Holly Hedge Welcomes Kusek and Whitlock

On the 13th of April, Petal Pushers had the pleasure of preparing the wedding of Jennifer Kusek and Robert Whitlock at the beautiful Holly Hedge Estate. After marrying at West Trenton Presbyterian Church, family and friends gathered to celebrate Jennifer … Continue reading

Prom Fashion 2012

With prom season comes many decisions.

Who to ask? How to ask? Which dress? Which flowers?

When it comes to prom flowers, there is one question we get a lot at the shop:

“What color flower goes best with my dress?”

To help answer this, we’ve put together some suggestions listed below. Of course there are plenty of tints, tones, and shades of these colors available in many flowers, but perhaps this list will help get you started.

Color

Dress Color        Flower Color Suggestion

Blue                      Lavender, Fuchia, White, Blue
Brown                   [all colors!]
Black                   [all colors!]
Purple                 Green, Lavender, Orange, Pink
Pink                      Fuschia, Lavender, Pink
Green                  Yellow, Orange, Pink, Gold
Red                     White, Green, Burgundy, Cream

Style

This season, wristlets and handtieds are the most popular style for prom.

Handtieds, or handheld bouquets, are a classic way to add elegance to any dress while creating a timeless style for your prom. Wristlets, or wrist corsages, may be ordered to fit small wrists as well!

Small Wristlet with pale pink spray roses, baby’s breath, greens, light blue gems, and baby blue sheer ribbon.

Spray roses in a classic wrist corsage can compliment the dress itself in a simple yet timeless way.  Although, spray roses may be too plain for some prom-goers. If this is the case, cymbidium orchids (in either green, pink, or white) are a unique alternative for any wristlet style – as are dendrobium and phalaenopsis orchids (all three varieties are pictured below).

Cymbidium Orchid Wristlet

Dendrobium Orchid Wristlet

Phalaenopsis Orchid Wristlet in Pure White

However, if you are looking for something to accessorize with your dress, handtieds have a fuller look and tend to add a larger focal point to your pictures. Handtied bouquets come in multiple styles, including front held/short stemmed, side arm/ long stemmed, and front held/long stemmed. Of course, the possibilities are endless – just give us a call!

Combined Pink Handtied
Roses, Tulips, and Mini Calla Lilies

Most flowers work very well with handtieds, and come in medium (cantelope size) or large (honeydew size).

Combined Yellow Handtied
Roses, Green Hydrangea, Tulips, and Mini Calla Lilies

And of course, don’t forget to order flowers for him!

Call our shop to discuss various styles for matching boutonnieres.

Unraveling A Hallmark Holiday

It’s “the most wonderful time of year” here at the shop. Besides Christmas and Mother’s Day, that is. The Petal Pushers design team is hard at work,  preparing for an exciting and very chaotic Valentine’s Day.

Red roses and chocolate. Just some boring thing we do on a commercialized “Hallmark holiday” once a year.

Right?

Well, not exactly. The tradition of presenting chocolate to your loved one (and we’ll start with chocolate first, because, well, it’s chocolate… must we have a reason?) is steeped in historical significance.

The tale of chocolate and Valentine’s Day actually goes back further than you may think. Chocolate has been associated with special events since it was originally discovered nearly 2,000 years ago. The Aztecs made special chocolate drinks that were used on special occasions. Ever since that time chocolate has been looked upon as a very special item.

In more recent history during the 1800’s in Europe, Richard Cadbury (should sound familiar!) created what would become the first heart shaped box for chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Ever since then, it has become a yearly tradition for couples in love all across the world.

(At the shop, we offer a decadent collection of premium gourmet chocolates, including David Bradley. We’ve been known to sneak a few at the shop – they’re just that tempting!)

Of course, flowers are steeped in tradition as well. While red roses are the traditional symbol of love, they may be a little cliché for some. That’s where the experts come in…

Budding romantics, take note!

Here’s a special guide to saying those three special words with flowers:

• Daffodils are the symbol of ‘unrequited love’ so this could be an appropriate gift for someone you admire from afar.

• Narcissus – another spring flower, but this one has a very different meaning. This is the symbol of ‘ego’, so this bouquet could be apt for someone who’s a bit too ‘me, me, me’.

• For covert love affairs choose Ferns – the symbol of ‘secret love’ – and pair them with Scarlet Fuschias for ‘confiding love’.

• Violets and Bird of Paradise are the symbols of ‘faithfulness’ and could be combined with Lavender for ‘loyalty’ and ‘devotion’. If you’re going to be far away from that special someone this Valentine’s Day, send them Forget-me-not for ‘true love’ and ‘remembrance’.

• Roses have become the traditional Valentine’s flower, but Orchids also symbolize ‘love’ and ‘beauty’. Red Tulips are considered a ‘declaration of love’ and cost a lot less than red roses.

• For young lovers, Primroses are the symbol of ‘first love’, whilst the Hyacinth is perfect for those couples who like having fun together, as it’s the symbol of ‘playful love’.

• For those of you in the dog’s house this Valentine’s Day, slip an Olive branch into your bouquet, as the symbol of ‘peace’. You could also try buttering them up with some Peonies, the flower for ‘beauty’.

…and don’t forget some Ivy for ‘fidelity’!

😉

Why Being a Pansy Isn’t All That Bad.

Perhaps you think being called a “pansy” is a put-down.

…You may be right.

Urban Dictionary defines “pansy” as a person who is “very pathetic and wimpy; weak, spineless, a sissy”.  It is generally used as an insult.

Although, this term is more than contradictory. Surprisingly, one of this season’s most strong and resilient flowers is actually the pansy.

Pansies are one of the most popular and recognizable cool weather annuals.
Floral breeding has actually produced pansies that are better able to stand up to the cold:
(Click here for more information on icicle pansies!)
Many pansies are bicolored, making them striking plants for their small size.
And although they appear delicate, they are surprisingly hardy. (Especially in the snow!)
Symbolically, a honeyflower and a pansy left by a lover for his beloved means “I am thinking of our forbidden love”. In 1858, the writer James Shirley Hibberd wrote that the French custom of giving a bride a bouquet of pansies (thoughts) and marigolds (cares) symbolized the woes of domestic life rather than marital bliss.
The pansy has also attracted the attention of poets and artists including William ShakespeareWilliam WordsworthPierre-Joseph Redouté, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

There really isn’t any room to call the pansy “pathetic” or “wimpy”.

In fact, if you are ever called a pansy, just reply with a simple “Why, thank you!”

And if you’re still in a winter slump, remember that pansies are in full bloom in the Spring…

which is just around the corner!

😉

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?