using wire
Defoliation- removal of foliage
Pot confinement is an effective cultivation technique in keeping the Bonsai small, as a typical bonsai container is under 25 centimeters in its largest dimension and only 2 to 10 liters in volume, this restricts root growth. Similarly, the largest bonsai rarely exceed 1 meter and most specimens are significantly smaller, due largely to the cultivation technique of pruning. These major differences in the plants growth affect maturation, transpiration, nutrition, pest resistance, and other aspects of tree biology, therefore to maintain the long-term health of a tree requires specialised care.
Bonsai must be regularly watered.
Bonsai must be repotted at intervals appropriate for the age of the tree/species
Bonsai must be in an appropriate soil composition (usually loose and fast draining)
Bonsai may be kept indoors generally but many species will require periods of time outdoors to fulfil the species light requirements. This is species dependant.
If you like a challenge, then the Bonsai could be for you but remember, this is no ordinary houseplant. The Bonsai requires alot of work to get it to the point of sale, so is not a ‘cheap’ plant, and it will also require a long term commitment of care once you get it home. Happy pruning!
Cyclamen plants are an oldie but a goodie. Still to this day, customers regularly request them, they never last long in store, because they make a great houseplant and a simple gift idea! But sometimes, sadly, we are giving the poor plants a death sentence when the correct plant care is not understood.
Cyclamens are classified as a tuber (similar to a potato) from which the flowers and roots grow, and they are valued for their frilly flowers and gorgeous variable leaves. The tuber may produce roots from the top, sides, or bottom, depending on the species. Generally in most of their species, the leaves appear in Autumn, grow through the Winter, and die in Spring, remaining dormant through Summer.
Flowering time can be any month of the year, depending on the species. Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen purpurascens bloom in summer and autumn, Cyclamen persicum and coum bloom in winter, and Cyclamen repandum blooms in spring.
The florist’s Cyclamens usually start appearing around or just before Mother’s Day when the temperatures begin to drop. Generally the species that florists sell is Cyclamen Persicum, which is frost tender. They should be kept below 20 °C with night time temperatures preferably between 6.5 °C to 15 °C.
When cyclamen are not kept at the correct temperature, your plant will die slowly. Cyclamens grow in cool, humid environments in nature, so whilst they are readily available and flourish through the winter months, one of the biggest mistakes people make, is keeping their plant in their heated homes. Heaters keep the environment comfortable for us, but far too hot for your plants whilst also severely dehydrating them. If temperatures are too high, the plant will begin to yellow and the flowers will die, fast. When plants are not kept at the right temperature, you can also cause the plant to become dormant, which looks alot like it has died.
Just as important as correct temperature, is adequate (but not over) watering. Cyclamens can be sensitive to both over and under watering. The easiest way to ascertain whether your plant requires watering is to perform the ‘touch test’- simply placing your fingers onto the soil underneath the leaves and pushing downward to determine how much moisture is in the soil. If the plant soil feels dry, you should water it. It is important that the plant is not left in this dry state for so long that the leeaves and flowers begin to droop.
Cyclamens generally like to be watered from the bottom, to avoid getting the leaves and stems wet, which causes them to rot. Make sure that the plant is able to adequately drain after watering it.
Once the cyclamen has finished flowering, it will go into a dormant state. In this state, is looks very much like it is dying, as the leaves turn yellow and then fall off. It is just sleeping. If you continue to care for your cyclamen throughout it’s dormant period, it will rebloom in a few months. Stop watering the plant once you notice that the leaves are beginning to die. The plant should be kept in a a cool, dark position, and you should remove any dead foliage. Let it sit for approximately two months. Once you see some leaf growth, you can start to water the plant again, resume normal cyclamen plant care, and bring it out into a brighter position. It should rebloom shortly.
Cyclamens are available in an array of amazing colours, and we have often have them in store, call us on 02 9871 1666 to see if they have come in from market today!
Every year I try to get there, and every year, I drool and my mind boggles over the sheer size of the job that has become truly iconic. The David Jones Flower Show kicks off the first week of Spring and runs for just under two weeks.
After years of being in the Floristry industry, the last thing you want to do is become stale, but there will be times for every creative when the juices don’t flow and the inspiration dries up. Spring is an intensely busy time for most florists. Houses are open for sale, and weddings fill the calendar, so it is a great time to revive your sense and take some inspiration from some of our colleagues who are truly unique and talented. Anyone who works with flowers knows that really we just wander around the perimeter of the David Jones store to reinvigorate ourselves and to sap up some fresh inspiration.
The show is quite the feat, considering that a lot of those flowers are sitting in what essentially transforms to a glass hot box and is subjected to hours of sunlight each day.
This year Luminescent celebrates 30 years of the David Jones Flower show, and the ingenuity of this years show is that whilst it blooms in the daylight, the beauty of the flowers is showcased in a luminsecent ‘glow’ throughout the night as well. This years show partnered with the season’s key fragrances.
The displays in each window are as unique and intricate as ever, and as a florist I KNOW the hard work that went into conceptualising the show as well as the long hours and sleepless nights it took to bring it all together. Seed Flora is responsible for the wonderful work, and both George Low and Elizabeth Johnson continue to inspire us years after the two began collaborating on the event.
For everyone in life, it is important to stop, and look at things from a fresh perspective and for me, that is exactly what the show represents. I know how to physically put arrangements like this together, but I certainly don’t get the opportunity to do work on a large scale like this anymore with two littlies, but for me, it is awe inspiring to see someone out there creating magic. It is also reassuring to see jobs like this still exist. Retail, we are told is dying; and with that, surely the budget for a job like this, must go too.
It fills my heart with hope to see it still happening 30 years on, and still drawing an amazing crowd. Not sure that was the new light they intended to shed, but still, that is quite Luminescent.
Enjoy the picture show below, but if you get a chance, the show finishes this Sunday, so get in there to get a glimpse yourself.
Mother’s Day as we all know, is a day to take time to honour one’s own mother. Here, in Australia is takes place on the second Sunday of May each year, but its roots stem from the United States where celebrations started taking place during the 20th Century.
The American holiday was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in West Virginia. She began her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognised holiday in the United States in 1905, after her own mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Her mission was simple: to honor her mother by continuing the work she had started and to set aside a day to honor mothers. She believed mothers were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”, and let’s face it, she was on to something!
This celebration then spread throughout the world, with the date altered to fit with traditions/celebrations within each country already related to mothering or motherhood. Mothering Day in the UK for example, was a holiday originally celebrated by Catholic and Protestant Christians and falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Initially this holiday saw parishioners return to their ‘Mother Church’- the largest church in the local area, or more often, the closest Cathedral. Servants then began being given the day off to attend their mother church also, and as such, it became a special family day, as general work hours often prevented family spending time all together. Children would often gather flowers along the way to place within the church, and, over time they began to give these flowers to their mothers. Eventually this religious day became the secular Mothering Day.
Mother’s Day in Australia takes place in the Autumn months when Chrysanthemums are readily available. The significance of the humble chrysanthemum is not know for sure, however many believe it was simply adopted as the flower of the day due to its name containing the colloquial term of endearment for Mother- mum. Traditionally chrysanthemums were used in bunches to give to your mother, and today with vast importation as well as hybridisation we have a wide variety of different Chrysanthemums that are now used to create spectacular fresh flower arrangements!
POMPON – spray type of chrysanthemum; each stem has several flowers.
CUSHION POMPON – flower is of medium length petals without button in the centre.
DAISY POMPON – flower with button in the centre.
NOVELTY POMPON – any chrysanthemum besides white, yellow, pink, and bronze cushions, any novelty colours. All novelty shapes.
SPIDER POMPON: flower with very long outer petals without button in the centre.
DISBUD (one single large flower per stem produced by removing all side buds when plant was young):
FUJI – synonym of spider, except it is not a spray flower.
So, what do you think of tradition? Something to stick with, or time to turn it up on it’s head?
Whether you celebrate with her on the day for brunch, send a card in the mail, have chrysanthemums or other fresh flowers delivered, I’m sure Mum will appreciate being remembered this Mother’s Day. However big or small the gesture, remember, a mother is someone who will love you unconditionally, till her last breath……. and really, what can you possibly do to match that?
Welcome back to our blog and back to this weeks craft corner! We now come to our second part in our series, where we focus on adorning the home with handmade beauty and fun festive crafts. If you missed last weeks post, please take a peek, and try your hand at creating a wooden or paper Christmas tree, a wreath and some our #cuteasabutton Christmas cards.
For those of you who like more rustic and organic decorations, this week we have a unique take on a traditional Christmas wreath, exploring the idea of using tortured willow as your base. We are also looking at unique ways to create mementos of the year like time capsules decorations, adding a festive touch to candles and vases for use over the festive season and lastly, we look at some fun ways to create inexpensive gifts.
Remember we have $200 worth of FLOWERS with Florist With Flowers up for grabs for all you crafty critters! Be inspired by our blog, create a Christmas masterpiece, post it to our facebook wall, or tag us (@floristwithflowers) on Instagram and you will be in the running! The image that receives the most likes in total will win a $200 credit with Florist With Flowers (for delivery within SYDNEY ONLY) so get your friends involved, invite them to like our page, follow us and vote for your creations to increase your chances!!!
What better way to reward your efforts and decorate your home. So, without further ado, lets begin!
5. Tortured willow ‘Peace’ wreath.
I love this concept because we often carry fresh tortured willow in store, and it is simple and understated. The trick here of course is to use only fresh willow as it is still ‘green’ and malleable so can be manipulated into your chosen shape. Once created, the willow will dry and become brittle so you will not be able to alter the design, but essentially it can be kept forever (or until you want to create something new). The colour of the willow will change over time as it dries: gradually getting darker.
The concept can easily be ‘tizzed up’ with baubles or decorative wire or fairy lights (as below) or kept fairly simple and elegant with a small cluster of pine cones or fresh/artificial flowers in the top centre…..
Wreaths are ideal for your homes entrance way, but don’t be limited to only hanging these beauties on the door. Equally as effective is a round wreath on a round table. Wreaths can be laid as a centrepiece on your table. Think red/white/green votive candles surrounding the wreath, or a large hurricane vase with pillar candle in the centre.
For those of you who don’t fancy trying your hand at wreath wrangling this year, fear not! Florist with Flowers also have in stock a range of special wreaths this year too, something for everyone surely.
6. Handmade Decorations
Everyone loves a handmade decoration right? In our house, each year we purchase a special decoration as well as craft one, and this year, I’m giving this ribbon piece a go! Using just a selection of scrap ribbons, a stick and some twine, they are simple and effective!
But don’t stop there, every family has their own story so why not give these designs some thought too and create a piece for your 2014. Was there a new addition to the family? Did someone start school? Or finish their final exams? Did you lose someone special? Or have an amazing holiday away together collecting seashells along an isolated beach somewhere exotic? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
7. Perfectly Peppermint- Candy Cane Craft
One thing that is synonymous with Christmas for me is those sickly sweet candy canes. I don’t eat them, but I still buy them….
So when I stumbled across these brilliant ideas to craft with them, well, I just had to share!
Below you will find innovative ways to make simple and festive items for your home or for gifts which will cost you less than a cup of coffee! Can you believe that? At about a $1 a bag, this has to be the thriftiest way to create a Christmas piece.
If you like to get busy with your hands and craft your colleagues or neighbours something small, here, we have a wreath, a vase, and a candle concept that may well be the ticket. As the candle burns and the exterior is warmed, the fragrance of peppermint will fill your home. Try experimenting with different colours and flavours if you want to achieve different results.
8. Give your presence not presents- D.I.Y gift ideas
Maybe because I am a woman, I find men harder to buy or create for. Am I alone? I don’t think so somehow, given that even Target’s new ad focussed on kids getting costumes, mum getting home wares and dad ending up with a hair/beard trimmer. How exciting! Poor buggers!
This concept can be personalised for each recipient by choosing their preferred beverage, and what a cute way to add some Christmas cheer to a simple gift concept.
Now every grandparent I know loves something from the kiddies, whether it be a bit of craft, or a smiling picture in a frame for the mantle. So this has to be the PERFECT gift idea right? Combining both elements into one design, this is something fun and easy to do with the kids, and grandma and pa will LOVE it.
Ok, so I think that should keep you busy for the next week until our final installment. We can’t wait to see your willow wreaths, decorations, #candycanecraft and handmade gifts flooding in this week on Facebook and Instagram. Only two weeks to #getyourcrafton and get your entries into to WIN, so don’t delay….GET BUSY!