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White Cloud Garden Rose

Say, I Do to Our Luxury Fresh Cut Flowers

A bouquet tells a story. As the bride walks down the aisle, the bouquet she holds in her hands should convey her personality and exude grace. It is a key accessory, and essentially an extension of the bridal gown. To create a masterpiece, an artist must use the best medium. For a floral designer, flowers are the paint to a canvas. This wedding season say, ‘I do’ to our luxury fresh cut flowers. At Virgin Farms, we pride ourselves in sourcing first class varieties from all over the world.

Garden Roses – Colombia

David Austin roses are like the refined diamonds to a ring, or the Chantilly lace that delicately embellishes the bride’s wedding gown. Garden roses convey nostalgia and elegance. The most unique and fragrant breeds are harvested from Colombia high in the Andes Mountains. Virgin Farms has the privilege to offer the most sought after varieties such as Juliet, Patience, Constance, White O’Hara and the green-centered pastel garden rose, Charity. 

Premium Roses – Ecuador

It’s not just a rose—it’s an Ecuadorian rose. If they were branded, you might say they are Mercedes class. The blooms are lush and voluminous, with sturdy stems and lengthy vase life. These characteristics and qualities are the reason floral designers choose our roses over any other. High altitude, rich soil and cool weather are the optimum combination, producing the most unique rose varieties and color variations. For weddings, roses are the most reliable flower since they are available year round. Popular varieties include white Mondial, Vendela, and Tibet and the champagne-hued Quicksand.

Dutch Flowers – Holland

Home of the historic Aalsmeer Auction, flowers grown in Holland are top of the line. This is where we source our hydrangeas, tulips, calla lilies, delphinium, lisianthus and other varieties including the highly sought peonies. During the months of April through July, Dutch peonies are in production. The aperture is more large and lush, and the majority of the colors are in season making it the ideal months to have a wedding if peonies are on your bridal couple’s wish list.

Planning for an Event

For weddings or special events, plan ahead. Make a wish list of floral varieties and alternate choices, as well as the quantity necessary for each variety. Contact our account managers two to three weeks before the event to allow us to coordinate with our farms. There are also specific flowers that require advance order placement to ensure production can cover the quantity you need. These items include: garden roses, David Austin roses, peonies, dutch flowers, orchids and phalaenopsis. For Ecuadorian roses and focal and filler flowers, advance notification is required to preorder mass quantities with the farms.

Wedding Season Special Order Flowers

Wedding Season Special Order Flowers

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Flower Fact Friday: Peonies

We are very excited to announce that peonies from Holland are back in production. The season runs from April through early July. Dutch peonies have a larger bloom diameter and sturdier stems. There are also more colors to choose from during this quarter of the floral season. We will have coral, light pink, hot pink, white and red varieties.

Types of Blooms

Single: One or two layers of outer petals surrounding the stamen.

Semi Double: Two or more rows of outer petals with some irregularly shaped petals surrounding the center exposing the center of the stamen.

Double: Multiple rows of ruffled petals covering the stamen.

Bomb: Characteristics of a double peony with ruffled “bomb” or mound of petals in the center of the bloom.

Care and Handling 

Most peonies bloom quickly, in under a couple of days. We recommend storing peonies in the cooler until you are ready to design. Placing the flowers in warm water will speed up the blooming process, which is ideal if you need to work with them on short notice.

Dutch Peonies

Dutch Peony Season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch Season Varieties 2015

Top Brass
Festiva Maxima
Gardenia
Kansas
Bowl of Cream
Flame
Dr. Fleming
Alertie
Mother’s Choice
Pecher
Jules Elie
Sarah Bernhardt
Red Charm

 

Stay tuned for photos of each variety on our website’s floral catalog. Our experienced and knowledgeable account managers are available to answer questions. They can help you choose the varieties that are suitable for the type of floral designs you will create. 

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Flower Fact Friday: Eryngium

In floral design, Eryngium is used as accent filler, but did you know this plant actually produces a popular herb called Culantro (E. foetidum)?

Eryngium Thistle

Eryngium Thistle

Characteristics
Native to the mediterranean and Europe, Eryngium is a tropical perennial and belongs to the Apiaceae family. The plant blooms from summer though fall, and grows 18 to 36 inches tall. It is tolerant of drought, sandy-like soils and wind. The plant produces unique clusters of cone-shaped blossoms surrounded by thistle-like leaves, hence Eryngium’s nickname. They grow in a variety of colors blue, green and purple or a combination of these colors.

Medicinal & Herbal Use
Apart from its fascinating appearance, Eryngium is a multipurpose plant with medicinal properties. It has been used in traditional medicine to remedy fevers, burns, ear aches, and stomach aches among other ailments. The pungent Culantro leaves produced by the eryngium plant is also used in many Caribbean dishes including chutneys and sauces.

Floral Styling
Eryngium stems are used in floral styling as accents adding a rustic appeal. Some designers get creative and spray the stems in metallic paint for a modern look. They have a lengthy vase life, lasting around 1 to 2 weeks. Handle with care when designing—the flowers have barbed bristles and spiny bracts.

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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Mariatheresia Garden Rose

Flower Fact Friday: Garden Roses

Garden roses are highly regarded especially in the floral industry. Their charming nostalgic appeal and exquisite fragrance is irresistible making it a popular choice for wedding floral designs. Due to the high demand and lengthy production process, garden roses are expensive and considered a luxury flower.

There are many misconceptions about the true characteristics of a garden rose. Not every variety is fragrant, cup-shaped or wavy. What truly defines a garden rose? Any rose plant that can survive a winter frost. Garden roses are very delicate and must be handled with care. They have plenty of small, sharp thorns. Depending on the variety, garden roses can last an average of 7 to 10 days.

Virgin Farms Garden Roses

Virgin Farms Garden Roses

David Austin History
Back in the 1960s, David Austin began crossing roses. He wanted to achieve the fragrance of the old roses with the appearance and color variations of the modern roses. At first, they were bred as shrubs and climbing roses for garden enthusiasts. It was not until the year 2000 that the company began to produce garden roses for the cut flower industry. In 2008, the first roses were introduced into the market. The company began distributing in small quantities, and eventually grew to offering 150,000 stems per week all over the world.

Breeding New Varieties
The David Austin company has a team of hybridizers that focus on crossing roses to create new varieties. Each flower is monitored and tested to meet specific characteristics.

Cut Rose Standards:
Must remain beautiful at all stages
Fragrant
Purity of color
Perfection of form

The odds of a successful breed for mass market distribution is 100,000 to 1. It takes years to create a new variety. Out of 200 plants grown in the trial fields, only five or six are selected.

Our partner growers, Alexandra Farms, located in Colombia, is licensed to grow David Austin varieties. All garden roses are hand-cut and hand-graded. Virgin Farms is proud to be a wholesale distributor of high-quality varieties.

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: Dusty Miller

Characteristics

Dusty Miller, or Jacobaea maritima, is an annual subshrub. It is native to the Mediterranean, and usually grows in arid conditions in full sun. Although they are fairly heat and drought resistant, during the winter this leafy plant does best in a cool and moist habitat. It cannot resist excessive heat and rain, as it produces rust disease and dies. Dusty Miller makes an excellent bedding shrub for landscaping, additionally because it has few pests. The leaves are covered with felt-like hairs, giving it a frosted appearance. When grown in the shade, the silvery white color is not as intense.

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller at the harvesting farm in Ecuador.

Tips for Styling Floral Arrangements

Dusty Miller is used as an accent in bouquets and floral engagements. Its interesting texture combines well among pastel garden roses, champagne roses, succulents, and astilbe for instance.

When processing this leafy filler, it is best to do it in a cooler.

Follow these instructions for best vase life:

  1. Make a clean cut using sharp shears.
  2. Place immediately in water and remove any submerged leaves.
  3. Change the water frequently, as it tends to produce bacteria.

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Prom Floral Corsages

Floral Varieties for Prom Corsages & Boutonnieres

Prom Season Corsage Flowers

Prom Season Corsage Flowers

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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

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?

History

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.

Daffodils

Daffodils

#FlowerFactFriday 

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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

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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 rosesLarge (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

Juliet
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.

Patience
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.

Constance
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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