How to start Spring with a BANG!

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

So, let’s start it with a bang, or a “boing”!

With spring’s arrival comes the arrival of the most beautiful flowers, sunshine and smiles, lighter clothing, birds and butterflies, and the need to clean up and reorganize one’s property and self. Yes, spring is all about rebirth. And we want to embrace it.

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Spring Delight

Of course, being a flower shop, we are beyond excited about the beautiful flowers we are able to get during this season. And ONLY this season. And trust us we make the best of it. We get excited about the daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lilacs, peonies and anemones we will be able to add to our arrangements and make it extra springy. This is the season we look forward to all year-long. Other than the summer, fall and winter flowers, of course (we love them all).

Spring cleaning is important. As the sun shines in and fresh crisp aromatic winds blow, we open our windows let the happy sun and warm air bath our homes. Take out your brooms, mops, swiffers, vacuum cleaners, carpet fresheners, dusters, microfiber cloth, disinfectants and washing fluids (go with the natural organic kind if at all  possible, we don’t want you to breath in chemical fumes), scrubbing brushes, Mr Cleans, rubber gloves (clean home doesn’t need to mean rough hands), wood polishes, face masks and a tooth-brush (because we all know there is nothing that can clean small spaces and corners like a toothbrush, just don’t use it to brush your teeth after). Whew! And get to cleaning EVERYTHING. Yes, you could hire someone to come and do it for you while you sip on your green juice at yours local smoothie bar. But we promise you, there is something therapeutic and cathartic about getting on all four and scrubbing that corner in your bathroom that you keep ignoring. And when you are done cleaning, bask in the  glory that comes from that feeling of accomplishment.

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Perfectly Pastel

Store all the bulky winter sweaters, coats, scarves, gloves, socks, hats and boots in bins and put them away to never be seen again, till next year. Change your comforter with brighter colored and lighter ones, unpack all your flowery, flowy and flirty dresses, skirts, blouses, lighter suits and colorful shirts, lighter socks and shoes and hang them in your freshly cleaned closet, drawers and shoes rack. Make sure that they are well-organized and placed in a way it make it easy for you to pick them and wear them. Make sure that those clothes that you know you won’t ever wear are placed in a bag to donate. If you have some emotional attachment to some of them and can’t give them away, you can either dig deep down inside for strength from knowledge that someone else will benefit from those pants from 1995 or fold them properly and store them (with those items you intend to give to your daughter or son in the future) somewhere dry and away from high traffic areas. Arrange your jewelry, cosmetics and accessories properly so they are easily accessible. This will help you know exactly what you have and  enable you to actually wear/use them. When you can’t see them you won’t wear/use them and they will be forgotten in the back of that drawer for years till one day you find them and castigate yourself for spending so much on them to never be seen in them or worse end up buying the same thing again. It’s a terrible feeling and a waste of money. We want to help you not feel terrible.

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Country Basket Blooms

Take care of the look of your yard/garden or the potted plants on your balcony or on your shelf. Re-pot what needs re-potting, weed all the pesky little weeds and make them look clean and preeeeeeety for when they bloom (that should be very soon). Be sure to get yourself a beautiful flower arrangement from your trusted local florist, and put themon your dining room table and/or coffee table and/or foyer table. You will be amazed how much more beautiful they will look in your fresh and clean home. Beautiful flowers will make your home more warm and welcoming and less cold and clinical.

Now you are ready! The weight you feel from the gloom of winter and the house in disarray is behind you. you are ready to fly and float through the warmer months like the butterfly that you are!

Spring Is Coming!

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Spring Waltz

Having experienced the single digit temperatures in the past few days, and a snowstorm, it is hard to believe that Spring is actually right around the corner. Four weeks and 3 day, to be exact, till it’s officially Spring. Yes, we counted. We are ready for Winter to be over too. We are ready to shed off all the layers of long sleeved t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, coats, scarves, hats, and gloves (all worn at the same time). yes it’s been that cold lately.

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Spring Garden

As a florist, however, there are more reasons we want the cold and gloom of Winter to be gone and want Spring to be here already! Flowers are just at their prettiest in the spring. We get to play with some fresh cut flowers that are out of season for the most of the year. The pretty daffodils, the lovely tulips, the fragrant hyacinths, the fresh smelling lilacs, the gorgeous campanulas and the many many indoor potted plants like colorful hydrangea plants, the fun tulip plants, daffodil plants, hyacinths plants, and iris plants. And the beautiful cherry blossoms that lend their beauty to make our arrangements both elegant and earthy all at the same time. To a florist, having all these flowers and arranging them for you is like being a kid and a toy store. It unleashes our creativity and make our task fun. And the end result is seen in the gasps and admirations of our customers. Yes, we are super excited that spring is coming. And it couldn’t come fast enough.

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Spring Sonata

We also miss the chirp of the birds in the morning, and the laborious bees buzzing from bloom to bloom. The opportunity to show off our pedicures and wear lighter and brighter clothing. Now how do we make the earth spin faster to shorten the bitter cold of winter and land in the worm freeze and happier air of spring? Really, that’s a serious question, how can we do it? We want to start working on our spring arrangements ASAP.

 

Spring Flowers for the Garden

Is your flowerbed ready for spring?  There are a number of different flowers that grow in the spring.  Some are well-known and very popular, while others aren’t grown that often.  Will you grow any of these spring flowers in your garden this year?

Azaleas are large, gorgeous flowering shrubs.  In some areas, huge azalea festivals are held.

Birds of Paradise are an exotic flower resembling a flying bird.  It has a very uncommon shape and look to it, making it a popular flower for those who want to grow something a little different.

The Cherry Blossom is a beautiful flowering tree that explodes in white and pink during the spring.  The tree is very popular in Japan, and today, cherry blossom festivals are held all over the world.  One great festival is held in Washington, D.C.

Dahlias are large blooms that come in many different colors and shapes.  They’re great flowers to grow if you don’t have a lot of space because they do well in containers.

The Daffodil is a popular flower that grows in many areas.

The Gardenia is a very aromatic flower that lasts for quite some time when cut.  It’s also sometimes used as hedges or as part of ground cover.

The Glory of the Snow isn’t as well known.  It blooms in the early spring and is a pale blook color with some darker purples along the edges.

Then there’s the Hyacinth, an amazing pillar of flowers that comes in many different colors and smells great.

People love Lilacs!  They smell great and look incredible.

The Marigold, which usually comes in yellow or gold, is a pretty common flower in many areas—so common that some people start to think of them almost as weeds!

Naturally, the beautiful rose starts blooming in the spring.

Another amazingly colorful flower is the Tulip. It comes in many different shades, sizes, and height.

Which of these flowers do you love the most?  Let us know and then send flowers in Washington, DC, to your loved ones.

Time to Go Outdoors. Think Sunshine & Fresh Air!

Washington DC on a Beautiful Sunny Day
Washington DC on a Beautiful Sunny Day

Enjoy the Outdoors

Whether you live near Washington DC or the surrounding metro areas, there are many spring-time activities to choose from!

Experience the serenity of the monuments at sunrise.  Start with the sun behind you at the Grant Memorial (just in front of the U.S. Capitol), and jog the 2 miles down to the Lincoln Memorial, passing the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial along the way.

Make a power play and start a game of Frisbee on the National Mall, or a game of volleyball at one of the pits at Potomac Park.

Grab your coat, scarf and hiking boots to trek your way down the C&O Canal Towpath, which traces the Potomac from Georgetown to Cumberland, MD. 

Head to Gravelly Point, a park area off the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Mt. Vernon biking/hiking trail, to watch the planes take off from Reagan National Airport.

Let DC’s green space surprise you with a visit the National Arboretum. While you’re there, take in the beautiful spring colors and see the pillars from the original U.S. Capitol that was burned during the War of 1812. 

Browse through the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden to take in art and fresh air at the same time. The garden features seating for visitors and a fountain that turns into an ice rink in the winter – so stay for awhile to cool down or warm up. 

Rarely travel without Fido? Bring him to Lincoln Park on pet-friendly Capitol Hill to make nice with the neighborhood’s four-legged friends. 

Spend just $5 per vehicle, or $3 a person if you go on bike via the C&O Canal Trail, to explore nature in Great Falls Park. These 800 acres of beautiful parkland with green space, cascading rapids and waterfalls are located just beyond the Beltway.

Discover a hidden treasure in Montrose Park, located between Dumbarton Oaks Park and Rock Creek Park (R St. NW, between 28th and 32nd Sts.), and make sure to stroll along Lovers’ Lane – a beautiful 18th-century cobblestone path.

From: Washington.org

Get into the spirit of Spring with flowers indoors!

Flowers Make Us Happy

Fragrant Hyacinth
Fragrant Hyacinth

Enjoying spring flowers? Flowers have flourished – their beauty evolving over time  – simply because we like them, says Terry McGuire, associate professor of genetics at Rutgers and co-author of a paper that examines for the first time the whys and wherefores of flowering plants in an evolutionary context.

While flowers originally came on the scene to attract potential pollinators like bugs and birds, it is their appeal to humans that accounts for the incredible variety of shapes and colors we see in domesticated flowers today. McGuire suggests that nature’s prettier flowers got to survive and thrive because people didn’t destroy them when they cleared land for agriculture. Instead, they cultivated them and have been doing so for more than 5,000 years.

Ironically, many domesticated flowers have been so selected by humans that nature’s pollinators – the bugs and birds – no longer find them attractive. So the job of propagating the species depends mainly on us.

A recent article in the journal “Evolutionary Psychology” by McGuire; Jeannette Haviland-Jones, a professor of psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and others, states that in spite of some basic survival uses such as edible or medicinal flowers, most flowering plants grown in the flower industry today are not used for any purpose other than emotional satisfaction.

“Our hypothesis is that flowers are exploiting an emotional niche. They make us happy,” McGuire says. “Because they are a source of pleasure – a positive emotion inducer – we take care of them. In that sense they’re like dogs. They are the pets of the plant world.”

Psychologist Haviland-Jones had conducted three studies that tested the ability of flowers to induce positive emotion. The objective was to demonstrate the immediate, long-term and powerful effects of flowers on emotional reactions, mood, social behaviors and even memory in both men and women. The results of these three studies were so positive that the researchers went on to develop the evolutionary emotional niche model.

In the first study, flowers were tested against other gift stimuli, such as a fruit and sweets basket and a large decorative candle. Of the 147 women tested, all those who received flowers responded with a smile; however, there were no smiles from 23 percent of those who got received candles and 10 percent of those who got fruit. The second study involved 122 subjects of both sexes in an elevator. When a person entered, he or she either received a flower, a pen or nothing at all. Again, flowers were the emotional winner with recipients smiling, chatting and standing closer together.

In the last study, florists delivered bouquets to 113 men and women in a retirement community – an environment in which memory is often a personal concern.  All 113 got flowers, some at the beginning of the study with a follow-up bouquet a few days later, some only on the second round and others after the study. Everyone also received a decorative booklet for note-taking.

As might be predicted, the one-bouquet group was happier – more smiles and less observed depression -than those left for last; the two-bouquet folks were happier still. The most profound results appeared when participants were tested for detailed recall of the flowers, booklet decorations and book entries. Flower power again triumphed: Those who received the most and the earliest flowers demonstrated the best memory.

“Flowers have been ignored for the most part in the literature on plants and people,” McGuire says. “Perhaps they have been overlooked because their nature and beauty is so obvious.”

Source: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey & Bio-Medicine.org

Caring for Fresh-Cut Tulips

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Dutch Delight TFWEB401
It’s tulip season at MyFlorist.  We import our tulips twice a week from Holland. And we care for them by hydrating them properly so the stems are strong and stand up on their own.  And last longer!  

 

When properly cared for, cut tulips will stay fresh in a vase of water for five to eight days. For long-lasting tulips, re-cut the stems after a few days.  Lay the bouquet on wrapping paper or newspaper, and cut the stems diagonally, removing about one-half inch of stem.

Re-wrap the bouquet in paper (making a cone shape) so that the tulips are standing straight. The tops of the tulips should not extend above the top of the paper although you’ll need to allow a few inches of stems stick out from the bottom. Place the wrapped bouquet in water for an hour or two, with the paper above the water line.

Re-cut the stems once more, before rearranging, again making a diagonal cut. Fill the vase with water, adding a floral preservative – a powdery mix of plant food and bacteria inhibitors available at your florist. Although many people believe that adding a dash of carbonated lemon-lime soft drink, a teaspoon of sugar, a penny, or even a bit of bleach to the water will help extend the life of the flowers, none of these folk remedies are as effective as a commercial cut flower preservative.

The interesting thing about tulips is that they actually continue to grow after being cut, up to an inch or more. They also conform to the shape of the container, straight up if in a tall container, twisting to fit into a flat or irregular shaped vase.

Place the bouquet out of direct sun, and away from heating vents or drafts. Top off the water level daily to keep the arrangement fresh.

Excerpt from Backyard Gardener