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Hydrangea Purple

Flower Fact Friday: Hydrangea

Did you know hydrangeas are native to eastern Asia? In Japan, they are grown in the mountaintops and typically these species have smaller leaves and flowers. There are about 23 known species of hydrangeas, and only five of those are cultivated in the U.S.

Types of Hydrangeas

Mophead: globe-shaped flower clusters
Panicle: long, cone-shaped flower clusters
Lacecap: flattened cluster of tiny buds surrounded by tiny petals at the edges

Assorted Color Hydrangeas


How Colors are Produced

The variation of interesting colors in hydrangeas has plenty to do with horticultural science. The plants absorb aluminum which is released from the soil, and as a result, it produces complexes in the flower giving it their color.

Acidic soils produce blue flowers, while soils with high alkalinity levels result in pink and purple colored hydrangeas. Naturally colored petals such as pale cream are produced in soils that have neutral alkaline levels. The greek word for hydrangea is ‘hydroangos’. ‘Hydro’ means water, and ‘Angos’ means a vessel or jar, which put together refers to the plant’s need for healthy amounts of water.

Caring for Cut Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are widely used in the floral design industry. The lush extravagance of this lush flower makes it highly popular for weddings and special events. They are excellent for filling space in bouquets and floral displays such as cascading arches and table runners.

Tips To Lengthen Vase Life:

Cut the stems at an angle under water. This prevents bubbles from blocking the intake of water.
Gently puncture holes in the stem with a needle.
Place the hydrangeas in ice-cold water.
Add flower food (or 1 tbsp. of sugar & 1 tsp. bleach)
Mist the flowers with more water. 

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Flower Fact Friday: Tulips

Tulip-BouquetWhen I think of spring, tulips come to mind. They are colorful, attractive, and last long as fresh cut flowers. Did you know Tulips were first cultivated in the Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as we know it today?


Tulips were introduced in Europe (Holland) around the 16th century. They became extremely popular and the demand for this flower increased, while the supply decreased. Prices for individual bulbs began to rise in northern Europe and a Tulip Mania manifested. By the 17th century, a single tulip bulb could sell for several thousands of dollars. In essence, bulbs were so valuable that they were used as money or even a dowry for a bride.

Mosaic Virus

Oddly enough, a virus known as mosaic, caused the tulips to become even pricier. It was not a deadly plague, but instead altered tulips producing rare “flame” coloration on the petals. Everyone began to speculate in the tulip market, some even trading their land and savings to invest in the tulip craze.

The Bulb Crash

Eventually, the tulip craze began to decline in 1637. Everyone wanted to sell their tulip bulbs to reap the profits. As a result, the demand and value of tulip bulbs decreased sharply. A panic swept the market, and investors were at a loss. Contract agreements were void, people were left homeless, and a great depression swept Holland.

Tulip Festivals

Today, tulip season is quite a celebration especially in Holland. In the U.S., an annual Tulip Festival takes place in Holland, Michigan, the growing center of the nation, and where Dutch roots are strong.

Suggest varieties for Flower Fact Friday! Leave a comment below, and include the name of the flower you would like to learn about. 

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Flower Fact Friday: Daffodil

Did you know that the earliest record of daffodils was two or three hundred years B.C.? They were grown primarily by ancient Greeks and Romans. Narkissos is the ancient Greek word for the narcissus flower, daffodil.

In mythology, Narcissus was a hunter who was considered beautiful. His conceited personality led him to use and reject his admirers with no consideration for their feelings. The goddess of revenge, Nemesis, decided to punish Narcissus for his egotistical behavior. She lured him to a stream where he became infatuated with his own reflection and eventually drowned. He was transformed by the nymphs into a flower.

If you notice, daffodils are slightly bent facing downward resembling Narcissus who refused to look up from the stream.




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Choosing a Wedding Bouquet Style

Wedding season will be at its peak beginning the month of April. Brides-to-be will be walking down the aisle holding the second most important element of their special day: the wedding bouquet. When deciding on a color palette and varieties to use for a bouquet, there are some factors to consider.

Spring Bouquet by Marathon Florist

Spring Bouquet by Marathon Florist

What season is the wedding date?
A wedding in the fall would call for earth-toned colors, and certain floral varieties may not be available year-round. It’s always a good idea to communicate to your clients, and inform them on which varieties are feasible for the particular wedding date. (download floral season chart)

What color are the bridesmaids’ dresses?
It’s important to choose colors and varieties that will contrast well with the dresses the bridesmaids are wearing. Once you know the color swatch, it will guide the process of planning the aesthetics of the bouquet. If you need color swatch inspiration a good website is Color Palettes. Pictaculous is also useful—it allows you to upload a photo and generate a palette based on colors in the photo.

What bouquet style does the bride prefer?
Does the bride like a classic cascading bouquet or the modern round bouquet? Depending on the shape of the bouquet, certain floral varieties would be more appropriate. For example, a cascade bouquet would look great with hanging amaranthus, calla lilies or ivy vines.

Asking these questions will help to guide the process of choosing colors and varieties to compose a bouquet for the bride and her bridesmaids. What is your technique and approach to create the perfect wedding bouquet? What questions do you ask? Share your comments with us!

Wedding Resources
Posters: David Austin Garden Roses; Virgin Farms Garden Roses

Follow us on Pinterest for wedding inspiration!

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Preserved Roses at Virgin Farms

Preserved Roses at Virgin Farms

What if the beauty of a rose lasted forever?

Our innovative product line brings the magic of the enchanted rose from Beauty & the Beast to life. The roses are natural with petals soft to the touch. They have been harvested and cut at the perfect aperture. The rose then undergoes a preservation process and dyed in unique color blends. It needs no water to survive. It is frozen in time, exhibiting the same beauty as its mortal state.

Preserved Rose Size and Colors

There are two sizes of preserved roses: Large (6.0-6.5 cm bloom diameter) and Jumbo (10.0-11.0 cm bloom diameter). Large roses are packaged in a tray of 6 roses, and they are available in 20 unique colors. Jumbo roses are packed one in a small box, and they are also available in the same color choices. The Jumbo roses are also available as flag roses! These are hand-made and each petal is glued individually to form the flag in rose shape.

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White Cloud Garden Rose

Garden Roses for Wedding Season

This wedding season will be more fragrant, more nostalgic, and more romantic. Our weekly garden rose program has been a success since partnering with Alexandra Farms based in Colombia. The quality and freshness of the product is outstanding, and Jose Azout’s passion for cultivating these highly regarded roses is one reason we sought Alexandra Farms as our supplier.

Garden roses will be at peak demand for weddings and events. We recommend booking early in the season to accommodate your design needs. Your account manager will need a list of varieties about two or three weeks before the occasion to coordinate with the purchasing department. Tip: Create a backup list of floral varieties. In the event we do not have availability, we can substitute the variety with another flower.

Some of the classic colors requested for weddings are pastels, coral and peach. We will have popular varieties throughout the garden rose season from April 1st through October 31st, 2015.

Virgin Farms Garden Roses

Virgin Farms Garden Roses


David Austin Varieties

The most popular variety is the subtle peach Juliet garden rose. It is formed into a classic cup shape, revealing romantic rosettes once it blooms. The stems are sturdy and upright, making it a great variety to design bouquets and arrangements.

For brides who want a classic bouquet, Patience is a breathtaking variety that symbolizes purity and innocence. It has an enchanting citrus aroma that captivates the senses. Combined with leafy greens and foliage, makes a divine contrast of colors and textures.

This garden rose is the epitome of romance and nostalgia. The coloration of Constance goes from a blush pink to a lighter peachy-pink center. It blooms out to a shallow-shaped cup and has a fruity fragrance.

Other Varieties

The Piano Series
The piano garden roses have side shoots that never bloom, giving the garden roses a hand-picked aesthetic. Bridal Piano is relatively new, and is a deep cup-shaped bloom. The guard petals are slight minty green, while the bloom itself intensifies from light to a richer pink toward the center of the rose. For a classic romance style, Red Piano is a visually sensational variety. Also a deep cup shape, this variety has a slight fragrance and has a lengthy vase life. Pink Piano is solid pink, or as Alexandra Farms best describes it: strawberries and cream pink. This rose is a great contender for vase work, outlasting other varieties.

The Antike Duo
Romantic Antike has a dusty pink-terracotta coloration that evokes an old-fashioned appearance. It blooms lush and has lovely rosette shaped petals, which fills space in a bouquet. Caramel Antike is Romantic Antike’s sister rose, that is identical in shape but has more of a butterscotch hue. It combines beautifully among pastel flowers for a heavenly bouquet.

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Why is the shamrock a symbol of St. Patrick’s day?

Do you know why the shamrock is a symbol of St. Patrick’s day? It all began in the 5th century when 16 year old Patrick was kidnapped from his aristocratic home in Britain and enslaved in Ireland as a shepherd. He spent seven years overseas and in solitude, and found refuge in religion, eventually embracing Christianity.

According to legends, Patrick heard a voice in his dream urging him to flee Ireland. He managed to escape on a ship back to his homeland, and was reunited with his family. Patrick studied Christianity for 15 years and became ordained as a priest. Ironically, he returns to Ireland and dedicates his life to converting pagans to the Christian faith. It was not an easy mission, and he was often beaten and harassed by opposers.

Sadly in A.D. 461 on March 17th, the priest passed away. His story lived on in Irish legends and folklore, and centuries later he was named the patron saint of Ireland. On March 17th, 1762, St. Patrick’s day was officially celebrated in commemoration.

So, how does the shamrock relate to the holiday? The three-leaf clover, and not the four leaf clover as the holiday often suggests as lucky, was used to represent the holy trinity: the father, the son & the holy ghost. St. Patrick incorporated Irish customs and rituals to smoothly introduce the Christian ideals to pagans. Three-leaf Clovers are wild and germinate in the spring.

St. Patrick's Day Floral Varieties

St. Patrick’s Day Floral Varieties

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with green flowers! Some varieties to inspire the Celtic spirit are Bells of Ireland, the novelty rose Limbo, green ball dianthus, green ranunculus, kale and succulent plants. You can make a terrarium and recreate the story using figurines like sheep, and celtic crosses to place inside like a scenery. They make cute gift ideas, and a conversation piece at your Irish feast while guests chug a pint of Guinness and eat corned beef and hash!

Follow us on Pinterest for party inspiration & Irish-themed floral decor! 

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Fact Friday: Mitad Del Mundo

Latitude 0 Longitud 0

Mitad del Mundo

The earth has always been a topic of curiosity to humankind and science. Astronomers, geographers, scientists, and chemists have solved the most mysterious theories and phenomena throughout the centuries. Once it was proven the earth was indeed round, a geodesic mission to find the center of the earth began in 1735.

Two missions were launched to make observations and gather calculations. One expedition set out to the north pole, while another team traveled to South America. The French believed the earth was flat at the equator, while scientist Isaac Newton predicted it was flat at the poles. French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine, Louis Godin and Pierre Bouguer were the first to calculate the diameter of the earth at the equator. The team completed the calculations in 1739.

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Travel Diary: Visiting El Quinche in Ecuador

Santuario de El Quinche

Santuario de El Quinche

January 11th, 2019

Quinche, Ecuador

Our second day in Ecuador continued in the town of El Quinche. It is located northeast of Quito between Puembo (our hosteria or hotel) and Guayllabamba, and east Mariscal Sucre International Airport. This town is notable for a church.

After the Spanish conquest, Catholicism became the predominant religion. El Santuario de El Quinche is known for an annual mass pilgrimage. It begins in Calderón at night and ends in the town of El Quinche on the morning of the 21st of November. This is in honor of La Virgen de El Quinche who made apparitions to save a community of oyacachenses from a plague of ferocious bears in the 16th century. She proposed to help if the inhabitants converted to Catholicism. Inspired and full of hope, the townspeople constructed a shrine in the cave where La Virgen de El Quinche made the apparition. Miraculously the bears were never to be seen again. For over 400 years, the pilgrimage has been a tradition.

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Flower Fact Friday: Ecuadorian Roses

A rose is not just a rose, it’s a brand. If you mention Ecuadorian roses to the flower saavy, they would agree on two characteristics that classify them: sturdy, long stems and big, flowering heads. These qualities are what set Ecuadorian roses apart from competitors in the rose-growing industry.

Farm Cultivation (Virgin Farms)So why are roses from Ecuador so robust? The myth is that roses grow straighter on the equator, but science has proven otherwise. Most nurseries are situated near the Andes mountains at 2,800 meters. Favorable weather conditions such as year round sunlight allows for longer growing cycles even throughout winter, as well as nutrient-rich volcanic soil.

Interesting Fact: Cold nights produce spectacular color variations and contrasting hues on the edges of the petals.

Cultivation of roses and exportation is a process. They are harvested and each stem is classified to meet five criteria:

Size of Bud
Aperture/ Cutting Point
Health/Condition of foliage

To export the roses while maintaining the freshness involves a cold chain process. When the flowers are harvested, they are taken to a facility for sorting and classification. The bunches are wrapped in cardboard with insulation to protect the buds and the stems are covered in plastic sleeves. The wrapped bunches are then taken to a pre-cooling area at 32 degrees Fahrenheit to halt the flowers from blooming, preserving them before they are shipped to their destination. The flowers are then hydrated with high-quality floral preservative for 7 hours. These facilities are also equipped with ethylene removing units that purify the air to prevent premature aging and floral diseases.

The United States is the top importer of cut flowers from Ecuador. In 2013, Ecuador exported 35% of their cut flowers to the U.S. valued at $279 million. Miami International Airport is one of the top distribution hubs–flowers arrive in cargo planes and are then transported to their destinations on refrigerated trucks.

Virgin Farms is a nationwide distributor of roses from Ecuador and other products from around the world. We import roses from Ecuador and garden roses from Columbia. All other varieties such as tulips, hydrangeas, and mini callas are mainly from Holland, home of the Aalsmeer Dutch Auction.



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Fact Friday: The Legend of Cantuña

San Francisco Church Quito, Ecuador

San Francisco Church (Quito, Ecuador)

Legend has it that the 16th century San Francisco church was constructed on a pact with the devil.

An indigenous native named Cantuña, was hired by the Franciscan friars to complete the project in six months. Catuña and his men worked tirelessly but much was left to finish.

On the eve of the deadline, the devil appeared. Taking advantage of Catuña’s desperation, the Devil offered to help in exchange for his soul. The indigenous man accepted, but clarified that every last brick must be laid otherwise the pact was void.

All the little devils began to work and managed to progress quickly. Before daybreak, the boastful Devil was ready to claim Catuña’s soul as the church appeared to be complete. But the native exclaimed it was not finished as promised for a brick was missing. The Devil, feeling humiliated, left in fury with an unclaimed soul. Catuña was spared thanks to his wit, because before the devils began the labor, the native hid one of the bricks knowing this would be his saving grace.

This story has been told for many centuries, and to this day it is said one brick is still missing. So if you ever visit the San Francisco church, let us know if you find it!

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Valentine’s Day & The Language of Flowers

In about two weeks, sweethearts everywhere will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. Although delectable chocolates, romantic flowers, and poetic cards have become symbolic of the holiday, it actually did not originate as a celebration of love at all.

Back in the third century in Rome, Emperor Claudius II held the notion that young, single men made the best soldiers because they had no ties to wives or children. To enforce this, he outlawed marriage to this group. A young priest named Valentine saw how unfair this was and defied the Emperor by performing marriages for young lovers secretly. Eventually the Emperor discovered Valentine’s betrayal and demanded that he be sentenced to death. During Valentine’s imprisonment, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Before his death, he sent a letter to his love signed, “From your Valentine.” The young priest was executed on February 14th, 270 AD. Eventually Valentine was named a saint, and later in the 5th century Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day.

The tradition of sending flowers began much later. In the Victorian era it was against moral conduct to reveal feeling towards one another. In the 18th century, Charles II of Sweden began the custom of exchanging floral bouquets. Each flower had a meaning, so bouquets were given to one another to send non verbal messages. If you gave a flower with the right hand it meant “yes” and in the left hand meant “no.” Roses are the choice flower for Valentine’s Day, and in particular, red roses since it was the flower of Venus the Goddess of Love, as well as the color of the heart.

Language of Flowers Valentines Day

Language of Flowers-Valentines Day


Now that you know the meaning of flowers and colors, you can get creative mixing varieties to convey hidden messages just like in the Victorian era! 

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