Christmas Plants: Make Sprits Bloom Beyond the Holiday Season

christmas-plants-grow-freytags-florist-2cHoliday plants such as poinsettias, amaryllises, and Zygo Christmas cactus are traditional gifts that can be enjoyed long after the Christmas season is over. If you decide to purchase a Christmas plant or receive one as a gift, care for them and they will thrive now—and later.

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Poinsettia Paul Ecke Jr., from Eagle Rock California was responsible for advancing the association between the plant and Christmas. For generations his family owned dairy and orchard had cornered the market on poinsettias for decades before finally, publicly sharing their unique grafting techniques.  As of 2008, they still serve about 70 percent of the domestic market and 50 percent of the worldwide market.

There is a common misconception that the poinsettia is highly toxic. This misconception was spread by a 1919 urban legend of a two-year-old child dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf. Poinsettias are actually safe around children and pets. Get more Poinsettia safety facts here.

Poinsettia Care Tips: Water when the surface soil is dry to the touch, pouring water into the soil until it runs freely out the drainage hole in the container. Allow to drain completely. Keep your poinsettia near a sunny window. South, east or west facing windows are preferable. Poinsettias are from a warm climate and prefer temperatures between 65° F to 70° F degrees during the day and around 60° F at night. Don’t place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat from appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts. Even the hearty Freedom Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so don’t place them outside during winter months or expose to temperatures below 50° F. To rejuvenate your poinsettia for next year’s holiday season, move it outside after the threat of frost is over and prune back to keep it bushy and compact. To promote flowering, the poinsettia needs at least eight hours of dark beginning in fall. Get more tips on caring for poinsettias, plus an illustrated re-blooming schedule here.

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Amaryllis are prized for their striking, large trumpet shaped flowers that bloom on tall stalks. They have become popular Christmas plants because they can bloom in mid-winter.

Amaryllis Care Tips: Once your amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can flower again in just a few months. Just snip old flowers from the stem once the blooms wither and dry out. Cut the entire stem back to the top of the bulb once it begins to droop. You can remove your Amaryllis from its decorative container and replant the blub in a year-round planter. Water and fertilize as normal for 5 to 6 months, allowing new leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves start to turn yellow, cut them back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil for storage. Store the bulb in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. (Note: The refrigerator method works only if it does not contain apples. Apples give off ethylene gasses which will sterilize the bulbs). Your Amaryllis bulb can be replanted after the 6-week cold storage period. New flowers should begin sprouting and start to bloom in about eight weeks.

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Christmas ‘Zygo’ cactus has been a favorite houseplant for generations and is a tradition in many European and North American homes during the holidays. It’s perfect for a window box or hanging basket which creates a colorfull cascade of fuchsia, salmon, and white flowers.

Christmas Cactus Tips: It’s not unusual for it to flower several times throughout the year. To promote further blooming seasons, let your Christmas cactus rest after the holiday season for about a month. Keep the temps around 50 degrees. Christmas cactus requires about 12 hours of complete darkness at night and about 50 to 60 percent humidity. Place a cardboard box over the plant to keep out natural or artificial light at night. Keep a glass, vase or tray of water near the plant for humidity. Prune only between March and April by pinching off a few sections of each stem to encourage branching. And if you like, re-root these sections to start new plants. Fertilize from April through September.

Take a peek inside Austin’s largest, family owned & operated flower shop!

Freytags-Florist-Austin-TX-Flower-GreenhouseTake a look inside our shop!

Part three of our ‘Behind the Scenes’ series moves us past our courtyard and inside Austin’s favorite flower shop. The first thing you encounter as you enter is a jungle of houseplants. This time of year we begin to transition from summer into fall. Colorful blooming plants continue to fill the shelves while new fall favorites are beginning to arrive.  

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Begonias, Azaleas, Chrysanthemums, Bromeliads and Anthurium bloom throughout the shop alongside lush, green houseplants of all sizes. House plants are a great gift for any occasion, but they are also popular as a treat to buy for yourself. Blooming or green plants are a great little pick-me-up that adds life to your home decor. They make your work space look and feel cozier. Many houseplants have the added benefit of filtering toxins from the air. It’s safe to say the air in here is really clean!

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Sometimes a little something extra is in order to make a floral or plant gift more special. Local artisan candles, hand-made, and scented with essential oils are a perfect bonus surprise. Express your feelings with an eco-friendly greeting card, printed with soy ink on recycled paper. Indulge a sweet tooth with local, handmade truffles and artisan chocolates.

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We didn’t forget about our littlest Austinites. Kiddos love surprises. And these plush toys look adorable with a colorful balloon bouquet. Imagine the joy on their face when a special gift arrives at the door for a birthday, a reward for a job well done or just to make a ‘terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day’ all better.

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Orchids are a Freytag’s Florist favorite. Browse the many varieties and colors available, including large (and miniature) Phalaenopsis, Cymbidium, Oncidium, and Vandas to name just a few. Our florist-quality orchids come from an exclusive orchid nursery. We care very much about what happens to our orchids after they leave us and the experience you will have with them. So we created an informative, easy-to-follow orchid care guide just for our customers. Its filled with all of our professional orchid care secrets. Our orchid care guide comes with every orchid we sell in the shop and arrives with every orchid we deliver.

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A sampling of ceramaic plant containers and flower vases cozy up together throughout the shop. If you don’t see exactly what you are looking for just let us know. Chances are good that we have just the thing in our over 2,000 sq. feet of warehouse space. If you call ahead we can have some options waiting for you when you arrive.

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Various succulent and cactus gardens soak up the rays in window displays. Any dish garden can be made to order, but shop visitors have the option of our browsing and selecting from designs we have on display.

 

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Our hand-crafted vase collection is full of colorful works of art. Artisan glass, fine crystal, and ceramic vases add a uniqueness to a floral gift and lives on as a reminder of your thoughtfulness. Designs range from contemporary to whimsical and sizes from compact to grande. Some are up to 3 feet tall!

 

How to Care for Air Plants

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Tillandsia; also known as air plants or Tillys, belong to the bromeliad family. Tillys are found in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Southern United States. Their habitats include arid deserts, rain forests and mountain elevations. Air plants only use their roots to attach themselves to trees or rocks. Moisture and nutrients are absorbed through their leaves.

 

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Common Tillandsia Varieties

Use your imagination when displaying your air plant. These hardy plants are adaptable and tolerant to a wide range of environmental conditions and require minimal care. Tie them to a string and make an air plant mobile. Mount them on a ball of moss and mount them to a picture frame.

In a rock garden terrarium, Tillandsias can be placed on a bed of rocks and removed for easy watering care when necessary. Make sure your plants have plenty of air circulation in a container environment.

Open air display like a piece of driftwood, geodes or coral fossils are great hosts for your Tilly’s. They can be freely placed in nooks and crannies or glued. Eventually roots will form and further secure the plant. An entire water-safe display can be soaked when needed to water your air plant.

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Feel free to download this info-graphic guide to keep your air plants in peak condition:

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Rose Quartz: Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year

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Pantone’s color of year is not a rule that has to be followed to the letter by the fashion, home decor and art world. It is meant to be used as fun way to be inspired. Just before the end of 2015 Pantone announced the 2016 color of the year, and this year there are two! Together, Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue make a calming, very feminine pair.  Rose Quartz is the main focus of the two. So we will probably see a lot of this subtle tone in fashion and décor this year. The good news for florist, brides-to-be and flower lovers is this a very easy to palette to create or to complement in a floral arrangement for the home or in a bridal bouquet.

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Hydrangea in Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue, manufactured together by nature. Probably spotted by Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in her garden while pondering the 2016 color palette.

 

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Bridal Bouquet with Rose Quartz garden roses, Fairies Petticoat Peonies and lavender Freesias,  accented with Hens & Chicks succulents, white Wax Flowers and green Hanging Amaranthus.

 

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Elegant wedding reception in Serenity Blue.

 

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Baby pink Ranunculus, compliments Pantone’s 2016 color palette and fits right in with the free-form and flowing, wildflower bridal trend.

 

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A full palette of pinks with tropical Ginger, Pink Velvet Protea, Peonies, two-toned Malibu Roses and Stargazer Lilies.

 

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Another stunning bridal combo: Subtle blends of rose quartz, peach and buttery yellow.

 

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Dahlias, Peonies, Zinnias and Hyacinths are all available in Rose Quartz, plus a variety of complementary colors or shades of pink.

 

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Pink Anthurium, another tropical available in Rose Quartz.

5 Easiest Houseplants to Keep Alive

Easiest-Houseplants-freytags-florist-austin-txHouseplants are delightful to have around. They filter toxins from the air and make your home look and feel cozier. Even so, we’ve all felt the shame and disappointment of helplessly a watching houseplant shrivel and turn to dust. If you’ve ever been the proud owner of that delicate, hot-house diva known as the Maidenhair Fern, you know what we mean. Fortunately, there are a few very low-maintenance houseplants you can grow indoors that actually appreciate being almost completely ignored. Here’s our countdown to the top five favorites.

 

freytags-florist-low-maintenance-houseplants-peace-lily5. Spathiphyllum Lily or Peace Lily plants originate from the tropical rainforests of Central America. They have large, glossy leaves and beautiful, lily-like white blossoms. The Peace Lily is a popular ‘any occasion’ gift that’s very easy to maintain. It thrives indoors and requires little sunlight. The soil is best left moist but it can survive minimal watering when the soil is dry.

 

freytags-florist-low-maintenance-houseplant-croton4. Croton is native to Southeast Asia and its oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Croton’s beautifully variegated colors range from red, golden yellow, orange, green, and cream. Contrary to what some may tell you, the Croton is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. They enjoy full to medium sun and thrive in moist, but not soggy soil. They only need to be watered when the top of the soil is dry to the touch.

 

freytags-florist-low-maintenance-houseplants-arboricola3. Arboricola, aka Parasol Plant or Umbrella Plant is native to both Taiwan and Hainan. It has a high tolerance of neglect and inferior growing conditions. If that’s not enticing enough, it can also adapt to a wide variety of light levels. (But prefers higher light if possible.) This plant grows quickly and can become quite bushy. Luckily, it can also handle heavy pruning. Don’t be afraid to prune the plant down to a manageable size if it outgrows its space it. Or just give it some room and watch it grow and grow.

 

freytags-florist-low-maintenance-houseplants-sansevieria-full2. Sansevieria, also lovingly called Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or the Snake Plant, is a native of Africa. These are extremely hardy plants that prefer being ignored most of the time. They can grow up 4 feet tall and feature long, wide, green-and-yellow striped leaves with an outline of lighter green or yellow. They do best in full sun with very minimal water. Only water the Sansevieria when soil is completely dry. This might take longer if the plant is not in full sun.

 

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1. Succulents win the easiest houseplants to grow contest hands down. Our favorite to work with in container gardens and in flower arrangements are Hens and Chicks. No surprise given how they grow in a beautiful rosette form, a favorite characteristic of this succulent. And there are so many varieties that range in colors from jade green to deep purple.  Hens and Chicks will reward you with more plants as they tend to propagate quickly. The main plant, the “hen” will develop “chicks” buds around the base which soon sprout their own roots, growing in a tight cluster close to the main plant. They do well in full to moderate sun and porous, rocky soil. Water only when the soil is completely dry and allow to fully drain.

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10 Gorgeous Ways to Love Peonies

10 ways to love Peonies - Freyta'gs FloristWho doesn’t love Peonies? Nobody. That’s who. Peonies are good mood instigators. Peonies are flower royalty. They are the in the top three favorite flowers, if not first on the list, of everyone we know. Why is that? Is it the sweet scent? Or that the blooms can be as big as dinner plates? The wide range of varieties and colors? Maybe all of the above.

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Peonies resting upon arrival. In this photo, Fairy’s Petticoat, Dayton, Kansas, Coral Charm and Festiva Maxima.

Starting with a varied palette of the fresh-cut, flower princesses, we got right down to business dreaming up fanciful creations. Our talented team had tons-o-fun with these stunning blooms, and it shows. Here’s a countdown of our top ten favorites.

 

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10 ways to love Peonies - Freyta'gs Florist

10. Soft pink and white a mixture of garden flowers and tropical exotics like Ginger, Pink Velvet Protea, and Stargazer Lilies.

 

 

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10 ways to love Peonies - Freyta'gs Florist

9. A bright pop of color in an English garden theme.

 

 

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8. All snuggled up in a dreamy bed of blue Hydrangea.

 

 

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7. Showy, deep pink with a bounty of calla Lilies, Hyacinth, Tulips, and Hydrangea.

 

 

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10 ways to love Peonies - Freyta'gs Florist

6. Going natural with ornamental Kale.

 

 

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10 ways to love Peonies - Freyta'gs Florist

5. Sculptural in a slender moon vase and Bent Willow accents.

 

 

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4. Pave look with Festiva Maxima Peonies, Venice Gerbera Daisies, and green Hydrangea.

 

 

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3. Whimsical contrast to jade green tones, whispy Veronica, and more pastels. Love the succulent!

 

 

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2. Fairy’s Petticoat Peonies and Hydrangea were just meant to be together.

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1. Just a big ole’ bunch of Peonies. Always stunning and our absolute favorite.

10 ways to love Peonies - Freyta'gs Florist

Make a Splash this Summer with Color (& Flowers)

Summer Color SplashDecorating your home with flowers can benefit your senses, increase positive emotions, and highlight architectural features of your home. Now that spring cleaning is out of the way, we can have a little fun with summer flowers. But before we get to decorating tips, let’s take a moment to appreciate the benefits of flowers.

Benefits to Your Senses: Your five senses are sure to thank you when you decorate your home with flowers. Brightly colored flowers improve visual stimulation, which can increase a positive emotional response. Studies show that the scent of many flowers activate nerve cells that trigger brain activity related to memory, attention, and emotion. Many people find the gentle touch needed to properly arrange flowers to have a relaxing effect.

Increase Positive Emotions: Flowers have been shown to have a positive effect on your emotional state. Studies found that people were happier, more compassionate, and had reduced stress levels when they awoke to freshly cut flowers. Choosing flowers with a particular scent can help you trigger happy memories. For example, decorating your home with flowers from your wedding bouquet, can make you smile and remember that wonderful day.

Highlight Architectural Features: What better way to highlight your home’s best features than with freshly cut flowers or a flowering plant? Flowers are a fantastic way to emphasize creative nook areas, showcase beautifully adorned cabinets, or compliment bathroom and kitchen spaces. Just as the right clothes can highlight a person’s best features, so too can flowers show-off your home’s best attributes.corkboard

 

Home Decorating Tips

  • Orchids are calming and are therefore ideal in tranquil spaces and bedrooms. Orchid plants respire and give off oxygen at night, making them perfect for the bedroom.
  • Bold, vibrant paint colors are trending right now.  Experiment with jewel tone floral combinations to play against a brightly colored accent wall. Mokora orchids, purple/fuschia Stock and Gerbera Daisies come to mind.
  • Choose contrasting flowers to complement your existing home decor. For example, if you have green furniture or walls, choose an Iris, Delphinium, Hydrangea, or another flower with blue petals. Blue flowers will make the green truly pop.
  • Sunflowers look amazing with taupe furniture and also brighten up a sparsely lit space.
  • Add Succulents to a fresh cut flower arrangement to make a summer statement.
  • Low profile containers overflowing with fluffy flowers are striking in a white or neutral room. A  monochrome bunch of Peonies, Hydrangea or the amazingly fragrant Stock will do the trick. All three are available in multiple colors.
  • Float just the heads of flowers in a favorite dish on a coffee table or bathroom vanity. Orchids of any species work well, as do Sunflowers, Mums, Daisies, Peonies, and Roses. Succulents, too.
  • Group multiple containers of varying heights with one flower type and/or color as a centerpiece.
  • Freshly cut flowers in tall glass vases in corners or entryways fill space and provide sweet smelling aromas in the room. Stargazers or any of the other Asiatic or Oriental lilies have exotic scents and they have tall stalks with multiple flowers on each one.
  • Go straight up green for a modern, clean look. There are some really gorgeous, completely green flowers available in summer including many rose varieties, Green Trick Dianthus, and large or mini Green Hydrangea.

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7 Florist Tricks to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

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Fresh-cut flower bouquets last longer with these top 7 florist’s secrets. Not all flowers are created equal. Some, like Tulips, will continue to grow after being cut. Others absorb ~or as florists say, drink~ extremely large amounts of water, like Hydrangea. Tulips will begin to droop long before Stargazer lilies lose their luster, and Alstromeria can last up to a month.

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Ornamental Kale, deep fuchsia Peonies, Hyacinth, pink Roses and fuchsia Gerbera Daisies

There are many home remedies that are rumored to keep flowers fresh. Some work, but not consistently, and not with every type of flower. If your water-to-ingredient ratio is off you could do more harm than good. You very likely have a variety of flowers in your bouquet. Following our advice will keep them all harmoniously looking fabulous for as long as possible.

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Soft pink Peonies, blue Hydrangea, Hyacinth, yellow mini Calla Lilies and mini green Hydrangea and our moon vase

1. Keep the water clear and clean by dumping out the old water and replacing with fresh every day. If you have a water softening system be sure to switch to bypass so no salt is in the water.

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Lambs ear leaves, Stock, Mokara Orchids, Circus Roses, Alstroemeria and mini green Hydrangea

2. Cut the bottom of the stems at a 45° angle every three days. A fresh cut allows the flower stem to continue to absorb water and keep the flower hydrated.

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Calla Lilies, Hyacinth,  Peonies, Cool Water Roses,  Tulips, mini green Hydrangea and Waxflowers

3. Mist the flowers with clean water from a spray bottle every day.

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Ornamental kale, Limbo Roses, Gerbera Daisies, Tulips,  Hydrangea and Chocolate Queen Anne’s Lace

4. Keep your bouquet out of direct sunlight and away from drafts.

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Ornamental Kale, mini  Hydrangea, Hhypercurium Berries, Creme Roses, Tulips and Lotus Pods

5. If you’re going out for the entire day on a hot day and won’t be running your air conditioner, place your bouquet in a cool shady spot.

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Phalaenopsis & Dendrobium in an artisan glass vase with Casa Blanca Lilies, Hydrangea,  Tulips, and Stock

6. If you want to add your own creative flair, a drop of food coloring in the water makes a clear vase pop and obscures the stems. (Technically not a care tip, but it is a fun way to reward yourself for taking such great care of your fresh-cut blooms).

tips-to-make-cut-flowers-last-longer7. Remember that some flowers will have a shorter lifespan than others. You can keep your bouquet as a whole looking perky by removing wilted flowers immediately. Wilted flowers emit ethylene gas that will spread to healthy flowers.

Spring Flings & Easter Things

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April showers might bring May flowers, but we’re not waiting another minute. Easter and Passover season is here, and for us, that’s all the excuse we need to bring our spring brights out to play. From traditional to whimsical, a bright spring centerpiece will lift spirits high and impress your guests.

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Custom Passover Centerpiece Trio: Blue Hydrangea, Deja Vu Roses, Iris, Purple Tulips and Violet Stock

Multiple arrangements are an eye-catching alternative to a single arrangement centerpiece. Longer, low profile vases are elegant, and make conversation across the table comfortable.

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Custom Bar Decor: Créme de la Créme Roses, Pink Limonium, Billy Balls and Succulents

Country chic is a popular Easter style choice, and easy to pull off with a bit of burlap, some earthy elements, and a little imagination.

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Custom Country Chic Flowers

Modern, unexpected twists on the traditional Easter flowers get the conversation started. We like to place something striking in the entryway to great guests.

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Custom Moon Vase Arrangement

Lush, Green Trick Dianthus is a great foundation for an Easter floral arrangement.  And Peonies make every arrangement special.

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Playful, Custom Pink Calla Lilies with Dianthus

Plants are the perfect hostess or host gift. Easter Lilies and Hydrangea are favorites this time of year.  Begonia, Cyclamen, Mums, and Kalanchoe are all in bloom and make adorable garden baskets.

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Traditional Easter Lily

 

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Antique Pink Hydrangea

 

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Custom Easter Flower Basket

 

Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

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Marsala Cymbidium Orchids

Pantone threw the design world a curve ball with their 2015 color of the year.  We think Marsala, a velvety deep mauve, almost red wine color, is beautiful in florals, whether it’s the focal color or just the accent. Interior decorators are using Marsala mostly as an accent color on walls, area rugs or upholstered furniture. We see nothing but possibilities complimenting Marsala, where ever it might make an appearance

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Asiatic lily

 

 

 

 

 

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Safri Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orchids for You: Green Cymbidium Orchids, Green Tea Roses, Hydrangea, Mums and Seeded Eucalyptus

 

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White Phalaenopsis Orchid and Moss Garden