Monday, March 30, 2009

It's OK to Play With Your Food

When you are a florist, finding new ways to make a flower arrangement interesting is a daily challenge. Utilizing fruits and vegetables is a fun way to turn an arrangement on it's head. Almost any fruit or vegetable can be used in this way-it really is just a matter of mechanics. The "Parisian Bouquet" on the left uses no flowers at all...just vegetables: some are 'bundled", others, such as the bright peppers, stand in as the 'flower".

You can use vegetables in the simplest way ever...such as this squash, hollowed out to become a vase for these gorgeous roses in a coordinating color.

Here's a lovely little centerpiece with ornamental cabbage and artichokes, their bright green color standing in for the greenery, and playing off the pink in the roses and tulips.

Try using asparagus as your 'vase'. Simply stand the stalks around a straight container, and tie them off with a decorative ribbon or raffia. Then add your complimentary blooms.

Citrus is another popular addition. Here's an arrangement with limes, orchids, and a few branches of curly willow. Great for a small centerpiece, and delightfully fragrant as well!

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the Garden This Morning, On the Plate Tonight

The blooms are on the fact, you may see the riot beginning in your yard right now. Did you know you can have a bit of fun with flowers on, or even as, your food? Many flowers are edible and the art of garnishing with flowers is back in vogue. Just be sure you use only those that have not been sprayed with pesticides. (Or call Bloomers to have them special-ordered for you).

Among the most common of the edibles are the Pansy and the Nasturtium- the first prized for it's 'smiling" face, and the second a commonly-seen, sturdy little plant with orange or yellow flowers. As these petals have a peppery bite, you'll often find them garnishing salads.

The chive blossom, not surprisingly, tastes strongly of onion. Its frilly head of white blossoms adds a whimsical touch to your meal and is a fun decorative element with vegetables.

Later in the summer, your zuccini vines will provide you with loads of blossoms, which you can simply use as decoration, or, look online for a stuffed zuccini blossom recipe.

To really make desserts stand out, used sugared flowers. Simply dip your blooms in egg white, then dredge in superfine sugar. Let dry. Your cupcakes will look like they came from a Parisian

And speaking of Paris, check out this
flower-bedecked French cheese!
Ooo La La!

You may also have other edibles in your yard, such as: Bee Balm (Monarda), Hibiscus, Lavender, Peony, Borage, Chrysanthemums, Dandelions, and Day Lilies, to name just a few. Try a mixture of blooms frozen into ice cubes to really dress up your sweet tea.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yes, The Flowers Are On The Way

Spring is soon upon us and with it, if we're lucky, armloads of flowers from our gardens. (Or, better still: from Bloomers!) Don't you just love this photo of the floating flower market in Amsterdam?

What can you do with flowers besides plunk them in a tired vase? I've got some fun ideas to get you started.

With only a few small blooms and greens, you can fill a treasured tea cup, using floral foam to secure your design. This would be lovely on your desk at work.

Lovely loose arrangements can be made in any pitcher you have, but even nicer if the colors are complimentary. This one is especially pretty with the coordinating polka dots echoing the blowsy old-fashioned roses.

A bit more involved but not impossible: a fun topiary in a mug! This one also requires floral foam (and a bit of patience) but the result is worth it! One of these would be unexpected and whimsical in a small powder room.

If you have only a few beautiful blossoms,
add impact by placing them in a clear container filled with nuts, marbles or colored stones. Coordinate the color of your accent item with the flower for more impact, like these mums and filberts. Line them up along your dining table and they'll really stand out.

How's this for fun? Incorporate your pet fish into your design! To achieve this look, soak a floral foam wreath, and build your design using harmonizing flowers. Then gently place your fishbowl into the center of the wreath.

If you have only a few prime blossoms, you may want to try your hand at the Japanese art of Ikebana.

Whatever you decide to use, you're sure to bring the joy of spring into your home or office!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lá Fhéile Phádraig Sona Duit!

Or...Happy St. Patrick's Day, and with it, here come the green carnations! But how did green come to be associated with St. Paddy's day? St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish. In more modern times, the phrase "the wearing of the green" meant wearing a shamrock on your clothing.

In reality, St. Patrick's Blue was the first color associated with him. The change probably started sometime in the mid 1700's.

Today, the green carnation is the most popular choice of flower to wear on your lapel. But there are many other green flowers that would work well, too.

Bells of Ireland, appropriately! (Too large for your lapel but beautiful in a vase!)

That gorgeous lime green spider
mum,and the cute little pom
known as "Kermit".

There are even some gorgeous green roses! And no, these are not dyed!
And a lovely green decorative cabbage, that sometimes looks like a rose, itself!

Did you know that the city of Chicago tints the Chicago River green every year to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Now, that's alot of glas!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Thank You, Lady Bird!

Claudia Alta Taylor was born in the East Texas town of Karnack on December 22, 1912. You may know her as Lady Bird Johnson, but you perhaps may not know of her contribution to this country's conservation efforts. As First Lady, she urged her husband to do something about the junkyards that could be seen along the nation's highways. In 1964, she formed the "Committee for a More Beautiful Capitol", it's aim being to develop Washington DC into a 'garden city' that would be a model for the rest of the country. With her friend the actress Helen Hayes, Lady Bird Johnson established the Wildflower Center in 1982 to educate people about all aspects of our native plants.

After her husband left office, Mrs. Johnson focused her effort on Texas, specifically Austin, and was instrumental in bringing together 10 miles of trails along the Colorado River, planted with native trees and plants.

On her 70th birthday in 1982, she created the National Wildflower Research Center, encouraging the beautification of Texas highways and focusing on the ecological advantages and beauty of native plants.

Eventually, Mrs. Johnson saw the need for a larger site, and in 1995 the new center was opened on a 43 acre plot of land in Southwest Austin. It was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1998. and now comprises 279 acres with more than 700 plants species on display.

Why was she called "Ladybird"? When she was a child, her nurse exclaimed that she was "purdy as a ladybird" (we know it as a ladybug), and the name stuck.

If you appreciate those great swaths of wildflowers planted in the highway medians, you can thank her forward vision. Lady Bird Johnson died July 11, 2007 at her home in Texas.

My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth."
~Ladybird Johnson