Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DIY: Spring Centerpiece Design with Pansies

This has been a great year for pansies in the South!!! Winter has been mild and now that March is here, the pansies are really taking off.
Many nurseries are still carrying the plants too. This time of year they can be purchased in little 2x2" containers which are just right for creating DIY centerpieces for a spring bridal or baby shower, luncheon or any type of gathering of family and friends. AND what's so great about these container designs is that they can be put together several weeks ahead of your event.
So here are the gatherings for making your centerpiece designs:
2x2" pansy plants, (I purchased these from Campbell Road Nursery in Raleigh), and 4" tall terracotta pots and saucers (craft store, Lowes or Home Depot).
1) Remove the plants from their containers and loosen or tease out their roots:
2) Place each plant in its own terracotta pot. Notice in the picture below there are some gaps around the root ball- you can fill these gaps in with potting soil if you like.
3) Next, to neaten up the plants, remove any faded flowers or
seed heads. I cut the stems back with a pair of scissors. Taking out the seed heads (see below), keeps the plants producing more flowers.
4) And because I want these plants to put on lots of blooms over the next few weeks, I apply a water soluble fertilizer that encourages more blooms.
5) Next I take dried moss, (you can purchase this from a craft store), wet it and wring it out like a sponge. Then I tuck it around the potted plant.
This looks much more attractive than black potting soil.
Over the next few weeks these little guys will continue to grow and put on more flowers. Keep containers watered and fertilized (follow label instructions cause you don't want to overdo it!), and continue to remove faded blooms and any seed heads.
Then after your party, you can give these away for others to enjoy for the rest of the spring season!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Daffodils and Springtime Weddings

Nothing says spring like daffodils, but did you know that there are some daffodils that begin to put on a show even before spring arrives.
Meet Ice Follies- this sweet little beauty usually starts blooming in late February. But this year with the mild temperatures, we started getting flowers even earlier. The creamy petals unfold to reveal a clear lemon yellow cup. As the flower ages, the cups mellows to a soft creamy color as well. Vase life is about five days.
Daffodils are absolutely lovely especially in white or yellow springtime wedding bouquets. The daffodil bouquet above features Ice Follies, Paperwhites and an unnamed solid yellow daffodil that blooms at the same time as Ice Follies. After Ice Follies will come trumpet daffodils- like King Alfred, then double petals like Bridal Crown Narcissus, and a new double petal that I am trying called White Lion.
This bouquet in the picture above is a mixed bouquet with pussy willow, yellow roses, Ice Follies, a touch of Bridal Wreath spirea and white hydrangea.
The wrap is made of narrow, pliable stems of curly willow that have been woven around the flower stems.
When working with daffodils, it is important to remember that they must be cut and placed in a container of water separate from other flowers for at least eight to twelve hours. They leak a slimy fluid that pollutes the water and can spoil the other flowers. When working them into designs with other flowers remember not to cut their stems again (so cut them short the first time).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gomphrena- A Lot to Love in a Little Bloom

I have started planting seeds of some of my favorite summer flowers,
and I would like to introduce you to one that produces oodles and oodles of blooms throughout the summer and fall. It's Gomphrena!
These are petite clover-like flowers that on first glance, can be overlooked, but look again and you will see they are perfect for adding a touch of sweetness to bouquets, corsages and flower arrangements.
Gomphrena or globe amaranth (I like the common name better!) comes in a variety of colors including rose pink, bicolor pink, purple, salmon and red.
While not the "star" of most floral designs, it definitely adds a cheery note as shown in the centerpiece above that also includes antique green hydrangeas, zinnias and Majolica spray roses, and the Maid of Honor bouquet below that has purple gomphrena, yellow Gerber daisies, and Kermit mums.
It's also a great flower for detail work like boutonnieres and corsages
Gomphrena is a flower that doesn't beg for your attention, but is quite happy making the other flowers around it look "good".
AND it is a wonderful flower to grow in your own garden too! A great source for seeds is Johnny's Selected Seeds, and if you live in the Raleigh-Cary area, Campbell Road Nursery sells the plants by the six pack starting in mid April or so.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Jewel Tone Colors of Spring Bouquets

Spring is a season of contrasts, especially when it comes to colors. Pastels are often the first colors that come to mind when you think of spring, but...
Springtime also has an array delightfully, vivid colors as well... Hot pink and fuchsia, apple green and chartreuse, and rich,saturated yellows.
The deep pink of the anemone, stock and tulips in this bouquet flashes off the lemon yellow of the Monte Carlo tulips and ranunculus.
This sheaf bouquet shows off a swirl of bright pinks and yellows including larkspur, boronia heather and craspedia (Billy Buttons).
And spring greens can be absolutely vibrant as shown in this centerpiece design that features euphorbia, Solomon's Seal and baby green hydrangeas mixed with fuchsia stock and yellow craspedia (Billy buttons).
There is nothing timid about these springtime palettes- all of them are fresh, bold colors that really make a statement!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What's in a Name... Bridal Wreath Spirea and Bridal Crown Narcissus

I am often intrigued by the common names that are given to flowers, especially those names that relate to love, romance, weddings and such.
This is from an earlier post about two great flowers with names that are perfect for spring weddings. Both of these flowers bloom in mid to late March. The first is Bridal Wreath Spirea, an old Southern favorite. Graceful, arching branches are lined with lovely white flowers that resemble tiny roses.The stems are perfect for wedding work- especially spring bouquets as shown in the pictures above and below.
Another favorite spring bloomer with a great name for weddings is Bridal Crown Narcissus. These sweetly fragrant flowers are a creamy white with touches of yellow in the cup.
If you are looking forward to a March wedding, both Bridal Wreath Spirea and Bridal Crown Narcissus would be a wonderful addition to your wedding flowers. They have that romantic vintage looks that harkens to an earlier time.
And they would also be wonderful additions to your gardens- no matter what season your wedding is!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Springtime Wedding Flowers- White Ranunculus

One of the most beautiful flowers for springtime weddings is white ranunculus.
It's perfect for the bride who desires an all white bouquet, but would like a mixture of flowers such as this bouquet above that features white ranunculus, calla lilies, freesia,  and from the garden- paperwhites and lily of the valley.
Or a touch of green with white as in the bouquet below designed with white ranunculus, freesia, Akito roses, lisianthus and baby green hydrangeas.
It also looks charming with blue flowers as well as in this bouquet with blue delphinium florets.
Ranunculus are delicate looking flowers with multiple layers of tissue-like petals. These layers and layers often open up to reveal golden (or dark) stamen centers. The flowers come in other colors as well- pink, salmon, red, orange, yellow and more. The flowers are usually available from mid to late February through late April in our area. This year I am growing them in a hoop house (more about that later), and hope to have them blooming by late February.
As soon as I do I will add them to more wonderful springtime designs!