Flemington Racecourse Roses

Did you know Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse, home of the Melbourne Cup, boasts the largest public rose garden in the Southern Hemisphere?

That is quite the responsibility for any gardener. Yet ‘Keeper of the Roses’ for over 30 years, Terry Freeman knows everything there is to know about caring for of over 16,000 roses bushes.

“In a funny way we are farming roses, not just growing them,” Freeman says. “Much like everything, you put as much as you can into it. The more effort you put into your roses, the better they perform.” (3)

Terry Freeman
Terry Freeman, Flemington Racecourse Chief Rose Wrangler
Photo Credit: James Greer for Crown’s Photo Finish Exhibition

According to ABC’s Gardening Australia, the roses were initially planted in the 1960’s as a cost cutting measure, to replace the more costly and labour intensive annuals they grew in the racecourse’s own nursery.

Nowadays roses and the races are synonymous. And to ensure they bloom in the first week of November to coincide with the Melbourne Cup, takes a lot of skill and knowledge of rose growing. It is an artful manipulation of their flowering time involving ‘pruning, watering, fertilising and pest control carried out to a strict regime’. (1) A bit like a ‘rose boot camp’.

A typical schedule comprises of one pruning and two trimmings a year for each of the 16,000 rose plants. They receive a solid feed of fertiliser, an all-Australian diet of Sudden Impact and Charlie Carp, three times a year in September, late November and late January.

“The carp-based feed deposits a slightly oily coating on the leaves, deterring black spot among the roses,” Freeman says.

An additional deterrent to black spot is a drip-irrigation watering system. (3)

Plus fortunately for Terry, he has an ample and free supply of top quality mulch to aid his efforts, collected from horse manure, straw and leaves dropped on the course.

“When roses are pruned, fed and watered on schedule, they will perform under almost any condition as they are sturdy plants. Never forget, though, that nature still has the last word.” (3)

Says Freeman: “We do all we can, but we are in the hands of the elements.”

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1ruXnAq
Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1ruXnAq

Flemington Rose Varieties

Flemington Racecourse’s roses are predominantly floribundas (they produce flowers in dense clusters). New roses are purchased as potted plants in December so they have time to settle in before the following November race schedule.

“We used to buy bare roots, but in the past three to four years we have been buying mostly potted plants as they establish more quickly,” says Terry Freeman.

It must be hard to have a favourite when you are passionate about roses and work with so many varieties, but according to the weeklyreview.com.au, “Freeman’s personal favourite is a rose called Grimaldi, a French floribunda with blooms that are salmon pink splashed with white. About 5000 of these roses are planted along the main driveway of the racecourse.” (3)

The Grimaldi Rose Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1oMjxDL Jilly Bennett Photography
The Grimaldi Rose Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1oMjxDL Jilly Bennett Photography

Love fragrant roses? Consider Chartreuse de Parme, a hybrid tea rose with deep magenta blooms or Abraham Darby, a David Austin rose with apricot/light-pink blooms. (3)

You can learn a lot from the experts on a guided tour of Flemington Racecourse, which delves into its fascinating history, including a tour of the rose gardens.

References:

1. http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/s725180.htm

2. http://www.flemington.com.au/about-us/flemington-heritage-centre/

3. http://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/release/3273-giving-your-roses-the-flemington-touch#.VE1iQ8i4bIU

 

Wisteria Hysteria

We have wisteria hysteria! Fragrant, cascading flowers are currently adding a ‘Monet-esque’ quality & lilac haze to cities and towns in Australia.

A mix between a vine and a shrub, the wisteria’s dripping, fragrant clusters of flowers provide lovely cool shade over a pergola, or privacy, cascading down to create a screen of delicate, fragrant blooms.

Want to add value to your property? Wisteria Hysteria could be for you! Who wouldn’t be swept away viewing a property with dripping tendrils of lilac, blue, white and pink.

wiseria

Getting Started (That is, Be Patient)

Although wisteria are vigorous climbers, often growing 4.5 metres ore more in a year, it can take at least six years for a newly established wisteria to start flowering. So best get cracking now!

Growing Conditions

Wisteria enjoy a full sun position. If planted in partial shade they will grow, but most likely won’t flower. If your soil is not in good condition, add compost, otherwise it will grow in most soil types. They do like well drained soil and reliable moisture, particularly during flowering and the initial growth period.

When to Plant

In spring or autumn.

How to Plant

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and about two to three times as wide. Space plants 3 to 4.5 metres apart. If training over a pergola, plant either in the ground or in pots and ensure the pergola is high enough so you can walk underneath without brushing the flowers.

Caring for Wisteria

In spring apply a layer of compost under the plant and a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and control weeds.  If you have a week with little or no rain ensure they get a good drink. Pruning is the secret to good flowering. Prune in late winter – remove at least half of the prior year’s growth, leaving just a few buds per stem.

Hot Tip

Wisteria still not blooming? Check out this tip – Take a shovel and drive it eight to ten inches into the ground about a foot and a half out from the trunk to slice into some of the roots. Damage about 1/2 of the roots and the bush will be shocked into reproduction. (2)

Popular Wisteria Varieties

Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) in its blue form  is commonly planted in Australia, however according to Don, two other widely cultivated Japanese species are also popular amongst gardeners:  W. brachybotrys and W. floribunda.

W. floribunda

The best known of the Japanese wisterias, it is differentiated from the Chinese wisteria as it has a lot more flowers. Its dozens of cultivars include a spectrum of colours, including ‘Honbeni’ (soft delicate pink flowers with a lavender tinge) and ‘Kuchibeni’ (white flowers with a tinge of pink at the end of the petals and clear yellow autumn foliage).

W. brachybotrys

Plants in this group have very large individual flowers on long stalks and a beautiful fragrance, and include varieties such as:

‘Shiro Kapitan’ or ‘Alba’ (strongly scented, pure white flowers appear with the leaves)
‘Murasaki Kapitan’ (mauve, strongly scented flowers). This cultivar is unusual in that it twines clockwise.
‘Okayama’ (resembles Shiro Kapitan except it has faintly scented dark mauve flowers).
‘Showa Beni’ (similar to Shiro Kapitan except it has faintly scented pink flowers).

Have you caught the Wisteria Hysteria yet? If you are still not convinced you want to wait six years for your wisteria plant to start flowering, maybe take a look at some of these amazing pictures to get inspired…

wisteria

wisteria   wisteria

wisteria

References:

1. http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/fact-sheets/in-the-garden/climbers/displaying-wisteria/#.VEOCqsi4bIU

2. http://www.almanac.com/plant/wisteria

Photo Credits: See http://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/wysteria-lilac-purple-haze/

Exquisite Corporate Xmas Gift Ideas

With Christmas only a couple of months away, work and social schedules typically reach manic mode.  Time slips through our fingers as daylight hours get exponentially longer, and before we know it, our boss is asking what has been sorted for client Xmas gifts. Or staff Xmas gifts, for that matter.

There are a lot of options out there, and let’s face it, a lot of branded sports bags, picnic blankets, and hampers full of non-descript crackers and shortbread, cheap bottles of wine, miniature packets of pretzels and chocolate you would think twice before putting out for guests after Christmas dinner. Actually check that, those chocolate coated macadamias can make a handy Kris Kringle for family Xmas parties when you don’t know your second cousin from a bar of soap.

To remedy the lack of quality corporate Xmas gift options available, the florist elves at Flowers for Everyone have been working hard this week to create a beautiful gift range of Christmas flowers and hampers for Sydney deliveries, offering recipients a quality, luxurious product that provides visual enjoyment, festive decoration for the home, and/or a tingle to the tastebuds.

fruit and wine hamper

xmas flower arrangement

Xmas wreath and Ecoya candle

fruit and wine and chocolate hamper

elegant white flowers for Christmas

Our creative designers have also ensured there are corporate Xmas gift ideas that not only cater to a myriad of clients and internal management levels, but also a variety of budgets, because we know how important costs are when working within the parameters of the accounting department!

Our Christmas Range

In the higher end of the price range at $110, this elegant flower arrangement in a square glass vase is ideal for CEOs, senior management and highly valued clients, either standalone or teamed with a bottle of Moet sparkling wine.

white and green xmas flower arrangement

Or for staff and client Xmas gifts under $55, why not send a beautifully presented plant to brighten up their apartment or home over the Christmas holidays? A hydrangea plant is perfect for female clients and staff, the bromeliad offers a modern option, and our orchid in an ice-bucket makes an elegant (and useful) unisex present for Christmas.

Send-a-Plant-for-Xmas-in-Sydney

bromiliad-plant-xmas

Send-an-Orchid-Plant-for-Xmas

What is pictured above is just a taste of what is to come. Over the next month expect to see smart and stylish new online Xmas gift ideas being added to our website. And remember, if you require large quantities do not leave ordering to the last minute so as to ensure availability of stock.

For Xmas gift enquiries and customisation of hampers and/or presentation, please contact our sales team on 1800 66 66 46 or send us an email on sales@flowersforeveryone.com. Alternatively place your Xmas gift order online now!

 

Amal & George Clooney Wedding Flowers

Hundreds of articles have been published about Amal & George Clooney’s fairytale Venetian wedding; from the exquisite Oscar de la Renta wedding dress and famous guest list, to the menu, speeches and opulent Aman Canal Grande.

Yet there has been inadequate, and at times, inaccurate references made to the Clooney’s choice of wedding flowers. Sacrilegious!

It is guaranteed a significant portion of the wedding budget was not just spent on food and wine, but flowers. So in honour of the sheer artistry, skill (and stress) involved in creating and installing wedding flowers on this scale, we are going to attempt to bring you the floral low down.

By scrutinising the pages of our trusty Woman’s Day magazine and analysing wedding pictures online, we have deduced the Clooney’s chose the following flowers to reflect their style and taste…

Amal Alamuddin’s Wedding Bouquet

Timeless and elegant, Amal’s all-white posy consisted of lisianthus accented with stephanotis. We are also going out on a limb here and suggesting a touch of hydrangea was used.

The Floral Arch

While some articles referred to an ‘archway of imported white roses’, others simply described this floral, Garden of Eden-esque backdrop as ‘an arch of white flowers’. A little bit off the mark really! Peering through our looking glass, we can not only spot a splendid display of roses, but a plethora of lisianthus, hydrangea, hanging green amaranthus, elegant amaryllis lilies, dahlia and stephanotis. The jury is still out on whether there is also a touch of snowberry or flowering hawthorn stems?

Aisle Décor

Big fat blown white roses combined with lisianthus, dahlias, hydrangea and dripping green amaranthus, fitting with the style of venue.

Table Arrangements

Classic, low-set arrangements of amaryllis lilies, roses, lisianthus, hydrangea, dahlias and chincherinchees.

Wall Arrangements

Suspended beneath candelabra wall features were arrangements of Singapore orchids, dahlia (or chrysanthemum), roses, lisianthus, hydrangea, and those mysterious branches of miniature white flowers again (anyone? anyone?).

So there you have it. Amal & George Clooney wedding flowers in detail. But wait! Did we miss out a flower? Can you recognise what the mystery flowers are in the archway and wall arrangements? Help us honour the floral element of this supremely elegant, tasteful wedding of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin. Share your input in our comments box at the bottom of this page.

 

 

 

 

 

#PicturePerfectPetals Flower Photography Competition

Attention amateur photographers! We are offering a great excuse to get out and about in nature this October with our #PicturePefectPetals flower photography competition.

As with any art project, how one views, photographs and edits an image of the same flower will invariably produce remarkably different results and perspectives. We would like to inspire a love and appreciation for flowers and encourage budding amateur photographers to enter our comp. The lucky winner will receive a $250 Flowers for Everyone gift certificate for flower delivery in Sydney (valid for use until 31 December 2014).

To Enter:

1. Take a photo of a flower. Any flower.
2. Go to the Flowers for Everyone Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FFEAU) and click on the tab ‘Enter our Photography Comp’

Conditions:

1. You can upload as many entries as you like. You can be creative as you like.
2. All entries are to be submitted by 31st October 2014.
3. Winner with the most votes will be notified and announced on Facebook 1st November 2014.

To see what the professionals are doing, take a look at these fine flower photographs and tips from the photographers featured on ePHOTOzine.com For the full article click here.

‘Cool’ by bfgstew

flower_head_cool_stewart

Stewart’s zoom blur flower heads have always stood out in the ePz gallery. He desired to create something much more than just a ‘plain flower shot’. “The method I adopted was purely accidental,” Stewart explains. “I just experimented in Photoshop for a few weeks until I achieved something that was eye catching.

“I had tried using the zoom effect ‘on camera’ but didn’t achieve the same results, my way you can really accentuate the central part of the flower, drawing the viewer in. The blur can and does take away any imperfections with focus and blemishes so all round it’s a win win combination.”

You can learn more about Stewart’s method in a tutorial he wrote for ePz a couple of years ago: Creating zoom blur flower heads

‘Kissing the Pink’ by mikesmith

water_drop_mike_smith

According to ePz, a camera with a great macro facility has been at the forefront of Mike’s production of bold images, helping him to appreciate the colours and detail in flowers.

“When I bought my first digital camera, the first lens I bought was my trusty old Tamron 90mm. I started to sell my work around 5 years ago and made the decision to incorporate black velvet into each image. That way I knew the colour and detail would stand out and make an immediate impression on the viewer,” explains Mike.” I market my work as ‘photographic art for the home’ and I felt that the bold colours would stand out well and make strong statements on any wall.”

“I owe part of my skill set to my fellow ePz members. However, I have also learnt many techniques by experimenting myself. Many set ups can be fairly complex especially when it comes to lighting. The successful set ups often happen after long shoots experimenting with different lighting from different angles until I find the result that I am looking for. Sometimes I know what I want to achieve and others, I just end up liking one of the resulting shots.

The introduction of glycerine (another tip from a fellow ePz member a few years back) to some of my work adds yet another dimension and opens up a whole new avenue of flower photography.”

‘Blue Anemone’ by cattyal

Blue_Anemone

You don’t need a professional studio to create amazing works of art. “Add to good light a sheet of paper for a background and maybe some greaseproof paper for diffusing the light and it’s an easy set up,” explains photographer Alison on ePz.

I also plant my garden very much with flowers for photographing in mind – that way I can just pop out of the back door and grab whatever takes my fancy.”

Nowadays, ePz explains, “Alison has no particular preference towards macro, full flower shots or a huge vase of them – anything goes. Quite simply, Alison likes flowers because they are pretty, they stay put (usually), don’t talk back or fidget and don’t object when being subjected to the occasional cruel treatment i.e. clamps or wire up the stems when they won’t pose naturally (which is actually quite rare).”

“I usually start out just shooting them against plain backgrounds – black velvet and white colormat,” explains Alison. “Once those are done I might rummage amongst my rather large collection of small vases and bottles and see what happens!”

ePz shares Alison’s advice if you want to have a go at photographing flowers using the most basic equipment: •A Good sized window •Some kind of background •A tripod •Clamp for holding flowers •Greaseproof paper for a diffuser

‘Bluebells’ by clintnewsham

bluebells

“Clint first begin playing around with Photoshop back in 2006 after he started using a digital camera,” explains ePz. “As well as using flowers as the focus of his images, Clint also turns them into colourful, out of focus backgrounds”.

The photographers advice? “Pop down to the supermarket and buy the wife a colourful bunch of flowers, wait for her to arrange them nicely in a vase and put them on the window ledge. When she’s not looking, you can move them to a convenient place and use them as a back drop. Shoot at f/2.8 at a distance far enough away from the flowers and you get a nice out of focus background.”

‘Papaver Passion’ by MandyD

flower_closeup

ePz explain that Mandy combined her interest in macro photography with her love for flowers to come up with the perfect photography subject for her to work with.

“As flowers are so diverse in colour, shape and texture they give me a wide range of choice,” explains Mandy. “There’s always something new appearing every day to get excited about.”

“I really like the shallow depth of field associated with macro lens. I usually turn this to my advantage by using large apertures in many of my images to create backgrounds that fall away to a beautiful blur, but for the Poppy shot I used f/22 and went in very close to capture its lovely detail throughout.”

‘Parchment’ by johnjohn01

Parchment

John incorporates textural work in his flower photography to create a unique look all his own.

“The texture work started about the same time as my flower photography when I was shooting some Carnival Glass that used to belong to my grandmother,” explains John. “I didn’t like the background I had used and decided to change it rather than re-shoot. I added a texture layer to the image intending to erase the background and allow the texture to show. Before I erased the background though I played with the layer blending modes and really liked the effect of the texture over the glass. I then tried it on flowers and loved the effect.

Finding the right texture and effect is a matter of trial and error. I’ll play with an image adding various layers of texture and changing the blending mode and opacity until I achieve an image I like. If a texture doesn’t work then I’ll try others.

I still use the technique today although most of my recent work are high key flower portraits with no texture.”

For Full ePHOTOzine article and Photo Credits: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/top-flower-photographers-on-ephotozine-19819