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A Winter Favorite–The Gerbera Daisy

It’s not just all Poinsettias and Amaryllis when it comes to flower arrangements at this time of year. There is another flower readily available during the winter months–the Gerbera Daisy. This very popular bloom is widely used in cut flower arrangements and is the fifth most used cut flower in the world. This South American native bloom is also know as the Transvaal Daisy, Barberton Daisy, Veldt Daisy or African Daisy.

Gerbera daisy color varations are almost endless with the exception of blue and violet blue hues. The petal colors include white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, lilac, purple, red, brown, salmon, bicolor and multicolor. And recently, even green Gerbera daisies are now available. The center disc can be yellow, green, brown, black or dark red.

Gerbera daisies come in three different sizes, miniature which measure 2-3 inches in diameter, standard which are 3-5 inches in diameter and giant which are 5-6 inches in diameter. The blooms themselves have five different variations, singles, doubles, crested doubles, full crested doubles and quill crested doubles or spider. With so many options in color and style, this lovely flower perfect for use in almost any arrangement or centerpiece.

Holiday Greenery – Holly

Holly is perhaps one of the most popular greenery for the holiday season. It’s highly recognizable shiny green leaves and bright red berries are a perfect fit with the traditional colors of Christmas. There is another variety of Holly that comes with variegated leaves that have a white edging around the glossy green leaves.  The female variety has the berries, the male does not.

Holly has been an important symbol during the winter months, dating back to Roman times. It is also considered a symbol of hope during the holiday season.  It’s leaves are thick and have a leathery texture.  They average  2 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide.  The edges are sharp, the thick points alternate with an upward and a downward slant.

When working with holly, there are some steps you need to take not only to prepare it, but to make sure that it stays green and attractive as long as your arrangement does.

  • Always soak your holly overnight in a bucket before using it in your arrangements
  • Spray the holly with a fire resistant spray.  This will not only keep it colorful but will also reduce the possibility of fire damage if you are planning to use holly with any arrangement containing candles.
  • Make sure to remove any brittle or dehydrated berries and branches.

Just a reminder, if you have pets or small children, you might want to consider using artificial holly for your arrangements, holly berries are very poisonous.

Holiday Flowers-The Amaryllis

The holiday decorating season is upon us! And while most everybody immediately thinks of poinsettias when doing their holiday floral decorating, there are so many other choices available. Take for instance the Amaryllis. This gorgeous and stately flower’s natural blooming season begins just before the holiday season starts. Available starting in November through February, the Amaryllis has a very distinctively shaped bloom which lends itself well to unique and unforgettable holiday arrangements.

It is the classic red flower that comes to mind and varieties like the well known Red Lion are almost always the ones used when creating Christmas floral arrangements. But this beautiful flower also comes in a wide variety of colors making it very desirable for floral arrangements all through the winter months. The pink variety ranges from the very pale to a deep salmon color. The Amaryllis can also be found in white, peach, green and bi colored combinations as well.

With Gratitude

On this Thanksgiving eve I wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude to you for being a member of my flower arranging 101 community.  I wish you a safe, happy, yummy Thanksgiving Holiday to all those in the United States and to those of your outside of the United States, I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!

Greenery–Spanish Moss

If you are using floral foam to create your arrangements,you should think about what kind of filler you might need to use in order to keep the foam from showing through. Spanish moss makes an excellent filler to use around your foam. Also known as Florida moss, this floral standard is readily available in craft stores.

Using this particular filler creates a professional finish, especially when using lower profile vases. It is also a great addition to dish gardens. Are you looking to create holiday wreaths for your doors? Spanish moss also makes a great addition to your holiday wreaths. You can use Spanish Moss to hide that green floral foam or wire base of your wreath. Because it’s a dried product, it’s perfect for any kind of arrangement you are working on.

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A Little Common “Scents”

This time of year conjures up all sorts of wonderful thoughts and when you stop to think about it, nearly all of them are associated with a particular scent.  Fragrant cookies baking in the oven, the heavy clean scent of pine needles, the rich aroma of cinnamon.  And if you are creating your own holiday centerpieces, making sure that you don’t have clashing scents needs to be at the top of your list.   Even the warm, comforting smell of wood burning in the fireplace could overshadow the effect you are looking for when creating your holiday centerpieces.

Matching scents when creating floral arrangements is always a very important part of the initial creation. But it becomes more so during the holiday season when there are so many other fragrances in our homes. Some of the more delicately scented blooms could easily be overwhelmed, especially if you are using holiday greens in your arrangements. Choosing flowers with a more potent aroma could create a clash that might ruin the entire effect you are hoping to create because our sense of smell will beat out any visual appeal hands down.

If you are planning on using fresh cut evergreens of any kind as your greenery, keep in mind that the pine scent will overshadow most floral aromas, with the possible exception of some varieties of roses. However, if you don’t particular want to be overwhelmed with evergreen aromas or a member of your family is allergic to pine trees, consider some of the other options available during the holiday season. Holly and ivy make fabulous choices for and they have no scent.

Holiday Greens-Balsam Fir

More than any time of year, the Christmas holiday season brings in a very distinct look to everything, including flower arrangements. The standard greenery and fillers are replaces with some very specific holiday greens. And with the holiday season kicking off in just a few weeks, it’s definitely time to think about the kinds of arrangements you want to create.

Evergreens traditionally replace leaves, ferns and other fillers during the holiday season. And the Balsam fir, which is better know as The Christmas Tree, is a great choice. The needles on the Balsam Fir are about 1-1/2 inches long and are dark green. The branches are gracefully curved and create a rich background for any holiday flower arrangement. One of the most aromatic of all the evergreens, it’s a perfect choice for using with holiday flowers that have little or no scent.

When using evergreens in your holiday arrangements, remember to make them low and long rather than tall to make the most of the evergreen branches natural beauty.

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Good Things Come in Small Packages

Have you ever found yourself short of ideas when it comes to finding that perfect hostess gift? Anybody can bring a bottle of wine, or pick up some scented candles, but have you considered creating an adorable little centerpiece for your hostess?

Are you attending a lunch party with good friends? Consider creating a lovely little centerpiece in a recipe box. The picture to the left is a wonderful hostess gift I created using a recipe box and gorgeous fall flowers. The darling little arrangement makes the perfect thank you for having me gift and it’s so fun to create as well. And arrangements like this are perfect for so many occasions. A co-worker’s birthday, a thank you for a job well done, your secret santa, etc all are great candidates for one of these lovely little arrangements.

There are so many adorable things you can find at the craft store to create a flower arrangement in. From little copper pots to great glassware, you can find almost anything you can imagine that would work as a container. Even things that wouldn’t immediately come to mind, like the recipe box above can be used to create something unique. All it takes is a little water proof lining and some floral foam and you are ready to put together something very special. Does your hostess collect something that could also be used for making an arrangement…tea cups, mercury glass, etc? Tin boxes are fabulous for putting together dainty arrangements and if your hostess collects them that makes the gift all the more special. Consider checking out your local thrift stores as well for ideas. A great old sugar bowl flea market find would make a great vase for a kitchen hostess gift.

And if you are at a loss for ideas, just check out my videos. For just $4.95 each, I’ll take you step by step in creating something very special the next time you need a great gift idea.

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