Molucella (Bells of Ireland)
Botanical: Moluccella Laevis
I admit that I was not a fan of Bells of Ireland but it was because I didn’t understand them. I liked the collection of calyx along long stems, the subtle fragrance and the linear dimension they afforded.
What I did not like was that Moluccella changed shapes once in my design which I thought was Phototropism, where a plant responds to and seeks light.
Once I found out that Moluccella are actually Geotropic which means they grow in response to Earth’s gravity. Now I love Moluccella, I simply make certain to place them in my arrangement in a manner which exploits their natural tendencies.
While some call the stocks the flowers, they are actually a collection of flowers along the showy stem. The showy bell cups are calyx and the flower, an insignificant white bloom is contained within.
As Moluccella is in the mint family it is a relative of basil, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, savory, marjoram and oregano.
Moluccella Laevis are a wonderful line flower, lightly fragrant and easily grown along the Central Coast.
Average water, but likes consistent, moist soil.
Partial shade to Full Sun.
Santa Maria’s Climate is perfect for Bells of Ireland. Sow seeds after last frost.
Blooms last 7 to 10 days.
Suitable for container gardening.
Bells of Ireland are a quirky, easily grown annual, mildly fragrant and fun to stuff in a vase. If you purchase them commercially, they are inexpensive, but they are fun to grow and cut fresh from your garden. Grab some seeds, sow them in a container or area of your garden and enjoy an abundant crop of fresh Bells of Ireland until Winter’s frost.
African Violet Basket
Botanical: Saintpaulia ionantha
Native to tropical areas of South Africa saintpaulia is indigenous to Kenya and Tanzania. While not a violet they resemble them and are now a commonly available houseplant throughout the World. While generally a houseplant, in the right climes they can are grown as an outdoor plant.
Growing saintpaulia along the Central Coast is generally best as an indoor plant or a patio plant which is protected in the winter.
African Violets are a popular gift year-around. The wonderful selection of saintpaulia in shades of pink, lavender and white sing and double blooms are treasured for their year-around blooms and easy care.
African Violets are a perennial Mother’s Day favorite.
Caring for your African Violet:
Saintpaulia like Bright, Indirect Light. Too little light and they will not bloom, too much and the leaves will burn and yellow.
African Violets need evenly moist soil.
70 degree days are ideal temperature.
Soil should be loose, once it begins to compact, re-pot into fresh African Violet potting mix.
During active growing season, fertilize according to label directions. I use Miracle Grow Liquid African Violet Food. Any blooming plant food will work. If the plant growth slows or the leaves become a lighter green then the plant is not getting enough fertilizer.
Propogate new plant by snipping a leaf and 2 inch stem and planting it in coarse sand or mixture of coarse sand and vermiculite. The leaf should be touching the growing medium. Roots will appear in 4 to 6 weeks and produce several new plants, which can be divided into pots with fresh African Violet potting medium.
If growing African Violets under grow lamps they will need about 15 hours exposure per day. I would simply rather place them in a Northern window sill and enjoy them.
In the late 1800′s, Mexico’s economy was a shambles and the country was heavily in debt to Spain, France and England. This situation came after the country gained independence from Spain, went through civil war and the Mexican-American war. Finally, Mexico simply stopped making loan payments at which France, seeking to expand the empire, decided to invade. Maximilian of Austria, a cousin of Napoleon, would rule over Mexico.
The French landed in the Gulf near Veracruz and marched inland toward the capitol, Mexico City. Near Puebla, the well outfitted French troops encountered great resistance from the poorly armed Mexicans, who were able to stop the invasion of Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French occupation of Napolean’s troops. Though recognized, Cinco de Mayo is not largely celebrated in Mexico, outside Puebla, but has become very much a celebrated Mexican Holiday in the United States.
People, including many ill-informed Hispanics, often confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day; which is on September 16. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the victory at the Battle of Puebla over the disdainful French Army which occupied portions of Mexico in the latter 1800′s. The Mexican Independence was won in 1807 in the Mexican War of Independence.
History aside, the Mexican People are a great people with longstanding traditions which support festive community interaction. In our store, our Hispanic customers are truly identified as graceful givers of floral gifts for all occasions. I am so grateful for the Mexican People who have provided the love of my young son’s life and our probable future daughter in law. What a wonderful culture of life, family, food, color and community!
I charge those reading this to find a Cinco de Mayo celebration and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the culture. Breath deeply the scents, dazzle in the color palette, exult in the sounds, and sway with the rhythm that is this wonderful people.
Phaleonopsis Orchid Wrist Corsage
It’s Prom time and there are many along the Central Coast. Rose of Sharon Florist is pleased to be the florist of choice for discriminating young men and women who trust us with their prom flowers. From traditional to trendy, we are skilled artisans who can create the perfect flowers to wear to your prom. Check out some of our new additions to our “Flowers to Wear” category on Rose of Sharon Florist. Visit our catalog Here
Prom Dates around the Central Coast
St Joseph High School – Saturday, April 20, 2013
Nipomo High School – Saturday, April 27, 2013
Arroyo Grande High School – Saturday, May 11, 2013
Pioneer Valley High School – Saturday, May 11, 2013
Righetti High School – Saturday, May 4, 2013
Santa Maria High School – Sunday, May 26, 2013
Parrot Tulip Wrist Corsage
Fuji Mum Corsage
Bird of Paradise Corsage
Bright Spring Wrist Corsage
Composite Rose Corsage
Gerber Daisy Corsage
Pastel Spring Corsage
Phaleonopsis Orchid Wrist Corsage
Ti Leaf Lei
Dendrobium Orchid Lei
It has become popular the last few years to give leis for graduation. Leis are a festive, affordable way to shower a graduate with affection and say “Job well done!”
Mia was born in Hawaii and while she returned to the mainland at a young age, she recalls the ubiquitous lei for every occasion. Her earliest recollection is that of a Pikake lei, sweetly fragrant as tuberose, delicate and usually given to children. Many years ago, I contacted a florist friend in Honolulu, Mia’s birthplace, and asked them to ship me a Pikake Lei. The florist said she had Pikake in her yard and would string a lei and send it off, but warned it would not ship well and the flowers would likely be brown instead of creamy white.
On September 26th, my wife’s birthday, her lei arrived via Fedex. She opened the box and a single Pikake Lei was placed in a box along with several dendrobium lei, used for box fill. As she opened the box, the fragrant consumed the room and the beautiful Pikake arrived in perfect condition.
Mia cherished the fragrance and wore the lei until the flowers withered and browned and then placed it on the wall in our design area to dry and remind her of her island beginnings.
While it is not possible to provide Pikake to our clients as they are not available commercially on the mainland, leis are a wonderful treasure we offer to our clients. Commercially, lavender Dendrobium Lei are widely available, pre-made and shipped in from the islands. We however, have learned, and enjoy making our own so are limited only by the US flower market and our imaginations.
At Rose of Sharon Florist we have been busy creating new styles of leis and re-creating old favorites not generally found at mass marketers or on the open floral market.
Ti Leaf lei’s, typically for men, are created from the broad Ti Leaf, softened and striped into smaller pieces, twisted and woven into an open-end lei to be draped across a man’s shoulders, the ends dropping upon his chest.
Candy morsels, wrapped in cellophane, and tied together in a fun-filled treat kids adore.
Fragrant carnations, splayed and inserted into one-another and strung upon a strong cord form a thick, double lei of mainland favorites.
Money, always a welcome gift, folded and strung into a lei, a practical gift to wear and harbor for a rainy day.
Money leis are labor intensive, requiring a minimum of thirty-five bills to be fan folded, fanned and tied into a wearable piece of art and can be adorned with ribbons, candy or flowers.
give us your ideas, we can make them happen.
Fragrant White Lilac
Botanical: Syringa Vulgaris ‘Angel White’
Sweetly fragrant lilacs are one of the earliest blooming plants in our garden this year. It is the first day of Spring and white tufts of beautiful lilacs are blooming outside my kitchen window.
Lilacs attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Along our moderate Central Coast, lilacs need only be watered weekly until established and then only occasionally. If we have a few hot days in the Summer, soak the plants mid-week.
Partial to Full Sun
Lilacs usually need colder climates to bloom but this variety has a low chill requirement so is suited for growing in Santa Maria.
Fertilize with high Phosphorous fertilizer in Spring before blooming starts. This will increase bloom yields. Fireplace ash piled up around the base of the plants in the Winter will increase bloom size and yield in the Spring. These are fast growing plants, once established, to a height of about 12 feet and spreading annually.
Prune after the plant stops blooming by no more than 1/3 of the stems for well established plants. Try to maintain an even ratio of new and mature stems, evenly distributed throughout the shrub.
Lilacs are not available at a florists but are usually available or can be ordered from a garden center.
If left to develop on the plant the blooms last 7 to 10 days. If cut expect them to last half as long.
Powdery mildew can be a problem.
Hydrangea macrophylla (hy-DRAN-ja mak-row-FIL-ah)
Beginning in the Spring, Hydrangea start to bloom and you can usually find them through Fall. These incredibly showy flowers, actually a collection of many smaller flowers grow on woody stocks. Though native to Asia, hydrangea have adapted well to the Central Coast and there are a number of very large bushes reaching to the roof line near our home.
Hydrangea cut well and last about 10 days if freshly cut and placed in water containing nutrient.
Naturally white, the color of hydrangea is affected by the ph of the soil and can grow in range of pink to a blue.
Those fortunate to have hydrangea in their gardens can cut a single bloom to add color to their home. Hydrangea will also dry well and if properly done will retain color.
Soil should be kept evenly moist, not soggy, at all times. Soil needs to be well drained.
Bright diffused light. Bright light location is preferred. Part sun but can grow in full sun.
Santa Maria’s Climate is perfect for Hydrangea. Moderate – Prefers 65F-70F degrees in the day and 60F-65F degrees at night.
The showy hydrangea is available from March through May. Hydrangea plants bloom in huge balls which are composes on many small flowers. The composite blooms look like one very large bloom. Blossoms will last from 1-3 weeks with proper care. The plant is very sensitive to wilting. Soil that is too alkaline causes yellow leaves. Blue hydrangeas are produced by adding iron or aluminum sulfate to the medium. Soil pH levels are also important in determining flower color. Pink blooms a soil pH of 6.0 and blue blooms a soil pH of 5.5. The blooms of blue hydrangeas will revert to pink if the ph level of the soil changes.
Buy when 65 to 75 percent of the bracts are fully colored.
Under natural growing conditions, blue-flowering plants revert to pink. Cool night temperatures (50F-60F degrees) help extend the blooming period.
The bloom cycle is from two to four weeks.
Watch for aphids and spider mites. Yellow leaves indicate calcified water.
GoBags Santa Maria
Rose of Sharon Florist is pleased to get behind a grassroots project conducted by Leadership Santa Maria 2013, which provides a token of hope and dignity to children being removed from their homes into protective custody.
I can imagine the frailty of a child’s heart as he or she is being removed from their home and the fear, loss of dignity and hopelessness. While I am certain that these children are being removed for good cause and their own safety, they are being removed from the only “home” they know into an uncertain system.
To imagine that this takes place for any child grieves me and it is an easy choice to get behind this project.
Please read an excerpt of GoBags Santa Maria’s flyer and Help Us Help Them do a good thing for the children of our county without a voice.
Rose of Sharon Florist will begin collecting items on April 1st, stop by with an item or an arm load!
According to GoBags Santa Maria
GoBags Santa Maria
“In Northern Santa Barbara County, many children are pulled from their homes each week and placed into the care of Child Protective Services. Sometimes it is temporary, and sometimes it is permanent. In all cases, there is not much time to take any items from home they need or want.
Social Service workers carry a roll of black garbage bags in their trunk. Why? So that when they remove a child from a home they have something in which to place the child’s belongings, items they can quickly place into the black trash bag. A black trash bag should never be a child’s suitcase.
In order to make this a better experience for the children, GoBags Santa Maria is purchasing bags and collecting personal care items for a year’s worth of children – we hope to collect and assemble approximately 600 bags, 200 for each age group: Baby, School Age and Teen.
Social Services workers have told us that they would rather carry a stack of 20 GoBags in their trunk for the children than use black garbage bags. The Social Workers could then grab a gallon sized zip loc bag filled with personal items appropriate for the age of the child they were picking up that day. They have compiled a “wish list” of items they know children need and want – they are:
- Baby Blanket
- Footie Pajamas
- Small Packet of Wipes
- Small Toy (No Stuffed Animals)
GoBags School Age
- Coloring Book
- Tooth Brush and Toothpaste
- Underwear for Boy or Girl
- Composition Book or Journal
- Pencils, Colored Markers
- toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Small Deodorant
- Feminine Hygiene (pads)
- travel Shampoo and Conditioner
- Age appropriate sleepwear ((gym shorts & T shirt for boys, PJ Pants and T shirt for girls”
You can help
GoBags is accepting items from the above list or financial donations. If you bring your donation into our store on East Main, we have a small thank you gift waiting for you.
Find GoBags Santa Maria on their Facebook Page
One of my favorites, and I not alone, is the Butterfly or Moth Orchid. I can imagine the beauty of their natural habitat, attached to trees, below the canopy of a rain forest.
When grown as a house plant, the beautiful flowers appear to flutter above the plant on graceful stems and provide a touch of beauty for many, many weeks. We have enjoyed plants at home, placed in our humid bath for five months.
Moth orchid produces long sprays of flowers resembling moths in flight. Grow the plant in medium light but no direct sunlight in summer. Use a fir bark potting medium but do not allow it to dry out completely.
60% Shade. Ideal as a patio plant but must be weathered indoors or in a green house.
Ideal temperatures are 70 to 80 degrees during the day and 60 to 65 degrees at night.
Fertilize with high quality orchid food per label directions. (Scotts makes a good one) The flowers are long lasting when cut. Flower spikes left on the plant and in healthy growing conditions will last up to 4 months. It is possible to produce a second flower spike by cutting off the flower spike just above the first non-flowering node after the flowers fade. I admit that I do not do this but choose to take another plant home from our flower shop. My mom however has had great success with secondary spikes on her orchids.