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flower fact friday

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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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: Hypericum

Hypericum is mainly used for ornamental purposes, but did you know it also has medicinal properties?

Hypericum flower (St. John's wort)

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypericum

Why is hypericum called St. John’s wort?

More commonly referred to as St. John’s wort, hypericum has tiny yellow star-shaped flowers used as an herb. Its nickname is derived from the feast honoring St. John the Baptist on June 23rd, which is widely celebrated in the Christian and Catholic communities. It is tradition to pluck the herb on the night of the feast, and take it to church to receive a blessing. The herb was believed to have special powers to ward off evil spirits.

Origin & Characteristics

The hypericum plant is native to the mediterranean region of Europe, and also North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia. The plant has leafy stems that are 24 to 36 inches in length and has round berries in clusters at the top. There are more than 400 cultivars of hypericum, and in a wide range of colors such as red, brown, ivory, pink, and burgundy for example. One third of those cultivars are used as ornamental cut flowers.

Medicinal Properties

Almost 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recommended St. John’s wort to treat nervous unrest. The medicinal properties lie in the black dots along the margin of the blossom, which contain hypericin. The chemical makeup of hypericin is believed to produce sedative and pain relieving effects. In the Roman era, St. John’s wort was used to treat wounds from the battlefield. Hypericum is thought to treat mild depression, insomnia and anxiety. Used externally, it is used to treat wounds, mild burns, skin disorders and bruises. 

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Flower Fact Friday: Do flowers make people happier?

Scientific studies show that a person’s mood improves with the presence of flowers. It’s no wonder on special occasions the go-to gift is a floral bouquet. Think of the immediate behavioral response provokes at the sight of the colors, texture and scent of flowers.

In a study conducted at Harvard University, participants reported feeling happier and more positive jumpstarting the day with the presence of flowers. People are usually least energetic in the morning and it is quite common for moods to warm up as the day progresses. Different scenarios were studied to determine the psychological influence of flowers. When a bouquet of flowers was incorporated into the morning routine, participants felt perked up and enjoyed seeing them.

Another study showed that flowers or plants in a home have a positive emotional impact on people. Results conclude that there were feelings of more compassion and less anxiety. Other people reported experiencing a boost of energy that lasted throughout the day. Further observations determined that the best location to place flowers in a home is a kitchen, since it is a common gathering place throughout the day.

Desktop Flower Red Eye RoseIn hospitals, flowers present in the room showed increased well-being among patients. Studies indicate that people were more positive, needed less pain medication, had lower blood pressure and pulse rate, and felt less anxious or tired. Next time you visit a friend or family member, bring them a bright beautiful arrangement of mixed floral varieties and make sure they are aromatic to invigorate the sense of smell.

The color of flowers also determine mood response. Are you experiencing creative block? Studies show that looking at greenery and leafy plants inspired creativity. In an office with plants and flowers, there was better cognitive performance among employees. Flowers with brighter colors and that are next to each other on the color wheel produce a calming effect. Bolder and saturated colors energize people.

In conclusion, flowers in general are beautiful to look at and beneficial for your overall health as scientific studies have proven! Now that you have learned these interesting facts, share it with your customers and let them know that flowers are the perfect gift and remedy for any ailment.

Happy Flower Fact Friday!

Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sally-augustin/health-benefits-flowers_b_2992014.html
http://www.floralvirtuoso.com/use-flowers-to-energize-your-morning/

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Flower Fact Friday: Curcuma

Some of you have probably used Curcuma in your floral arrangements. Did you know that this exotic flowering plant also has medicinal and herbal uses? Also known as the Thai Tulip, Curcuma is native to Thailand and Burma. The have upright colorful bracts, usually pink, purple or white that resembles a lotus flower.

Despite the fact that it is called a ‘tulip,’ Curcuma actually belongs to the zingiberaceae family (ginger). The root of the plant is ground up to produce turmeric spice, which is considered a superfood with beneficial health properties. Turmeric has also been used as an alternative natural pain reliever. The active ingredient, curcumin, helps to treat arthritic pain, lower cholesterol, and relieve headaches. Although there is still not enough evidence, research has proven that curcumin has antioxidant properties that helps combat the production of inflammatory cells that play a major role in cancer development.

Curcuma is a very reliable and resilient plant for the garden or as a cut flower. The stems are sturdy and can last over two weeks, which is ideal for floral designs. Curcuma varieties are seasonal, available from April until October.

Curcuma Cut Flower-Virgin Farms

Curcuma Cut Flower

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