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Pink and Black Dinner Party Theme

So, last week I hosted my Bunco group at my home.  This is a new group and the first time they have been to my house.  There are 12 of us, so I used my dining room table which seats 8 and a card table for the additional four.

I just took these pictures today, more than a week after my party.  I was thinking it would be nice to show you how I incorporated the flowers into my table scape.

First of all, I used my “fancy” dishes for the dining room table.  I love black accents, as I have mentioned here before, so you will see a lot of black in my decor.  I used a black table cloth and black place mats.  My dishes have a black trim with, of course, a floral design.  I pulled out pink as my accent color for this night.  Our Bunco box is pink and black too.

I used a pale pink ribbon and just tied it around the black cloth napkin and placed a single mum daisy on top of the tie.  I bought the mum daisies from Costco, just one bunch for $8.99.  I made 4 small square vases filled with hot pink daisies and one small bubble bowl and a taller vase with a couple left over stems of daisies in the kitchen.

The ladies are still talking about it…it was so easy, yet so classy.

Think about how you can incorporate something simple like this into your next dinner party.  All the vases came from the Dollar Tree Store, except for the taller blue vase.  I’ve had that vase for a while, and I’m not sure where it came from anymore.

The Fragrant Lilac

Did you know that Rochester New York is considered the Lilac capital of the world? In 1892 John Dunbar planted 20 varieties of lilacs on the slopes of Highland Park. Every year, there is a two week long Lilac Festival that over a half a million people attend. The park now has in excess of 500 varieties over it’s 155 acres.

The lilac’s scent is only second to that of roses for the distance that it carries. The Lilac’s presence in the United States dates back to the 1750’s. A favorite of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, they were also grown in some of America’s first botanical gardens. The lifespan of a single bush can be hundreds of years.

There are over 1,000 varieties of this sweet smelling flower available. It is also available in pink and white in addition to it’s signature lilac or purple colors. Lilacs range in size from 4 foot to a variety that grows up to 30 feet. Because of their longevity, Lilacs are the perfect gift to plant to mark the birth of a child. They also make a wonderful wedding gift or a memorial tribute for the same reason. Because Lilacs tend to bloom just as spring is beginning, they are most often associated with rebirth and new life. They are also a popular floral gift at Easter time. The white Lilac symbolizes innocence and youth and the purple Lilac symbolizes first love.

Stock-A mainstay of flower arranging

Stock is one of those flowers that has been around for a long time.  It was a mainstay when I owned my flower shop.  I used a lot of stock in the arrangements that were ordered.  Stock is considered a line flower because it is a long/tall flower.

Stock comes in many colors including purple, lavender, pink, yellow, white, peach and dark pink (magenta).  There are technically two varieties of stock, the single and the double.  The double is however, the most common variety available.  They are available all year long but are in their prime between February and August.

Stocks have a spicy, cloverlike scent.  Often when they arrive, they still have roots on them!  Like ALL flowers, give them a fresh cut at the biggest angle you can, dip them in hydrating solutions and place them in a bucket of tepid water with flower nutrients in the water.  When you buy them, make sure they are not all bloomed out.  Buy them when there are about half way opened, meaning the bottom portion of the stem is opened but the top portion is still in bud form.  Stocks vary in size, meaning the flowering portion, and are anywhere from 3 to 8 inches long. When you buy stock, avoid bunches with smashed, flattened, bruised, brown, molded, rotted or otherwise infected florets.  Limp flower spikes, leaves or stems; slimy stems or yellowing leaves are all signs of bad flowers – so don’t buy them if any of these conditions exist!

The Amaryllis

When you think of Amaryllis, 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.

While the Amaryllis’s distinctive size and shape does not lend itself well to being used as a substitute for other flowers, the variety of colors that are available make it very easy to create arrangements for just about any holiday table from November through February.  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.

The thick stems of the amaryllis are hollow and can be as long as 30 inches.  Each stem can have as many as six trumpet shapped flowers.  These flowers typically open just one or two at a time.  The flower itself can measure up to six inches in diameter.   Because of their size and unique shape, the Amaryllis make a stunning display in larger vases, either singly as shown to the right or in a grouping,   When putting them into a vase in a group, make sure to leave plenty of room around the blooms in order to make the most of their stately presence.

A Valentine’s Day Tradition–Roses

Roses are a bridal favorite and available all year. However, at this time of year, both red and white roses will start to go up in price leading up to Valentine’s Day! There is a logical reason for this…besides supply and demand!

It takes about 45 days from the time a rose is cut from a bush until there is another rose ready to be cut. So that means that growers have to cut back their roses at the end of December in order for there to be enough supply for Valentine’s Day.

When the growers cut back all the bushes, it creates a temporary “lack of supply” which raises the prices. As for the actual Valentine’s Day roses, growers are trying to make up for the “lack of supply” and taking advantage of the supply and demand phenomenon. Typical rose prices from a retail florist will vary between $3-$8.00 per stem. The average is $5.00 per stem. During the two weeks before Valentine’s Day and up to Valentine’s Day, the cost of a typical rose will climb to double or triple that cost. The cost does not necessarily reflect “design” time or cost.

There are so many varieties of roses and new varieties being propagated every day.  One of my favorite new roses is called Amnesia.  It is a bi-colored rose, meaning it has two colors, the inside petals are lavender and the outside petals are green.  It is a very vintage looking rose and vintage is IN this year as a trend.  Things to look for in roses….the head size depends upon the stem length and the petal count of the roses.  Not all roses are created equally.  For larger head sizes, you want large petal counts.  Many websites about roses will give you guidance in this area with clues about the petal counts like small, medium and large.  If you are ever unsure, ASK someone, a florist, a wholesalers, a grower.  You can find roses in the biggest assortment of colors than any other flower.

Roses are pretty hardy flowers.  To get the most out of your roses, when they come in be sure to process them The shorter the length of stem, typically the longer the rose will last…..because it takes less time and effort for the rose to get water up the stem to the head!  Here is an example, thinking a little out of the box, of a dozen roses, in a vase, but cut short….this centerpiece will last at least a week.  This particular centerpiece has been like this for 5 days already.

Red–The Color of Love!

RED is the color of love and although on V-Day most people think of red roses, this would make a lovely V-Day centerpiece because it is all RED.  These vases were purchased at the Dollar Tree Store, the flowers were purchased from Trader Joe’s and Sam’s Club.  The black aqua beads I had already, but you can buy them from your local craft stores like Michaels, or check on line.
The heart shaped vase was also purchased at the dollar store, the black aqua beads I had already and you can purchase them at your local craft store or on line.  The flower is a white gerb with a black center, but you can use any color combination that floats your boat.  Gerbs do come in RED if you want to stay with the red is for love theme.
The heart shape covered in red roses was a video I did August 11, 2010.  Here is the link if you want to purchase that video and watch me show you how to do this BIG BOLD statement of LOVE. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU!

New from Florigene–Mini Carnations in Purple

Sometimes nature needs a little help to give us that extra special color for our flower arrangements.  That is exactly what the wonderful people at Florigene have done for the floral industry and I just received this announcement that I had to share with all you purple flower lovers.  They’ve developed a whole series of richly purple hued carnations, both regular and mini sizes that are available just in time for Valentine’s Day.  From the Florigene Moonaqua carnation with it’s delicate mauve/violet color to the almost almost black, blue-purple hue of the Moonvista, these incredible blooms cover almost the entire spectrum of purple.

So if your sweetheart loves purple in all it’s rich gem tone hues or delicate lavender washes and everything inbetween, make sure to ask your florist if they can use Florigene Carnations in your next bouquet.

The Lovely Larkspur

Add some tall elegant beauty to your next arrangement with the delicate Larkspur.  These beautiful flowers are available year round and considered wildflowers.  Actually a member of the Buttercup family, the Larkspur florets are about 1/2 inches wide and are most often doubles.    They’re available in white, light pink, dark pink, lilac, lavender and dark purple.  Larkspur would make a unique and memorial gift for Valentine’s Day as the lovely little blossoms have often been said to represent an open heart and have been associated with a deep romantic bond.   Especially the purple Larkspur which represent first love and if presented as a single floral stalk represent an extremely strong emotional bond.  So whether you chose to add them to a big bouquet for Valentine’s Day or present one as a single significant gesture of love, the Larkspur is a wonderful floral gift for your sweetheart!


Beautiful and elegant, the Iris has over 200 varieties in a wide array of colors so it’s fitting that this gorgeous flower takes it’s name from the greek word for rainbow. They can be found in virtually every part of the world, growing both naturally and in a flower farm environment. The most popular types found as cut flowers are the blue, white and yellow.

Depending on the color, the Iris can convey all sorts of different meanings, from the blue which stand for faith and hope to the yellow that symbolize passion. White Iris respresent purity and the flower itself expresses admiration, making it a perfect choice as a Valentine’s floral arrangement.

Iris come in many forms and two distinct types, bearded and non bearded. The Bearded Iris varieties include Miniature Dwarf, Dwarf, Intermediate, Border Miniature Tall and Tall. The Non-Bearded Iris varieties include Siberian, Japanese, Louisiana, Dutch, Yellow Flag and Blue Flag.


Who doesn’t love the sweet and fragrant Carnation. It is one the oldest cultivated flowers, dating back to ancient Greek times.  Carnations come in two varieties – the standard carnations are a single flower head on one stem.  The flower heads can be as big as three inch diameters.  The other type of carnation is a mini carnation.  Mini carnations have multiple flower heads on each stem.  The flower head size on a mini carnation is about one inch in diameter.

One of the best things about carnations is the incredible assortment of colors they come in, starting with white and working through yellow, orange, pink, red, burgundy, lavender, purple, fuscia, and many bi-colors (two colors in one flowers).    They are soft tender flowers and are considered as symbol of love and fascination.  They are one of the most recognizable flowers in the world and in some cases, their popularity actually surpasses Roses as the number one flower choice

Another great thing about carnations is they last a really long time and they are one of the most durable flowers you can buy.  Vase life will vary by how fresh the flowers are when you buy them, but 6-21 days at the consumer level is pretty darn great!

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