Archive | December, 2012

Happy Holidays Bloomies!

27 Dec

I’m taking some time off this week, and I’ll be back with new posts in the new year!

-Jess

December Birth Flower: Narcissus

19 Dec

Paperwhites for December Birthdays

paperwhite narcissus

Delicate, Fragrant Blooms for a Winter Birthday Treat

December birthdays can be tough, with all that competition from the holidays, but lucky you, December Bloomies, you get a beautiful birth month flower: Narcissus. It’s especially great as a potted plant that you can plant then enjoy year after year.

Narcissuses, or, Narcissi in the plural form, are tiny daffodils with a strong fragrance. There are multiple blooms on each stem, each one about the size of a dime. White and yellow are the only colors you will see these flowers in. Paperwhites, like the ones above, are the most common variety of narcissus you’ll find at this time of year.

It’s an early spring blooming bulb, that lends itself wonderfully to indoor cultivation in a pot. Grow your own garden indoors, or buy a bulb for a friend and give them a little spring, in advance. If you think ahead you can “force” these bulbs for winter by planting them indoors about 6-8 weeks in before you want to see blooms. It takes a bit of care to get them flowering just on time (and standing up straight) but you can read how here. You can also find potted, flowering narcissus in December at many florists and nurseries.

Narcissus Background and Meaning

The name of the flower is often attributed to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own beautiful reflection and drowned in a lake. Supposedly Narcissus flowers grew where he had sat on the shore. It also could come from the Greek word Narcao (where Narcotic comes from), meaning “I grow numb”. In German, the Daffodil is known as Osterglocke, meaning Easter Bell. It is a symbol of vanity in the West, and of wealth and good fortune in the East. It’s also the symbol of unrequited love and the Kurdish New Year, Newroz.

Don’t worry too much about the various meanings though- there’s nothing quite as refreshing as live, flowering plants in the middle of winter, so surprise your December born loved ones with narcissus this year.

Flower Arrangements That Think Outside the Gift Box

12 Dec

Winter Decorating Beyond Red, White, and Green
peony-ilex

The Holiday season is HERE! Like I said at Halloween I LOVE to decorate, and winter is no exception. However, I’m not a big fan of the red, white, and green combo, even for holiday flower arrangements.

I grew up in a Jewish household, so the winter decorations were always blue and white and silver. It’s a beautiful palette that I’ve kept and expanded on, even now that I actually do get a tree each year. Here are a few favorite non-traditional color themes for I really love.

My Favorite Color Themes for Holiday Flowers and Other Winter Decorationsred-bouquet

Really Red

Be bold and go for deep, dark reds, without green OR white. Playing with textures in deeper shades of red will keep the visual interest in this monochromatic color scheme. I recommend sticking with similar shaped ornaments (balls, for example) to keep it from getting too busy.

Winter Whites

Another one of my favorite color themes for winter flower arrangements is also monochromatic: white in shades of champagne, platinum, and silver. Crisp, snowy and shiny, this is my favorite color scheme for a white or flocked tree. It also slides right into New Years, especially if you add black accents.

Great Greens

Green is a classic Christmas color, but you don’t have to stick with pine boughs (though they do make a lovely base to flower arrangements.) Try apple green, turquoise and peacock for a twist on the traditional green. Peacock hues and feathers are a popular bridal theme lately, and it transitions to winter decorations quite nicely!

Victorian Vintage

Try flower arrangements in shades of burgundy, pink, and white, with gold and silver. Dusty colored roses are a classic choice for this theme. Use antiqued ornaments and lots of white lights for an old-fashioned, “Victorian Christmas” look.

Your Own Yuletide Picks

Here’s the secret that celebrity event planners and decorators swear by: match your winter decorations to your existing interior decorating. If your flowers and ornaments match your furniture, walls, and rugs it adds an overall cohesiveness, allowing it to stretch farther into winter if you choose.

winter white flowers

From HGTV

I hope this guide to unique color themes for your winter decorations gets you thinking about how to dress up your holidays with gorgeous  holiday florals.

Evergreens Give Your Holiday Flowers Staying Power

5 Dec

christmas evergreens with ornaments

Evergreens Bring Holiday Spirit to Your Floral Arrangements

With relatives, friends and company in and out of your house all season, it’s great to have fresh holiday flowers to welcome them. But

how do you keep them fresh without replacing them each week? Luckily we are in the perfect season to keep arrangements lasting a LONG time with minimal effort (and just a little sap,) with the help of a winter standby, evergreens. Yup, evergreens, like your tree and wreath.

Start Holiday Flowers With Greens

Boughs of evergreens are a great starting point for your holiday flowers. They are plentiful (especially here in the Northwest), and cheap to boot. Swags can be as little as 10.00. They are also really long lasting. Use evergreens in place of fern and eucalyptus filler in your holiday arrangements. Use this seasonal approach for a long lasting base, then you can swap out the more delicate flowers as they fade. This allows you to stretch your floral budget and have fresh holiday flowers straight through the season, into the new year.

My Favorite Evergreens for Holiday Arrangements

Start with evergreens, then dress it up...

Start with evergreens, then dress it up…

Cedar is fragrant and soft, so lovely for Christmas.
Pine adds the smell of a Christmas tree anywhere you use it.
Princess Pine looks like over sized bottle brushes, and is good for larger arrangements.
Holly is a perennial holiday favorite that lasts forever, and if it is without berries, may even dry nicely.

Easy Care Holiday Flowers Complete the Arrangement

Clearly and arrangement is more exciting with actual flowers included, and not just a branch of cedar, so I recommend inexpensive, hardy flowers that you can exchange out for fresh when they wilt and not break the bank. For example, carnations last a few weeks, but eventually wither. If you remove the carnations, freshen the water and add in Alstromeria, you have a whole new arrangement for under 5.00. Easy! Or, you received a beautiful arrangement made with evergreens and roses, but the roses wilted within a few days. Toss the limp stems and add another flower in a similar hue to what you removed to keep the arrangement going.

My favorite Long Lasting Holiday Flowers

Carnations are traditional, inexpensive, and come in many colors.
Amaryllis has big showy heads and can hold their own without water for a little while.
Lilies, especially big, white lilies, are beautiful against the dark greens, and smell amazing.
Callas have lots of colors to choose from, and elegant enough for a New Years arrangement.
Alstromeria is easy to find at the supermarket, inexpensive, and adds a nice contrasting texture.

I hope these tips help you out this season. Happy Holidays!