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.

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

 

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

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). 

 

Wedding Roses

May of 2017 at the Abbie Holmes Estate in Cape May Court House, NJ.

Photos By: Jessica Cooper Photography

The Abbie Holmes Estate is the perfect setting for weddings with its beautifully manicured gardens and natural surroundings it is sure to make your wedding memorable.

The bride’s bouquet consisted of a gorgeous combination of peach and lavender roses in a small cascade shape. Her bridesmaids carried a small bouquet of similar colors consisting of white hydrangea, peach roses and small purplish blue accents. Having more white in the bridesmaids bouquets allowed the flowers to really pop against their dresses and the opposite effect for the bride in her stunning white gown.

Jessica Cooper Photography

Erin & Kevin

Erin and Kevin said their I Do’s on a beautiful day in Philadelphia, PA. Erin’s crystal beaded gown sparkled in the sunlight and was complimented by her bouquet of soft pink and white blooms. Kevin wore a white bloom with greens to match his bride. The reception took place at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia where the tables were decorated in  soft neutral colors with pinks and greens to accent. Floating candles and tealights were added for a romantic candle lit atmosphere.

Photos by: Juliana Laury Photography
Venue: The Crystal Tea Room – Philadelphia, PA

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!

The Anemone

The Anemone is a beautiful classic flower that has many uses from bridal bouquets to everyday centerpieces. The genus Anemone consists of 120 species of perennial flowering plants, which grow from tubers. Anemones grow wild in many European countries, North America, and Japan. The name Anemone is of Greek descent and roughly means wind flower because it’s the wind that opens them up. They were also once used for medical purposes as well. They have been known to help treat cramps and emotional distress.

The anemone comes several different colors such as red, pink, magenta, purple and blue, but the white anemone has proven most popular.

When it comes to wedding flowers the anemone is mostly used in the bridal bouquet. With its pure white petals and deep black center it creates a classic look on its own. You can also create a more dramatic look depending on what other flowers you pair them with. These flowers are typically available from October to May, only two of the major wedding months. If this is a flower you love and would like to incorporate into your wedding be sure to consider your time frame. Check with your local florist to inquire about their availability, and color options.

The Rose

Roses are the national flower of England, and represented two important families in the 15th century. The Lancasters (red roses) and the Yorks (white roses) competed against each other for rule of England in The War of The Roses.

Williams Shakespeare, one of England’s greatest writers was inspired by the rose. Romeo and Juliet has one of the most well-known quotes on roses, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet is reminding Romeo it doesn’t matter that they come from feuding houses because their love is real.

The Rose is one on the most popular and easily recognized flower out there. Many people see them as a gift of love and affection. Well, they are correct, but did you know that different colors and groupings of roses symbolize different things?

A rose’s symbolism changes based on the color and the number of them given. Below is a list of the most popular colors and what they represent.

  • Red roses symbolize love and romance.
  • Pink roses symbolize gratitude, grace, admiration, and joy.
  • Orange roses symbolize enthusiasm and passion.
  • Yellow roses symbolize friendship.
  • White roses symbolize innocence and purity.

Uptown Roses                     Sweet Love                    Cupid’s Arrow
        By: Leigh Florist

Did you know you can send a more specific message with the number of roses given?

  • One rose symbolizes love at first sight.
  • Two roses symbolize shared and deep love.
  • Three roses says “I love you”.
  • Six roses says “I want to be yours”.
  • Seven roses says “I’m infatuated with you”.
  • Nine roses symbolize eternal love.
  • Ten roses says “You’re perfect”.

Modern Gem by Leigh Florist