May Day: Traditions Old and New

1 May

It’s Already May!May Day flowers

Good morning, Bloomies! It’s MAY! The year is just shooting right past us. Before we get too far into this year, I would like to pause and look at the traditions of May 1st, also known as May Day.

 Ancient Roots of May Day

May Day started with pagan roots, in the holiday called Beltane. The maypole was a focal point of the old English village rituals. People would get up at dawn to go outside and gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women would braid flowers into their hair, and both men and women would decorate their bodies.

Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion.  To celebrate your own version of Beltane, gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home. Moms and daughters can braid their hair, and weave in a few blossoms.

Bringing the Tradition to Life

I remember when I was little, our neighbor would gather flowers to leave on our porch; she would ring the doorbell and run, as to remain anonymous behind the gift of spring.

This is a fun use of those flowers that you gathered on your morning walk, and I think it should be resurrected as a new fun May Day tradition. Even just a handful of the common spring bluebells or lilacs would be a welcome gift for a neighbor or a friend.

I love the May Pole, but this “ding-dong ditch” seems more fun, and takes less practice, and fewer people.

I give you this challenge: even if you give ONE person ONE flower, let’s all try and practice this new tradition today!Ding Dong

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April Birth Month Flower: Sweet Peas

25 Apr
If you must go, go with flowers.

If you must go, go with flowers.

Sweet Pea Blooms for April Babies

Hi bloomies!

I was so busy enjoying the sun (and preparing for an upcoming trip) that I forgot to post this yesterday! I don’t want you to miss out on this month’s birth month flower though, the delicate little sweet pea.

About Sweet Pea Flowers

Sweet Peas are the flower for the month of April. If you have a birthday this month, then this is YOUR flower. It is powerfully fragrant, but incredibly delicate. This flower really does resemble a regular edible pea plant, with tendrils, strong vines, and beautiful hood shaped flowers.

Sweet Peas usually come in shades of white, purple, and pink. Rarely they are available in pale yellow. They are easy to grow, but don’t last very long when cut. They are truly fragile, but quite beautiful while they last.

Sweet Pea Meaning

Sweet Peas symbolizes departure. Hopefully the departure is from past negative experiences, and into positive future changes. It’s a great flower to include in a farewell bouquet, a true departure.

Earth Day is Almost Here: Sustainability at Your Favorite Florist

17 Apr

JBlooms Practices That Make Your Flower Arrangements Earth Friendly

Hi Bloomies! It’s almost Earth Day, which reminds me I should tell you all about the sustainable practices I like to use in my business.
Earth Day- Lovely Branches

My Every Day Commitment to The Earth

Local Flowers

When at all possible, I use the most local and in season products I can find. There are several local floral vendors that focus on seasonal, NW and sustainable plants. Peterkort Roses is located right here in Portland, and has year round availability on locally grown roses and lilies. Twigs, a vendor at the Portland Flower Market, uses birch bark, branches, cork and wood to make creative containers (like the one below), wreaths and household decor. Hubrich Farms, another market vendor, is locall too, in Hillsboro. They grow hyacinth, tulips, wheatgrass, and lily of the valley, most of which are sold to be planted and are therefore also reusable.

Recycled Products

There is a whole new line of vases and containers made from recycled glass. They come in different shapes and sizes and are actually less expensive than the non-recycled glass containers!  I also love to use plastic, which seems counter to “Earth Friendly”, but they are lightweight, easy to clean and are recyclable if you don’t want them.

Biodegradable Products

You know that green brick under all structured flower arrangements? That floral foam is in fact biodegradable and goes right in the compost! It can take a little longer to break down, so smaller chunks are recommended. Flower food and floral spray are both environmentally friendly and non toxic. Don’t eat it by the spoonful, but if a dab gets in your coffee it’s not harmful to you (or pets!).

Urban Foraging

As long as it’s not directly on someone’s property the local greenery is, in fact, up for grabs. Grapevines and ivy overgrowing a fence and that are in “public domain” are a cheap and effective way to reuse what’s out there, reduce overhead, and make the neighborhood a little more attractive. Seriously, though: NO FENCE HOPPING. Keep it to the sidewalks, ok?

This last week we chopped down a dogwood that was in a bad spot, really old, and sickly. Both picutred arrangements are courtesy of that ailing tree. It had just sprouted buds, and I was able to reclaim the flowering branches for a multitude of projects. The wood will go for the fire pit  and the rest will all be composted. I truly try and save everything I can. When I can’t, I do recycle, and compost.

Plantables

Centerpieces that “break apart” into individual potted plants are also a good reusable item, as you can invite each guest at your event to take a seedling home with them to plant in their own garden.

Reclaimed Blossoms and Naturally Decorative Container

Funeral Flowers vs. Memorial Plants

11 Apr

Hello Bloomsies.

Sorry this post is late; yesterday was the first anniversary of my dad’s death, and I felt like I needed a moment before I wrote this.

rose bloomBeing in the flower business, I have done more than my share of funeral arrangements. Having someone close to you die gives a different perspective of the process. There were so many arrangements people had sent my step mom that she wanted to have at the memorial, I offered to put some in my cooler and take them to the memorial the next day. Which was fine, until I got there and say the size and enormity of all the other arrangements that were there. Clearly, transportation for most grieving families is an issue.

Also, these arrangements are beautiful and last a while, but inevitably fade and leave the recipient nothing but vases to fill or get rid of.

Plants might not seem as beautiful a sentiment, but they last longer and are a constant reminder to the person that you are thinking of them. If you know the deceased liked a particular type of plant (indoors OR out) get that for the family members. It can be planted outside and be a yearly blooming reminder, an evergreen memory, or a houseplant that gives you oxygen and comfort.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask the recipient. If you’re not sure, say “I am feeling the need to get you something as a sympathy gift. Is there something you’d prefer?” They might not even want a plant of flowers, perhaps just a meal or a sympathetic shoulder. Anything is welcome in the time of grief.

Peace and Love, Jessicasingle tree in field

Spring Break

6 Apr

Hi Bloomies…

I just wanted to check in and say hi. I’m on Spring Break, but I’ll be back at the blog on Wednesday!

Have a beautiful week!

JessRoses and Hydrangeas

Easter Flower Arrangement Ideas

27 Mar

Easter Sunday Wouldn’t Be Complete Without Flowers
Easter arrangement

Easter is this Sunday Bloomies! Easter is a celebration of re-birth, of everything in bloom and growing after a long winter. Flowers are as crucial to an Easter celebration as the Easter Bunny himself. There are lots of cute flower-centric things that are “springy” and festive for the holiday, beyond Easter Lilies or plastic basket grass (unless you like those, in which case, have at it.)

Tips for Easter Flower Arrangements

Size and Shape Matter

This week I did a few spring bouquets of pale green, white, pink and lavender. Low round, oval, or rectangular arrangements are best for centerpieces on a table. Taller or wider arrangements are best for buffets, counters, or sideboards… you want to see your table mates!

Include “Easter-y” Elements

Particularly “Easter-y” items you could use to amp up the holiday theme include:

Easter Eggs

Tuck colored eggs into a basket of flowers- so sweet! See, you can get past your plastic “grass” fascination. What a sophisticated take on the traditional Easter Basket.

BunniesShort Easter Arrangement

I have super cute rabbit cutouts I included this year. Painted dark brown, it’s reminicent of a chocolate bunny, without the melting or the calories.

Crosses

An arrangement that includes a cross or a flower covered cross would be great for a church gathering or a post church brunch.

Peeps

Seriously. Last year I used rabbit and chick peeps in all different colors, stuck them on sticks and made a fun diorama instead of having fussy, formal florals. Great for a party with lots of kids in attendance.

Hellebore

Also known as the Lenten Rose; this springtime, Northwest flower makes a simple, gorgeous arrangement all by it’s lonesome. It has no fragrance, so it’s a bonus for those allergy sufferers.

I hope this gets your flower juices flowing. Have fun and enjoy the amazing weather we’re supposed to have!

What’s In Bloom? Fave Spring Flowers to Bring the Outdoors In Right Now

20 Mar

Spring Has Sprung!

It’s finally Spring, which here in the PNW really means rain for another three months, but that’s what makes this place so green and lush in the summer.fave spring flowers

MY Favorite Spring Flowers

These are my favorite spring flowers to work with, and some of the easiest for you to find right now. They’re all springing up beautifully right now, and if you’ve planted a few bulbs or bushes over the years, your garden is probably showing signs of life.

Daffodils

This seems a little redundant, but it needs to be said that this trumpet of spring really does call in all the rest of the springtime blooms, and gives us a bright sunny yellow to look at while the drizzle continues.

Tulips

They come in almost every color and in lots of different shapes, so the tulip is one of my most oft used springtime buds. They do continue to grow, even after cutting, so they are a good flower for those who enjoy change.

Lilac

Fragrant, and beautiful, it comes in a few shades of purple/lavender and can sometimes be found in white. This one can be tricky to use as a cut flower… you need to crush the stem after cutting to allow for proper uptake of water. I love my sledge hammer for this project!

Crocus

Not really something that can be used in a cut arrangement, but as a bulb it’s festive in a potted plant container, and of course it’s always good for making Saffron!

Hyacinth

There are the big, fragrant heads of hyacinth that are fun alone or in arrangements, and then there are the little grape hyacinths… tinier, more and delicate than their large counterparts, but fun clustered together in a posey.

Daphne

This is the super fragrant lemon smelling plant that blooms this time of year: tiny four petaled pale pink flowers in clusters at the end of the stems. Again, they’re not very useful in a mixed arrangement, but their smell is incredible and I recommend having at least one on your property.

Blooming branches

All of those trees that are just about to pop or are just showing their buds are always a fantastic way to bring a little spring indoors. Cut them before they bloom and bring them inside for a fun show of nature. My faves include Forsythia (the yellow one that blooms in February) Quince (hot coral blooms on a dark burgundy stem) Plum, and Cherry.

Spring Is In The Air, Really!

quince blossoms

Are you sensing a theme? I look forward to the fragrances of spring as much as I do the colors. To see things blooming is such a relief after the dark months, but when the air is filled with fragrance it is also an early harbinger of summer.
Hope this inspires you to bring a little outside in, or get to planning for next Spring’s showcase of colors!