Nom Nom Nom: Venus Fly Traps!

19 Jun

Carnivorous Flora: Hungry Little Plants

Ack! It's hungry!

Ack! It’s hungry!

Hello Bloomies,

I’m excited to give you a peek into another side of my personality and discuss something that’s been fascinating to me almost my entire life: Venus Flytraps!

Feed Me, Seymour!

I am 99% certain the obsession started with Little Shop of Horrors. A story about a man-eating plant? Awesome! Of course, unless they’re from another planet or have been given a comic book sized dose of radiation, Venus Flytraps don’t actually get big enough to eat entire people, but the concept is fun and lets the imagination wander.

Venus Flytraps are ancient plants; one of several hundred species of carnivorous plants that trap, eat, and digest other living creatures. They are actually native to North and South Carolina, but are endangered, and are mostly propagated in green houses for sale.

Caring for Your Venus Flytrap

They prefer LIVE prey, as they need the motion of the bug to cause the trap to shut and start the digestive process. You can feed them dead bugs, but then you have to squeeze the trap shut and move the food around yourself. Yuck! If the bug is too big, the plant may actually die. Feeding them a live bug a couple of times a month is usually enough.

Add Some Excitement to Your Plant Collection!

They don’t survive if cut, so they don’t go well in arrangements, but would be a fun addition to a plant basket, or a fun “floral” gift for a young scientist.Want one? They’re on Amazon. If you’re in the Portland area, check out cobraplants.com. They have the three most common carnivorous houseplants for sale. Their website is set up to help you figure out the best plant for your indoor OR outdoor needs.

We’re Moving to a Newsletter!

12 Jun

Heads up, Bloomies! Some fresh new changes are in the works!

Coming soon, we’ll be moving to a newsletter format rather than the blog. We’re still making sure everything is picture-perfect for our readers, but we’ll be sure to notify you when we’re ready for you to subscribe.

Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

Father’s Day Flowers? A Stunning, No Frills Arrangement for Dad

12 Jun

Dad’s Can Appreciate Floral Art Too!

Father's Day FlowersGood Afternoon, Bloomies! This weekend is Father’s Day. Are you ready? If not, I have created a super simple many arrangement that you can do yourself. Enjoy!

Ikebana influenced Father’s Day Arrangement

When it comes to men’s flowers, I tend to choose big, bold blooms, or potted plants, but not this time. Instead of going for tropical flowers, sunflowers, or succulents, I’ve chosen an minimalist arranging style. Ikebana is a Japanese style of arranging that is simple, with three main components standing for Earth, Heaven, and Man.

I took this idea and used each item in multiples of three (for the most part). I used what I had on hand: Blues and greens in neat textures (Thistle, Ergynium, Galax, Larkspur, poppy pods, artichoke, and Bells of Ireland).

How to Craft a Father’s Day Floral Arrangement

Ikebana: Earth, Heaven, and Man in Three Simple Stages

Start with a container that is streamlined, sleek and low. Mine required foam to hold the flowers, but you can get “pin frogs” (little pin covered disks you can stick the stems into) at a craft or floral store if you prefer.

I put the two biggest items, my thistle and the artichoke, low in the front of the container for focus. I added a few galax leaves to cover some of the foam base, and started building out with ergynium and poppy pods.

Then, add three TALL items. I used the bells of Ireland for my tallest feature. These can angle to the sides slightly, a bit like a W.

Repeat the W/three with another type of flower, in front of and slightly shorter than the tallest.

I repeated this process one last time with the Veronica, echoing the original W and allowing for the negative space between the stems to become part of the arrangement. Cover any open foam with extra low flowers, galax, other leaves, or moss. That’s it. You just did Ikebana!

Have a fantastic dad filled weekend, and remember to tell him Thanks.

June Birth Month Flower: Honeysuckle

5 Jun

A Sweet Flower for a June Birthdayhoneysuckle

Happy Birthday to all my June Bloomies out there!

Summer is finally here, along with all the fun, fragrant summer flowers. Honeysuckle fits right into that category as the birth month flower for June! Known for their profuse trumpet-shaped flowers and intense fragrance, this climbing vine blooms in spring and continues flowering through summer or early fall. It comes in shades of white, yellow, coral and red.

Honeysuckle Around the World

There are about 180 species of honeysuckle around the world, with approximately 20 varieties that are native to North America. In China, where there are nearly 100 native species, the flowers and berries are used in herbal medicine to treat a variety of complaints.

Honeysuckle also appears in folklore around the world. Its fragrance is thought to induce passion and love, and bringing a blooming honeysuckle into your home means that there will be a wedding within a year. Shakespeare also referenced honeysuckle in some of his works, and to this day the variety native to England is considered to be the flower of lust.

 About Honeysuckle

Did you know? Honeysuckle is edible, and the nectar is very sweet—that’s probably where the plant got its name. Many varieties have toxic berries, though, so don’t eat them unless you are positive that they aren’t harmful.

Honeysuckle are valued as garden plants—their twining vines can cover unsightly walls or outbuildings. They do best when their roots are in the shade, and their flowers are in sunlight or very light shade. Beware though—they may do so well that they begin to take over the place!

Honeysuckle are a beautiful and fragrant flower that will be enjoyed by the people, hummingbirds and bees in your garden all spring and summer long.

“A Honeysuckle Bower”

A honeysuckle bower, sweet,

Twines its fragrance ‘round my feet

And with the lily draws me toward


A gated-garden’s secret world.

S.E. Johnson

Five Easy Ways to Bring Spring Inside

29 May

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Pink Tulips in the RainSpring is experiencing some technical difficulties here in the Pacific Northwest, it seems—our April showers have brought May showers, too! With constant rain and chilly temperatures, it can be easy to forget that it really is Spring, and things really are growing and blooming and alive!

Five Ideas for Using Flowers in your Home

Any space looks better in color, and what better way to add color than through beautiful, living flowers? Bring spring indoors with these ideas.

 Wreaths

A wreath of spring flowers on your front door is a welcome sight to guests who come to your home. It makes them feel more at home, and reminds them of sunshine and beautiful spring weather—even if they ran through the  pouring rain to get to your front door!

 Spring Garlands

Normally we think of garlands on the mantel as something we do during the holidays. Not so fast! Spring garlands can be a beautiful way to bring color into your home. A bright, lovely strand of flowers or leaves is a quick reminder that spring is here.

Potted Plants

Potted plants are another great way to bring the outdoors in. Tulips and miniature roses are two good choices, and can be transplanted outside when you are done enjoying them in the house.

Succulents

Succulent arrangements make for wonderful centerpieces or to enjoy grouped together with other arrangements. You can buy succulents already arranged at a flower shop, or you can get your hands dirty and create your own. Find books at your local library if you need ideas to get started.

 Bouquets

Traditional bouquets are always a safe and easy bet. They look good in any corner of the house, are easy to care for and are also a great gift idea. If someone you know is feeling a little down with all the rain, bringing them a bouquet of flowers in their favorite color is a sure way to cheer them right up.

There you have it, Bloomies! Use these tips and your home will be bright and happy in no time!

May Birth Month Flower: Lily of the Valley

15 May

Delicate Lily of the Valley is Just the Thing for a May Bloomy

Happy birthday May Bloomies! May’s birth flower is the lily of the valley!Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley Meaning

Lily of the Valley means “return to happiness,” probably because when you start to see them in your garden, you know it’s officially spring and that winter is over.

About Lily of the Valley Flowers

Super fragrant and delicate, it’s a fleeting flower popular with spring brides (Kate Middleton had some in her bouquet).

These only come in white or pale pink (I’ve never seen them in pink). Each lily has several small white bells evenly spaced on bowing stems surrounded by dark green foliage. They love the shade and are self-proliferating; one clump quickly turns into several within just a few seasons.

… The Naiad-like Lily of the Vale,

Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale

That light of its tremulous bells is seen

Through their pavilions of tender green…

Shelley

Lily of the Valley macro

Creating the Perfect Bouquet for Mother’s Day

8 May

Mother’s Day is Right Around the Corner!

Seriously–it’s this Sunday. Don’t despair; I am here to help you make a memorable bouquet for mom that you did all by yourself. It’s like when you were little and made her ceramic doodads that she ultimately hid in the attic. This bouquet won’t be hidden though!

Creating your Bouquet: Choosing Your Setting

Pick your Flowers

Does your mom have a favorite color or favorite type of flower? Try to incorporate the things she already loves for automatic bonus points. Get at least 10 stems. Mixed flowers are great, but you can use all one type if you prefer.

Select a Container

Do you want to use a vase? Do you want to use a container with floral foam? Or do you want to make a hand-tied arrangement so she can put it into a vase she already has (like the one from 3rd grade that’s been hiding in the attic)? Fill the container with warm water and floral food (most flowers sold at the store come with a packet).

The container you selected will determine the shape and steps of the arranging process. For this article, I am going to use a vase arrangement, with no foam. The steps for a hand tied bouquet are almost identical, except you use  a table to create it rather than a vase.Vase

Building your Bouquet

When you select your flowers,  pick out some greens for structure and stability, and to fill in any bare spots. Fern, eucalyptus, and lemon leaf (salal) are common and readily available. I recommend at least two, but preferably 3 types of greens for visual interest.

Start with your Greens

Cut them to the level of the neck of the container, crossing the stems to create a framework for the flowers. Then add 3-4 more stems of greens, varying in height. The tallest should follow the “golden rule”: 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of your vase. The greens should mimic the total shape you are looking for, similar to a cone.

Add greens

Adding in Flowers

My flower school recommended starting from the tallest stem down, but I think it’s easier to start at the bottom and go up. This makes your arrangement straighter and holds that tall flower more securely. General rule of shape is the biggest, fattest flowers at the bottom, and smaller at the top.

Building your bouquet

Creating the Shape

Measure your flowers to the vase, and trim stems at an angle. Four to five should be about the height of the neck of the vase, three to four stems staggered a little taller , and then one stem (pick the tallest, straightest flower before you start cutting!) for the very top. Think of  a dozen roses and the shape they come in.

Continue to add flowers

The Finishing Touches

Give the vase a few rotations, looking for clumps/gaps and adjust accordingly. Remember: you can always make them shorter, but once they are cut, you can’t make them any taller.

Now you have a beautiful hand-made bouquet that your mom will love, and she will appreciate the fact that YOU made it. Of course, if this all seems a bit overwhelming, you can still call me for a beautiful arrangement handmade by me!

Good Luck!Your finished product