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Rose Tips and Pointers

Have you ever seen somebody kind of pinching the rose heads….I do it sometimes….it is a way to see how firm the roses are….generally, the firmer they are, the fresher they are…..but NOT ALWAYS true.  Some rose varieties are just softer because of the petal counts or the way the petals open.  A rose that comes to mind is a POLO rose.   It is a white rose that opens up like an old fashioned rose, even though it technically is not an old fashioned rose.  Those rose heads will typically be softer when you pinch them.  They also are not a bright white.  The picture above contains POLO roses.

Another soft rose is an Osiana, which is a beautiful shade of peach.  It doesn’t have a super big petal count and therefore is typically softer to the pinch than other roses.  The Osiana rose is the rose on the right below this post.

Besides the pinch test, there are other things to look for when buying roses.  The stems should look and feel straight and strong, as opposed to limp and weak.  The heads should be upright with no drooping petals.  The foliage should not be yellowing or falling off.  You’ll also want to be sure they don’t show signs of insect problems or fungal disease.  If you see anything on the stem or just below the flower head that looks like gray mold…don’t buy the roses!

Next week,  I have more Rose tips and pointers for what to do after you get your lovely roses home!  See you then.

Flowers of Spring-The Sunny Daffodil

Nothing says spring better than the lovely sunny yellow Daffodil. One of the first flowers of spring to burst forth. Daffodils seem to be everywhere….I see them in landscapes, along the freeway and in almost every grocery store. And, they are really inexpensive! I bought some at Trader Joe’s for $1.29 per bunch of 10 stems. They make a very cheerful bouquet.

Daffodils and any flowers in the daffodil family (narcissi, paper whites, jonquils) will exude a gelatin substance when the stems are first cut. And, because they do that, you do NOT want to design with them for several hours, especially if you want to mix them with tulips. You should not mix daffodils with any other flowers for at least 3 hours. Once the sap has leached you can design and mix them with any other types of flowers, even if you recut them, without causing harm to the other flowers.

As with all flowers, strip any foliage that will fall below the water line. There is special flower food for bulb flowers, but you probably won’t be able to buy it. So, go ahead and use the standard floral food unless you can find the specific bulb flower good. These spring flowers experience hormone imbalances that a bulb flower food can correct, but second best is the normal flower food which can’t help with the hormone imbalance but does help with the bactericides, with limit the growth of harmful stem plugging microbes.

Flowering Branches–The Pussywillow

The appearance of furry pussywillow branches is one of the first enduring signs of spring. These delightful decorative branches make a perfect addition to a floral display or can be used all by themselves in a tall vase or even to create a spring wreath for your front door.

Native to the wetlands of Canada and the Eastern US, these familiar and popular willows have graceful, flexible branches. Pussy willows quickly grow from 20 to 35 feet. Typically they will add 4 to 6 feet to their height every year so they are perfect if you are looking for something to quickly add height and interest to your garden. Reaching maturity after about 5 years, they have a lifespan of just around 35 years.



Welcoming Spring with Forsythia!

These flowering branches are a gigantic burst of yellow sunshine.  I noticed Trader Joe’s was selling bunches of forsythia this week.  I also noticed they had a dark pink flower branch and a light pink flowering branch.  All sold in bunches for your enjoyment.  Use them alone in a vase or add them to a floral arrangement.  Either way you will love the way they look and how they make you feel.

I think because flowering branches symbolize SPRING is here, there is an internal feeling of renewed life and energy.  So get out there and find some flowering branches you can bring into your home to enjoy today.

Flowering Branches–Dogwood

I only learned about Dogwood in the past 20 years.  It wasn’t until I became a florist that I became aware of Dogwood.  I LOVE this blooming branch more than any other.  This is such a beautiful thing to look at.  It is still a little early for Dogwood around here and probably in most parts of the country.  I do see it available to ship from Oregon right now.

Sometime towards the end of this month I will start seeing it around here.  When it is in bloom, I will often take a drive to where I know I can find these beauties on display.  Everytime, I am just in AWE at their unbelievable beauty.

Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day

Here is a fun shamrock creation….the one in the picture is 36″ wide, but you don’t have to make yours this big.  Take 3 heart shape Styrofoam and put the points together.  I glued them to a foam board for extra support.  Depending up the size you are making, you can most likely get away with a piece of cardstock or cardboard.


I used white carnations.  I had to put a wooden pick into the back of each carnation and then poke that into the shamrock shaped Styrofoam.  Keep the carnations pretty close together, because there is no water source for the flowers and they will start to wilt a little each day.  By keeping them close together, the wilting will be less noticeable.  Once all the carnations are covering the front of the shamrock shaped Styrofoam, use Holiday Green Design Master Spray Paint to make the white carnations green.  Spray lightly and reapply if you need more color.  The paint can be purchased at your local craft store, locally, I know Michael’s carries it.


I used a Kelly Green Ribbon around the edges, but you could use carnations if you have enough or plan for it.  I used about 215 carnations for this size.  When you are figuring out how many you need, I visually take my hand and hold my fingers to illustrate a 1-1/2 inch diameter and then count how many I need by moving my hand all over the foam shape.  Since each section is a heart, you really only have to do one section and then multiply that by 3 times.  For the stem, I bought a round Styrofoam wreath form and cut a section out and glued that to the foam board as well.


While this is not hard to do, it is time consuming.  I spend over 5 hours making this particular shamrock.

Manzanita Branches

Manzanita is native to the foothills where I live.  It is naturally a dark reddish brown color with sage green foliage.  In it’s natural state it looks lovely in a vase; however, when you paint it a different color, not only do you change the look, you change the style of the centerpiece.  The painted Manzanita takes on a more modern feel, while the natural Manzanita is, well, earthy, organic, natural looking/feeling.

I enjoy using Manzanita branches in my arrangements and I’ve actually done a number of videos here for using them.  I think they make a very dynamic statement and you can do so many different things with them to make your arrangement uniquely you!

The  high style centerpiece above uses silver painted Manzanita branches with hanging crystals in a glass vase with black aqua beads.

In addition to adding crystals to the branches, you can use hanging votives, different sizes and shapes of crystals, cymbidium orchids, strands of dendrobium orchids (like a straight lei), ornaments…..use your imagination and come up with something unique that you will love.






Going Green

Okay, admit it….when you think of organic flowers do you think of weeds?  I do!  Many of the flowers that are grown organically are not the type of flowers you would typically use for centerpieces.  But, with some careful planning, they can be.  I visited an organic farm near me awhile back and to my surprise they had sweetpeas growing wild (and organically) all over their property.  They also had delphinium, roses, irises and sunflowers growing organically.  They showed me mint, fever few, echinacea and lavender; and incorporated into a bouquet look very nice together.  I purchased a couple of their medicinal bouquets, which included the herbal components mentioned above and made a bouquet for someone in the hospital.  I was greeted by three employees at the front desk who couldn’t stop asking me about this bouquet.  Yes, they noticed it had mint in it and couldn’t get over how nice it looked and smelled! The bottom line here is it is very possible to have organic centerpieces that look elegant and you will be proud to display.

Bring on Spring!

Nothing says spring quite like a sea of Daffodils with their gorgeous sunny yellows and pearly whites.  These very popular flowers just seem to bring light into any room you place them in and do so much to cast out the gray gloom we all associate with winter.  And now that Spring is just around the corner, I wanted to share some neat facts I know about Daffodils with everybody.

A bright and happy symbol of friendship, the Daffodil belongs to the Narscissus flower family.  They have a trumpet shaped inner bud that is surrounded by a star shaped outer flower

The trumpet is often in a contrasting color from the star shaped background.  The traditional Daffodil that first comes to mind  is all yellow, but there so also so many different combinations available.  Yellow and white, yellow and orange and white and orange.  There are even pink and lime green Daffodils.

They are always  one of the first buds of Spring to arrive and often bloom in clusters.  There are at least 50 species of Daffodils and nearly 130,000 hybrids of those species available making they extremely easy to combine into just about any arrangement you could dream up.  Daffodils come in all sizes, from 2 foot long stems with 5 inch radius blooms to the tiny half inch flower on a 2 inch stem.

They are perfect for almost any style of centerpiece or floral decoration you can think of, from a casual display in a mason jar on your back porch breakfast table to a formal centerpiece at your spring wedding reception.   Create something special with some Daffodils today and welcome Spring back into your home!

Flowering Plum Branches

Have I got a wonderful video for you tomorrow!  I love these flowering branches, the delicate pink flowers are the perfect compliment for my decor and they make such an incredible floral display.

I mentioned in a previous blog post how much I love the combination of pink and black.  Would you believe those spectacular mums are three weeks old?  They still look amazing.  I wanted to change up the look I had created in my dining room a bit so I’ve added a vase of blooming plum branches in a lovely vase.  The lighter colors of the plum branches blend perfectly with the richer colored mums.

If you are planning on recreating the designs I’ll be sharing with you on video tomorrow, make sure you have plenty of space.   The credenza table with the black ceramic vase below is in the hallway/entrance to my home.  And the urn that I placed by my fireplace would look equally as great anywhere in the house.  On a credenza table, in a bathroom, dining table, coffee table….the possibilities are just endless.

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