• Tomatoes with Spicy Chickpeas November 5, 2011
    [/caption] I made my usual trip to buy produce at one of our nearby farms and found piles of heirloom tomatoes, plump, juicy and ripe. Never able to pass on field fresh tomatoes, I purchased more than we could eat. A few days later, a friend gave us a bowl of Brandywine tomatoes. With such an abundance of sweet, juicy tomatoes I needed to get creative. […]
    Ron Rose
  • Fruit Granola Bars October 12, 2011
    [/caption] I wasn't in the popular group when I was in High School and in fact my HS years were painful and frustrating. It wasn't that I didn't try, I was just odd and lived in a town that didn't understand odd. I remember my freshman English class as a defining moment where my desire to please was lost in a world where I would not be va […]
    Ron Rose
  • Lime and Yogurt Bundt Cakes October 8, 2011
    It was Mia's Birthday and I wanted something a bit different than the traditional birthday cake. As her birthday is officially in Autumn, a pound cake might be in order, but the weather is still warm and I had a mountain of Persian Limes on my counter which were ripe and plump with juice. With a large container of yogurt in the fridge I was prepared for […]
    Ron Rose
  • Turkish Cheese Bread September 29, 2011
    Binnur's Turkish Cheese Bread Recipe Inspired by Binnur's Turkish Cheese Bread, I set out to replicate this delicious, cheesy bread. On her site there really wasn't so much a recipe as a how to so I started from scratch. First, I made my Pizza Dough. My recipe is an easy to make, never fail, pizza dough which is perfect for one large pizza. [. […]
    Ron Rose
  • Korean Style Pancake August 10, 2011
    I found this new treat, a Korean style pancake, which is savory and absolutely delicious. This delicious dish makes a wonderful lunch or appetizer. Easy to prepare and pretty good for you. I make this in different ways and the combination of vegetables are easily changed to suit taste and what is on hand. Have fun and enjoy. […]
    Ron Rose

Deciphering the Etiquette Dilemma

Thanks Bouquet

Thanks Bouquet

For most Americans, it is harder to say, “Thank you” than “I’m sorry.” According to a recent poll by International Communications Research, nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) believe that saying “I’m sorry” is easy, while about the same number (67%) of Americans can remember a time when they were not properly thanked for a favor or act of kindness.

With the word “etiquette” defined as socially accepted behavior, Rebecca Cole, co-host of Discovery Channel’s Surprise by Design and author of Flower Power, believes that expressing all kinds of emotions should be easy, especially for those who can’t find the words.

“In the 21 st century, with so many different ways to communicate without even using words – email, voicemail, text messaging – it’s amazing that people don’t routinely acknowledge the kindness of others in one way or another,” said Cole. “A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘I’m sorry’ can go a long way. Better yet, sending flowers helps you convey any message with added sincerity.”

 

Deciphering the Etiquette Dilemma
According to the Society of American Florists, the national trade association for the floral industry, five of the most common reasons people send flowers are to say thank you, I’m sorry, congratulations, get well and express sympathy. Rose of Sharon Florist recommends the following tips to insure an acceptable, affordable dilemma to resolving age-old problems.

Thank You

Ask your florist for an arrangement conveying a casual, handpicked feeling, to say thank you with a very personal touch. In addition to a beautiful statement of thanks, the accompanying note card can say everything that is too hard to say in person. We are experts at conveying emotion; please ask us for assistance with any problem.

I’m Sorry

Flowers are the traditional gift to get out of the doghouse because they easily make the statement, “I was wrong.” To apologize with sincerity, ask your florist for a nostalgic arrangement, using a blend of delicate warm and cool lavenders and pinks. We are experts at Doghouse Repairs but a thoughtful phone call after the delivery will insure your success.

Congratulations

A bouquet of bold, contrasting colors is a fun-loving, playful way to say “Congratulations,” “Welcome home,” or “Great job.” You can even get creative with the container. For example, if a friend just got a new job, ask your florist to put the bouquet in a fun pencil holder or something that represents the occasion.

Sympathy

It’s never easy comforting someone who has lost a loved one, but flowers can say what is often difficult to ex press in words. Flowers are usually sent to the funeral home to provide warmth and beauty to the service. If a service is not planned, grief experts recommend sending condolences to the bereaved person’s home.

Get Well

Choose a serene color scheme of light shades of green, misty blues and other cool hues to provide a moment of calm and let someone who is ill know you’re thinking of them. When sending flowers to a hospital, it’s helpful to have the name of the hospital, the patient’s name and room number ready for your florist. It’s also good to know the hospital’s flower policy. Your florist will know about the hospitals in your area.

More Floral Savvy

Studies show the power of flowers on our happiness and well-being and that people who give flowers are considered to be thoughtful and sophisticated. Here are some quick tips to help you show your sophisticated side:

  • Send flowers to a hostess before you arrive for a party or event, and choose a color palette that will mix with her décor.
  • Do your best to tailor a gift to the recipient, whether it’s her favorite flower, color or even matches her eyes.
  • “Just because” is the best reason to send flowers! Try sending flowers in the middle of an ordinary week for the ultimate impact.
  • Get to know your florist. Having someone who knows you and your tastes will make expressing any emotion much easier.Rose of Sharon Florist is pleased to offer the community tips for people who want to let their friends and family know how much they appreciate them being part of their lives.

Effect of Flowers on our Moods

Happy Girl with Flowers

Happy Girl with Flowers

Research by a major university found that flowers make us happy. The 10 month study found that flowers have an immediate impact on our happiness, a long term effect on our moods and led to more intimate contact with family and friends. While men and women expressed themselves differently the results were the same across gender lines.

Today’s hectic life, the stress of work, family issues and our fast pace society take their toll on our moods, relationships and health. Why not take a few minutes to stop and smell the roses and improve the quality of your life. Flowers offer a unique way to calm the storms of everyday life, cheer the afflicted, energize the tired and bring a smile everyone’s face.

People who give flowers to others as gifts have long known the benefits of flowers. Try bringing flowers into your own life and reap the benefit of one of God’s prettier gifts, flowers.

Stop by Rose of Sharon Florist, we always have free samples.

Lucky Bamboo Care Instructions

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo

Botanical Name: Dracaena sanderiana

Lucky Bamboo is now widely available and an essential feng shui plant. Lucky Bamboo is used to attract health and happiness and is one of the most popular feng shui cures.

Lucky Bamboo is not really a bamboo at all but a tropical plant in the Asparagoideae (asparagus) family. Easy to care for these lovely dracaena thrive in both water or soil, need little care, propagate easily and grow quickly. Don’t be confused, while in the Asparagoideae family, lucky bamboo leaves are mildly toxic so keep away from pet’s or children who like to snack on plants.

Water: Usually grown in a vase or container of rocks and water. Use filtered water for best results. To grow in soil see the care sheet for Dracaenas.

Light: Indirect or bright-diffused light is best.

Temperature: 60-85

Humidity: Medium to High

The Lucky Bamboo is a distinctive and beautiful tropical plant that has naked branches ending in tufts of sword-shaped leaves. Its stalk won’t grow any taller once cut, as it is the leaves of the plant that grow and slowly develop into stalks themselves. Once a leaf has developed into a stalk, it can be clipped at its base where it was sprouted and placed in distilled water to start more bamboo. Lucky Bamboo has become very popular in recent years. It is an extremely easy to grow plant which is not really a bamboo at all. The Lucky Bamboo is slow growing and will tolerate most types of growing conditions and  will thrive on neglect.

Supplementation is recommended unless you place a fish such as fighting fish or beta in the container. Neither water nor soil contains the vitamins, minerals and hormones that are found in Lucky Bamboo’s natural growing environment.  There are specialty fertilizers available but I find it is easier and less costly to use an over the counter liquid fertilizer. I use miracle grow and dilute to .25 concentration. Change the water weekly using this concentration.

If you add a fish with your lucky bamboo, it will provide nutrients to the water that should be enough for this plant. You don’t want to add fertilizer with the fish, as this may also harm the fish.  The water should be changed weekly.

 

First Day of Autumn

Autumn Flowers

Autumn Flowers

It is officially the first day of Autumn!

The Autumnal Equinox marks one of two days each year when the Sun cross the equator and signifies the beginning of change.  Equinox, which means equal night for my non Latin speaking friends, is one of two days which have approximately 12 hour days and twelve hour nights. From here, each day will be a little shorter than the last, the nights will get colder and all nature prepares for change.

While warm days may lie ahead, and if history visits, even some hot days marking an Indian Summer, the nights will cool along our beautiful Central Coast. The clouds and fog will lend to breathtaking views from the coast. Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to visit a winery, sip some Pinot Noir and enjoy the changing vineyards as they drop their leaves.  A dinner along the boardwalk at Avila is a treat as the fiery skies melt and then cool in the Pacific.

Autumn is also a fun time in the design room. The colors change, flower varieties we don’t see through the warm Summer begin to return. Arriving daily are gorgeous Dahlia in warm reds, oranges, purples and some which even look like a fiery sunset. Roses, plentiful throughout the year, arrive in Autumnal colors, Gerbera seem to embrace jewel tones and fragrant lilies are found in new, exciting and fleeting colors. Soon, tulips will arrive and then my very favorite Cymbidium orchids will be in abundance and at a great price.

Sansevieria trifasciata

 

Mother in Law's Tongue

Sansevieria trifasciata

Sansevieria trifasciata

When Mia and I started our business, it was a part-time venture more for fun than support. We sold tropical plants, usually at events where I would give a bit of a talk. Everybody needs an icebreaker and so I regularly opened with Sansevieria. I don’t recall if they sold but when I offered up the plant Sansevieria known as Snake Plant and also known as Mother in Law’s Tongue I was immediately endeared to those in attendance.

Sansevieria known as Snake Plant or Mother in Law’s Tongue is also known as Devil’s Tongue and Snake Tongue. A slow growing plant which adapts very well to low light and therefor perfect for indoor cultivation. 

The fibrous Snake Plant is in the Asparagacea family and thus a relative of the edible asparagus.  Devil’s Tongue however is better suited to purifying the air in your home or office or improving your Feng Shui.

Sansevieria is believed to purify the air by removing formaldehyde and toluene and replace it with oxygen.

Widely used in décor, Sansevieria is an easy care plant requiring little care. This perfect houseplant thrives on neglect, too much care will kill it.

Water:

Sansevieria require little water. Over watering will cause rot, under watering will stress the plant and cause under developed roots. In Winter, the plant will need to be watered once every other month or less, depending upon home heating system.  Allow soil to dry completely before watering.

Light:

Sansevieria prefers bright, indirect light but will tolerate low light.

Fertilizer: Fertilize with a quality cactus food.

Availability:

Sansevieria are available year around.

Toxicity: Snake plant can be toxic.

Sansevieria trifasciata is excellent at cleaning toxins from home and office environs, particularly formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides.

Bromeliad Care Instructions

BromeliadBotanical:  Bromeliaceae

Exotic, Tropical Bromeliads are becoming ever more popular in florists and garden centers. While the family is fairly large (over 3000) most are native to the tropics. When keeping bromeliad at home it is best to replicate the native environs as much as possible.

The enticing Bromeliaceae  range in size from Spanish Moss, the soft luxurious, grey moss used around the top of our plants and arrangements to the Puya raimondii of Peru standing some 12 to 15 feet high; the family also host Tillansia commonly called “Air Fern” and sweet, delicious pineapple.

Most of the Bromeliaceae sold in our store and in local garden centers are within the genus Guzmania and Tillandsia (sub family Tillandisae) or Aechmea most of which are  epiphytes.

In the natural environment, most of these plants grow in warm climates in high humidity and often attached to bark, or in very loose soil under a tree canopy.  Though bromeliads are highly adaptable plants if you are able to provide some of the natural growing conditions you will increase your enjoyment of the plant.

Many bromeliads are well suited to mounting directly on driftwood. Simply glue the plant to the display mount.

Blooming:

Most bromeliads bloom once. The bloom cycle is usually many month long and during the cycle the plant will stop producing foliage and begin producing offsets or pups. The mother plant will usually die.  The longevity of the plant is a cycle of pups growing to maturity, flowering and producing more pups. In this way you can enjoy your bromeliad for many, many years.

 

Water:

Bromeliads can tolerate drought but over watering can cause root rot which is fatal to the plant. The best way to water is to heavily water the plant, which will leach out salts, allow to drain and then not water again until the soil is dry. In the store we fill the “vase” containing the flower spike with water and then do not water again until all the water in the “vase” is depleted. This is a perfectly acceptable way to water Bromeliad but runs the risk of flower stem rot.

If watering via the vase make certain to empty the water and use fresh to prevent fungus and salt buildup. Again, using this method works well but can cause the bloom to rot.

Remember, as epiphytes bromeliad are adapted to collecting moisture and nutrients that fall from the surrounding host. Their natural vase like array of foliage is perfectly suitable to collection a few spoonfuls of moisture and they are comfortable with this little amount. Too much moisture will cause rot and death of the plant.

Varieties such as Spanish Moss require little other than the high humidity. I have a clump of it growing from a trellis hanging behind my garage. The moss is adjacent to the clothes dryer vent which runs enough to provide the humidity and warmth it desires. The protection of an overhead canopy complete the pseudo tropical environment of which the plant is native of.

Bromelaid need 80 to 70 percent humidity. An evaporation tray beneath the plant or misting works well.

Light:

Bright light is needed for most varieties sold in florist shops.

Potting Offsets:

After the bromeliad develops its bloom it will stop producing leave and will produce offsets known as pups. The pups will form around the base of the plant and begin to establish roots of their own. Once the pup establishes roots you can snap it from the mother plant and pot into a container of its own. Pot in container with excellent drainage in fir bark or coconut shells. You will need to support the plant until it develops enough roots to support itself. During this period you will need to step up the water a bit and provide growth nutrient. It will take about two years for the plant to develop to maturity and begin its bloom cycle.

Availability:

Bromeliad are available year around.

 

Rhododendron and Azalea

Lavender Rhododendron

Lavender Rhododendron

Pink Rhododendron

Pink Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Rhododendron is a family of flowering shrubs, the name meaning Rose Tree. There are over a thousand species in the family and the common garden center and florist azalea is closely related. While most of the species are small to medium shrubs there are a few that reach ninety feet tall.

Rhododendrons and Azalea are widely grown along the coast from California through Washington and might be evergreen or deciduous. Both varieties prefer an acid soil.

Of particular interest to us are the varieties of Rhododendron known as azalea and specifically those cultivated to be sold by florists. Azaleas continue to be a popular gift for many occasions.

Azalea Care

Azaleas are a shallow root plant and prefer a moist, well drained soil. Part shade is ideal. Mulch base of plant to retain moisture and provide nutrients. Plants will go dormant in late Fall and require less water.

Azaleas are hearty plants with few requirements. Azaleas do best without extreme temperatures and so do well in our coastal climate.

The Rose Speaks

Language of the Rose

Common Name:   Rose

Floral Message of the Rose

In Victorian Times a language of flowers was developed. Principle in the vocabulary is the Rose. Both radiant and exquisite the Rose is the messenger of love. One stem speaks perpetual love and two tied together signify commitment.

Red roses of say “I love you” while deep red roses imply unconscious beauty.
White roses signify speak purest love and spiritual love. bridal white means happy love.
In Victorian Times Yellow Roses meant jealousy or infidelity but today they signify friendship.
Peach and Coral hued Roses imply desire.
Orange Roses speak of fascination.
Lavender roses mean love at first sight and can mean breathless love.
Pink Roses imply grace, admiration and gentility.
Dark pink Roses say are a perfect expression of “thanks!”
In general pale-colored roses signify friendship and the more intense colors imply more intense feelings.

History and Lore about the Rose

Certainly one of the most popular flowers has always been and remains the beautiful, fragrant Rose. There is evidence that Roses have existed since the very beginnings of creation.It is known that roses were cultivated in ancient Asian gardens and Roses were also cultivated in early Roman gardens strictly for their ornamental value.

Roses are prized for a full spectrum of qualities such as their beauty, their fragrance, and the ease of cultivation by the home gardener. The hips are valued for their high vitamin C content and are used in making some vitamin supplements. The petals can be used in a variety of ways- they are crushed and the oil obtained for its beautiful fragrance essential for making perfumes. They can be used to make a beautiful and delightful jelly for toast and muffins or they can be sugared and used as decorations on cakes. They can be made into potpourri. Roses are often used to sprinkle upon your lovers bed. I have not exhausted the list for the use of Roses but it is safe to say they are versatile. Do make certain that if you are using Roses to eat in some fashion that you obtain insecticide free Roses.

Interesting Facts about the Rose

In Victorian Times a language of flowers was developed. Principle in the vocabulary is the Rose. Both radiant and exquisite the Rose is the messenger of love. One stem speaks perpetual love and two tied together signify commitment.

Succulent Rosette

Large Succulent Rosette

Large Succulent Rosette

It wasn’t long ago that Mia brought home a succulent to plant in a container on our patio. I wasn’t very excited as I never really liked them. I thought them a bit stodgy and a thing of the past.  Soon, Mia was planting succulents in our garden beds. Mia, like her grandmother, has an amazing ability to grow things and soon the plants were spreading and so she began to start new plants, fill new containers and new areas of our garden with succulents.

Later, I began to notice that the trendier floral wholesale vendors where offering cut succulent rosettes, after which they began to appear in top designer’s work, in trade magazines, and finally my own designs. What a thing Mia started !

Now, full circle, I enjoy and notice succulents. The rosette at left can be found in a pot in front of a restaurant in SLO just left of the front entrance. This particular plant, among many there, is about twelve inches in diameter, fully embracing the warm sun, requiring little, offering itself fully.

I am not drawn to succulents as many are, but  I do like the one at left and a host of other rosettes I have found, many which are echeverias. I don’t know this blooms name, but it is very common and this one has been pleased and allowed to grow to a nice size.

Succulents are now somewhat ubiquitous in the floral industry. They are featured in trade magazines planted in gardens, used in corsages and boutonniere and cut and used in floral arrangements. There is even an industry advertisement showing how to paint succulents to use as a focal in floral design.

I am enjoying the resurgence of succulents,  the more recent commercial availability, and the added dimension they offer to floral design.

When I stood in front of the restaurant, I imagined cutting the long stem below this bloom and taking the magnificent blossom back to my store and pondering how I would use it as the focus of a beautiful design. Of course, I would not do such a thing so I simply captured it to my camera.

Lilium (lily for the rest of us)

Orange Lilium

Orange Lilium

I admit, when I was a young florist, I was not fond of lily’s.  My recollection of them was orange, spotted, with an odd fragrance and terribly fragile. These were the Asiatics, the Oriental varieties were equally fragile, for me too fragrant and difficult to use.

It was during the 90′s that I was away from the design table and it was then that LA Hybrid lilies were introduce, when I returned to the design room, I was in love. LA Hybrids are crosses between L. Longiflorum (Easter lily) with Asiatics. The sweet fragrance of the longiflorum balanced by the funky fragrance of Asiatics was perfect. Deep trumpet blossoms and shallower cups formed a new bloom with long, usable lateral stems.  I returned to a new world of lilies; a world of bold colors, long lasting blooms and fresh fragrance. I was also greeted by a number of new terms like Orienpet which are crosses between Oriental and trumpet lilies, LA Hybrid which cross Easter lily with Asiatics and so forth.

Lilys, it seems are relatively easy to propagate and hybridize and so there is a new generation of lovely, six petaled blooms with prominent stamens.

While lilium references are centuries old, there is a resurgence of healthy hybrids that are beautifully cast in colors of white, pink, crimson, yellow, orange and spotted, striped and swept with strokes as though a master painter had placed them.

My favorites are Longiflorum hybrids which are a cross between an Asiatic and a Longiflorum (think Easter Lily) and Orienpets. Specifically I am fond of These provide the amazing color range of the Asiatics with the velvety blossoms of Longiflorum and its wonderful fragrance. It seems each time I enter the flower market or grower’s house, I encounter a new, lush variety of L. Longiflorum and fall in love again. The variety is endless as are the crosses between what are Asiatic and Oriental Lily and Longiflorum Lily.

Some Current Favorites

Shocking Orienpet Lily

Shocking Orienpet Lily

Royal Present

Royal Present

Royal Sunset Lily

Royal Sunset Lily