Fall into Autumn

“Yet when the Autumn sun
Colours the trees,
Should you come seeking me,
Know me by these:
Bronze leaves and crimson leaves,
Soon to be shed;
Dark little berries,
On stalks turn red”.

Extract from the poem ‘The Song of the Dogwood Fairy’

A little bubble of excitement welled inside me last week, when I read the local Daffodil Committee would soon be selling bulbs outside the town’s main grocery store for their annual fundraising drive. It also happened that around this time I started noticing there were a lot more oak leaves scattered around the playground, and it was getting darker earlier in the mornings.

After a scorching hot summer, it is a relief to start sensing the subtle changes that signify Autumn is on its way. And as florists, it is always a special moment when you open a box of flowers freshly arrived from market, and discover bunches of new-season blooms to play with. It’s like catching up again with an old friend you haven’t seen for the last year.

FALL INTO AUTUMN

We’re beginning to see a flush of Autumn flowers arrive into our floral workrooms. Over the coming month expect to see seasonal posies, bouquets and flower arrangements take on the look of ‘Fall’, with textural combinations in warm, rich tones such as pomegranate, crimson, gold, amber, chocolate, apricot and cream. ‘Fall into Autumn’ and read on for some of our favourite Autumn inspirations…

TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS

There is no denying tulips would have to be one of our number one best sellers during the cooler months. And for good reason, they are gorgeous! Tulips speak for themselves and look beautiful en-masse. To honour your tulips make sure to use a vase that brings out their best. For tips on flower arranging, take a look at our last post, ‘The Six ‘Must Have’ Vases’.

Parrot tulips      Orange tulips

White tulips

MOTHER’S DAY ‘MUMS’

The humble mum, or ‘chrysanthemum’ are in abundance in Autumn, particularly around Mothers Day. We love their happy, fluffy balls of petals, ranging from reds to warm purples, yellows and even bronze. They are also long lasting and great value for money!

Autumn flowers Mums in Mini Pumpkins Autumn flower arrangement

BRAMBLES, BRANCHES, BERRIES & BELLADONNAS

With the onset of Autumn comes the classic beauty of sculptural branches, berries and dainty pink and white belladonna (naked lady) lilies. A simple vase filled with branches of gold and crimson foliage, strawberry leaves turning from green to amber, rose hips and raspberries, add texture and rich colour to bouquets and floral arrangements. It’s all about oak, pomegranate and dogwood branches, crabapple and the soft, sweet perfume of belladonna lilies – oh, so divine!

Fall branches in vase Berries and autumn blooms in vase White roses and berries in vase

Berries and branches in antique pitchers  Belladonna lilies

To make the most of all Autumn has to offer, consider our ‘Florist Choice Designer Posy’ available via our online flower shop. This seasonal posy is a unique design created on the day by our florist team, using the most beautiful in-season blooms.

 

The Six ‘Must Have’ Vases

So. You have received a beautiful bouquet of flowers magnificently displayed in too-gorgeous-to-unwrap paper and ribbon. But what to do with them when you get home?

In many households, a kitchen-cupboard-scuffle invariably ensues, with many slammed doors amongst many exclamations of ‘I know I have a jug or container in here that will do the trick!’

Receiving flowers is such a special treat, it is important to do them the honour of something other than a plastic measuring jug or too-small vase. But not everyone is a natural at arranging bouquets in vases that do them justice. A florist’s ability to spiral stems in such a way that a bouquet falls beautifully into a vase only goes so far – because you technically need the right vase  to achieve the ‘right look’.

OUR TOP SIX ‘MUST HAVE’ VASES

You don’t have to spend a fortune on vases, but you do need a variety of sizes and shapes to have on hand when you are lucky enough to get a knock on the door by a flower courier. Read on for our top six must have vase types to best display your bouquets and posies.

THE TRUMPET

A trumpet shaped vase

The trumpet vase is narrow at the base and flares out at the top, allowing stems to spread out at an angle and ‘breathe’. You do need to make sure you have enough flowers and foliage to fill the vase, or it will look a little too ‘sparse and straggly’.

+Tip: Make sure to ‘snip’ the tie from around the stems so the flowers are able to fall naturally into place and show off their individual beauty.

THE CYLINDER

 

Classic cylindrical vase of tulips        Squat cylindrical posy vase

The cylinder vase has straight sides at the top with no narrowing at the opening. It is particularly ideal for showcasing a large bouquet of blooms, or stems with unusual heads or graceful tilts, such as tulips and hyacinth.

Tall cylindrical vase arrangement

+Tip: If you are on a budget, put aside your glass jam and pasta sauce jars, as they make perfect vases for smaller posies. You can do the same with the ‘bottle’ shaped vase below, saving unusually coloured or shaped glass water, soda or alcohol bottles.

THE BOTTLE

The bottle vase is always narrow at the top, limiting the movement of stems and the quantity you can fit through the opening. Think spindly branches of japonica blossom, a single rose or gerbera daisy. If you receive a pretty posy consider ‘deconstructing’ it into a variety of short and tall bottles clustered around the home.

+Tip: You don’t need to be an interior stylist to decorate your house with flowers. Simply removing a single lily stem from your bouquet and placing it in a bottle will help to ‘spread the love’ so to speak.

THE SPHERE

The spherical shaped vase has a large interior and a medium sized opening, enabling stems to spread out inside, yet be contained enough through the smaller entrance to create a ‘ball’ of blooms. The sphere vase looks great with a mass of the same type of flower, such as anemones or tulips, while the larger spherical base prevents the stems from flopping too far down the sides.

+Tip: When choosing your vase, keep in mind its height should be around 1/3 of the total height of your flower arrangement. You may need to use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the bouquet down if you don’t have a vase tall enough – but be sure to snip gradually in case you take too much off!

THE PAIL

Rustic pail of flowers       Country style pail of flowers

The pail spreads ever so slightly out at the top, giving flower heads a little freedom. This shape works best when packed with flowers so they fill all the space, such as a mass of garden roses with all their foliage in tact, or fluffy balls of hydrangea.

Modern silver pail shaped vase

+Tip: The pail doesn’t need to be a rustic bucket. If you live in a modern apartment, look for a classic ‘pail’ shaped vase in elegant silver or ceramic white.

THE LOW PAN

The low pan is essentially a vase that enables you to float flower heads, rather than be dictated by the size and angle of a stem. Not all flowers are ideal floaters – but you only need one to three blooms to make a statement. It is a fabulous way of stretching your bouquet out so you get maximum impact throughout your home. Classic floating flowers include spider chrysanthemums, gerbera daisies, most orchids and gardenias.

Floating bowl of flowers   Bowls of floating flowers

+Tip: Keep an eye out in op shops and antique stores for a variety of ‘low pan’ style vases, from tiny little crystal bowls to larger ceramic pieces.

So there you have it – our six must have vases to make sure you are fully prepared next time you bring home a bunch of blooms!

Reference
Martha Stewart Flowers & Vases

 

 

Origin of the Rose

Ooooh nice Mercedes Benz. I’ll take it in red! Do you accept roses? What, cash or card only? But I have these beautiful pink David Austins and a lovely hybrid tea rose, surely that’s a fair swap?

Imagine purchasing a car using roses instead of cash! Yet during the 17th century, roses were revered and valued so highly that royalty treated roses and rose water as legal tender to make payments and barter for goods (1).

So what is it about the rose that has transcended time to become the greatest floral symbol of love and romance, and the most popular wedding flower in the world? And why is it all about roses when it comes to sending Valentine’s Day flowers?

1911 Vintage Valentine's Day CardValentine's Day Roses Urn of roses

Did you Know?

The rose is, according to fossil evidence, 35 million years old. That’s older than the human race.

Although you could be forgiven in believing the rose to be of English origin, it is thought cultivation began in ancient Babylonia and Assyria.

The earliest known ‘gardening’ was the planting of roses along the most travelled routes of early nomadic humans.

Petrified rose wreaths have been unearthed from ancient Egyptian tombs.

The world’s oldest living rose is believed to be 1,000 years old. It grows on the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany and its presence is documented since A.D. 815. According to the legend, the rosebush symbolises the prosperity of the city of Hildesheim; as long as it flourishes, Hildesheim will not decline. In 1945 allied bombers destroyed the cathedral, yet the bush survived. Its roots remained intact beneath the debris, and soon the bush was growing strong again (2).

Wild dogrose Oldest living rose Wild Dogrose of Hildeshiem

When in Rome…

“Cleopatra had her living quarters filled with the petals of roses so that when Marc Antony met her, he would long remember her for such opulence and be reminded of her every time he smelt a rose. Her scheme worked for him. Such is the power of roses”. (2)

The hedonistic Roman emperor of 1st century AD, Nero, dumped tons of rose petals on his dinner guests. Kind of like the Baz Luhrmann of ancient Rome, yes?

Newly married couples were often crowned with roses. Could it be hypothosised that roses are the most popular wedding flower today because of this early Roman tradition?

Roman high society women believed rose petals could banish wrinkles if used in poultices. The likes of Crabtree & Evelyn may not be so cutting edge after all!

Cleopatra played by Elizabeth Taylor   Rose petal fountain   Rose petal bath

Rose petals were often dropped in wine because it was thought that the essence of rose would stave off drunkenness. If anyone is interested in trialing this ancient theory out and reporting back, please do so!

Victorious armies would return to be showered with rose petals from the civilians that crowded the balconies above the streets. A much nicer tradition than paper confetti…

References to roses are not only found in Christian literature, but also in ancient Confucian and Buddhist religious documents (3).

War of the Roses

Roses have been known to represent not only love, but war. The red and white rose were once used as symbols for opposing factions fighting to control England in the 15th century; a civil war known as ‘The War of the Roses’. The winner of this war, Tudor Henry VII, merged his Lancastrian rose with the red rose of his York bride, thus creating the Tudor Rose, or the Rose of England (3).

La Vie en Rose  Thorny rose   Urn of roses

Tears + Blood = The Beginning of Roses

In Greek mythology it is believed the rose arose from the tears and blood of Adonis, the lover of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love (3).

Secret Roses

The Romans (turning Aphrodite into their goddess Venus), also adopted the rose as their symbol of love and beauty.

Cupid, offering a rose when trying to bribe the God of Silence to hush Venus’s amorous escapades (tut, tut), made the flower into a symbol for secrecy.

Roman dining room ceilings were decorated with roses, reminding guests to keep secret what had been said during dinner. Sub Rosa (or ‘Under the Rose’) up to this day means “confidentially”(3).

Cupid Has a Lot to Answer For!

In Ancient Greek mythology, when Venus’s son Cupid was stung by a bee, he accidentally shot arrows into a rose garden. It was believed to be the sting of the arrows that caused the roses to grow thorns. So it’s a damn bee to blame for all the rose thorn pricks I’ve received then!

When Venus walked through the garden and pricked her foot on a thorn, it was the droplets of her blood which turned the roses red (3).

Cupid   Bath of rose petals

Thorn in my Side

Legend has it that during the Roman Empire there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge in the temple of her friend Diana.

Unfortunately, Diana was of a jealous nature and when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near the beloved Rhodanthe, she became furious. Enraged, Diana turned Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns (3). I wonder what the social media equivalent to this type of behaviour would be?

From the Heart

In an Arabic legend, all roses were originally white until one night when the nightingale met a beautiful white rose and fell in love. At this stage nightingales were not known for their melodious song, they merely croaked and chirped like any other bird.

But now the nightingale’s love was so intense that he was inspired to sing for the first time. Eventually his love was such that he pressed himself to the flower and the thorns pierced his heart, colouring the rose red forever (3). Could this be why the colour ‘red’ is considered the most romantic of all roses?

Classic red wedding rose bouquet   Botanical Rose Illustration

So there you have it. The origin of the rose. So revered they were once used as legal currency. As treatments for maintaining youthful skin. To stave off drunkenness. To symbolise opposing factions in English civil war. As ‘confidentiality symbols’ in ancient Roman dining rooms. To shower over victorious armies returning home. As the leading role in ancient mythology about gods, true love, jealousy and sacrifice. It is no wonder they are the most popular Valentine’s Day flowers to express love.

References & Photo Sources

(1) http://www.ehow.com/facts_6180171_origin-rose-flower_.html#ixzz2syJ1tUvm

(2) http://www.lillysrosegarden.com/rose-facts.html

(3) http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/miscellaneous/flowersandhistory/history-of-roses

(4) http://urbanext.illinois.edu/roses/history.cfm

(5) http://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/the-origin-of-roses/

 

 

Eat, Drink, Love

Following on from last week’s post, ‘Top Seven Most Romantic Dates’, we thought it useful to provide all the love birds out there with some hot tips for Valentine’s Day cocktails and candlelit dinner recipes. Read on for our simple, summery, saucy, and in-season ‘tit bits’ of delectable romantic delights!

Summertime Apperitif

Raspberry and Vodka Cocktail

Homemade Raspberry Lemonade with Vodka & Sparkling Wine

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup of water
¾ cup raspberries; pureed and pushed through a fine mesh sieve; plus more whole berries for garnish if desired
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4-6 cups cold water (this will vary depending on your taste)

Directions

1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
2. Measure 3/4 of fresh raspberries and puree them in your blender or food processor.
3. Push the raspberry puree through a fine mesh sieve to separate the seeds from the pulp.
4. Once the simple syrup has cooled, combine the raspberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice in a large pitcher.
5. Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.

Splash a nip of vodka into a high ball glass and add the raspberry lemonade. Top with sparkling wine and decorate with fresh raspberries threaded on a toothpick. Fun, striped straws can be bought from many delis, gift and ‘kitchen-y’ shops.

Raspberry Lemonade recipe courtesy of My Baking Addition.

A Simple Glass of Sparkling

If homemade lemonade is not feasible, you can’t go wrong with a quality glass of sparkling wine garnished with a strawberry cut out in the shape of a love heart…

Sparkling Wine for Valentine's

Hors d’oeuvre

Cherry & Brie Tartlets

Now this is not a My Kitchen Rules competition, so you don’t have to make your puff pastry from scratch!

Cherry and Brie Tartlets

Ingredients

1 pkg (450g) puff pastry
115g triple cream Brie, cubed
1-2 cups cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut each piece of pastry into sixteen 5cm squares. Fit into tartlet or mini muffin pans. Top each with a piece of Brie, a couple cherry halves, and about 1/4 tsp chili sauce.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden and the filling is bubbly. Let cool slightly, but serve warm. 

Makes 32 pieces (plenty for leftovers the next day, or simply reduce the ingredients)

*Photo courtesy of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers and Babble.com

Entree

Scallop & Raspberry Salad

Carry the raspberry theme through to the entree, with this light and fresh grilled scallop salad that is quick and super easy to make.

Scallop Raspberry Salad

Ingredients

1 bag spring mix salad
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 mango, cut in slivers
1 hass avocado, cut in slices
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
450g scallops
olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

Prepare salad by adding spring mix salad to a large bowl. Top with raspberries, mango, avocado and red onion.

Preheat a large skillet / heavy based pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper scallops and add to hot pan. Brown on each side and place on top of salad.

Make the dressing by adding the honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice to a mixing bowl. Mix well to combine. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve (you could also combine this with the main course pizza below and serve together).

Recipe and image courtesy of babble.com

Main

Heart-Shaped Pizza

Love Heart Pizza

Okay, this original heart shaped pizza is a US recipe and calls for hand-made pizza dough. I love home-made dough but that’s a lot of kneading when we’re in the middle of a heat wave. Plus not everyone has time. Feel free to google simple pizza dough recipes if you want to be a purist, or just buy fresh pizza bases and cut in the shape of a heart. Add your tomato paste or jar of pizza sauce, onions, herbs, and whatever toppings take your fancy. Place in a moderate 180C oven and cook until the mozzarella cheese (or boccocini or parmesan) goes brown. Voila!

Dessert

Tropical Daiquiri Ice-Blocks

Tropical daquiri ice-blocks

Ingredients

Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light – Strawberry Daiquiri
Pineapple juice (or your favorite tropical flavour – guava or mango would all be good)

Directions

Add equal parts of daiquiri and fruit juice to a bowl and stir to combine.
Pour into popsicle mold and add popsicle stick.
Place in freezer until fully frozen.

Petit Fours and Night Cap

There are no steadfast rules here. If you are time poor or not capable of eating so many courses you could just skip the ice-blocks and head straight to the petit fours and creamy night cap cocktail.

Bailey’s Cool Raspberry

Bailey's Valentine Cocktails

Ingredients

60ml Baileys Original Irish Cream
8-9 raspberries
Crushed ice

Directions

Place 4-5 raspberries at the bottom of a rocks glass and lightly muddle them.
Top with crushed ice.
Add Baileys Irish Cream.
Garnish with three speared raspberries.

Recipe courtesy of Blisstree, photo courtesy of Bailey’s.

Chocolate Dipped or Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Heart shaped chocolate dipped strawberries for valentines day      cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Ingredients

300g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped (or white or milk chocolate)
500g strawberries, washed, dried

Cheesecake Mixture

170g cream cheese beaten till fluffy
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar

Directions

Place dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir occasionally with a metal spoon until chocolate melts.

For heart shaped chocolate dipped strawberries, cut a triangle from the top of the strawberry to create a ‘love heart’ shape, dip that end into the chocolate (using a toothpick is a good idea), then pipe cream on top (optional).

Alternatively, slice the bottom tip off a strawberry (preferably medium to large size) so it stands upright on a plate and hollow the centre of the strawberry using a small sharp knife. Pipe cheesecake mixture inside (if you don’t have a piping bag, place mixture inside a zip lock bag and snip one end). Dip the tips in chocolate (optional). Can be served immediately or chilled, covered in the fridge, for up to two hours.

Heart shaped strawberry recipe courtesy of Taste.com / Cheesecake stuffed strawberry recipe courtesy of Food.com

We would love to receive your feedback on the recipes in the comments box below… Eat Drink Love, From the Flowers for Everyone florist crew.