Sunflowers

When you think sunshine and flowers most likely your first thought is sunflowers.  They’re large, bright headed blooms make the sunflower one of the most recognized flower around the world.  Sunflowers originated in the Americas and Europe, and were then cultivated as a valuable food source for centuries.

Artists throughout history loved the sunflower’s unique splendor—those of the Impressionist Era were especially fixated on the flower.  You will often see photographs of wild sunflowers with their tall stalks stretched out trying to reach the sun.  The receiving of a sunflower means the feeling of adoration, admiration, and platonic love towards a person, such as a family member or friend.  It will give the feeling of positivity and strength. It would be a sure way to brighten up their day.  Aside from being beautiful and important symbolically, the sunflower is downright useful. Almost all varieties produce edible and good-tasting seeds with plenty of health benefits.

The sunflower was common in American Indian tribes in North America. It is said that the plant was cultivated by the American Indians in present day Arizona and New Mexico around 3000BC. Some experts say the sunflower was domesticated even before corn! Used in many different ways when it came to food, the sunflower was a significant food source to the American Indians. The seeds where ground up and used in flour for cakes, mush and bread. Some mixed them with vegetables and some ate them as a snack but cracking the shell and just eating the seed (like we do today).

Sunflowers were used for more than food purposes too, such as purple dyes, body painting and decorations. Parts of the plant were also used for medical purposes from snakebites to body ointments. Sunflower oil (from the seed) was used in the hair and on skin and the dried stalk of the flower was used as building material. The whole plant including the seeds was very often used in American Indian ceremonies. Who knew so much use could come from a flower?

Sunflowers are heavily used in wedding decor and personal flowers such as bridal bouquets and centerpieces.

Sunflower bridal arrangements by Leigh Florist

BE a BEE Keeper

Bees are an extremely important part of our Eco system.  Their pollination process is essential for the growth of flowers, plants and trees all over the world.

The European honeybee is the most common species, and the only species kept in America. They are just 1 species of 20,000 worldwide known species. North America is home to 4,400 bee species including social bumblebee colonies, solitary tunnel nesting bees and solitary ground nesting bees.

Honeybees are the only insect which stores food in excess.  The colonizing of bees is called bee keeping.  Tending to bee hives requires a lot of time and knowledge.  General maintenance requires periodic inspections during the warm months to make sure your queen is laying eggs, your workers are building up honey stores, and your colony has enough space to expand.

Bees are directly influenced by their environment.  Their behavior and success varies greatly across climates. Management time and style will depend on your climate, your hive style, and your particular bees. All colonies are unique, and each beekeeper will have a different experience.

There are 3 types of bees in the colony: The Queen, the worker bee, and the drone.  The queen is the most important bee in the colony, there is only one.  The queen will lay all of the eggs for the colony, “deciding” when to lay drones eggs, or workers eggs.  Worker bees are sterile females who do all of the foraging, feeding of young, honey production and storage, wax production, cleaning, and defending the hive against intruders.

The only male bees in the colony are drones. Their only purpose is to mate with virgin queens from other colonies. Once they mate, they die successful bees. Unsuccessful drones return to the hive to eat honey and pollen. Once swarm season is over, drones become a drain on resources inside the hive, and are evicted by workers.  Bee keeping is hard work, but rich in reward.  There are many bee keeping groups and clubs that you can join to learn more about the bees in your local area.

Dress up your Ceremony

The ceremony is usually your guests first impression of your wedding so lets set the mood!  This is where a lot of photos will be taken of this special moment in your life, so how do you decorate? There are so many way to create the ultimate ceremony space.  It is amazing what flowers and a little imagination can do!

  • Doors

If you can find a set of old barn doors or historical weathered doors, you can drape a sheer fabric to soften and create a backdrop.  Have your florist create a beautiful garland or swag of flowers to accent.

  • Draping curtains

Whether you have a cozy indoor ceremony or a romantic outdoor setting, a simple way to create an altar is to drape fabric over branches of a large tree.  It’s romantic, simple, and with some added floral accents it will bring your garden wedding to life.  If you are working with an indoor space try an arch with draped fabric, florals and lights. Eye-catching and romantic!

  • Hanging a curtain of lights

Hanging lights is such a beautiful and romantic backdrop to your ceremony.  It will illuminate your event with a beautiful glow, and the pictures will be jaw dropping!

  • Flower or garland curtain

Create a backdrop with a curtain of flowers or have a simple, minimalistic look with greenery garlands. The things florists have down with flowers to create those soft and beautiful backdrops is amazing.

 

Stephanie & Jarrett at The Bradford Estate

Photos by Tiffany Atlas Photography

 

Roses Flower Curtain by Leigh Florist Weddings

 

Chic Rusitc Door Decor

http://shabbychicmagazine.com/wedding-decor-ideas/

History of Boutonnieres

It’s no secret that most men aren’t really into flowers, especially wearing them. However, did you know a boutonniere is historically the manliest thing you are wearing as you walk down the aisle? If you’re the groom or even a groomsmen, you may be wondering about the flowers you may have to wear on the special day. You may feel silly wearing a flower especially if it’s a girly color like pink, but think about the big picture and how it connects you to your beautiful bride. It ties the two of you together in a special way on your wedding day.

If you read our History of corsages blog then you got a glimpse of where the boutonniere tradition comes from but let’s expand! Some believe that this tradition goes back to ancient Egypt and the Aztecs. They would wear certain colored blossoms to show their support for players who participated in sporting events.

Others believe that the tradition came from the battlefields of the civil wars in England where the bloom or bloom color signified friends or enemies from each other. Boutonnieres didn’t become popular on lapels until the early 19th century when fashions began to change. Bigger coats that folded over revealing the inside of a buttonhole, creating a lapel didn’t become popular until this time.

It is said that boutonnieres became popular for special occasions because flowers provided a perfume effect, warded off evil and disease.

Typically, the boutonniere the groom wears should be a bit different from that of his groomsman. Sometimes they are a fuller design or even a different flower of the same color. The blooms should be pinned to the left lapel of the tux or suit jacket. A good jacket will have a sturdy buttonhole to support the weight of the flower. Some flowers are heavier than others so you will need to make sure it is secured correctly. Most of the time the grooms boutonniere will match the bride’s bouquet and pull them together for a picture perfect look.

Boutonnieres by Leigh Florist

 

Hydrangea

If you have been invited to a wedding in the past couple of years, chances are you have seen the hydrangea flower in either the wedding centerpieces or even in bridal bouquets. If you are big on the meaning of flowers, hydrangea means love and admiration, making it a sought after flower by brides to-be.

Hydrangea was first cultivated in Japan, but they have recently found fossilized hydrangea in North America dating back millions of years. Hydrangea was not seen in Europe until the 18th century when a colonist brought the North American hydrangea plant over to England.

Today, hydrangea mainly grows in the Americas. Big hydrangea heads are many smaller blooms clustered together. The little star-shaped flowers grow along wooden stems and create a big, pompom shape, making them very versatile and very easy to use in arrangements.

The most common color of hydrangea is white, but they also come in a variety of colors; such as blue, red, pink, or purple. In hydrangea varieties, the exact color often depends upon the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Acidic soils produce blue flowers, neutral soils produce pale cream petals, and alkaline soils result in pink or purple. They can also change color, or be bi-colored. All depending on how acidity is added or removed from the soil. Hydrangea is available all year round, making it great for any occasion you would like to celebrate!

Some brides often worry that if they choose hydrangea for their wedding flowers it will wilt easily.  If your florist sources the hydrangea from top quality sources and hydrates each bloom properly, you will have nothing to worry about.  They are a beautiful flower that will compliment any wedding arrangement.

Take a look at a past wedding we created which included hydrangea in the wedding bouquets and wedding centerpieces.

What’s a Corsage?

For as far back as we can remember for occasions such as milestones birthdays, graduations, proms,   weddings and even baby showers there have been flowers involved. From table decorations to personal arrangements pinned to a shirt, or tied around a wrist to fresh flowers placed in an up-do or a flower crown on your head. But where did this floral tradition start? Why were people pinning fresh flowers to their clothing?

The word “corsage” is French and originally referred to the bodice portion of a formal dress. Women used to pin flowers to the bodices of their formal wear which was known as “bouquet de corsage”, quickly shortened to what we use today.

In ancient times, flowers were worn to special events in order to ward of any evil. Hence why weddings and special occasions became the main flower wearing events! Some even wore flowers to simply keep themselves safe. It is said that boutonnieres provide the same for men by warding off evil and preventing disease. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries many people would wear corsages and boutonnieres every day to stay healthy, but as time went on they became more common just for special events.

As more time went on, the placement of corsages changed from the bodice to a strap on a dress near the shoulder. The meaning of corsages also change and was less focused on warding off evil or preventing illnesses and became more of a luxury. When courting a lady, a gentlemen would give his date a corsage as a gift for attending an event or dance with him. This is more like what we know corsages to be for today.

The gentleman would show respect to his date’s parents by presenting a bouquet of flowers and usually would pin a flower from the bouquet to his date’s dress. This was meant to represent attachment to another person. Corsages were also given on holidays, and even birthdays to show love and appreciation.

More presently, corsages are still worn for many special occasions. However, fashions and styles continue to change and more ladies will wear a wrist corsage, flower crown, flower ring, or carry a bouquet instead of pinning anything to their beautiful (and expensive) dresses.

A cordage is meant to make someone stand out from others and signify that she is celebrating something very special. Some will even press and frame their corsages to hold on to special memories.

Corsages by Leigh Florist

Prom-posals

As we approach prom season, we thought it would be fun to see what the kids are doing to ask their potential dates to prom. Now more than ever, the prom-posers are going all out.

Customers have told us some really creative ways their dates have prom-posed to them.  Here are some of our favorites we found online:

  1. Cookies – Creating a unique batch of cookies is a really fun way to ask your date to prom. (You may need some help from a bakery or grandma?)

(photo from tipjunkie.com)

 

  1. Balloons – Hang photos of you and your significant other from balloons – this is a nice way to reminisce about the times you have had together so far while also asking them if they would like to go to prom with you.

(photo from tipjunkie.com)

 

  1. A firefighter prom-posal – If you work for the local fire company, you can have your fellow fireman escort you to your potential prom date’s house.  Imagine the look on their face as you pull up on a firetruck!

(photo from theberry.com)

 

  1. A candlelit prom-posal – Spell out “PROM?” With candles in the yard of driveway and ask your date to look outside! (We recommend on pavement as to not set the neighborhood on fire)

(photo from theberry.com)

 

  1. Fortune Cookie  Order Chinese food for dinner and create a custom fortune for your potential date, get sneaky and slip that fortune in the cookie bag when they aren’t looking. SURPRISE!

(photo from tipjunkie.com)

Alstromeria

Alstromeria is one of nature’s most exotic looking flowers, also known as Peruvian Lilies. It comes in a variety of shades and colors, making them a perfect choice for any occasion. The Peruvian lily represents friendship and devotion and come in a variety of colors making them an ideal match for any birthday, graduation, or a “just because” arrangement. A few of the most popular colors include shades of yellow, pink, orange, and white.  The Peruvian lily is a very long lasting flower that has multiple blooms on a single stem, making these a popular choice for designers to place in vases or bouquets.

Alstromeria is native to South America, but now grow all over the world.  It was brought to Europe in the 1800’s, by a Swedish Botanist.  Not long after his discovery of the Peruvian Lily, did the flower gain popularity among flower enthusiasts.  With their meaning of devotion and friendship people quickly started giving them as gifts to friends and family.

Tulip Garden arrangement by Leigh Florist featuring Peruvian lilies (Alstromeria). 

 

How To: Make Your Own Terrarium

Create a Terrarium

Have you ever seen those plants or creative scenes in glass vases or jars and wondered what they were? Wonder no more! They are called terrariums! A fancy way to bring nature inside your home or office. They are very easy to take care of and easy to make!

Materials:

  1. A clear glass jar, vase, or bowl (or whatever interesting glass container you have on hand)
  2. Rocks, pebbles or recycled glass chunks
  3. Activated charcoal (sometimes called activated carbon)
  4. Potting soil appropriate for your plants
  5. Moss (optional)
  6. Figurines, sticks or decorative items (optional)
  7. Various small plants
  8. A scoop, spoon or shovel
  9. Scissors
  10. Gloves

Step 1.  Prepare the container –  A great and inexpensive place to get your container is at a thrift store.  Just make sure that you wash it thoroughly and remove all stickers from the container.

Step 2. Add a drainage layer – Once the container is ready, fill the bottom with rocks or pebbles. This is to create a drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plant. The depth of the rocks totally depends on the size of your container, but aim for 1/2″ to 2″.

Step 3.  Add Activated Charcoal – This will help kill the bacteria from growing in your terrarium and killing your plants.

Step 4. Add soil – Place a layer of soil down next.  Be sure to get the appropriate bag depending on which plants you’re using. Add enough soil so the plants roots will have plenty of room to fit and then grow. Aim for a depth slightly greater than the height     of the plant’s pot.

Step 5. Plant – When taking plants out of their original containers, you will want to break off all the old soil clinging to the roots.  Feel free to trim some of the roots back.  Don’t worry they will grow back.  Continue placing your little plants in the container and try to keep them away from the edges. The leaves are likely to touch the sides but aim to keep them away as much as possible. Once your plants are in pack them down with more soil, so they are sturdy in the dirt.

Step 6.  Add Accessories – Now you are done planting.  Add in any decorative twigs, rocks, or moss to help complete the look.

Step 7. Clean and Water – More than likely a little bit of dirt has gotten on the side of your terrarium. Clean up the sides and give it a fresh shot of water. It doesn’t need to get soaked, just a couple shots of water should do it for a while. The trick with watering is to monitor the soil. If it looks dry, then it needs water, but you shouldn’t have to do it very often.

If you would like to order a mini globe terrarium from our studio, give us a call! (856) 547-1090

Mini Globe terrariums by Leigh Florist.

Bells of Ireland

Molucella laevis, more commonly known as Bells of Ireland, are viewed as a symbol of luck.  Their dramatic profiles make them one of the most recognizable flowers.  Bells of Ireland usually grow up to 2ft tall or higher.  It’s blooms, known as bells or calyx, are a beautiful shade of lime green.  They grow up the length of the stem, and help conceal its defense mechanism, of little white spikes, that can be sharp. So, handle with care! It is open to debate whether or not Bells of Ireland are a flower, or foliage. Contrary to belief, Bells of Ireland are native to the Mediterranean coast lines. They are a part of the mint family. These gorgeous blooms help give a modern flair to any arrangement.  They would be perfect in an arrangement to anyone who just bought a new house, or started a new job to wish them good luck!