Friday, November 30, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 26-30

As part of our 125thAnniversary 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.


Daffodils
Day 26 - Daffodils last longer in shallow water, so when you re-cut their stems and change their water (adding additional floral food) every two or three days, fill the vase only partway. You can leave the protective husks on or gently remove them. When daffodil stems are cut, they release sap that can shorten the life of other flowers. To prevent this, after cutting their stems, place them in a bucket of water for at least 12 hours on their own before mixing them with other flowers. Some modern designs use daffodils with the bulb and roots still intact on the stems. The soil is washed from the root system – and you can enjoy the full botany of the flower from roots to stem, leaves and blossoms.




Sunflowers


Day 27 – Sunflowers are a wonderful cheerful flower that can put a smile on anyone’s face and their seeds are a tasty treat, but did you know their stems also were once used for a rather practical application? Before the advent of modern materials early life jackets used dried sunflower stems for buoyancy. Sunflowers also lent themselves to the Chernobyl nuclear crisis, sopping up dangerous strontium and caesium. Beautiful and useful!







Pine needle tea
Day 28 – Tis the season for pine and we are using tons of it in our shops, but besides looking and smelling great it has some edible qualities too (though we don’t recommend eating our ornamental pine). Some species of pine have large seeds, called pine nuts, that are harvested for cooking and baking. The soft, moist, white inner bark, cambium, found clinging to the woody outer bark is edible and very high in vitamins A and C. It can be eaten raw in slices as a snack or dried and ground up into a powder for use as a thickener in stews, soups, and other foods. This was so common among the Adirondack Indians that they got their name from the Mohawk Indian word atirĂº:taks, meaning "tree eaters". And a tea made by steeping young, green pine needles in boiling water (known as "tallstrunt" in Sweden) is also high in vitamins A and C.
Flower varieties



Day 29 – On any given day at our flower shops you’ll see more than 100 varieties of flowers, but did you know that there are between 250,000 and 400,000 species of flowers on planet earth, making up 462 different families? Only about 85 percent of these species have been cataloged. There are 1,300 species of begonia alone and approximately 130 species of roses, not including hybrids.








Flower pollination via hummingbird
Day 30 - Fossil evidence suggests that flowering plants have only been around for about 140 million years. This could be because flowering plants are dependent on animals for their reproduction and dispersal. Despite their relative youth, flowering plants, or angiosperms, now dominate the world's plant life. Many fruits and seeds are eaten or otherwise used by people and almost all the plants we use in agriculture are flowering plants.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 21-25

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.
 
African Violet
Day 21 - A healthy African violet will bloom for nine months and then rest for three. Despite their delicate appearance, they are not difficult to care for. Keep their soil moist to dry and allow it to dry out between waterings to encourage blooming. Because water can damage their leaves, always water them from the bottom by placing the container in a tray of water. Allow the plant to absorb the water for about 30 minutes. Place your African violet in moderate to bright, indirect light, and avoid exposing them to sudden temperature changes. Pinch off wilted blossoms and leaves to encourage blooming, and fertilize monthly or when the plant is actively growing new leaves and buds.
 
Areca Palm
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 22 - Areca palms are generally hardy plants and prefer medium to bright light. Keep their soil moist but not soggy. If you allow the soil to become too dry, areca palms wilt dramatically, but it's easy to revive them with just a little water (though some of their fronds may turn yellow). Trim back palm fronds that become damaged or turn brown.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spathiphyllum
Day 23 - With dark green leaves that can be more than a foot long, the spathiphyllum plant, commonly known as a peace lily, produces hood-shaped white blooms, and in some cases, can grow up to 4 feet tall (although many varieties are developed to be compact). These plants can wilt easily, so it's important to keep the soil moist, providing good drainage and emptying excess water from trays or saucers to prevent their roots from rotting. If your plant does begin to wilt it will typically perk right back up after being watered. Display them in a spot with bright, indirect light. Low light slows their blooming cycle, and too much direct sunlight may cause burn spots on their leaves. Wipe their leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust.

 
Pollen
Day 24 – What’s up with plant allergies? Allergyware.comreports one of the main reasons certain plants and flowers effect people with allergies stems from the plant's gender. Monoecious plants are ones that have separate male and female flowers living on the same plant, such as a corn plant. Because the male and female flowers are separated, the males, which contain the pollen, must send the pollen through the air to fertilize the female flowers, in order to make more blooms. Although the pollen is meant to be delivered to the female, some bits get sent out into the air, causing people to have allergies. Plants that are dioecious, that have either all male or female flowers also rely on wind travel to pollinate and create more blooms. Allergy sufferers may want to instead look for what is referred to as "perfect flowers," or ones that contain both female and male parts, like the rose. This is the best option as these flowers don't need to use air travel to pollinate.


Pet Friendly Bachelor's Buttons
Day 25 - Here is a brief list of common pet friendly flowers and plants:
· Common Name| Scientific name
· African daisy | Arctotis stoechadifolia
· African violet | Saintpaulia spp.
· Alyssum | Allysum spp.
· Bachelors buttons | Centaureaa cyanus
· Begonia | Begonia spp.
· Celosia | Celosia spp.
· Common Snapdragon | Antirrhinum majus
· Easter Daisy | Townsendia sevicea
· Orchids | Barbrodia, Sophronitis, etc.
· Peruvian lily, Brazilian lily | Alstroemeria spp.
· Rose | Rosa spp.
~Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT
Vice President and Medical Director
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Support Your Favorite Small Business

This November 24th is Small Business Saturday®, a day to celebrate and support the local small businesses that boost the economy and invigorate neighborhoods across the country.

Stein Your Florist Co. is proud to take part in Small Business Saturday, and we’re encouraging everyone to Shop Small® here on November 24th.

Plus, we’re having a special Small Business Saturday offer! Come in on November 24th and save 10% on all gift items and 20% on all plants! And you can save 10% on your online purchases at www.SteinYourFlorist.com when you use promo code SBS10.
 
 
Most importantly, get out there, Shop Small, and let’s make this November 24th the biggest day of the year for small business.
To learn more, visit www.ShopSmall.com.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 16-20

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.

Reviving Roses



Day 16 – If your roses begin to wilt, you may be able to revive them. Trim off about an inch from the bottom of its stem and then submerge the entire rose under water in a sink or bathtub. Allow the stem to absorb water for about 20-60 minutes before returning them to their vase.






Opening Roses




Day 17 - Roses last longer in a cool area, but if you want their blooms to open quickly, temporarily place them in a warmer spot (Note: not hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit). This is great for when you want them looking their most beautiful, perhaps for an evening dinner party ;)






Beware Toxic Flowers and Plants


Day 18 – Households with pets can pose a bit of a challenge when selecting which flowers and plants to keep around. Some pets may be tempted to munch on a few leaves, and while many plants will cause nothing more severe than mild digestive upset should they be ingested by pets, some can cause more serious health issues. Toxic to both cats and dogs are Tulips, Azalea, Bird of Paradise, Aloe, Begonias, Baby's Breath, and Amaryllis. Members of the Lilium genus, including Easter and stargazer lilies, can cause serious kidney problems if ingested by cats. Keep these things in mind when selecting your flora to keep your fauna happy :)







Poinsettia Care
Day 19 - Even though we associate poinsettias with the mid-winter holidays, they're actually a tropical plant and need to be kept away from drafts and cold. Too chilly temperatures can cause their colorful leaves (called bracts) to drop. Keep their soil moist and allow it to dry out only slightly in between waterings. Encourage new blooms by pinching off spent blossoms and adding plant fertilizer when it's actively growing new buds or leaves. Poinsettias can also be cut from the plant and used as cut flowers. When you cut a stem, a milky-white sap flows from the cut end. Place the stem in water immediately to allow it to hydrate before mixing it with other flowers.

Pet Friendly Flowers and Plants
Day 20 - What is a pet friendly bouquet? It is a bouquet consisting of plants and flowers that are not considered to be toxic to pets (primarily cats and dogs). Flowers such as roses, African daisies, and orchids and plants such as bromeliads, African violets and Christmas cactus are non-toxic (although any ingested plant material might occasionally cause mild, self-limited vomiting) and would be suitable as to have in households with pets.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 11-15

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.

Properly Display Cut Flowers
Day 11 - To enjoy your cut flowers for the longest possible time be sure to display them in a cool spot. Most flowers prefer temperatures between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 22 degrees Celsius) and are best displayed away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators, which give off heat and can cause flowers to dehydrate.




Bird of Paradise
Day 12 - Each stem of a bird of paradise usually contains about 4 to 5 flowers (called inflorescence). Sometimes only one flower is visible, where others are hidden in the “beak” of the flower. When one exposed flower withers it should be removed and another one can be pulled out of the flower’s boat shaped bract. If a flower doesn't emerge, gently ease it out by hand, but many times this is already done by our floral designers for the most beautiful look. These exotic blooms are sensitive to temperatures below 50 degrees F, so display them in a spot that doesn’t get too cool.



Gerbera Daisy

Day 13- Gerbera daisies are fun, bright, and beautiful, but their stems are highly susceptible to bacteria blockage. This may cause their heads to droop over, so change their water often and replenish their supply of floral food every 1-2 days, this will keep them looking lovely longer. Also, since they are particularly sensitive to ethylene gas and bacteria – keep the vase and surrounding areas clean and debris free and keep them away from ripening fruit.





Aloe Vera Plant
Day 14 - Aloe plants are wonderful as they are both beautiful and have a purpose. Mother Nature Network reports aloe plants, or aloe vera, are succulents that help clear the air of formaldehyde and benzene, byproducts of certain cleaners, paints and other household items. They're perfect if you are painting or are doing some major cleaning. Aside from helping to rid the air of chemicals, aloe also has a healing effect inside its branches. The gel inside works to heal cuts and soothe burns.





Hydrangea
Day 15 - Hydrangeas have woody stems that need to draw water for maximum vase life. If a blossom wilts prematurely, remove it from the design, recut the stem at a sharp angle and place in warm water for at least one hour. The flower should be revived and ready to take its place in the design. If this doesn’t revive your thirsty flower try submerging the bloom in a bucket of room temperature water for a few hours, hydrangea are great at drinking water through their petals and will often perk back up after their drowning. For best results keep the water level in their vase full. Hydrangeas can also be dried, by hanging them upside down in a warm spot. Although the color will fade slightly – the dried flowers can last between 9 months to a year.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 6-10

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.

Flowers to Avoid with Allergies
Day 6 - There are a wide range of flowers that work well with people living with allergies, but there are also just as many flowers and plants these individuals should avoid. WebMD reports flowers with the most pollen production like chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, goldenrod and ordinary sunflowers are among the worst.



Spider Plants for Air Purification
Day 7 – Spider plants, named for their flowy, long branches that resemble the legs of spiders (not because spiders like them), are wonderful for cleaning the air in a home or office space. These plants work to eliminate benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene - the latter of which is a solvent used in rubber and leather. They are hearty (you can go away on vacation and still return to a healthy plant) and do not require a lot of sunlight to thrive, so they are great for indoor spaces with limited light.


English Ivy for Air Purification


Day 8 - English ivy, is another great plant to keep around for its air purifying qualities. It works to reduce airborne fecal-matter particles, which is especially helpful for homes with pets (those that have accidents or use litter boxes); however, its leaves are also toxic to pets, so be sure to keep it where your pet cannot reach it. English ivy has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products.






Chrysanthemum

Day 9 - Chrysanthemums are a flower shop staple and November’s birth flower. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and petal formations. Their blossoms may even look exotic and in unusual colors with single or multiple blooms per stem. It’s important to remove the foliage of chrysanthemums if it begins to droop or yellow. The foliage often deteriorates more quickly than the flowers themselves. Recutting the stems often will also increase the uptake of water and increase vase life. Most chrysanthemums will last 7 to 12 days on average.

Amaryllis
Day 10 - Amaryllis are beautiful cut flowers, but they require some extra TLC to thrive and look their best. They may arrive with some of their blooms closed, but with proper care, they will open into large flowers. Their stems are hollow and need to stay filled with water at all times, so when you refresh the water and re-cut the stems, turn them upside down and fill them with water, plugging the bottom of each stem with a cotton ball or your finger until it is back in the vase. Their stems can be brittle and may bend or break when you refresh them, so be extra careful when handling them. As new blooms open, carefully pinch off older, wilting blooms.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 1-5

Parts of a Flower
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 1 - For our first day of floral education we thought we’d start with the basics, the parts of a flower. While we are primarily concerned with floral aesthetics here at the flower shops, the petals, sepal and stem, it is nice to review and remember the important role flowers play in nature. The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, they give rise to fruit and seeds, and many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen.


Cut Flowers on an Angle


Day 2 - You may have noticed that we cut our flower stems on an angle, but have you ever wondered why? Cut flowers are still living, which means that they are still drinking the water in which you put them. By cutting flowers perpendicular to the stem, it allows the stems to set directly on the bottom of the vase, impeding the ability for water absorption. An angled cut not only allows better access to the life-giving water, but also gives more surface area to the stems, allowing them to take in more water than a straight cut.





Sansevieria




Day 3 - Sansevieria, also called snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue, is remarkable in its ability to convert large amounts of carbon dioxide into oxygen (which we need to breathe), as well as in its effectiveness at removing certain indoor pollutants from the air. Studied extensively by NASA scientist B.C. Wolverton and environmental scientist Kamal Meattle, sansevieria is shown to filter out benzene, a chemical linked to Sick Building Syndrome. Sansevieria is most effective at producing oxygen at night, making it a perfect plant to keep in the bedroom.






Gypsophila
Day 4 - Gypsophila, commonly known as baby's-breath, is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to Europe, Asia and north Africa. Many species are found on calcium-rich soils, including gypsum, hence the name of the genus. Its botanical name means "lover of chalk", which is accurate in describing the type of soil in which this plant grows. We use thousands of bunches of "Gyp" at Steins every year.







Flowers for Allergy Sufferers
Day 5 - Flowers can be one of the most common allergy triggers around, though certain blooms have less or even no effect and these are the ones allergy sufferers should look for, so if you suffer from allergies it is not impossible for you to enjoy beautiful blooms. WebMD reports there are actually quite a variety of flowers out there that allergy sufferers can live in harmony with. Begonia, cactus, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil and geranium are some of the most allergy-friendly plants and flowers. Hosta, hydrangea, iris, lily, periwinkle, rose, tulip, zinnia and more are also known for being good choices.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day of the Dead

We love Halloween around the flower shop. Some of our crew is dressed up today, we have a wolf, a baby and even some creative Day of the Dead makeup. So we got to thinking… why end the celebration with Halloween when we can enjoy Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 1stand 2nd, is primarily a Mexican holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember lost loved ones.  
Traditionally those celebrating visit the graves of family members that have died to tidy them up and build altars honoring the deceased using decorative sugar skulls, marigolds and other flowers. They also leave the favorite foods and beverages of the departed as gifts.
 
Offerings for the souls of the dead.
The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them.
 

Elegant Skulls for Day of the Dead
While this may seem like a sad occasion, Dia de los Muertos usually takes on a jovial tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. La Calavera Catrina, “The Elegant Skull”, is the most iconic image of Day of the Dead celebrations. Sugar skulls are elaborately decorated as offerings and senoritas paint their faces to portray elegant Catrinas as part of the celebration. Orange Mexican marigolds, sometimes referred to as Flor de Muerto or “Flower of the Dead”, are the traditional flower used to honor the dead.
 

All of the beautiful flowers and imagery of Day of the Dead are not totally foreign to us, we have done more than a few themed weddings for the occasion. So we took our inspiration from our Day of the Dead experience, Mexican traditions, and our love of flowers and headed to one of the local cemeteries to create an altar and shoot a few photos.
 

Jessi Rose, our floral design apprentice and resident dress up doll, was painted like a Catrina and given a beautiful bouquet of marigolds, roses, zinnias, asters, mums and calla lilies. We designed flowers for her hair in blooms to match with accents of blue hydrangea.
 

Our offerings included a bowl of fruit, a bottle of tequila (a popular offering for Dia de los Muertos celebrations) and skulls hand painted by our designers in iconic Mexican styling.
 

We brought along more flowers as well, a bouquet of gladiolus, another popular flower for the occasion, and another bouquet to match our model’s with more lovely marigolds and lots of yellow Jerry’s balls. These bouquets were left at the cemetery as offerings to Jessi Rose’s grandparents who are at rest there.
 


We hope everyone enjoys today’s haunting Halloween celebrations and that you embrace the fun, tradition, and remembrance of Dia de los Muertos!