In a Frigid Funk?

“It is the memory that enables a person to gather roses in January”

-Anonymous

During the colder months, we tend to slump into a winter routine; motivation seems to be at an all-time low. We focus on the temperature (often below freezing here in New Jersey), the howling, frigid winds, and the impending snowstorms (sometimes even hail!). The idea of having to bear  the arctic environment outside of our cozy houses sends shivers down the spine; traveling elsewhere just seems that more tedious. We dread the idea of shoveling snow.

But mostly, we forget the little things that make life beautiful. We forget the roses.

This winter season, focus on your “roses”: You know, those little things… however insignificant they may seem, that bring you joy. Perhaps it’s the satisfaction of catching your favorite television show, or finding a wonderful book. Try to remember seeing the smile of a loved one or sharing a good laugh with a friend. Pull out some pictures of fun times and simply reflect. …Maybe having a dish of spaghetti and meatballs brings you sheer joy (because food always equals happiness!).

Leave us a comment with some of your favorite “roses”!

As the shop keeps our heaters on full-blast, we’ll also be remembering our “roses” all winter long.

…of course, if you’re really having trouble remembering your roses, we’ll always be selling them  here at the shop.

:)

Year of the [Snap]Dragon

As the Chinese New Year approaches, many people of Chinese decent will celebrate and welcome the New Year by displaying and sending flowers.

The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan. 23, 2012, which is also the year of the dragon.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.

In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

Flower markets in Hong Kong and other parts of China as well as Chinese communities in the U.S. and other countries will be bustling on the days leading up to the actual holiday.

According to SanFranciscoChinatown.com, “Every traditional Chinese household should have live blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in one’s career. A home with a plant that blooms on New Year’s Day signifies a year of prosperity.”

The most popular New Year’s flowers include peach blossoms, peonies, narcissus, orchids, chrysanthemums, and most fitting for this year, snapdragons.

Antirrhinum is a genus of plants commonly known as snapdragons from the flowers’ fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed (thus the ‘snap’).

The name literally means “like a nose” in Ancient Greek and probably refers to the nose-like capsule in its mature state.

Several species of Antirrhinum are self-incompatible, meaning that a plant cannot be fertilised by its own pollen.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with your own Snapdragons!

Snapdragons are perennial plants often sold as cold-season annual plants and do best in full or partial sun.

They are available in a range of heights: dwarf (6-8 inches), medium (15-30 inches) and tall (30-48 inches). (Want to grow them yourself? Plant them in a soil that drains well to prevent the roots from rotting.)

Wait! Recycle that Fir!

It’s that time of year:

Christmas is over, but your tree is still up.

For those of you with live Christmas trees, we have a few fun suggestions for recycling those pesky pines. Instead of putting yours to the curb, consider these creative solutions!

(Of course, if you just don’t do that whole “recycling” thing, there’s always rocket-launching*!)

*Go ahead, click here. We dare you.

After Christmas…

  • Prop up your old tree near your bird feeder as a staging area for small birds like chickadees and finches.
  • Trim the branches from the tree, and saw the trunk into several pieces. Tie the pieces together and store the bundle in the cellar. This will make an aromatic Yule fire in your fireplace next Christmas Eve.
  • Create a bird feeder and haven. String your tree with orange slices, bread, cranberry, and other bird-friendly goodies, and put it in a sheltered location.
  • Remove the branches and use them as mulch in the garden.
  • Use boughs from your tree to shade broad-leaved evergreen shrubs and to ward off animals.
  • A fir tree’s foliage can be used for stuffing small, fragrance pillows.
  • Sew scraps of fabric together and fill them with the needles to make fragrant balsam sachets to freshen drawers and closets.
  • Use dried-out sprigs to ignite kindling in your woodstove or fireplace.
  • Give the tree to a friend or neighbor who has a woodchipper.
  • We’ve even heard that some customers sink old trees in their pond where they make cozy areas for fish and tadpoles to live, sleep, and lay eggs!

Know of any other ideas for recycling pine trees?

Let us know!

Centerpiece Spirit

“Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.”

Sometimes we forget this during the holiday season. The decorations, the centerpieces, and the gifts have little meaning; it’s the people around them who provide the holiday spirit.

However, for those of you with “outward displays” in need of care, we do have some helpful holiday tips:

Centerpiece Care

Fresh centerpieces are unlike cut flowers and potted plants. They do not need or want any kind of direct sunlight. They will also last longer if kept away from direct heat and outside elements, including direct sunlight, heat vents, and open flames. If placing the centerpiece outdoors, put them in a sheltered location.

If the evergreen centerpiece sits in an oasis block, keep the block moist. Do this by adding water to it every other day or as needed. Upon receiving a fresh centerpiece, it is a good idea to fill the green plastic centerpiece bowl with water so the floral foam can soak up the water and provide it to the fresh greens.

Misting the evergreens with water daily will also prolong the life, as well as the pleasant fragrance.

Colder than 36°F? These evergreens should not be outside.

If your centerpiece needs cleaning, use a light feather duster to ensure needles stay in place.

Note: Take caution with where your fresh centerpiece rests. Make sure to protect the surface from moisture damage and scratches. Also, if there are candles in your arrangement, flames need to be at least 4” away from the greenery. Never leave a candle burning unattended.

As you give your centerpieces some tender loving care, just  remember:

The best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed

…in smiles.

:)

Happy Holidays from Petal Pushers!

Fresh and Firry: Christmas Tree Health

Ah, yes. The annual Christmas Fir.

Whether you have your tree picked and decorated, or you still have yet to locate one, here are some more tips* to keep your Christmas tree healthy through the holidays …and avoid an untimely demise!

*Christmas Tree tips brought to you by The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Buying Your Tree

  • If possible, buy a freshly-cut tree from a reputable nursery or cut your own. (Many trees that are for sale now were cut weeks ago.)
  • If you’re buying a tree that can be replanted later, keep in mind that a very small percentage of these trees survive after being indoors in the winter. Freshly-cut Christmas trees are farmed specifically for their purpose and support local agriculture.
  • If there are lots of needles on the ground around the trees, go elsewhere. To check a tree’s freshness, pull your hand towards you along the branch. Needles should not fall off.
  • If you want to keep your Christmas tree potted and in the house after Christmas, a Norfolk Island pine would be the best choice.

 Tree TLC

  • When you bring your tree home, saw a couple inches off the bottom of the trunk before setting in water. When trees are cut, pitch oozes out and seals the pores. By sawing off the base, you will open up the pores, and the tree will be able to absorb water.
  • Watering is critical. A freshly-cut tree can consume a gallon of water in 24 hours!  (Definitely check out these clever and fun watering systems)
  • Fill the tree stand with water and keep it filled.
  • Never let the water level go below the tree’s base.
  • Indoors, keep the tree away from heating ducts or other heat sources. In fact, the lower the temperature, the better the tree will do.
  • Some people add aspirin or sugar to the water; we can’t say whether either helps. Again, water is the vital element.
Follow these tips, and keep your tree healthy throughout the New Year, too!

(Should've followed Petal Press, Charlie Brown.)

Poinsettias and Jolly Pitstops

What would a holiday open house be without a visit from the real Kris Kringle? On December 3rd, 2011, Petal Pushers held their annual Holiday Open House, complete with hot cinnamon apple cider, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and fresh baked cookies. Customers, old and new, came for a visit to see our beautiful holiday arrangements and take advantage of our featured  holiday sales. The highlight of the day for everyone in the shop was watching the real Santa Claus hand out adorable stuffed animals to our youngest visitors. Saturday was definitely a great way to kick-start the holiday season.

Santa makes a Pitstop at Petal Pushers

Okay, we know. Sometimes it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit.

That’s why this month, Petal Pushers will be sharing a few useful tips.

This week’s tip:

  • Surround yourself with natural holiday beauty. Rich in cultural influence and naturally gorgeous, the Poinsettia is a classic decorative shrub that is sure to lift your  holiday humbug spirit.
The botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, was assigned to the poinsettia by the German botanist, Wilenow. Dazzled by its color, he gave it the botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, meaning “very beautiful.”

(Fun fact: The plant actually grew through a crack in his greenhouse!)

Though almost 90% of these festive shrubs are exported from the United States, Poinsettias are actually native to Mexico.
In fact, Poinsettias were first introduced into the United States in 1825 by none other than Joel Poinsett, President John Quincy Adams’ choice for the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

^This fine lookin' fella right here? Good ol' Joel Poinsett.

Today, Poinsettias come in over 100 different color and shape varieties.

Golden Melody Poinsettia

Although, seventy-four percent of Americans still prefer traditional red poinsettias; 8 percent prefer white and 6 percent prefer pink.

Variegated White and Pink

Here at the shop, we strive for nature’s colors: our poinsettias (red, white, pink, and variegated), even come from local farms in Allentown and Hightstown.

(and you thought they only came in red...)

If you are like most of us, you may be prone to accidentally killing these holiday beauties; so here are some helpful tips.
Still haven’t learned enough?
Here’s a quick little tidbit to impress your friends and family this holiday season:
The “flower” of the poinsettia is actually not the colorful part. (Those are actually leaves, and are also known as bracts). The “flowers”, or cyathia, of the plant are in the center of these bracts (They’re the little fuzzy balls).
So, the question is: which poinsettias do you prefer?

A Different Bird after Turkey Day

The day after Thanksgiving, the Petal Pushers design team set up a small and intimate wedding at the Grounds for Sculpture. Held in the Pavilion, the wedding used an array of bright colors, ranging from bright oranges to light blues. Among the gorgeous orange roses and blue hydrangea, a special guest could be seen on the table as well.

(Hint: It wasn't a turkey!)

It was not a duck or chicken, either.

However, the special guest does have a “bird” in its name: Cockscomb.

Colorful Cockscomb Varieties

Celosia cristata [Celosia in Greek means burning] is commonly known as Cockscomb, since the flower looks like the head on a rooster, or cock.

In fact, both its leaves and flowers can be used as vegetables; they are often grown as foods in India, Western Africa, and South America.

Although no one ate any cockscomb during the reception, you can definitely spot the cockscomb as a wonderful accent in the wedding’s beautiful arrangements. (More pictures will be posted soon!)

Stunning Orange Rose with Cockscomb; Alter Piece View

This upcoming weekend also marks our 3rd Annual Holiday Open House. Stop in for great sales, refreshments, and most importantly, visits with Santa! Always a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Small is the new HUGE.

Petal Pushers Florist comes from a humble beginning; located in the Square of Hamilton, faithful customers have helped the small local business grow into a wonderful gathering place for our community.

On a larger scale, this Saturday marks the 2nd annual “Small Business Saturday” – Millions of people will shop small at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy; it will once again be a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

So, join the movement! Petal Pushers invites you to celebrate and continue your faithful commitment to your own community (while saving some holidays bucks, too… We’re celebrating by offering 20% off all holiday gift ware!)

Visit Petal Pushers on the 26th from 9-3PM, and make the pledge this Saturday to shop small. 

When we all shop small, it will be HUGE.