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Astromeria and Tulips Floral Arrangement

Astromeria and Tulips Floral Arrangement

When do they bloom?

Astromeria or the Peruvian lily blooms during late spring or early summer.

Tulips are spring blooming.Perennials grown from bulbs

What colors are the flowers?

Astromeria are orange, pink rose, purple, red, yellow, white or salmon colors.

Tulips come in a variety of colors except for blue.

Close up details of Astromeria and Tulips floral arrangement by Patty Wong

Close up details of Astromeria and Tulips floral arrangement by Patty Wong

How are they grown?

Astromeria are grown from rhizomes.  Rhizomes are a mass of roots.

Tulips are grown from bulbs.

How tall are the plants?

Astromeria plant varies in height from 2 to 3 feet.

Tulip plant can vary in height from 4 inches to 28 inches depending on the species.

What is the meaning of the flower?

Astromeria symbolizes friendship and devotion.

Tulips symbolize perfect love.

Bells of Ireland Flower Arrangement

Bells of Ireland Flower Arrangement

You would think with the name Bells of Ireland, the plant’s origin should be Ireland but in fact, Bells of Ireland originated from Belgium during the latter part of the 1500’s and grows in Syria and other eastern Mediterranean countries.  The flowers name is due to the apple green color of its leaves.

They are a mint family plant grown from seeds as a cool weather annual.  They can grow from 2 to 3 feet tall and are known for its cup-shaped paper green calyxes rather than the tiny fragrant white flowers.  Calyxes protects the tiny flowers.  The foliage is prickly and can irritate your skin.  If you need to remove the foliage, the green bells will stand out more.

They can make for a long lasting fresh cut flower in an exotic arrangement or mixed in with pastel or purple color flowers.  They are just as beautiful in a dried floral arrangement; however, the green becomes a beige or tan color.  The flowers symbolize good luck and are often used for St Patrick’s Day.

Happy Patty’s Day!

See more of my holiday floral arrangements.

White Paper Narcissus Flowers

White Paper Narcissus Flowers

Are narcissus and daffodils related?  Yes, they are related.  Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name and daffodil is the common name.

The beautiful flowers symbolize friendship.  The flowers are all trumpet-shaped with a star shaped backing.  In moderate climates, they are usually one of the first blooming spring bulbs grown in clusters.  Due to the early blooms of the paperwhite narcissus, the flowers are widely used in the chinese culture for Chinese New Year.  The paperwhite narcissus is very fragrant too.

Daffodils are generally yellow. Also can vary from yellow and white, yellow and orange, white and orange and lime green.  Daffodils come in all sizes from five-inch blooms with two foot stems to one-half inch blooms on two inch stems.

Yellow Daffodil

Yellow Daffodil

How to grow Daffodils?

Daffodils and narcissus are planted in the fall to bloom the following spring.  The bulbs must be planted twice the height of the plants or the plant will bend over.  The need a well drained sunny area with slightly acidic soil.  Growing daffodils needs lots of water.  After blooming, let the foliage turn yellow prior to cutting in late May or June.  This is the energy to encourage blooms for the following year.  You can dig them up, wash the bulbs, let them dry and store in a cool place until ready to plant again in the fall.  In the mild Southern California weather, you can leave the bulbs in the garden and will grow the following year again with larger clusters over time.  Clusters growing between rocks or along a garden path are a beautiful and impressive sight to see.

My mom has a green thumb and grows beautiful chrysanthemum plants in her yard. Many years ago, I remember seeing her pinch the tips to encourage flower growth, staking and tying the plants up for support. The most beautiful color that I’ve seen is a golden yellow and burgundy color. This particular flower reminds me of a variation of spider mum but in smaller proportions.

Falloween Chrysanthemum Flower Arrangement

Falloween Chrysanthemum Flower Arrangement

The chrysanthemum is a gardeners delight in the late summer and fall. The colorful flowers are commonly used in floral arrangements with shades of white, yellow, red and purple. They are very easy to grow and propagate. They vary in growth habits, color and forms. The blooms range from a large puffy spider mum to a small button mum. Their height ranges from 12 to 40 inches, spread from 12 to 24 inches, mounded or upright.

When I see chrysanthemums it reminds me of my mom along with all of the other beautiful flowers in her yard.

Falloween Floral Arrangement with Chrysanthemums

Falloween Floral Arrangement with Chrysanthemums

See more of our seasonal floral arrangements.

Sunflower Floral Arrangement

Sunflower Floral Arrangement

The sunflower is a native plant to Central America which requires full sun, fertile, moist, mulched and well-drained soil to grow well. While in the bud stage, the face follows the arc of the sun from east to west during the daytime. At sunrise, most sunflowers are turned toward the east and gradually turn to the West and returns to the east at night. The flower is actually a head of many small flowers grouped together with a distinct growing pattern. You will notice the small flowers growing in a spiral pattern in opposite directions. The out flowers can be yellow, maroon, orange or other colors. Sunflowers can grow to heights from 5 to 12 feet tall. It is also the official state flower for Kansas.

A visit to the Los Angeles Flower District located in downtown Los Angeles is a must for all flower lovers.  Fresh cut flowers, fillers, greenery and supplies are sold to florists, floral designers, event planners, decorators and to the public.  There are also live potted and exotic orchid plants.

The flower district is composed of the following markets:  San Julian Flower Market, Los Angeles Flower Mall, California Flower Market, Southern California Flower Market, Los Angeles Flower Market, Market City Flowers.  The flower district area is composed of  Maple Street,  Wall Street between 7th and 9th Streets.   There are also independent florists located on San Pedro Street and large craft stores are within the district.  Parking is very convenient with a parking structure on Maple Street, open air parking lots and street parking is available too.  The hours of operation varies to the wholesalers versus the general public at the Los Angeles Flower District.  Most markets open early and close early.

A walk along the surrounding streets, you will find smaller florists with a variety of arrangements on displays for weddings, funerals and just because for the special day or one in your life.  Each of the florist’s carries a variety of flowers and fillers and some are more unique than others.  There are a few larger stores that carry live and exotic plants and containers.

In the flower markets, there are many vendors that compete for your business.  Most of the vendors just sell flowers whereas there are ones that just sell glass and ceramic containers.   The best way to purchase flowers is to compare the quality and the price of flowers with a couple of vendors.  There are some higher and lower prices for the same flowers.  I averaged the price of the flowers and made offers.  I feel the best price is the price you are willing pay for the flowers and do not forget to go early for the best selection.

Happy Flower Marting

- Patty

Wedding Reception Flower Arrangements

Simon and Vanessa's Wedding Reception Flower Arrangements

I recently had the opportunity to design centerpieces for a beautiful wedding reception.  The bride and groom requested for white or off-white flowers and the color theme for  the wedding was sage green.  As for the primary flowers, it was a toss up between roses and hydrangeas.

The young couple was very flexible when it came to flower choices.  The primary flower was determined two weeks before the reception due to the unavailability of white roses.  White roses were difficult to obtain at the Los Angeles Flower Mart.  It would require at least 18 roses to make a nice arrangement in the container used.  Also, depending on the type of roses available, not all rose buds will bloom and requires more filler materials.

Hydrangeas were selected as the primary flowers and were readily available during the month of June.  Hydrangeas are large flowers which provided more coverage for less flowers.  I also incorporated off white lisianthis and an airy fern was used for greenery.

The following materials were used in the beautiful hydrangea arrangements:

Hydrangeas four or five stems
Lisianthis three or four stems
Fern three stems
8 inch tall cylinder container
Sage green ribbons – a small amount of the container was braided with the ribbon and a hand tied bow was attached
handful of gems

Congratulations to the bride and groom.

- Patty

During my childhood, I was fascinated to see a large colorful plant with round pink or blue flowers.  I was too young to understand why most plants had pink flowers and I would see a blue flower every so often.  So I decided to research and write about the Hydrangeas.

Pink Hydrangeas

Pink Hydrangeas

The plant with the beautiful flowers is popular again.  There are many more varieties and colors available today.  Hydrangeas comes in other colors such as green, white, with variation of pink and blues almost purple in addition to the traditional pink and blue.  Some varieties have smaller flowers and foliage that will change to fall colors.

In the yard, Hydrangea plants are happy with moist-well drained soil and some shade especially in hotter climates.  The plant will not bloom if there is too much shade, improper pruning and drastic change in weather.

The flower can be used as cut flower provided the flower is treated properly.  If the flower is not properly treated, the Hydrangeas will wilt.  The flowers are very popular in arrangements especially for weddings.

Pink or blue is determined by aluminum in the soil and is necessary to produce the blue pigment in the hydrangeas.  Most garden soils have adequate aluminum, but the aluminum is not available to the plant when the pH soil is high.  If the pH is too high, you can purchase Alum in the spice section of the grocery store and add the proper mixture to change the color to blue.  Alum is used for pickling recipes as a preservative to retain the crunch for fruits and vegetables.

I recently purchased a pink Hydrangea and looking forward to changing the color of my plant to blue next year.

Chinese New Year is celebrated on the 1st day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar and varies from January 21st to February 19th until the 15th of the moon. Preparation for Chinese New Year begins weeks in advance when the house is thoroughly cleaned, plates of oranges, tangerines with leaves intact and Pomelo’s (grapefruits) are placed in the house including the container for rice and a Lien Hop. If you haven’t heard of a Lien Hop, it is a round container with many sections. It is filled with dry goods such as preserved ginger, candies & sweets to serve to guests and relatives. The family celebrates with an elaborate nine course meal on Chinese New Year’s Eve such as a fresh cooked chicken with all parts including the head and feet, noodles, Fat Choi Soup for wealth, prosperity and long life. The flowers used in Chinese New Year celebrations are water Narcissus and plum blossoms.

On Chinese New Year, children receive good luck money in a Lai See envelope and wear new clothes and are told not eat anything that is sour or your clothes will wear out sooner.

There are twelve animal signs for the Chinese Zodiac. The animal signs for one another in an established order, and are repeated every twelve years. These are the signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

2010 is the year of the Tiger.

The origin of Valentine’s Day varies with some experts stating St. Valentine, a Roman who was put to death due to his beliefs. St. Valentine died on February 14th. There are many other varying opinions as to origin of Valentine’s Day.

February 14th eventually became the day for giving & receiving love messages, flowers, candies and expressing your love to your special one in your life. Children in school exchange Valentine’s Day cards with candies. A higher percentage of women purchase gifts for Valentine’s Day whereas men purchase red roses for their love ones.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, the most special Valentine’s gift I ever received was a creative one based on the five senses. My husband and I were dating at the time when he presented me with a gift for each of the fives senses; touch was a stuffed animal, sight was a picture, smell was a dozen red roses, hearing was a recording of love songs and taste was a large heart-shaped candy on a stick. That is one Valentine’s Day that I will never forget.

So what do Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day have in common? Sunday, February 14, 2010.

Gung Hay Fat Choy and Happy Valentine’s Day,


A flower arrangement consists of primary, secondary and filler flowers with extras which are optional decorations. Extras are decorations that can be incorporated into your flower arrangements due to the seasons, holidays or a themed party throughout the year. Just use your imagination and most extras can be part of your floral arrangement.

The following small or miniature items can be incorporated into your floral arrangements during the year. These items can be ceramic, plush materials, resin or even wood.

For the winter months of January through March, footballs, small party favors, hearts, bears, shamrocks, gold coins, feathers, leprechauns, purple, gold or green beads, masks, chop sticks, lai si*, bamboo, small origami decorations and stirrers.

For the spring months of April through June, eggs, rabbits, pencils, bird nests, sea shells, fish, champagne glasses, pin wheels, insects such as lady bugs, butterflies, bees, flags, diplomas, graduation cap, tassels, playing cards and chips.

For the summer months of July through September, artificial fruits (apples, pears and oranges), stars, flags. Red, white and blue balloons and miniature umbrellas.

For the fall months of October through December ghosts, pumpkins, turkeys, scarecrows, snowmen, candy canes, pinecones, holiday ornaments, red robins, angels, penguins, ice skates, skis, snowboards and berries.

There are many more items that can be used. Just let your creativity shine through your flowers.

Gung Hay Fat Choi (Happy New Year!)


* I will explain the lai si with my upcoming floral design