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Flower Blog Archive - October 2006

The Flower Expert welcomes the flower enthusiasts to the special feature - Flower Blogs where the flower lovers can share the knowledge about flowers and flower related topics with the flower admiring community world-wide.

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Thanksgiving Cactus, the False Christmas Cactus

Image of Thanksgiving CactusSchlumbergera truncata is the Thanksgiving Cactus, which is also popularly known as the False Christmas Cactus. It is also referred to by other common names, viz., holiday cactus or crab cactus. Morphologically, Thanksgiving Cactus resembles a Christmas Cactus in almost all the features except that they have sharply serrated or "toothed" leaves as compared to the more rounded leaves of the Christmas cactus. And the more obviouis difference between these two is that while Christmas cactus blooms around Christmas time, Thanksgiving cactus blooms during November, when Thanksgiving is celebrated.

Thanksgiving cactus is a winter-flowering houseplant native to Brazil, which comes in a wide array of colors including red, purple, oranges, pinks and whites although reds, whites and pinks are the most common. When planted in a decorative pot, Thanksgiving cacti make a wonderful holiday table centerpiece, or as a gift for friends and family.

Thanksgiving cactus grows well in light shaded areas. They prefer an evenly moist soil although they can tolerate dry conditions. So, do not allow the soil become waterlogged, especially during the dark days of winter. Do not let the soil dry out either. Reduce watering from fall through spring. Fertilize plants monthly from the time new growth starts in late winter or early spring, and throughout the summer using a one-quarter strength soluble fertilizer. Reduce fertilizer during the fall and early winter. The Thanksgiving cactus flowers best when kept somewhat potbound. Repotting is necessary only about once in three years. The potting media must be well-drained with good aeration, because the plant does not grow well in heavy, wet mixes. A good mix may contain one part potting soil, two parts peat moss and one part sharp sand or perlite.

They do not tolerate frost and hence they need special care during the frosting months when they should be brought indoors. For these cacti to form buds, during mid-September, these cacti will need 12 to 14 hours of total darkness along with cool nighttime temperatures. The easiest way to achieve this is to place the plant in a closet from dusk to dawn. Or you can cover it with a large brown paper bag. If you keep the plant in a cool room (around 50 degrees F 24 hours a day) in September and October, chances are excellent that it will produce flowers, regardless of day length.

Choosing a Right Florist

It was only after I became a florist that I realised what mistakes I had been making for the previous 20 years as a flower lover. And those days, things were easier, you could actually walk into a shop and see, feel, smell the competence of the florist. Not now days. Now days you have 3 billion websites with pretty images of the florist’s work, self- praising hers/his floral designing ability, colour co ordination and natural genius symmetry. And that’s when the confusion starts. They all look the same to you, you don’t know if the images are genuine and you cannot be sure of the florist’s experience to deliver what you need on the day. Your BIG DAY.

So I would strongly recommend the following tips which will guide you to choosing a good florist and not a headache, after all flower displays are a big and very vital ingredient of today’s lifestyle and could make or brake your upcoming event, let alone your pocket. In other words, use the internet to your advantage, to be able to enjoy a worldwide choice, not to be seduced into a catastrophic expensive mistake.

You must always make an appointment and meet the actual person who will be dealing with your event, you might like the photos but not her/his personality, it is important to like and feel comfortable with the person.

Have all your questions ready, not just “How much?” but “How long have you been designing, How big is your team, Where do you buy your flowers from, Who was your last client, Can we get a reference?? so you can establish the credibility of the florist before you commission your most important day to her/him.

Take a look at her/his shop, the way they display their shop or workshop will give you more inside into her/his artistic ability. Do you feel good, comfortable with the surroundings?

Do not agree on anything, or place a deposit on viewing photos alone. A good florist will provide you with a sample of the design/arrangement or display so you can physically touch and see the size, the colour the quality of the flower, the method it has been arranged, the container that has been used as it will be you who will be paying for all of it.

Remember a good florist is one who can make magic out of £20 worth of flowers not just out of £500 per display. Of course you don’t expect her/him to give you roses for the price of daffs but it must be your choice to use cheap or expensive flower. Cheap flowers can be made to look beautiful if put together with flair. So don’t tolerate snobbishness and arrogance, you are not asking for favours, you are paying for the services, but do remember you will only get what you are paying for, as florist have to make a living too.

Take note that a good florist will make it easy for you, answer all your questions before you even think about them. A good florist will refuse to undertake a commission before meeting you and a good florist will know your style by taking one look at you. A good florist will accommodate you according to your style, theme, taste and most importantly your budget.

Lastly, a good florist will be the one who once you agree on the final details will make you forget about the worry of the flowers, and give you no headache, just pure angelic bliss on the day, a day to remember.

Joanna, Out of the Bloom

FTD's New Halloween Bouquets

FTD, a leading provider of floral and gift products, is putting the “boo” back in bouquets with a new selection of Halloween floral arrangements created by innovative designer Todd Oldham.

Just in time for the holiday, these floral creations, styled to replicate spiders, ghosts, and other autumn themes, arrive in imaginative containers, such as stainless steel planting pots and cupcake trays, making them both novel and re-usable. Oldham’s unique vision creates these fun and fresh new arrangements featuring seasonal colors and flowers, such as cranberry red and orange carnations, red mums, and sunflowers.’s new line of Todd Oldham Halloween products will be unveiled exclusively on this fall, and are sure to make a thoughtful gift for any occasion.

Pruning, care and propagation of Frangipani

frangipani.jpgThe size and growth of Frangipni can be kept under control by regularly prunuing the plant. The frangipani trees respond very well to pruning. The branches of frangipani should be cut to about one-third of their size so that it can be maintained easily. The pruned branches usually result in multiple branches near the pruned ends. If you do not want any more branches, just prune the branches right back to the main trunk so that there would not be any more new branches.

As far as winter care is of Frangipani is concerned, it is recommended to protect it from cold by moving it in. Glasshouses are ideal but something like a garrage should also work fine. If your plant has grown big, you should better prune it before you move it in so that it is easily handled. Since frangipani is deciduous, after the leaves of the plant fall down, the plant should not be watered. It should be kept dry.

If you want new plants from your existing Frangipani, you can easily do so just by allowing the cut branches when you prune the plant to develop roots. The cut branches should be dried out for one week in shade and then they should be planted directly into ground or pots of sand. It is advisable to water the plant only once in fortnight until roots have developed.

Christmas Flower Collection!

In response to increasing customer demand for stylish but ethical Christmas flower gifts, Imogen Stone has launched a hand-tied Fairtrade Christmas Flowers collection. The collection uses luxury Fairtrade Roses brought together with carefully selected herbs and foliage to create innovative and eye catching combinations.

Welcoming the new collection Creative Director, Katherine Arnott said: “By buying Fairtrade, customers can help make a real difference to the communities where the goods are produced. Fairtrade guarantees that the producer has been paid a price that covers the cost of production, plus a premium to be spent on projects which help communities such as better healthcare, sanitation, education or housing.”

The Fairtrade flowers are sourced via an existing Imogen Stone supplier in Kenya who has been certified by the Fairtrade Foundation. Available exclusively to mail order and online customers, Imogen Stone Fairtrade Christmas Flowers make the perfect gift for friends or family.

The collection can be viewed at Imogenstone .

Punes admired florist

I got one kind of grass type plant at ooty ( India ) which i transplant in my house garden recently it was bloomed with blue and white colored flowers on the adge of leaf the leaves are looks like gladiolus what is name of that plant. I read aname of that plant Sward of Tipu in Agrowon published from Pune, But I am not satisfied with that name. If any one can help me I will be happiest Florist in the world. Thanks.

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