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The Easiest Ways to Extend the Life of Your Fresh Flowers

Just as we know that eating right and exercising makes our bodies healthier, there are some key points to looking after living plants and fresh flowers that are often overlooked. I like to think that after almost 20 years in the industry, I have a fairly good idea of how to look after most house plants and how to keep my vase going for as long as possible, but even I am guilty of skipping some of the steps on occasion.

Just a couple of weeks ago, in the busy days leading up to Christmas my darling mother and I made a horrendous error in judgement. Knowing that we had 4 places to go throughout the day, and enjoying gloriously hot, summery days, we chose to buy an orchid plant at our first stop. It certainly was the most convenient time to buy the orchid logistically on that particular day, but after sitting in the car for some 4 hours, the poor orchid plant was left scalded and burnt. The flowers and foliage were all wilted and sadly, that orchid was not going to be sitting centre stage on any table this season, if at all.

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I stifled a little laugh as we approached the car, not because it was funny, but because I really couldn’t believe that my mother, a orchid enthusiast, or myself as a florist had done something so obviously stupid. I guess it was just a case of the silly season getting the better of us.

An orchid enjoys humidity, however cannot handle direct sunlight ESPECIALLY throughout the middle of the day. The car would have created an oppressive, hot and dry environment that the orchid simply could not handle. Had it been a cactus it would not have had the same effect…

Obviously leaving any living thing in a hot car is going to have disastrous effects. Just as you would not leave a child, an animal or even fresh milk in the car, fresh flowers and plants should not be left in the car for extended periods of time.

Some of the most common mistakes people make when (not) caring for fresh flowers include;

RECUTTING STEMS

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Fresh cut flowers have been cut from their life source; from the source of their food and nutrients, as well as water. For this reason, the cut stem seals to ensure that excess moisture is not lost, and therefore needs to be opened or ‘re-cut’ before being placed in fresh water.

Who has ever been in a rush- run inside their home with fresh flowers and either left them on the bench, or thrown them directly in water before recutting them? You are certainly not alone, but by leaving the stems sealed, or worse, without water for extended periods of time, will drastically effect vase life.

Cut flower stems on a diagonal, removing approximately 2cm from the length.

CHANGING THE WATER REGULARLY

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Cleaning your vase every couple of days and refreshing the water will extend your vase life too. As your flowers deteriorate, bacteria breeds in the vase water, and in turn shortens the vase life of your blooms. By emptying the vase and using cleaning agents to ensure the bacteria is removed from the vase surface, the fresh vase water will stay fresher for longer.

KEEP FLOWERS FROM DRYING OUT

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Keep your fresh flowers and plants away from direct sunlight; unnecessary, harsh sunlight will deplete your blooms of moisture and dehydrate them prematurely. Keep your fresh flowers out of the direct line of draughts like air conditioning or windows.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you, in harsh, hot conditions like we have been having, fresh flowers and plants can suffer. By choosing hardier blooms, tropical and natives you will enjoy a longer vase life.

Fwf x

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It’s Never Too Late To CREATE!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun”Albert Einstein

Some people are street smart, others are book smart, and some other people are smart in a way that many are envious of…they are creative. Creative people have a unique way of looking at the world, and at looking at problems….coming up with solutions that others could not contemplate.

A 91 year old Czech woman has spent the last 30 odd years beautifying a small village, turning it into her own art gallery by hand painting flowers over the facade of the houses. It looks like Louka, a small town of only about 70 people in the Czech Republic, is set to become the next village famous simply for being charming and beautiful. Anežka (Agnes) Kašpárková, paints the window and door frames of the houses throughout spring and summer, slowly covering her hometown in her ultramarine designs. After working for years in agriculture, cultivating plants to support her family,  Agnes turned to painting about 30 years ago having being mentored by Manakova, a local women. When she passed away Agnes decided to continue her work. She uses bright blue paints which contrast the white walls of the Moravian homes. Creating intricate designs free hand, without drafting, her inspiration is from the traditional Southern Czech (Moravian) artworks. The chapel enjoys an annual touch up each May, when the artist spends 10 days decorating the freshly whitewashed chapel walls.

Why does she do it? “I am an Artist. I just enjoy it and I want to help.” Agnes says. “I’m just doing what I like,” she adds, humbly. “I try to help decorate the world a bit.”

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Image by Obec Louka via Bored Panda
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Image by Obec Louka via Bored Panda. Agnes seen here painstakingly painting the floral motifs
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Image by Obec Louka via Bored Panda. “I am an Artist. I just enjoy it and I want to help.”

It is not the first time something like this has been done….do you remember the little Polish village that is also adorned with flowers?

Zalipie, in Poland was just an isolated small town; bleak and somewhat forgotten. The smoke blackened huts of the village provided the local housewives with the appropriate inspiration. Initially, the women began painting the houses to disguise the black and sooty scars left by the smoke filtering out from the stoves. The women would hide the spots of soot within the intricate flower designs; a unique floral motif designed for each house, therein transforming the village into a kaleidoscope of colour and creativity. Gradually the designs began to make their way onto the outside of the houses, allowing the world to see the colour and intricacies. The quaint village has now become one of southern Poland’s best kept treasures, bringing visitors to the once quiet town.

As modern cooking methods improved, the need for these designs was lost however the town has kept them and continued to adorn any structure they can with the colourful designs; houses, bridges, chicken coop….there are no limits.

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Zalipie, Poland- a quaint village adorned with unique floral motifs designed and executed by the town’s housewives
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Image; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
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Intricate designs. Just look at the detail in each of the flowers and leaves. Image ; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Beautifying the world around you brings a sense of calm and contentment. But more than that, Agnes reminds us that it is never too late to do something that you love, and be guided by the creativity within.

Not everyone has the option of painting a whole village, but a vaseful of fresh cut flowers or a lush indoor plant can beautify your little world. Check out what we have online via the links, or come in store to say ‘Hi’.

Fwf x

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Vegetation Levitation

Everyone these days is on the look for something new, something fresh, something different. We want everyone to want what we want- almost as if their reassurance will tell us we are on the right track. Everything about today is geared towards standing out, and gaining approval- that is the way social media appears to be working right?

So in a world that is forever trying to come up with the next big idea, design concepts like this one, are sure to impress.

A simple vase of fresh cut flowers certainly is beautiful and an attractive pot with a lush green plant will definitely help bring the outdoors inside but we have all seen that before.

Have you seen this innovative design that I stumbled upon? We all know how magnets work; opposites are attracted to one another, and therefore pull most strongly together. And poles of the same origin will repel. Magnets and magnetic force is almost like some special type of magic- stuck together like glue, or repelled. Well, this concept has been utilised to create a unique plant concept, whereby the planter hovers over the decorative base via magnetic levitation. The plant is gently rotated to expose the plant to sunlight, which is essential for the plants survival.

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Image; Spoon Tamago
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Image; Kickstarter
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Image; Spoon Tamago
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Image; Kickstarter

There are a few companies offering variations of the concept which begun crowd funding a few years ago via kickstarter. Bases are available in modern chrome finishes as well as lovely rich oak, or bases covered in pieces of wood that have a more rustic finish. Air plants such as the Tillandsia do particularly well as they are able to absorb the nutrients from the atmosphere. The rotating action allows the plant to be evenly exposed to sunlight.

Bonsai plants are another option on offer, as are some palm varieties. Initially, D.I.Y kits were also available so essentially you could plant whatever you like. The ‘little star’ plant base as it is called, is made of a unique super absorbent sponge like material which holds water so the plant does not dry out. With time the plants roots will fully anchor themselves to this base, making it stable and secure. The decorative base that sits on your table/counter etc does require power.

It’s a pretty futuristic concept, and certainly something that would look out of place in my home- but how cool is it!? It’s a gorgeous idea for minimalist homes, a fantastic house warming gift, or a gift for someone who has just about everything.

But if it’s not for you, you can still stick to a gorgeous fresh flower arrangement presented in any vessel you choose, and guess what, it won’t require power either.

Fwf x

Feature image via Wallhaven

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Gorgeous Disbud Chrysanthemum, perfect for Mothers day flower deliveries. Image: Tesselaars flowers.

Disbudding for the perfect bloom

Did you know?

Disbud Chrysanthemums are called so as the flowers are ‘dis-budded’ to achieve just one single bloom per stem. All side buds are removed whilst the plant is young, resulting in a large focal flower. The result is one premium bloom measuring appromiately 7-9 cm in diameter.

Disbudding the stem is when all other side buds are removed, leaving just one central bud to bloom. Image: Longwood Gardens

 

How amazing is that? And, if you think about it, it also makes the single stemmed blooms seem quite reasonable in cost too after forfeiting so many of its brothers and sisters along the way! Imagine feeding just one child so they flourish and letting the others fall by the wayside! Hardly something a parent would do, but funnily enough, Chrysanthemums are a traditional flower for Mother’s Day. Weird. Some believe that the significance of the humble chrysanthemum is simply due to the inclusion of the colloquial term for our mothers within the flowers name: ‘mum’.

Pretty disbuds all lined up in a row. Image: Waldon’s Flower Farm
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Own Image: Chrissy farms that we visit
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Own image: Chrissy farms we visit

 

Disbuds have started becoming increasingly popular again with the influx of imported varieties that are being creatively dyed, giving us florists unique and varied colour schemes to explore. Fresh chrysanthemum flowers are a long lasting bloom, with many customers reporting they easily get up to two weeks from these impressive flowers.

These days people favour bright and bold colours, despite the fact they have been dyed. Image: www.samsclub.com

 

These Cremon disbuds have also been tinted. Image: Sierra Flower Finder

 

There are two types of disbuds: Spiders and Cremons. Spiders are defined by their tubular petals. Any disbud without this feature is considered a Cremon. Besides the spectacular disbud blooms, we also have fresh bunches of spray ‘chryssies’, button chrysanthemums and more!

Though I am not a fan of the standard chrysanthemum, the disbud is a different thing altogether. For me, it sits somewhere between the dahlia and the extraordinary peony, and I am a massive fan of both of these beauties! And, as an added bonus, they last so much longer! What do you think of disbuds? Kind of cool, or kind of daggy?

Mother’s Day is a day we can all take time to honour the wonderful mothers we know: the mother we have/had, our special mother-in-laws, or the grandmothers we are lucky enough to still have around and learn from. Sending fresh flowers to all the special ladies in your life is the perfect way to show them you care! Whether you choose to go with the traditional ‘mums’ or something different, our fresh flowers can be delivered throughout Sydney, or organised to be delivered with one of our affiliates anywhere in the world either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Whether you order online or come into the store to choose something special, Florist with Flowers can create Mother’s Day flowers to suit any-mum!

Til next time,

Fwf x

 

 

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Happy St Patrick's Day, March 17th 2015

Take Over of the Clover!

Got a favourite colour?  Mine is unreservedly GREEN: anything from sage to avocado, khaki to lime. So with St Patrick’s Day approaching, what better way to celebrate than taking some inspiration from the Emerald Isle, from the clover and the leprechaun…

St Patrick’s day, a cultural and religious celebration on March 17th,  commemorates the passing of Ireland’s patron Saint (A.D385-461), the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.  Celebrations include public parades and dressing in green attire or adorning yourself with Shamrocks, the symbol Saint Patrick is said to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The Lenton restrictions on eating and drinking are lifted for the day, which has in turn propagated the tradition of consuming alcohol on the holiday (not that the Irish needed an excuse! Ha!)

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St Patrick Image: Wikipedia

 

Green is a wonderfully calming and neutral colour but it is often underrated, and people tend not to see the true value of adding foliages to an arrangement, or using green berries or blooms to ‘lift’ a colour scheme. As a florist on countless occasions I have had a hard time convincing a customer that what we really need is more green rather than more flowers or more colour. And so this week my mission is to turn that around!

With so many lush foliages available in green it is easy to create long lasting arrangements that are low maintenance and are stunning in their simplicity. Alternatively a variety of fresh flowers are available in everything from soft pistachios tones to rich, olives, ideal for creating textured, versatile arrangements that complement almost any colour scheme or decor.

Song of India:

Gorgeous Song of India Image: Cainta plant nursery

Succulents:

Gorgeous Succulent Image: Commons Wikimedia

There are hundreds of varieties of succulent plants. Succulents are supple, long lasting plants, that can be utilised as ‘cut flowers’ (with no stem), with bamboo skewers used to create an artificial stem. They do not require alot of water and create a great ‘focal’ with their flower petal-like formation.

Molluca Balm (Bells of Ireland):

Molluca Balm Image: Aliexpress

Molluca Balm is bright lime green in colour, long and elongated, with flower pods along the length of the stem. In the language of flowers, it represents luck- no wonder it is known as the ‘Bells of Ireland’.

Orchids:

Gorgeous Cymbidium Orchids Image: Flowers Pictures

The Orchidacae family is widespread and diverse. Cymbidium orchids are available in various green tones (among other colours). Cymbidium orchids are generally available throughout May-October within Australia.. They are long lasting and ideal to use enclosed within a tall vase, or as an eye catching centrepiece in a more varied arrangement.

Simply divine green Slipper Orchids Image:Fun Flower Facts

The exotic Slipper Orchid is also available in stunning greens however are far less accessible, more expensive and rarer to find. Certainly well worth it, if you can mange to get you hot little hands on them! For this reason they are often reserved for use within weddings or special events.

Dendrobium orchids are often known as Singapore Orchids Image: Pix Good

Soft green and bright lime green varieties of Dendrobiums-the common Singapore orchid are also available. This orchid is more affordable and available all year round through international suppliers. They are not cultivated locally. The flowers take water through both the stems and the flowers so you can immerse flowers in a basin full of water to rejuvenate there appearance every couple of days.

Chryssanthemums:

Green Buttonn Chryssies Image: Flicker

Chrysanthemums are available throughout the year in different varieties. The flower heads occur in various forms, and can be daisy-like or decorative, like the buttons (above), disbuds, spiders or pompoms. They are available in a vibrant, fresh, lime green tone. Chrysanthemums are extremely long lasting. The disbuds are an ideal focal flower whilst the spray forms (spiders or buttons) are great to use as a ‘filler’ flower.

Anthurium:

Supple and Shiny green Anthuriums are often mistaken as artificial. Image: Fine Art America

Tropical Anthuriums are plastic like in appearance and are often mistaken as artificial. With approximately 1000 species within the genus, the Anthuriums form the largest genus of the arum family. The bloom contains both male and female structures and is often seen to be rather phallic. They are ideal teamed with fresh cut foliages or other tropical blooms.

 

The possibilities to explore are limitless! Don’t forget there are several other varieties of fresh flowers commonly available in green, like Jade green roses, heleborus (winter rose) or hydrangeas which are popular for weddings, and carnations which continue to make the comeback of the century! Poppy pods, lotus pods, artichokes, berries and much more are also available in gorgeous shades of green so rather than just getting those cold ales flowing, get those creative juices going too and create an arrangement that will make your friends #greenwithenvy!

Til next time remember,

“Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises”  Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Fwf x

 

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