Flower Fun: Narcissus


The classic story about the man named Narcissus who was so self-absorbed that he wasted away staring at his own reflection until he eventually became a flower, the attractive Narcissus is the official flower for the month of December!

Another thing I noticed about the Narcissus is how similar it looks to a daffodil and that of course is because they are related – from the same family of bulbs! So perhaps, when you order these beautiful flowers, you will want to call them daffodils, unless of course you are giving them to a certain someone as a coded message!

paper white narcissus

The Narcissus are so beautiful and delicate and unlike many other flowers, come only in a select few colours.  They are mainly white and yellow and even their centers tend to be yellow, though a few oranges spill over into their colour palette.

The white ones remind me of the soft delicate winter snow and the beauty of a simple winter landscape. I can almost hear the crunch of snow beneath my feet and feel the cold crisp air on my face.

Spring daffodils

 

 

Gifting a Narcissus in December is  a beautiful way to remind you and your loved ones that  the spring will indeed come again.

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How to Make a Day of the Dead Shrine


Dia de los Muertos shrine

Photo Credit: Flickr, daftgirly

Happy Day of Dead/Dia de los Muertos!

Day of the Dead, which celebrated on November 1st and 2nd in many Latin American cultures, is a holiday that honours and commemorates the lives of deceased loved ones. Typically, November 1st is dedicated to children that have passed on, while November 2nd is for deceased adults.

Dia de los Muertos is the biggest and most important holiday in Mexico. Though some cultures may take a more somber approach in honouring the deceased, Day of the Dead is a festive and joyous occasion. Friends and family come together to celebrate with the dead and have a good time, as they believe the souls of the dead will return to visit the living.

Along with dinners and parties, creating a shrine or altar is one of the most important ways to celebrate Day of the Dead. Traditionally, families will build altars in their homes during the weeks leading up to November 1st. Today, altars and shrines can be found in public places like classrooms, museums and libraries.

But what does all of this have to do with flowers (since Fun Flower Facts is a flower blog)?

Well, the marigold, that distinctive yellow/orange flower with the pungent scent, is an significant symbol of Day of the Dead. In Mexico, the marigold symbolizes the brevity of life. That being said, this isn’t something unique. The marigold has long been known as the flower of death; it has been used for centuries in rituals and funerals.

To celebrate Day of the Dead, shrines and graves are decorated with marigolds. Mexican marigold (tagetes erecta) is the traditional flower used in Mexico and other Latin American countries; it is also known as the Flor de Muerto. These flowers grow abundantly this time of the year. Marigolds are thought to attract the souls and guide them back to earth with their scent and bright colours. In some villages, people leaves a trail of marigolds from their home to their loved one’s grave, so that the deceased can easily find their way back home.

Here is a guide on how to build your own Day of the Dead shrine/altar for your loved one:

  1. Decide where you want the altar to go.
  2. Build the altar base.  You can start with a nook in the wall, table, desk, stacks of crates, or bookshelf, to give you some ideas. To make multiple tiers, use boxes of various sizes to create height. Cover the space with a nice, clean tablecloth or bed sheet.
  3. Decorate the altar with items  and trinkets that honour your deceased one. Choose things that have meaning and reflect the character/personality of the deceased, i.e photographs, favourite books/movies, and other collectibles.
  4. Include some their favourite foods, candies and drinks.
  5. And most important, don’t forget the marigold flowers! Fresh or artificial flowers can be placed in vases or scattered throughout the shrine. They can be fashioned into garlands, wreaths and crosses.

And last but not least, remember there is no right or wrong way to do this. Have fun with it!

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Not an Orchid!


Though this beauty looks like it must be an orchid, believe it or not, it’s actually a member of the ginger family (Zingiberoideae).

Roscoea pupurea – Vannin variety boasts these large white and purple blooms that can easily fool you into thinking you’re looking at an orchid.

Roscoea pupurea - Vannin

Image Credit: telegraph.co.uk

Originating from Asia, this plant is fairly hardy, performing best when planted in partial shade with well draining, leafy soil. A perennial that blooms late Spring & Summer, this stunning beauty graces your garden with these large, delicate, aromatic flowers that definitely have the “wow” factor!

The greenery is a low mound of sword like leaves in a deep green colour. Commonly planted in rockeries, as a border plant and in woodland areas but also will work well in containers, provided the soil is kept moist.

Vannin can be easily divided once it’s been established in your garden, be sure to do this in early Spring. It’s surprisingly hardy in colder climates, but in really cold areas it’s best to winter her in pots indoors.

 

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Guest Blog :12 Beautiful Flowers for Your Container Garden


Practical and beautiful, container gardens provide a great means of self-expression. You can choose from a multitude of colors, shapes, and fragrances.

However, some flowers perform better in confined spaces than others. For the most attractive and healthy container garden, try some of the following.
Begonia

begonia

 
These flowers are perfect for containers because they are low maintenance. They bloom in spring, summer, and fall and can take partial sun, full sunlight or shade. Use them to fill empty spaces or as solo pieces in hanging baskets.
Chrysanthemum

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These late season flowers make bright additions to a fall garden and come in two types (hardy for cool temperatures and florist for mild temperatures and greater care). They bloom in orange, pink, red, blue and white.
Daffodil

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Usually a spring flower (some species also bloom in fall), daffodils are resilient and last for three years when given proper care. They brighten up any garden with their yellow and white colors and sweet scent.
Fuchsia

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Bright and self-performing, these dangling bulbs often attract hummingbirds. Although they require frequent watering and fertilization, the effort is worth it to see them overflow in their deep pink color. Take them inside when it’s too hot or cold, and they’ll still thrive.
Gardenia

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If you prefer a strong, fragrant breeze, plant some gardenias. They’re best known for strong scents and dark, evergreen leaves. The flower always blooms in white, making it a neutral addition to any container.
Hyacinth

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This popular spring flower has an intoxicating scent and an intense bloom. They’re considered staples for a spring garden and return naturally, but their size may decrease each year.
Lavender

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There is a reason why people use lavender in many lotions, soaps, and bath salts. The fragrance is therapeutic, inducing sleep and relaxation. The flowers actually enjoy growing in tight spaces, making them great for containers.
Morning Glory

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You can grow these in containers or along supports after they reach six inches in height. They’ll intertwine themselves along the support like a vine or spill over hanging baskets. Cut them back when they spread too far, or wait for frost to take effect before removing them.
Primrose

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They continuously bloom through early spring to fall, enduring chilly temperatures and performing best in balcony gardens without too much sun. It’s easy to grow primrose, and if properly cared for, they’ll multiply every year.
Snapdragon

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If you desire warmer colors and less green, plant snapdragons in your containers. They grow tall and bright, adding height to your garden among the low flowers, and they do well in cool weather.
Sunflower

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A drive in the country might reveal fields upon fields of the tall flowers, but don’t be deterred. You can also grow them in small pots, and they’ll eventually provide a tasty snack when they dry out and leave seeds behind. Make it easier on the sun-loving plants by growing them in full light.
Tulip

tulip

Classic spring flowers available in many colors, these are the ones you can cut for home display. These tough plants survive freezing temperatures and produce new bulbs for the next generation even as they’re blossoming.
One Extra Tip: Mix It Up
For some texture and height in your container garden, combine your flowers with other plants like ivy, grass, or ferns. Think of them as the backdrop but longer-lasting and easier to manage.

Do keep in mind that while these flowers are excellent choices for container gardens, that doesn’t mean that you can plant them and forget about them. Container gardens are notorious for being low-maintenance, but they will still require standard care to ensure both that the moisture and soil quality are of an appropriate level.

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Your flowers must be sufficiently watered but not so much that roots begin to rot or soil becomes covered in algae. If you have chronic concerns about your soil quality, stemming from a significant lack of growth, consider doing a pH test of your soil. If you find that it is significantly low, the addition of sulfur could be beneficial. Similarly, if the pH is too high your garden could benefit from the addition of lime to restore it to a more neutral level.

Keep these tips in mind and you will have a beautiful, flowering container garden year-round.

Posted in Decorating with Flowers, Flower Tips & Tricks, Gardening, Gardening Tips, Guest Posts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post : How Mulching Can Benefit Your Flower Garden


   mulch(http://www.laurieflower.com/the-inspiration-of-synthetic-mulch-garden/synthetic-mulch-garden-details/)

A long time landscape artist or flower gardener can tell you the many benefits of mulching. Mulching refers to the application of any material (organic or inorganic) on the surface of the soil over plant roots. Mulches are mainly used for weed suppression, water regulation, and soil temperature moderation.

Before turf suppliers discovered the commercial value of mulches, nature had begun using organic mulches. Examples are dried shredded leaves or grass clippings around plants and flowers. They help protect them from creatures and elements that steal sunlight, nutrients, and water. If nature recommends it, why shouldn’t you?

The ideal mulch is affordable, locally available, easy to handle, free of weeds, pests and diseases and rich in organic matter. Besides these, the best mulches stay in place. Try as you might, you won’t find the mulch that has all these characteristics. This is why you need a sound plan to reap the greatest benefit of mulching.

Below are a few tips to help you use mulches in cultivating your favorite flowers.

1. Reduce, if not totally prevent, weed growth around your zinnias through mulching. Wood chips and chopped leaves are just a few good mulches you can use to control the growth of weeds competing with your zinnias. Organic mulches decompose in the summer, which provide much nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Putting around 2-3 inches of mulch will help retain the moisture in the zinnias’ roots and keep pest problems at bay.

2. Keep the soil and root of the flower moist by choosing the right mulch. Help your camellias bloom and stay healthy with 3-4 inches of mulch for proper soil moisture and temperature. Use organic mulches such as straw, wood chips, pine needles, or fallen leaves. Caring for these beauties has never been easier with deep watering and right mulching.

3. Mulching roses’ beds helps them get enough sunlight, water and nutrients they need to blossom. Use organic mulches such as composted materials, shredded leaves, pines, cedars, etc. These prevent weeds from competing with your roses plus they look more attractive than plain dirt.

4. A couple of inches of organic mulch can keep the soil around your Easter lilies cool. As most flower gardeners would tell you, they like their heads facing the sun while hiding their roots from its heat. They can be sensitive to the winter wind and sun so be sure to apply a generous amount of dried leaves, straw, and pine needles to protect them. When spring comes, don’t forget to remove the mulch.

5. Mulches, when adequately applied, can keep the ground insulated during winter helping lovely flowers such as chrysanthemums make it through the cold season. Put a heavy layer of loose, organic mulches (e.g. straw and evergreen boughs) to increase your chrysanthemum’s chances of survival during the winter.

As you try more mulching products, you’ll be able to learn more about the pros and cons of various types of mulching materials. Get your hands on plenty of mulch options available in your area and share with us your success at growing lovely flower beds.

 

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Guest Blog: 7 Tips for Decorating Your Office with Flowers


There are few things that could prove to be as effective at brightening up and bringing life to any office space than the selective placement of fresh flowers. However, not all flowers are suitable for this particular purpose, making it imperative that you do a spot of research before rushing off to your local florist. A few helpful tips for decorating your office with flowers can be found below:

1. Location

Have a good look around your office to determine exactly which spots would be most suitable for the particular flowers that you have in mind. Tropical flowers love brightly lit spots, so be sure to place them as close as possible to windows and other natural light sources. Orchids, on the other hand, cannot tolerate direct sunlit, so seek out a shady spot. The other good thing about orchids is that they are very easy to maintain and are very long lasting

.flowers-montreal-office

2. Containers

It is very easy to overlook the importance of containers when decorating your office with flowers. A selection of pretty vases could prove to be as important as the actual flowers themselves. It might even be necessary to choose the vases first in order to match the colour scheme of your office. A little experimentation could go a long way. Try a selection of unusual containers, such as kettles, coffee mugs or even pretty measuring cups to create a unique look.

3. Monochromatic Arrangements

By keeping your individual arrangements to a single colour, you would be successfully avoiding the fussy, cluttered look that is anathema to most successful office environments. White flowers are particularly suited to offices due to their elegant appearance. If you are mixing different types of flowers in the same container, ensure that they are all the same colour.

4. Function Over Form

Some people are allergic to highly fragrant flowers, so be careful what types you choose. Also, for those working from home offices, it is important to be aware that lilies can prove to be deadly where pets are concerned. When it comes to selecting flowers for your office, always try to bear in mind that function is far more important than form. An office filled with pretty or fragrant flowers might look stunning, but it could actually prove to be a fairly hazardous environment.

5. The Reception Area

What better way to greet visitors to your office than a reception area that features a colourful array of fresh flowers? Warm colours could help to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that might prove to be helpful in putting visitors at ease.

asian-inspired-home-office-with-fresh-flowers

6. Classic Offices

Flowers for offices that are used by estate agents, law firms and physicians should be neutral in appearance in order to convey a professional ambiance. Some examples are classic roses, gladioli and iris.

7. Creative Offices

For offices where creativity is a key factor, you could be more adventurous and give free rein to your own creative instincts. Brightly coloured flowers would almost certainly go down a treat in such environments.

Summary

By incorporating flowers into an office fit out, not only would you be making your staff field good but you would surely be creating a favourable impression on visitors as well. The type of flowers that you end up choosing will largely depend upon the nature of your business. Other factors would also come into play, such as natural light and existing colour schemes. Caution should be taken when choosing flowers, as possible allergic reactions amongst your staff and visitors is a distinct possibility. So, be sure to you select your flowers wisely.

amazing-flower-arrangement-for-home-office

 

Author bio
Alice Willson is a freelance writer for an office fit out specialist in Australia. Concept Office Interiors covers all aspects of an office design project, from consultancy to construction

 

 

Posted in Guest Posts, Houseplants | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Birds, the Bees, and the Bats ?


When I say bat, most people think blood-sucking vampires or flying rats. They definitely don’t think of beautiful fragrant flowers.
Birds and Bees do their thing during the day, but as soon as night falls, it’s the bats that take over.
Holy Pollination Batman!

20070806_bat

500 Flower species from at least 67 plant families rely on bats for the majority of their pollinators, Not only are these little guys responsible for plant pollination, they can be really cute too.
To Read More please check out our blog at http://www.growerdirect.com/blog

Posted in "Just The Facts", bats, Fun Stuff, pollination, Weird and Wacky | Leave a comment

Flower Beards … Are they really a Trend now?


Big, Bushy Beards are receiving a whole lot of media attention; recently many young men from all over the world (and internet) are adopting this interesting and scruffy look.
The Large beards are often associated with a hipster culture,( though many men would hate to admit that .)

In some cities, this trend has become so popular; it is now inspiring trends to counteract the trend itself.

beard1

Early in the year the New York Times declared beards to be officially a mainstream trend. Some now say, that with the New York Times declaring this look a trend, this means it becomes the complete opposite. They couldn’t be more wrong.

beard2
The streets and almost all forms of social media are packed with these bearded men young and old. And some of these men have taken it to a whole new level, creating a trend out of another trend. Insert; “The Flower Beard”.

 
While pictures of men with flowers in their beards can be found as far back as the 70’s, This summer it has taken on a life of its own. Thanks in most part to the World Wide Web, we are now seeing “The flower beard “, everywhere we look.beard4
If one searches #FlowerBeard on Instagram alone, you will come up with thousands of pictures, all showing men of all ages, size and race, with flower beards of any style you can imagine.

beard3
The trend has really launched itself online this July after a blog dedicated only to flower beards was created.
In more recent weeks, the flower beard has blossomed (pun intended), to a whole new level, with 100’s of photos being found everywhere from fashion websites, professional portfolios, and even from the social media feeds of the everyday woman, having a little fun at the expense of their significant others and male friends.

 

So what do you think? Trend? No trend? Would you ( or a bearded friend) try it?

Pictures Courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

Posted in Art, Decorating with Flowers, Flower Trends, Flowers in the News, Fun Stuff, Unusual Flowers, Weird and Wacky | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inspiration…


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Photo Courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

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Bouvardia


 

bouvardia

The Genus is named after Charles Bouvard, personal physician to King Louis XIII of France, and also the director of the “Jardin des Plantes”. Originates from Mexico, but it is now widely cultivated, especially in Holland. It is very fragrant, available in Bright white, cream, pink and red. Bouvardia is particularly prone to water loss and should never be left out of water.

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