Showing posts with label Floral Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Floral Education. Show all posts

Thursday, October 31, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 361 - 365

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 361 – One informal experiment has indicated that Cattails or Typha are able to remove arsenic from drinking water. The boiled rootstocks have been used as a diuretic for increasing urination, or mashed to make a jelly-like paste for sores, boils, wounds, burns, scabs, and smallpox pustules.



Day 362 – Cattail seeds have a high linoleic acid content and can be used to feed cattle and chickens. They are frequently eaten by wetland mammals such as muskrats, which may also use them to construct feeding platforms and dens. Birds use the seed hairs as nest lining.


Day 363 – The outer portion of young Cattail plants can be peeled and the heart can be eaten raw or boiled and eaten like asparagus. This food has been popular among the Cossacks in Russia, and has been called "Cossack asparagus". The leaf bases can be eaten raw or cooked, especially in late spring when they are young and tender. In early summer the sheath can be removed from the developing green flower spike, which can then be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. In mid-summer when the male flowers are mature, the pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener.

Day 364 – Davallia fejeensis, fondly known as rabbit foot fern, is much easier to please as an indoor fern than most other types of fern, which require high humidity. Elegant, lacy fronds create a lush mound of evergreen foliage. The main attraction of this plant, however, are the furry rhizomes that hang over the side of the container. These light-brown, creeping rhizomes are covered with hairs that look like a rabbit's foot. It's a good idea to put the plant in a hanging basket because they can grow up to 2’ long. And because you want to show them off, don't you? Those furry rhizomes are more than eye-catching, they take up moisture. Mist them every day, or as needed, with tepid water to prevent them from drying out.

Day 365 – Floral design or floral arts is the art of creating flower arrangements in vases, bowls, baskets or other containers, or making bouquets and compositions from cut flowers, foliages, herbs, ornamental grasses and other plant materials. Often the terms "floral design" and "floristry" are considered synonymous. Florists are people who work with flowers and plants, generally at the retail level.


Thank you everyone for sharing this year of floral education with us! We love flowers, plants and all aspects of our industry and we feel fortunate to share that love with all of you for the last 126 years! Keep following us, you haven’t seen anything yet!

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 356 - 360

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 356 – For local tribes around Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia, cattails, or Typha, were among the most important plants and every part of the plant had multiple uses. For example, they were used to construct rafts and other boats. During World War II, the United States Navy used the down of Typha as a substitute for kapok in life vests and aviation jackets. Tests showed that even after 100 hours of submersion the buoyancy was still effective. Typha are used as thermal insulation in buildings as an organic alternative to conventional insulating materials such as glass wool or stone wool.

Day 357 – Cattail or Typha stems and leaves can be used to make paper. It is strong with a heavy texture and it is hard to bleach, so it is not suitable for industrial production of graphical paper. In 1853, considerable amounts of cattail paper were produced in New York, due to a shortage of raw materials. In 1948, French scientists tested methods for annual harvesting of the leaves. Because of the high cost these methods where abandoned and no further research was done. Today Typha is used to make decorative paper.



Day 358 – Cattails or Typha can be used as a source of starch to produce ethanol. Because of their high productivity in northern latitudes, Typha are considered to be a bioenergy crop.










Day 359 – The seed hairs of Cattails, as known as Typha, were used by some Native American groups as tinder for starting fires. Some tribes also used Typha down to line moccasins, and for bedding, diapers, baby powder, and cradleboards. One Native American word for Typha meant "fruit for papoose's bed". Typha down is still used in some areas to stuff clothing items and pillows.







Day 360 – Cattails can be dipped in wax or fat and then lit as a candle, the stem serving as a wick. Without the use of wax or fat it will smolder slowly, somewhat like incense, and may repel insects.

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 351 - 355

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 351 – Charles Darwin, in his interesting work on "Cross and Self-fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom," gives some interesting particulars of the ingenious way in which bumble-bees obtain the honey from the snap-dragon when they cannot push past the projecting lip: "In Antirrhinum majus one or two holes had been made on the lower side, close to the little protuberance which represents the nectary, and therefore directly in front of and close to the spot where the nectar is secreted." In experiments, Mr. Darwin found that while fifty seed-pods protected by a net gave nearly ten grains of seed, a similar number of pods from plants that the bumble-bees had free access to yielded over twenty-three grains of seed. It is not, however, by piercing holes in the flower that the bees effect fertilization, but by thrusting their way through the jaws of the dragon into the throat, where they encounter the stamens, and becoming dusted with pollen, leave some of it on the stigma of that or the next flower they enter in like manner.

Day 352 – The blub of some muscari, or grape hyacinth, varieties is poisonous. It contains a substance called comisic acid, which is said to act like saponin. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in bodies of water in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

Day 353 – A few species of Muscari flowers, including M. comosum, can be used to make wine that is high in antioxidants and vitamin C. In addition, some homeopathic remedy practitioners crush the bulbs to create a form of poultice for irritated or red skin. Other practitioners also boil the bulbs to make a diuretic tea.









Day 354 – At least one species of Muscari, M. comosum, has an edible bulb. This species, also called tassel grape hyacinth, cipollini, or edible muscari, is native to the Mediterranean area. Its bulb has flavors similar to garlic, leek, or onion, making it a popular addition to Mediterranean cooking. In addition, the flowers are often used by perfume manufacturers because they smell sweet.



Day 355 – Many parts of the Typha or Cattail plant are edible to humans. The starchy rhizomes are nutritious with a protein content comparable to that of maize or rice. They can be processed into a flour. They are most often harvested from late autumn to early spring. They are fibrous, and the starch must be scraped or sucked from the tough fibers. Plants growing in polluted water can accumulate lead and pesticide residues in their rhizomes, and these should not be eaten.

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 346 - 350

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 346 – In the summer months, the whole dictamnus plant is covered with a kind of flammable substance, which is gluey to the touch, and has a very fragrant, lemony aroma; but if it takes fire, it goes off with a flash all over the plant. The name "burning bush" derives from the volatile oils produced by the plant, which can catch fire readily in hot weather, leading to comparisons with the burning bush of the Bible, including the suggestion that this is the plant involved there. The daughter of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is said to have ignited the air once, at the end of a particularly hot, windless summer day, above Dictamnus plants, using a simple matchstick.

Day 347 - The dictamnus, or gas plant, is inedible: the leaves have a bitter and unpalatable taste. Despite the lemon-like smell, the plant is acrid when eaten. All parts of the plant may cause mild stomach upset if eaten, and contact with the foliage may cause photodermatitis.










Day 348 – Why white roses are so special is no mystery - it's a myth. Perhaps it started with the Romans who believed white roses grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis. Myth also has it that Venus' son Cupid accidentally shot arrows into the rose garden when a bee stung him, and it was the "sting" of the arrows that caused the roses to grow thorns. And 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.

Day 349 – The rose is a legend in itself. The story goes that during the Roman Empire, there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana became jealous. And when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe she also became angry, turning Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns.
 

Day 350 – According to business experts, the key to gaining the competitive edge in the modern economy is easy to understand -- a happy, productive workforce. And, while sometimes the easiest notions can be the most difficult to achieve, a recent scientific study conducted at Texas A&M University finds that nature can hold the secret to business success. The research demonstrates that workers' idea generation, creative performance and problem solving skills improve substantially in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.

Monday, October 14, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 341 - 345

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 341 - The great Chinese philosopher, Confucius, is said to have had a 600 book library specifically on how to care for roses. This variety is known as Circus.

Day 342 - Columbus discovered America because of a rose! It is written that on October 11, 1492, while becalmed in the Sargasso Sea, one of the crewmen plucked a rose branch from the water. This sign of land renewed their hope for survival and gave the seafarers the courage to continue on to the New World. This variety is known at Blue Curiosa.









Day 343 - Angelica archangelica, commonly known as Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, and Norwegian angelica, is a biennial plant from the Apiaceae family, a subspecies of which is cultivated for its sweetly scented edible stems and roots. Like several other species in Apiaceae, its appearance is similar to several poisonous species (Conium, Heracleum, and others), and should not be consumed unless it has been identified with absolute certainty.

Day 344 - From the 10th century on, angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant, and achieved popularity in Scandinavia in the 12th century and is still used today, especially in Sami culture. A flute-like instrument with a clarinet-like sound can be made of its hollow stem. Linnaeus reported that Sami peoples used it in reindeer milk, as it is often used as a flavoring agent.











Day 345 - Angelica archangelica roots have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea or tincture for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, nervous system, and also against fever, infections, and flu.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 336 - 340

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 336 - Pollination systems are biological markets, where flower visitors choose between flower species on the basis of their quality, such as the sweetness and amount of nectar per flower. Plants in turn compete for pollinators and advertise their product through colorful visual displays and scents. A key challenge in floral advertising is that signals must be not only attractive but also memorable. The more distinct a flower signal, the more likely a pollinator is to remember it, increasing the probability that pollinators will visit more flowers of this species while ignoring competitors. Some plant species even gain an unfair advantage in this competitive market by manipulating the memory of bees with psychoactive drugs, namely caffeine.


Day 337 - Diesel pollution snuffs out floral odors, interfering with honeybees' ability to find and pollinate flowers, new research suggests. Honeybees use both visual and olfactory cues to recognize flowers that produce nectar in return for insect pollination. Not all flowers produce nectar, and bees avoid those that don't by learning to recognize the odors of nectar-bearing flowers. But these floral odors — which consist of reactive chemicals called volatiles — react with other substances in the atmosphere; in the presence of certain pollutants, especially those in diesel fuel, these scents can chemically transform into undetectable forms. So give a hoot, don’t pollute!

 
Day 338 - The rose was adopted as England’s flower emblem during the Civil War (1455-1485). Roses symbolized two warring factions in England. Red roses symbolized the Lancaster faction while white roses symbolized the York faction, this clash became known as the War of the Roses.

 
Day 339 - It seems that the French were the first people to first deliver roses. As well it was the French explorer Samuel de Champlain who brought the first cultivated roses to North America in the seventeenth century.





 
Day 340 - The world's oldest living rose bush is thought to be 1000 years old. Today, it continues to bloom on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. This variety is known as Sunrisa.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 331- 335

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 331 - Interaction between insects and flowering plants shaped the development of both groups, a process called coevolution. In time flowers evolved arresting colors, alluring fragrances, and special petals that provide landing pads for their insect pollinators. Uppermost in the benefits package for insects is nectar, a nutritious fluid flowers provide as a type of trading commodity in exchange for pollen dispersal. The ancestors of bees, butterflies, and wasps grew dependent on nectar, and in so doing became agents of pollen transport, inadvertently carrying off grains hitched to tiny hairs on their bodies. These insects could pick up and deliver pollen with each visit to new flowers, raising the chances of fertilization.

Day 332 - Insects weren't the only obliging species to help transport flowering plants to every corner of the Earth. Dinosaurs, the greatest movers and shakers the world has ever known, bulldozed through ancient forests, unwittingly clearing new ground for angiosperms. They also sowed seeds across the land by way of their digestive tracts.

Day 333 - Dinosaurs disappeared suddenly about 65 million years ago, and another group of animals took their place—the mammals, which greatly profited from the diversity of angiosperm fruits, including grains, nuts, and many vegetables. Flowering plants, in turn, reaped the benefits of seed dispersal by mammals. "It was two kingdoms making a handshake," says David Dilcher, a paleobotanist with the Florida Museum of Natural History. "I'll feed you, and you take my genetic material some distance away."


Day 334 – As humans evolved, they and the plant kingdom continued to evolve together, through agriculture, angiosperms met our need for sustenance. We in turn have taken certain species like corn and rice and given them unprecedented success, cultivating them in vast fields, pollinating them deliberately, consuming them with gusto. Virtually every nonmeat food we eat starts as a flowering plant, while the meats, milk, and eggs we consume come from livestock fattened on grains—flowering plants. Even the cotton we wear is an angiosperm. Aesthetically, too, angiosperms sustain and enrich our lives. We've come to value them for their beauty alone, their scents, their companionship in a vase or a pot. Some flowers speak an ancient language where words fall short. For these more dazzling players—the orchids, the roses, the lilies—the world grows smaller, crisscrossed every day by jet-setting flowers in the cargo holds of commercial transport planes.

 
Day 335 – Bittersweet is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum. It is considered an invasive problem weed in North America, but is available in the autumn as cut branches and used by florists in fall floral designs and wreaths. They have a small bi-colour orange skin with red berries that dry on the branch, maintaining the same appearance as when fresh.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 326- 330

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 326 – We know that leaves get their green color from chlorophyll, but sometimes leaves appear red, such as on a Japanese maple, or have variations of color throughout the leaves, such as croton plants, so where does this come from? Most plants have other pigments:  carotenoids, which appear yellow to orange, and anthocyanins, which range from red to purple, and these pigments may dominate the appearance of the green chlorophyll. So chlorophyll is still present and at work, its color is simply masked.

Day 327 – Flowers began changing the way the world looked almost as soon as they appeared on Earth about 130 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. That's relatively recent in geologic time: If all Earth's history were compressed into an hour, flowering plants would exist for only the last 90 seconds. But once they took firm root about 100 million years ago, they swiftly diversified in an explosion of varieties that established most of the flowering plant families of the modern world.

Day 328 - Today flowering plant species outnumber by twenty to one those of ferns and cone-bearing trees, or conifers, which had thrived for 200 million years before the first bloom appeared. As a food source flowering plants provide us and the rest of the animal world with the nourishment that is fundamental to our existence. In the words of Walter Judd, a botanist at the University of Florida, "If it weren't for flowering plants, we humans wouldn't be here."

Day 329 - Botanists call flowering plants angiosperms, from the Greek words for "vessel" and "seed." Unlike conifers, which produce seeds in open cones, angiosperms enclose their seeds in fruit. Each fruit contains one or more carpels, hollow chambers that protect and nourish the seeds. Slice a tomato in half, for instance, and you'll find carpels. These structures are the defining trait of all angiosperms and one key to the success of this huge plant group, which numbers some 235,000 species.

Day 330 - Just when and how did the first flowering plants emerge? Charles Darwin pondered that question, and paleobotanists are still searching for an answer. Throughout the 1990s discoveries of fossilized flowers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America offered important clues. At the same time the field of genetics brought a whole new set of tools to the search. As a result, modern paleobotany has undergone a boom not unlike the Cretaceous flower explosion itself. We are learning more about flowering plants all the time.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 321- 325

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.


Day 321 – The oldest example of grave flowers has been discovered in Israel. An ancient burial pit dating to nearly 14,000 years ago contained impressions from stems and flowers of aromatic plants such as mint and sage. The new find "is the oldest example of putting flowers and fresh plants in the grave before burying the dead," said study co-author Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa in Israel.
 

Day 322 – Flower petals breaking through the snow, an early hint of spring's arrival, hides a very complex genetic process behind its floral fa├žade. Flowers know when to bloom because of a gene named Apetala1. A lone master gene, Apetala1 triggers the reproductive development of a plant, telling it when it's time to start blossoming. Yes, a single gene is all it takes to make a plant start producing flowers. A plant blooming with flowers has an active Apetala1, while a plant carrying inactive Apetala1 genes has very few flowers, if any, with leafy shoots growing in place of blossoms.
 


Day 323 – Bees can sense a flower's electrical charge, which tells them if the flower's worth visiting. Everyone knows that bees buzz around flowers in their quest for nectar, but scientists have now learned that flowers are buzzing right back — with electricity. Plants generally have a negative electrical charge and emit a weak electrical signal and scientists have known for years that bees' flapping wings create a positive electrical charge of up to 200 volts as they flit from flower to flower. The bees — busy as they famously are — don't have time to waste visiting pretty flowers whose nectar has just been taken by another insect, so the flower and bee have an electric communication that provides them both with what they need. The bees get nectar and the flowers get pollinated without wasted effort.
 

Day 324 – If you've ever taken a late-night stroll through a garden, you may have noticed that certain flowers, much like people, tend to retire after the sun goes down. But flowers that close up at night, such as tulips, hibiscus, poppies and crocuses, aren't sleepy. They're just highly evolved. Plants that tuck themselves in for bedtime exhibit a natural behavior known as nyctinasty. Scientists know the mechanism behind the phenomenon: In cool air and darkness, the bottom-most petals of certain flowers grow at a faster rate than the upper-most petals, forcing the flowers shut.
 

Day 325 – Science has proven it! Flowers make people happy! We of course knew, but read on… The first study involved 147 women. All those who got flowers smiled. Make a note: all of them. That's the kind of statistical significance scientists love. Among the women who got candles, 23% didn't smile. And 10% of those who got fruit didn't smile. We still like candles and fruit, but flowers make people the happiest!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 316 - 320

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 316 - Much of the reason orchids are so widespread is thanks in part to humans' affinity for and desire to grow them. It is thought that the symmetry of the flower could have a lot to do with why people are so fond of orchids. An orchid has bilateral symmetry — like a human face — so if a line is drawn vertically down the middle of the flower, the two halves are mirror images of each other.


Day 317 - Orchids are masters of deception. Orchids deceive insects into pollinating them. The reproductive parts of many orchid flowers are shaped and colored to look like the kind of insect they hope to attract. Once the insect is interested, the orchid's pollen sticks to the bug until it flies off to find another orchid that it mistakes for a mate.
 


Day 318 - Pollen from an ancient orchid was found on the back of a bee encased in amber, as detailed in a 2007 study in the journal Nature. The fossil was dated to around 10 million or 15 million years ago, but it is suspected that the orchid family is far older. Some research even dates some species of orchid to around 120 million years ago, before the continents split into their current form.  Two species of orchids whose natural habitats are thousands of miles apart are actually closely related. Scientists think that the plants probably had a common ancestor before they were separated by continental drift.
 

Day 319 - Perhaps one of the most popular species of orchids, the "flat leafed" vanilla plant is also one of the most widespread. Horticulturalists all over Latin America cultivate the plant for its flavorful charms.
 






Day 320 - Researchers at the John Innes Center and the University of East Anglia, both located in Norwich in the United Kingdom, studied how petals and leaves grow in a type of small flowering plant called Arabidopsis. They discovered that concealed maps within the flower buds are made up of patterns of arrows that act as instructions for how each cell in the bud should grow. As such, the maps essentially influence a flower bud's cell polarity, or the functions of the cells. The study's findings not only shed light on why geranium petals are unlike rose petals, they also explain why an individual flower's petals and leaves are different shapes.