Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Penny for Your Thoughts: Gladiolus for Your Heart

Gladiolus Flower

Gladiolus Flower

Each month and each Zodiac sign have its own flower and August is no exception with the Gladiolus. With their sword-shaped leaves and brightly coloured funnel-shaped spiky flowers, the Gladiolus are widely cultivated and are native to various tropical locations and South Africa.

Gladiolus are also known as Gladiola and Sword Lily The latter could be traced as far back to the Roman Gladiators, as the flowers symbolized their mighty swords. In mythology, there were many tales of gladioli springing blood shed by the sword of the gladiators.

On a lighter note, the Roman Empire it was believed that during birthday celebrations, family and friends would offer many gifts as a symbol of congratulations. Among these gifts would be gemstones such as the peridot (probably the beginnings of the monthly birthstone), jewelry and you guessed it – flowers!

In Victorian times the Gladiolus (or Sword Lily) was believed to “Pierce through a lover’s heart”, with the hidden message being “Love-at-first-sight”. This was very important during this era, where the rules of etiquette surrounding the laws of romantic attraction were highly guarded. Hence their hidden conversation could easily be communicated through flowers. If you were not well versed in this language, you could inadvertently turn away your soul mate, if you chose the wrong flower-response!

The widely accepted meanings of the Gladiolus are strength and character, which coincides with their brightly coloured flowers of pink, red, white, yellow and orange, likened to a power rainbow! The best times to present someone with these lovely flowers would be to celebrate Friendship Day (the first Sunday in August), Sisters Day (August 5th) and Senior Citizen’s Day (August 8). To add real significance, you could add another August flower, the Poppy to the bouquet. Did you know that Dame Edna wears the Gladiolus all year long? Yes, because she adopted it as her trademark flower during her stage acts!

These beautiful flowers grow between July and September and require full sunlight. They are as easy to care for as the rose and are just as stunningly beautiful to look at. Some of the medicinal uses of the Gladiolus are to cure the common cold, diarrhea, painful menstruation and constipation. It was believed that to “get things moving” such as congestion from colds, blood clots, getting rid of poisons in the body, constipation, et cetera that one should paint their room an invigorating colour like red. As a result, the Gladiolus with its bright red flowers were an excellent choice to add to the “red-room” and aid in their recovery.

Next time if you, or someone you know is feeling sad, depressed or under the weather; pick up this beautiful flower and throw it in to a brightly-coloured, “pick-me-up” bouquet. The intended recipient will be GLAD!

Ken Bolt

PS. Have you seen all our Lily arrangements?

The Many Faces of Love Lies Bleeding

Photo of Amaranthus caudatus flower

Amaranthus caudatus aka Love-Lies-Bleeding

We’ve found a flower to feature in August that could very well have a multiple personality disorder, but sounds like a Bon Jovi song title; Love-Lies-Bleeding.

This beautiful plant is also known as Amaranthus, Amaranth, Tampala, Tassel Flower, Flaming Fountain, Fountain Plant, Joseph’s Coat, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Molten Flower, Prince’s Flower and Summer Poinsettia and they have the same amount of uses, if not more.

These rope-like, brightly colored red, or purple flowers hang from tall, upright branching stems and have breathtaking, deep red or green tassels. The cascading flowers were one of the staple foods of the Incas and is now known as the kiwicha in the Andes. To this day, people around the world toast the Amaranth grains much like popcorn and mix it with honey or molasses to make a treat called alegra, which means joy in Mexican Spanish. North Americans are rediscovering the nutritional property of the grains, which is considered a “super-food” and a “complete protein” when boiled and can be used as a substitute for either rice, or oatmeal with a “cream of wheat” consistency. In Africa, China, Greece, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet the edible greens (which are likened to taste like spinach), herbs and grains are consumed daily.

Love Lies Bleeding was used to provide comfort to those suffering physical and psychological pain, by helping them to move beyond their pain and to seek out a greater spiritual awareness. In doing so, it is believed that the person would experience a shift within their soul from suffering to compassion for others, as documented in the story of St. Francis of Assisi.

The botanical name Amaranthus is Greek and means “one that does not wither” or “unfading flower”. They last longer than most flowers once cut and can be easily dried to extend your enjoyment time. As cut flower arrangements, they will last 7 to 10 days in a vase and at least 10 days if hung upside-down for drying. They make beautiful border flowers in the garden.

A beautiful plant with many unusual names and extraordinary uses; Love Lies Bleeding will add color, conversation and comfort to any garden this summer.

Until next time,

Ken Bolt

PS. Have you seen our best sellers?

Flower Arrangements

Summer Daydream Bouquet

Summer Daydream Bouquet

Today I wanted to teach you how to arrange your own flowers!

I think there’s nothing more beautiful than flowers in bloom arranged artfully in a delicate, crystal vase. And today I’m going to teach you some tricks to achieving the kinds of flower arrangements often featured on TV or in magazines.

Firstly, “THERE ARE NO RULES!” … but there are steps you can take in order to create your own beautiful flower arrangements you can be proud of.

Tip #1: Use Your Instincts

There’s an artist in every one of us. Some are just dormant and sleeping, waiting for you to come wake it up. What better time than now? And the great thing about flower arrangements is that it takes so little from you to make them look beautiful. After all, flowers are things of beauty on their own.

Instead, trust your instincts. Let your eyes be your guide. Just pay attention and you will instantly know which flower arrangements are more pleasing to the eyes.

Tip #2: Cluster Small Flowers in Groups

It’s far from the rule of thumb, but you can never go wrong if you do this. Have you noticed how small flowers tend to disappear when placed in large flower arrangements? With all these large and more assertive blooms around them, the small flowers get overwhelmed. Moreover, they are also harder to grab and re-position.

By grouping smaller flowers together, it would be easier for you handle them and give your flower arrangements a more distinctive impression. You can do this by putting them close to each other or bundling them together with the use of a ribbon, rubber bands, floral wire, or floral tape.

Tip #3: On Single Blooms

Sunny Siesta

Sunny Siesta

Another common arrangement that people often resort to is a lone rose in a bud vase. While single bloom types of flower arrangements are always elegant, experiment with this method and add your own style. You can, for instance, make several single bloom flower arrangements positioned in several parts of the house – from small blooms inside wine glasses or tea cups to large blooms in bowls. That way, the lone rose in a bud vase can look even more distinctive in a room full of different flower arrangements.

Tip #4: Use the Right Container

If you must follow one rule, this is it: use containers that match the type of flower arrangements. The good news is that most flower arrangements are unique. So match them up with unique containers as well.

You do not have to arrange your flowers in a typical vase. If you feel your blooms look prettier in a different container, then do so. You can even use bottles, smaller vases, tea cups, wine glasses – the works. And the overall effect would be a refreshing look to your flower arrangements.

See … you can do it 🙂

Until next time,

Ken Bolt

PS. For more inspirational ideas check our summer flower arrangements page!

A Look into the World of Weird and Exotic Flowers and Plants

Most people love flowers for their pleasing aromas, shapes and pretty colours. But nature is full of extraordinary flowers and plants, and some really take things to a new level. Like for example Dracula benedictii, a species of orchid found in Cordillera Central, Colombia resembles a monkey face, hence the nickname it got. It was named in honor of Benedict Roezl the noted Bohemian collector, who discovered this species.

Monkey Face

Monkey Face

Or the White Egret, a distinctive wild orchid. It commonly grows in Asia and has been successfully flourishing in the United States. Its different appearance makes it feel like a flying bird. As its name shows, this type of wild Orchid comes only in white flowers. A completely grown flowering spike can have ten flowers, and can attain the height of sixteen inches.

White Egret

White Egret

And how about Ceropegia haygarthii. This weird charmer should be an inspiration to dream up some imaginary fabled beings.

Ceropegia haygarthii

Ceropegia haygarthii

Flowers and plants don’t always have to smell nice. Sometimes they stink. Like the Amorphophallus titanum, popularly known as the “corpse flower,” is the world’s biggest and worst smelling flower. Native to the Borneo rain forest, the plant blooms only a few times in its 40-year life span. During the first eight hours, the bloom emits a scent similar to rotting eggs or a dead animal. Gross!

Corpse Flower

Corpse Flower

Oh and it’s cousin, The stinking corpse lily is the largest known individual flower in the world. The flower is very rare, hard to locate, and smells like a decaying/rotting carcass.

Stinking Corpse Lily

Stinking Corpse Lily

Here is a nice one.. Lamprocapnos spectabilis, known commonly as old-fashioned bleeding-heart, Venus’s car, lady in a bath, Dutchman’s trousers, and lyre-flower is a rhizomatous perennial plant native to eastern Asia from Siberia south to Japan.

Batter Up! Baseball plant, is an incredibly popular house plant that is virtually extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction and the botanical equivalent of poaching. Its sap is poisonous, but it does make an attractive yard ornament.

Baseball Plant

Baseball Plant

Flowering from Spring through Fall, the Bat Face is a lovely addition to gardens, especially those in the South. Native to Mexico, the Bat Face Cuphea produces 1” tubular flowers that are rich with color.

Bat Face

Bat Face

This is a Parrot Flower native to Thailand. It is a protected species and resembles a parrot quite vividly. This flower can not be exported from the country so this is a rare opportunity to see such an amazing sight.

Parrot Flower

Parrot Flower

For more exotic flowers and plants visit out Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/brantflorist/exotic-plants-flowers-trees-fruits/

Do you like a particular plant or flower that is extra ordinary? Let us know by commenting below..