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Monday October 7th 2013

The Month of the Marigold: The October Birth Flower

Hello everyone, this is Ava and I want to wish you a happy fall! The season has arrived with the beautiful oranges, reds, and yellows that it is famous for. How appropriate that the October birth flower is the marigold, which comes in these same colors. Give a friend a bouquet of marigolds this month to celebrate a birthday or the coming of fall! This October flower is an old fashioned favorite due to its long lasting bloom time and hardiness. As humble as the marigold is, I was very surprised to learn of the October birth flower's rich history in my botanical studies.

Description of the October Birth Month Flower

Several plants bear the common name of marigold, but either the common red and gold native Mexican marigold or the calendula is considered the October birth flower. Although both plants share the common name of marigold, I can tell you that botanically they are not the same plant. Calendulas are yellow or orange daisy like flowers with either single or double petals from the daisy family and are native to the Mediterranean. Common marigolds are native to Mexico and the flowers are traditionally a mix of red and orange ruffled petals, but can be orange, yellow, red, cream, maroon, or a mix of red and orange.

Image via Flickr by Katy Warner

What's in a Name?

The calendula was the plant first named "marigold" -- the word marigold is a combination of the words "Mary's gold". These golden October flowers were placed on altars to Mary in place of golden coins. The marigold was also considered Mary's flower because it bloomed during festivals in honor of Mary. The scientific name, Calendula officinalis, got its name because the plant always bore flowers on the calendae, or first days of the month. Over time, other flowers became known as marigolds as well, especially the similarly colored Mexican flowers of the Tagetes genus that we think of when we hear the word marigold today.

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Monday September 9th 2013

Profile of the Aster Flower - The Birth Flower for September

Give that special someone the stars when you send a birthday bouquet this month that includes the aster, the September birth flower. Aster is the Latin and Greek word for star, and historically asters were often called starwort or star flower. The September flower truly is one of the stars of fall, as it gives a great burst of color to the season when many other flowers are dying.

Image via Flickr by Markles55

So here's the run down on the awesome aster:

There are several types of asters, some of which grow wild in the United States. You have probably seen them and maybe considered them weeds; I often see the small, white, daisy like flowers growing along country roadsides when I travel. The September flower does, in fact, resemble a star in shape with a yellow disc at the center and elongated petals radiating from the disc. The yellow disc is actually comprised of several tiny tubular flowers. Asters come in shades purple, pink, red, and white. The birth flower for September may also have many layers of petals giving a ruffled appearance, or a single layer of petals. Many types of asters are popular to grow in the garden, such as the New England aster; however the aster most commonly used in floral arranging is the China aster, which is native to China and Japan. China asters look a lot like chrysanthemums, with doubled petals and flowers reaching approximately four inches in diameter.

September Flower of the Month: Asters for Fall Color (pdf)

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Friday August 16th 2013

I'm so Gladiolus that You Were Born: August Birthday Flowers

Everyone knows about birthstones, but did you know there are also birth flowers? Birth flowers are just as lavish as genuine birthstones at a fraction of the price; they are the ideal birthday gift. Tell a friend or loved one with a birthday this month that you are "glad" they were born by sending them an August flower arrangement full of some gorgeous gladioli birthday flowers! The bright, stunning colors of these flowers rival the beauty of any gemstone. Gladiolus, also known as sword lily is the August birth flower. Gladioli is the plural of gladiolus, often called glads for short.

August Birth Month Flower: Gladiolus


Image via Flickr by St. John's Flower Guild

Gladioli are an old fashioned favorite. I remember with great fondness traipsing through the rows of this August flower in my grandmother's garden. Glads make an excellent, long lasting cut flower, and my grandmother grew rows of them in the garden just for the purpose of cutting them and using them in floral arrangements. The August flower of the month has a 1-4 foot tall spiked stems loaded with full blossoms from one to five inches in diameter on one side of the stem. Flowers are clustered one on top of the other and they may bloom simultaneously or one after the other. There are 260 species of glads appearing in pinks, reds, purples, mauves, yellows, oranges, and white -- every color except for blue, and some are even bi-colored. There are miniature, giant, and ruffled versions of the August birth month flower as well. This flower comes from a corm, which is similar to a bulb, and blooms in July and August primarily but can bloom all the way into fall. Gladiolus arrangements make great centerpieces and focal points due to their tall spikes and showy flowers.

History of the Gladiolus

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Saturday August 3rd 2013

You've Got a Friend In Me: Celebrating Friendship Day with Flowers

It seems the calendar year is full of days to express our love and appreciation to family members, but there are many people outside our immediate family who mean so much in our lives. Hence, in 1935, Congress established National Friendship Day on the first Sunday of each August. This year, Friendship Day falls on August 4.

The United States isn't the only country which recognizes a special day of friendship, and around the world certain flowers have held special meanings for friends to express to one another. Though the yellow rose is the "official" Friendship Day flower, you have lots of options for expressing exactly what you want to say to your dear friend.

Common Flowers That Mean "Friendship"


Image via Flickr by Marketing Specific, Inc.

If you'd like to send cut flowers, iris and chrysanthemum also mean friendship in floriography (the language of flowers). Any color blooms will do, so don't feel like you have to limit yourself to the friendly yellow of roses. Consider blooms in her favorite color, or in the school colors of your alma mater, or even in colors to match the decor of her home. Pear blossoms are also a symbol of friendship, though you might not get your hands on any during August.

Instead of friendship flowers, many givers instead send a living plant. Ivy and the arborvitae shrubs are both symbols of friendship. However, if you send the plant to her home or office, ivy is much more manageable. You can have the florist adorn the ivy with blooms of posies or daisies, or attach a special note to express your sentiment.

Posted by Sophie Pierce in General
Tuesday July 23rd 2013

Because They Deserve It: How to Celebrate Parent's Day

It isn't often we see legislation in Washington designed to bring together different faiths and political parties, so when it happens it is truly remarkable. This is just what happened when Trent Lott (a Republican) introduced a bill to create Parent's Day. The bill received bipartisan and interfaith support, and was signed into national law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. Now, our nation recognizes the important and blessed role of parenthood every year on the fourth Sunday in July.

How to Celebrate

Image via Flickr by wiremoons

This year, Parent's Day 2013 falls on July 28. What's so remarkable about this holiday is that, unlike turkey on Thanksgiving, barbecue on the Fourth of July or ham on Easter Sunday, this holiday is wide open for families to create their own unique traditions to carry forth to generations to come. It isn't often we get a holiday blank slate!

Parent's Day is Mother's Day plus Father's Day. It isn't focused on the gender of the parent, but on the special nature of the parental role. How will your family build new traditions to celebrate it? As an event planner, this is just the sort of thing I love to do.

Posted by Sophie Pierce in General
Tuesday July 23rd 2013

How to Make Your Bouquet Last Longer

To me, beautiful bouquet is so fresh and welcoming. Whether it's a gift from someone or a special treat to yourself, you'll want to get the most out of fresh flowers. Unfortunately, most of us don't know what to do when we get a fresh bouquet, and the arrangement doesn't last very long on our kitchen windowsill. Here's how to ensure your floral arrangements last days (and in some cases weeks!) longer with things you already have around the house.

Keep Clean Vases on Hand

Image via Flickr by Swami Stream

You never know when a little birdy might present you with cut flowers, so always have a couple of vases around surprises. Keep them clean and store them indoors, because a dusty vase from the garage isn't very pretty, and might be harboring bacteria that will prematurely kill your beautiful flowers.

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Thursday July 18th 2013

What to Say on Sympathy Cards

It's About Sending Condolences... Not Cards!: What to Say in a Sympathy Card

Most of us have been in the unfortunate situation of having to offer our condolences to someone who has lost a loved one. Personally, it's never easy for me to find the right words when offering those condolences because it quickly becomes obvious there are no words to describe what I feel… and certainly no words to describe what the person to whom I am speaking is feeling.

For that reason, I usually send a sympathy card after I have spent time with the person (or in the unfortunate situation that I cannot do so) to express my feelings more effectively. Of course, it's still not easy, so here are some tips for writing something that best meets your needs.

Image via Flickr by jonesdlwa

Be Timely

The first thing to think about (and it might go without saying) is that you need to be timely with this. Especially if you cannot make it to the wake, funeral, or memorial ceremony, the day you learn of the loss, stop at the store and pick up a sympathy card. Even the best words within a sympathy card will not overcome the fact that the loss happened a month ago.

Posted by Sophie Pierce in General
Wednesday July 10th 2013

How to Throw a Chic Garden Party

A traditional garden party is far from your only option when it comes to entertaining during the day. Consider a garden theme party instead of the typical Victorian style tea. These parties are so fun and give you endless room for showing your creative side! Don't worry if you think you don't have a creative side, Pinterest is always waiting with oodles of ideas you can snag for your own.

Themes to Choose From

Image via Flickr by Rennett Stowe

Some themes lend especially well to the outdoor setting of a garden party.

Posted by Sophie Pierce in General
Wednesday July 10th 2013

Budgeting Your Buds: Cheap Wedding Flowers on a Budget

Having been in the business of grand events like weddings, I can safely say most brides aren't Bridezillas at all. They're very nice women who want to make the memory of a lifetime, and to do so within their financial means. Yes, sometimes this is a stressful thing to try to do, and sometimes we get frustrated. Relax; there are ways to have the gorgeous, inexpensive wedding flowers you want without giving up the perfect dress or sacrificing on the reception menu. Here's how.

Choose a Color, Not a Specific Flower

Description:   http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7231/7038620125_d0c6323561.jpg

Image via Flickr by Mahiro Komura

If you insist on a particular type of flower, you'll have to pay full price for it even when those prices are highest, which isn't a good way to get wedding flowers on a budget. Settle on the color you like, and allow the florist leeway in selecting the type for the best savings. Before you insist on all white, be aware that white blooms are often more expensive, because even the slightest discoloration makes the flower worthless. Florists have to charge more for the losses.

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Wednesday July 10th 2013

Choosing the Perfect Garden Party Flowers

Girls may grow up, marry, build careers, and become mothers, but they never outgrow tea parties! Garden parties are coming back in vogue, and for good reasons: they're easy, affordable, and best of all, fun! Garden parties have roots in the Victorian era, and are still commonly held by the upper classes in England. But you don't have to be in Europe to enjoy this time-honored tradition.

How to Get Started

Image via Flickr by Canadian Film Centre

Begin by planning your venue. The backyard is perfect, but if you live in an apartment or don't have a suitable yard, consider a local park or botanical garden. The location is important, because it will set the entire scene of the party. Traditionally, garden parties are held between the lunch and dinner hour, ideally 4-6 p.m.

Posted by Ava Rose in General