Styling with Waratahs

“The red flowers of the waratah how beautiful they bloom
When the wattles are in yellow and gold is on the broom
They cannot be mistaken so large and a rich red
And much about their beauty has been written and been said
When red is on the waratah and birds whistle and sing
And Nature in her green cloak wears her colours of the Spring
The naturally sweet aroma of the blossom laden trees
Come wafting through the parkland in the freshening morning breeze,
The butcherbird is piping his bubbly melody
And everywhere one turns to look great beauty one does see
And the parent birds are busy in their constant search for food
For to keep the hunger at bay in their fast growing begging brood
And when Nature is at her loveliest with a bright smile on her face
The red flowers on the waratah do take pride of place”.

“The Red Flowers of the Waratah” by Francis Duggan

It’s currently waratah season in Australia and now is the time to make the most of these native beauties during the short time they are available. Take a page out of our style file below for ideas on how to decorate your home with waratahs or incorporate into a wedding bouquet if you are a spring bride.

Styling with Waratahs

Waratahs look fabulous massed on their own in a simple vase or combined in a bouquet or flower arrangement with the likes of beautiful white oriental lilies, other natives such as native kangaroo paw, and varieties of Eucalyptus foliage and gumnuts.

waratahs in vase

waratahs in rustic tin

waratahs in vase

Their bold, sculptural stems also work really well in modern arrangements, such as this Japanese style creation using maple leave branches and fantail willow found on Home Journal.

waratahs in vase

And make for a unique, Australian-esque spring wedding bouquet. Absolutely love this design below with the lipstick pink boronia accent by a Tasmanian flower grower Swallows Nest Farm!

waratah wedding bouquet

Bunches of cut waratahs can be purchased from any one of our four retail Sydney florist stores or order a flower arrangement or bouquet to be delivered by phoning 1800 66 66 46 or emailing sales@flowersforeveryone.com.au

Blink and you’ll miss out!

Did you Know?

  1. Prior to white settlement in Australia, waratahs were reputedly placed in a bowl of water so the sweetness and life of the flower would flow into the water. This was then used to strengthen children or cure them from disease.
  2. The name waratah comes from the Eora Aboriginal people, the original inhabitants of the Sydney area.
  3. Waratahs are native to Australia and the floral emblem of New South Wales
  4. There are a number of waratah colours available including red with white tips (‘Fire ‘n Ice’); cream tinged with pink (‘Shade of Pale’); red with a pink blush (‘Brimstone Blush’); blood red (‘Shady Lady’); and almost pure white (‘Wirrimbirra White’).
  5. They waratahs are a slow plant to mature and their flowering season is short, unpredictable and unreliable, generally only lasting for about a month each year, during the spring.

Sources and Photo Credits

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2349242.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waratah

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/styling-with-waratahs/

 

 

 

 

Buy Mothers Day Flowers For A Chance to Win Great Prizes!

Have you planned anything special for Mothers Day this year? Buy Mothers Day flowers for mum and automatically go into the draw to win one of two fabulous  prizes! Order beautiful flowers and gifts for Sydney Mother’s Day delivery from our Mother Nuture 2015 Collection here.

TWO TICKETS TO LES MISERABLES

We have two fabulous tickets to an evening show of Les Miserables on Saturday 23 May at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre. Prize value $400! This prize is fully transferable but must be used on Saturday 23 May 2015 as per the ticket booking.

Les Miserables

les miserables sydney

CHAMPAGNE HIGH TEA @ THE QVB TEA ROOM

Take mum and three friends or family along to the famous `Tea Rooms’ in Sydney’s QVB for a delicious champagne high tea for four people valued at $260. The prize is fully transferable and valid for use for up to 12 months.

the-tea-room-qvb

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Prize Conditions: Only orders from our Mothers Day 2015 Collection for Sydney metro flower delivery will be entered into the prize draw. The prizes will be drawn by Flowers for Everyone head office staff and announced on Friday 8th May by 12pm, winners notified by email/phone and mentioned on Facebook by 2pm. Prizes are fully transferable, however Les Miserables tickets are for the specified date/time only.

 

Giacomo Casanova: Smooth Talking Charmer or Misunderstood Intellectual?

Venetian Giacomo Casanova was an Italian adventurer and author famous for his often complicated and elaborate afffairs with women, earning him a reputation as a womaniser that still remains centuries later. Yet he was so much more than that.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “His many achievements would put the likes of Hugh Hefner to shame”.

“He hobnobbed with Voltaire, Catherine the Great, Benjamin Franklin and probably Mozart; survived as a gambler, an astrologer and spy; translated The Iliad into his Venetian dialect; and wrote a science fiction novel, a proto-feminist pamphlet and a range of mathematical treatises. He was also one of history’s great travellers, crisscrossing Europe from Madrid to Moscow”.

“And yet he wrote his legendary memoir, the innocuously named Story of My Life, in his penniless old age, while working as a librarian at the obscure Castle Dux, in the mountains of Bohemia in the modern-day Czech Republic”. (1)

When he died, Casanova had no idea whether his memoir would even be published. In fact, when it finally did emerge in 1821 in a heavily censored version, it was denounced from the pulpit and placed on the Vatican’s Index of Prohibited Books. Oom-ah!

The miracle of Casanova’s manuscript lies in its tale of survival over the centuries and its escape from destruction in World War II.

Casanova’s erotic memoir was originally bequeathed on his deathbed to a nephew in 1798, whose descendants later went on to sell it to a German publisher that kept it under lock and key for nearly 140 years, only releasing pirated and mistranslated extracts.

In 1943 an Allied bomb landed on the publishers office, yet it miraculously survived. The family secreted it by bicycle across Leipzig and placed the precious manuscript in a bank security vault. When the U.S. Army occupied the city in 1945, even Winston Churchill inquired after its fate. Reunited with its owners, the first uncensored edition was published in 1960 in French, during a time of major sexual revolution.

Now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, this reverence and treatment of his manuscript as a sacred relic would have made Casanova roll over in his grave and do a little happy dance. Often dismissed as a frivolous sexual adventurer, a cad and a wastrel, his hilarious, provocative, philosophical and (still) shocking memoir provides an amazing window into authentic 18th century life.

“Apart from the more than 120 notorious love affairs with countesses, milkmaids and nuns which take up about a third of the book, the memoir includes escapes, duels, swindles, stagecoach journeys, arrests and meetings with royals, gamblers and mountebanks”, explains the Smithsonian Magazine. (1) 

Even in today’s modern thinking world some extracts still raise eyebrows, especially the pursuit of very young girls and an interlude of incest. Attitudes towards these behaviours were tolerated quite differently in the 18th century!

“He would have been surprised to discover that he is remembered first as a great lover,” says Tom Vitelli, a leading American Casanovist. “Sex was part of his story, it was incidental to his real literary aims. He only presented his love life because it gave a window onto human nature.”

SIX INTERESTING TIT BITS ABOUT CASANOVA

Mostly identified as a famous lover who romanced women all over Europe in the 18th century, Casanova was also a revolutionary thinker, food-writer, kaballist shaman, and bisexual traveller. Below are some interesting insights into this remarkable man’s life by author of ‘Casanova’ by Ian Kelly.

  • Casanova was a dedicated food writer and in his epic memoirs, he spent almost as much prose on recalling his meals as his lovers.
  • Casanova collaborated with Da Ponte on the libretto for Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
  • Casanova’s promiscuity may not be all that remarkable: over the course of his life, he averaged ‘only’ 3 sexual partners a year. It is his manner of writing about sex that was revolutionary.
  • In his own time, Casanova was never famous as a womanizer. This aspect of Casanova’s story is posthumous, the result of the 12 volumes of memoirs found after his death.
  • Casanova was bisexual and began his career in Venice as a sort of upmarket rent boy.
  • Casanova was a devoted disciple of the Kaballah – a craze amongst 18th century urban elites as it has become again in the early 21st century.

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Sources 

1. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/who-was-casanova-160003650/?no-ist

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giacomo_Casanova

Making Dandelion Wine

Somewhere along the way the majority of us came to believe wine was simply ‘made from grapes’. Yet in bygones past, ‘wine-making’ encompassed a vast array of fruit, flowers and herbs.

Curiosity piqued, we proceeded to investigate the ancient art of dandelion wine making, resulting in a handy little instruction piece below on how to make one of the most popular flower wines in history, from one of the most common and accessible flowers available to us, the humble dandelion.

dandelion

To many of us the dandelion is an annoying weed in the lawn, albeit a colourful one.

Yet in addition to dandelion wine (which also happens to be good for the digestion and liver), their leaves can be eaten in salads, and their petals make a lovely syrup to use instead of plain sugar in baked good or to pour over crepes. Apparently, dandelion syrup is known to have a unique ‘barley sugar’ flavour. (1)

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine: Key Tips to Getting Started

  • Dandelions are most abundant during spring.
  • Pick dandelions in full sun in the morning, after the dew has dried.
  • Ensure the dandelions have not been sprayed with insecticides.
  • Avoid roadside dandelions due to pollutants.
  • Begin to make your wine as soon as you get the flowers home (their petals close once picked).
  • Use just the petals (some wine makers use the whole flower for more ‘tang’).
  • Allow six months to a year after bottling before drinking.

Dandelion Wine Recipe

For a rich, strong, medium sweet wine flavour…

Ingredients

The petals from enough complete dandelion flowers to loosely fill a gallon/3.8 litre container * 4.5 litres of water  *  1.5kg sugar   *  Zest and juice of 4 lemons  *  500g raisins  (chopped or squashed by putting in a carrier bag and pounding), or 200ml can of white grape juice concentrate  *  1 sachet of white wine yeast  *  Yeast nutrient

Equipment

Easily purchased online from Australian brew-making sites: A large enough container with lid to steep 3.8 litre container of petals with 4.5 litres of water  (stainless steel, earthenware, glass or un-chipped enamel)  *  Large saucepan  *  Large spoon  *  Sterilised funnel & sieve  *  Two x ‘Demijohns’  *  Campden tablet  *  Bubble track or airlock  *  Bottle for final brew.

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Method

Step One: Sterilise all equipment thoroughly.

Step Two: Hold each flower by the calyx (the green bit below the petals). Snip off the petals with scissors into a clean fermenting bucket.

Step Three: Boil the water and pour over the petals (make sure you use a large enough container to do so). Cover and leave 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step Four: Pour everything into a large saucepan and add the lemon zest, bring to the boil then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Continue to boil for five minutes. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice and the crushed raisins or grape juice concentrate.

Step Five: Clean the fermenting bucket thoroughly using a campden tablet, pour in the mix and cover until cool. Add the yeast and yeast nutrient and cover. Ferment for three or four days then transfer into a demijohn using a sterilised sieve and funnel. Fit a bubble trap and allow to ferment for a couple of months, rack-off into a fresh demijohn, leave until clear, then bottle. (1)

Now we cannot claim to have tried this recipe, and after researching the topic of dandelion wine making online, there appears to be a number of different methodologies. We’d love to hear from anyone who is inspired enough to give it a go!

how to make dandelion winedandelion winedandelion wine receipe

Reference:

1. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/apr/04/how-to-make-dandelion-wine

2. http://www.holysmoke.org/wb/wb0326.htm

Photo Credits: See http://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/dandelion-wine/

 

 

A Sniff of Spring Flowers

Can you sniff a little whiff of spring in the air? It may be hard to imagine spring is just around the corner, but we start noticing the change as soon as early season bloomers make their way into the markets.

Opening boxes of fresh flowers to discover the first bunch of sweet peas showing their super sweet little faces for the year, is cause for GREAT EXCITEMENT.

The same goes for other special florist favourites; the first tiny bunch of violets, daffodils, Lily of the Valley, blossom and dogwood branches, David Austin roses, hydrangea, rhododendron, Cymbidium orchids, lilac, gardenias and peonies (I could go on here); the buzz of discovery never gets tired.

We wave one of these cheeky new season bunches in the air for all the team to see, and pass around for a unison of oohs and aahs. Noses are buried into the flower heads to drink in the scents of those extra special flowers, like the slow-growing super special Daphne that smells like fruit tingles, yum!

And as ‘floral artisans’, the signs of a season change mean we get to start playing with new colours, shapes, and textures.

So on that note, it’s time to get inspired along with us. Check out our latest mood boards on Pinterest and share the excitement about the pending onset of beautiful spring flowers…

Follow FlowersForEveryone’s board Spring Floral Mood Board 2014 on Pinterest.Follow FlowersForEveryone’s board Spring Wedding Mood Board 2014 on Pinterest.

Follow FlowersForEveryone’s board Happy Daffs & Darling Jonquils on Pinterest.

Next week we might even share a few sneaky snaps of our new spring floral collection currently getting photographed for its launch in September. Stay tuned!