Gentiana

Gentiana
Gentiana, about to bloom

 

Quick Notes /

Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants with about 400 species! That’s a large species group! These blooms are most notable for the trumpet like shape and vivid coloring. While they are often brilliant blue in coloring, they can also be white, yellow, red. The main blooming season is Spring, but these flowers can rebloom throughout late Summer.

General Notes /

Gentiana are most at home in alpine environments.  These delicate flowers can be shy about blooming outside of their natural habitat. The stiff stems have oppositely arranged leaves, sometimes is a basal rosette. The flowers grow in groups, spaced along the stems. Gentiana is polymorphic and can bear blooms of multiple colors.

Flower History /

The name, Gentiana, is attributed to the Gentius, an Illyrian king who is attributed with having discovered the medicinal uses of the plant back around 500-1000AD. The plant’s medicinal uses vary from treatments for upset stomachs to easing depression – but don’t forget – the Gentiana in you floral arrangements are not for making teas, poultices, or any other edible concoction!

Insider Information /
  • Gentiana yields the most bitter chemical substance on Earth.
  • In Southeast Asia, there is a variety of gentiana that can grow up to 100 feet tall!

 

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Flower File : Crocosmia

Crocosmia
Crocosmia
Quick Notes /

A favorite flower in August, crocosmia is a common flower in the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa. In the United Staes, these lovely blooms are often referred to as Coppertips or Falling Stars. They grow as evergreens or as deciduous perennials and come back year after year to please the senses with their trumpet-like shapes and bright colors. 

The genus name is derived from the Greek words krokos, meaning “saffron”, and osme, meaning “odor” – from the fact that dried leaves of these plants emit a strong smell like that of saffron (a spice derived from Crocus – another genus belonging to the Iridaceae) – when immersed in hot water.

Visual Notes /

Crocosmia is distinctive for its colorful inflorescence in shocking orange and reds. The stems branch out and display a number of blooms along one side of each stem near the end and nod and sway gracefully above your flower beds or your late summer arrangements.  The Crocosmia leaves are long, pointy and have parallel veins along their length. They grow in clumps in bloom in a spectacular

 

Insider Information /

Crocosmia are great for attracting hummingbirds to your garden.

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Flower File : Asclepia

Asclepia
Asclepia
Quick Notes / 

Asclepia is more commonly known as milkweed. This flower is a vital source of nectar for butterflies and has a powerful, sweet fragrance. Asclepia has a particular way of pollinating: when a butterfly lands, its leg slips into a slit on the asclepia flower. Then, when the butterfly takes off, the pollen is pulled free and carried with it to the next flower. Asclepia is one of the only sources of food for the larvae of monarch butterflies – asclepia is a great option for your butterfly garden!

Visual Notes /

Alsclepia is an herbacious perennial. The photo above is of Butterfly bush, but other great varieties available throughout summer, include the pink and white asclepia syriaca, the purple pink asclepia speciosa, and the bright yellow and bicolored yellow-orange asclepia curassavica or tropical milkweed.

Flower History / 

Asclepia gets it’s name from Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, because of the flower’s use in folk medicine. The indigenous peoples of South America and Africa applied the toxic milk of asclepia to their arrowheads. While in North America, people often used the high fructose levels in the plant’s nectar as a sweetener. More recently, during World War II, asclepia filaments were hollowed, coated with wax, and used as an insulator.

Insider Information /

Asclepia is great for the plants surrounding it. It repels a variety of harmful insects, especially wireworms. It also contains toxins that deter caterpillars from doing damage in the garden. As if that wasn’t enough, asclepia also has a beautiful, strong fragrance.

 

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Flower File : Astrantia

Astrantia bloom
Astrantia
Quick Notes /

Astrantia is commonly known as masterwort, melancholy gentleman, or Hattie’s pincushion. It is native to the grasslands and meadows of Europe and western Asia, especially in moist areas near rivers or streams. Astrantia is part of the carrot family.

Visual Notes /

Astrantia can grow to be one or two feet tall. The center of the flower resembles a pincushion, and the flowerhead is reminiscent of a star or firework. Hence the name astrantia, from the Greek word “asteri,” meaning star. The petals are beautiful, vibrant summer colors of red, pink, and white. These flowers are the perfect choice for brightening up your home, because they remain vibrant even after they are cut, and will stay healthy in a vase.

Flower History /

Astrantia is an herbaceous flower and has long been utilized for its medicinal qualities. The essential oil that can be extracted from the flower is used to quell stomach pains. The dried leaves of the astrantia flower are also helpful. Used as an infusion, they are thought to amplify the appetite and aid in digestion.

Insider Information /

Astrantia blooms throughout the summer, and exudes a sweet and pleasing fragrance. Not only gorgeous in the summer, these flowers will also brighten up your winter months. They are durable and resilient when dried, and are the perfect choice for a dried flower arrangement. Choose astrantia to bring some summer warmth into the darker months of the year.

Flower File : Echinacea

Echinacea cone
Echinacea cone
Quick Notes :

Echinacea is part of the daisy family. This flower is unique to the areas of eastern and central North America, where you can find it growing in large numbers in open wooded areas and prairies.

Visual Notes :

Echinacea comes from the Greek word “echino,” meaning sea urchin, and the flower is certainly reminiscent of this spiny creature. The center of the flower is a spiky, cone-shaped disk, which leads its other nickname: the coneflower. The purple petals that surround the spiky center are removed before the flower is sold, because the petals are very delicate and bruise easily. Their absence makes the sea urchin-like center of this flower all the more striking.

Flower History :

Echinacea has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Native Americans originally observed this flower being eaten by elks that were sick or wounded. They adopted the flower for their own use in medicinal practices, and called it elk root. It was used to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throats, headaches, and the common cold. Native Americans passed on their knowledge of echinacea to Europeans, and the plant became popular in European medicine in the 1930’s. Feeling under the weather? Echinacea is still used today to boost the immune system. It’s great as a tea, but don’t try to boil anything from an arrangement – these guys have been drinking flower food which makes them unsafe as human food. 

Insider Information :

Echinacea is a great choice if you’re looking for an ornamental or decorative flowers, thanks to its unique appearance. You can find it in bloom from early to late summer. The cone will dry exactly as it looks and is great for decorating. 

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Flower File : Celosia

Paintbrush Celosia
Paintbrush Celosia

 

Quick Notes/

There are several types of celosia flowers, but this article will focus on the spicata variety. Celosias are resilient and will stay fresh for a long time after they are cut. They also make beautiful dried flowers, and are a popular choice for potpourri.

Visual Notes/

Celosia blooms in vibrant, citrus colors like pink, magenta, and violet. The flower grows in an elongated cone shape, similar to a wheat head, which is where it gets one of its several nicknames: the wheatstraw. It’s also commonly referred to as the paintbrush variety of celosia because of its shape. Its vibrant pink color has earned it yet another name: flamingo feather.

Flower Facts/

As celosias grow, their flowers bloom upwards and get taller. The petals near the top of the flower have bloomed most recently, while the petals near the bottom of the flower were the first to bloom. As the flowers grow larger, the vibrant pink color spreads upwards. The brightest colored petals can be found at the top of the flower, while the petals near the stem may lose their citrus shades and take on instead a silvery sheen.

Insider Information/

The name also comes from the Greek word “kelos,” which means burning, and describes the flame-like colors of the flowers. Silvery celosia takes color very well, and can be dyed a wide range of hues. Their strong stems make them especially resilient.

 

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Color Profile : Blue

Ever wonder where flowers got their “meanings”?

Color psychologist don’t. And they have loads of studies backing up their theories. The general model of color psychology relies on six basic principles:

  1. Color can carry specific meaning.
  2. Color meaning is either based in learned meaning or biologically innate meaning.
  3. The perception of a color causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving.
  4. The evaluation process forces color motivated behavior.
  5. Color usually exerts its influence automatically.
  6. Color meaning and effect has to do with context as well.[1]

Over at Starbright Floral Design, we get to work with lots of colors everyday and all of us have our favorites. But why are they our favorites and what does that say? Up this week, my favorite :

Blue

Blue Flower

 

What makes blue so special?
Blue is the most common favorite color in the world. People everywhere associate the color blue with the sea and the sky. Like looking out over the ocean, or gazing up at a clear blue sky, seeing the color blue makes people feel calm. Blue creates a tranquil environment. It is a quiet color that promotes peace and relaxation.
For the bedroom
Blue is a color that enhances trust between people. It is the color of honesty and loyalty. Blue flowers in the bedroom will cultivate the bond between you and your partner. Blue is also the color of peace. If you feel stressed out and need to unwind, try putting some blue flowers on your nightstand. They will promote your mental and physical relaxation.
Brodiaea and Iris
Ikebana Dreaming in Blue
For the office

Blue flowers will work wonders in your office, whether you work in a cubicle, from home, or anywhere in between. The color blue enhances communication and self-expression. Have clients yelling at you over the phone? Keep a vase of blue flowers on your desk. They’ll reduce tension and stress, creating calm and order instead.

Blue Suede Bouquet
Blue Suede Bouquet
For the soul

Whether you are religious, spiritual, or just plain contemplative, the color blue will bring your practice to a higher place. Blue is the color of devotion. It is the color of the spirit, and of religious study. Blue flowers placed in your area of worship will create a tranquil atmosphere for prayer. The color blue reduces fear, and enhances inner security. Blue flowers in your meditation space, or on your altar, or in any area of the house where you practice devotion, will bring you closer to your inner self.

Hydrangea and delphinium.
Hydrangea and delphinium for Hanukkah

 

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