Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Selecting Fresh Roses for Your Valentine

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Picking out the perfect rose (or dozen) might seem like a simple act, but there is a lot to know before you reach for that thorny love symbol.  Make sure you are educated before you buy so not to disappoint your main squeeze.

In this video from Julie The Garden Fairy on Facebook, my husband and I chat about the differences between a fresh rose and on old rose. Hilarity ensues as our daughter the video 'producer' gets bored and the cat causes a little commotion not once but twice!

  1.    Make sure your roses leave the florist shop with individual water tubes, if they are not in a vase of water.  Sending your roses home dry could cut their life in half, if not more.  A common result of roses being out of water for any amount of time results in necking.  This may sound sexy, but trust me, it’s not. 
Water tube example

A rose that is 'necking'
2.       When you are picking out roses, make sure the flower head is firm.  If the petals ‘give’ at all, the rose is old and dehydrated. 
This rose is firm with little 'give'
This rose is soft with lots of 'give'

3.       Know the meaning of those colors: Red=Love, White=Purity, Yellow=Friendship, Pink=Love & Appreciation. Pick appropriately!

4.       Sepals like steeples? Yes! Sepals are the outer shell of a rose.  This is what you see when the flower is still in bud form.  As the rose opens and matures, the sepals gradually open and ultimately bend downward against the stem.  Fresh roses have sepals that are still upright, so, think, ‘sepals like steeples!’

Upright sepals on a fresh rose

Prone sepals on an old rose
5.   I love these white spray roses. They are not the drama queens that long stem roses are, but they are just so sweet! I cut these stems pretty short and tied a white satin ribbon around the vase.

6.      If you are the lucky recipient of roses, make sure that you cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife.  Cutting with scissors can actually squish the tissue in the stem that transports the water up.  Also make sure you give your water fresh water every day. 

My favorite floral knife is this Victorinox folding floral knife. I have two: one in my kitchen for easy access and one in my floral workshop. They last forever and give your flowers a nice clean cut. If you do ANY floral design, you will not regret getting yourself at least one of these knives. 

I wish you all a wonderful Valentine's Day 
and that your sweetheart picks you the freshest roses possible!

 xo Julie 

Julie The Garden Fairy™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Snow: The Farm in Photos

February came with a snow storm in Connecticut and a two hour delay for school. My daughter and I enjoyed the extra time together checking on the animals, enjoying the fresh snow and making maple syrup snow for breakfast.

There was a quiet peace around the farm yesterday morning that only comes with a fresh snow fall. Sounds are muffled, animals move a little slower and time seems to stall for just a minute. I'm so grateful for these days.

My daughter and I checked on the chickens and she thought this egg should be hatched. 
"Because it's the perfect color." 

I love how the landscape changes with snow. Have you ever seen a tree with a personality like this? It's a Weeping Norway Spruce, Picea abies 'Pendula' 
by the chicken coop with an old hay rake in front. 

I get so many gardening questions about Hydrangea. THIS is why I leave them for winter interest. 
Here is a Smooth Hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'. 
I cut the branches to just an inch or two above the soil as soon as spring feels close, usually in March. 

The Magnolia buds are starting to swell over this mild winter. This variety is called Susan and it's a cross between Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra' and Magnolia stellata 'Rosea'

This Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' is a landscape favorite all year long, but in winter it glows. The whorls of blue needles are unlike much else in the landscape. 

Truth be told, I'm a dog person, not a cat person. But our barn cat 'Cinderfella' is such a sweet boy (unless you're a mouse) that I've fallen in love with him. 

'Rusty' was the first calf born on the farm in 2017 and his birth was captured in a Facebook live video on my page Julie The Garden Fairy
He's almost one month old now and loving life with mom in the pasture with the others in the herd.

I love this gate with a Pineapple cutout view of the pasture. That's a Shagbark Hickory in the center. Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality since colonial times in New England.

My daughter had no trouble filling her two hour delay and too soon it was time to wait for the bus.

I was happy to warm up with tea and tulips! 

Wishing you a wonderful day~
xo Julie