British Flowers Week - Green and Gorgeous Flowers

I was delighted to see Rachel was hosting a course about growing sweet peas so I signed up and away we went.  We learned about timing, planting and variety choice.  We clipped and "tied in" the winter and spring sunshine varieties, which I learned were developed in California for cultivation under cover. 

It's British Flowers Week - PYRUS

Local growers have the power to quickly shift production based on these regional needs and provide colors and varieties that are not readily available to their clients.  This ability to shift direction and pivot will only become more and more important as technology advances.  A few photos posted of a gorgeous flower by an influential designer shared by a few more — BOOM demand.  It can take years for the big market to shift course, but you can do it in a season.

Fast Flower Video: Bouquet of my wedding flowers

Seven years ago this week Jesse and I were getting ready for our wedding! I thought it would be fun to celebrate by recreating the bouquet my sisters-in-law made for me. It has eucalyptus, spray roses, sweet peas, lisianthus, garden roses, anemones and lamb's ear. Watch this fast bouquet time-lapse come together!

Should you use seeds or plugs?

Flowers have to come from somewhere! It can be difficult to decide which plants to start from seed and which plants to buy as plugs. A plug is a young plant grown in large quantities that’s started either from seed or a cutting. In this article, we highlight pros and cons for both.

How to stay healthy during wedding season

Can I start this blog post with a confession? I let myself go during wedding season. I manage work/life balance very poorly, and one of the first things to go is caring well for my body. If you can relate, I hope you find some hope that you are not alone and that healthy habits are possible!

Interview: Natalya & Fiona of PYRUS

Attaching giant arrangements of flowers to buildings — today’s guests, Natalya and Fiona of PYRUS have done just that.  Their work for the Inspiring Impressionism exhibit will leave you breathless and with questions about how it came together, but the good news is, they’ll answer those questions.

Interview: Sarah from Poppy in Singapore

We are delighted to share Sarah's story with you via the Team Flower Podcast. Sarah has a bustling flower shop and flower school called Poppy in Singapore. Poppy offers unique experiences including a Flower Bar and Market Day which we will tell you more about on the podcast.

Video: How To Divide Dahlias

In this video we share how to divide dahlia tubers. Susan has been doing it for over 20 years, has tried all kinds of methods and is sharing her favorites. Jump in to learn about tubers, eyes, and dividing dahlias!

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Transcription:

Hi. My name's Kelly. And I'm here with my friend Susan from Shady Grove Gardens. Susan and her husband Brent grow wonderful dahlias up at their mountain farm. And so I asked Susan to come over today and tell us a little bit how to divide dahlias. And I also wanted to tell you a little bit about the dahlia workshop that she has coming up this July. Tell us a little bit about it. 

It's July 31st. And we're going to have one day of very intensive everything you need to know about dahlias. So it'll be planting, staking, dividing, design. We're going to spend a little bit of time with little tricks and tips on how to design. How to cut them, how to do disease control. 

They also get a lot of insects, so we're going to go over insect control, and the hard parts, planting and harvesting and digging them up in the fall, and then how do you store them. And today, we're going to do the division. But we're going to cover everything else at the workshop. 

Perfect. That sounds super fun. I bet you'll have like all the different varieties and kinds that you would recommend. So you're thinking you might want to start growing dahlias, there are all kinds of varieties out there. But Susan's been doing this for a long time and she knows the ones that really work well for her. So she'll be sharing all of that at the workshop, which is really exciting. 

So tell us what we're looking for and how we need to do this. These are Cafe au Laits from my little backyard garden. And I've never divided them before. I know that there's eyes and that that's important. 

Well, there are several different ways to do it. And I'm actually very conservative, because they're mine and I'm not shipping them off usually and I'm not trying to make hundreds out of it. So I might leave something like this for myself. But I start by clipping off all the little, what lot of people call as hairy bits. 

Get rid of all those hairy bits. 

And that makes it just a little bit easier to see. Now, you can divide the dahlias, either in the fall, right after you dig them up, which makes it a little easier to see the eye. 

Show us what the eye looks like over here. 

So the eye is these little tiny bumps here. 

Right around the kind of top. So this kind of looks like a little magnolia pod, doesn't it? And then, it's tiny. And then, you get this little bit of a bump right there. 

And it's always attached to the stem. So when you divide them, you always want a little bit of the stem to remain. So on this particular one, if you think there's two or three eyes in there, and you can also see, possibly, two or three eyes back here. So what you want to do is leave some piece of the stem, because that's where you think the eyes are going to be. 

So here, I'm cutting up through the middle of the stem. And this part isn't necessary. 

Goodbye stem piece. 

So then, if you really wanted to make three out of this, you could cut it again. But if you want to be conservative, you just cut it like so. So this has sort of this little neck here. And that's where I would expect the buds to come out. 

So the buds, or the new growth, is actually going to be coming out of that eye. 

All the growth will come out of there. And of course, it will form roots. 

So if we cut the eye off, then we just cut off anything that would be viable. 

Right. You can, if you have these here that are-- see how this is broken, what I would call broken, the neck's broken. 

Cracked. 

So these, most likely, will not do anything. So often, we will clip those off. But we'll keep this and that should come out. Now, this one's a little on the shriveled side, but it should be OK, if it doesn't continue to shrivel. We store ours-- we've gone through a lot of different trial and error, sometimes they'll rot, sometimes they don't. But this year we've decided that pine bark or the bedding that you use for pets-- 

Like hamsters? 

Like hamsters, like those little chips you buy at the store, those big bags, that seems to be our best bet for storing. So it doesn't keep them wet, it doesn't keep them any drier. We do have the whole bins all the sets of bins with the chips shavings in there, are all also surrounded with plastic so they don't lose-- you also want to store them about 40 degrees. Now, our garage is not 40 degrees. 

Yeah. This isn't either. 

So we try. 

Do they need a cold period? Or it's more or less for preserving them? 

Yeah. They're from the Andes. But they do not need a cold period. So think of them like a tomato. It's a tropical plant. It just needs a little rest, because in North America, it's too cold for them. 

That's interesting that it was a tropical plant. 

Yeah. So whenever people say like that it's too hot or that it needs that-- I guess, and you know this, because you're a Costa Rica girl-- the swing of the temperatures, like day to night, but people in Florida it just doesn't get cold enough for them, or if they're like they're on the coast. 

They're from the Andes. 

Educate me. 

The mountains, the cool summer nights, cool days, that's where they're the happiest. That's their origin. 

When you said tropics I immediately thought I'm going to the Bahamas now and I was like, wait a second. 

But that's where the wild ones are. So they probably originated somewhere near where potatoes originated and they act a lot like potatoes. 

Interesting. So this one here, would you say, if you do you have that broken neck, would you just leave it on and plant it? It's not going to do any harm, but-- 

Yeah. I probably would, just hoping that it might be OK. , Now, one that's really badly damaged, like this one, I'd probably clip it off. And I didn't used to do that. But just for storage space. And then, you don't want the rot. If it rots, you don't want it to spread to the rest of the plant. So ideally, you don't want them to shrivel quite that much. 

Show the bad example. 

But this will still have a good potential to sprout. I don't think I would divide it more, although some people might. You can clip the stem off, just don't clip down too far, because every once in a while, the buds will come out right here. 

Now, this one is more challenging. So you would need, probably, a sturdier knife and really cut into that. You could use clippers or even loppers. 

Yeah. This is hard. 

So that's another reason to maybe do them in the fall, when they're a little softer. 

Right. So basically, I dug these. I left them in soil and I kept them in a pot in a cool room of the house. 

Cool's good. Cool's good. And then, you want fairly high humidity so they don't dry out. And like I said, 40 degrees, 60 degrees. We start opening our garage windows if it gets above that and hope for the best in this warm weather. 

So recap. We're getting rid of the hairy bits. Step one. Step two-- 

Makes it a little easier to see what's going on. 

Yeah, it's easier to see what's happening. 

And you knock off the dirt. In my case, I'm knocking off rocks, because we have lots of rocks. And we're trying to get those out between the tubers. But the next step is what most people are afraid to do, is to really just go right on in there. And you are going to lose-- 

Look at this one. What's happening here? 

That is probably the mother. Actually this one's the mother. So that's the one you had last year. 

Oh, OK. 

So it's usually a little rougher, it could even be hollow. 

Will it produce again? 

No. So you could remove that and not miss it. 

Let's get a close up of what the mother looks like. 

So this one is the mother. So that's last year's tuber. And then, all of these formed over the summer last year. 

So then, usually, I'll go in with something like clippers and cut into the stem. But these won't do that. So we're just going to show you. 

Is there something else I can give you? 

Nah. I think maybe I could just switch to another. 

Yeah. We'll just switch to another one. And there's all kinds of different tools that you can use to get these going, even the little-- I'm not sure what it's called. 

It's like a Dremel tool. 

It's like a Dremel tool. 

Or those tiny Sawzall. And you can get small and large blades. We use a little narrow one, about the width of my finger. And it's heavy and it's not cheap, if you have a lot of dahlias, you're going to want to do it. So then, we go in and it just goes-- 

[BUZZING] 

--and it just cuts, like that. And then, it's a little easier. 

So here's one of your eyes. 

And you can see, it looks like it's like sprouting now, this little bit of green. 

Yes. It's starting to sprout, because we've had a little bit of a warm spell. So if you wanted to get them started early, you could put it in a pot. 

Put it in a pot and starting babying it a little bit. 

Yeah, but then you have to care for it everyday. 

Do you get an earlier bloom, or what's the benefit of-- 

Yeah. You get an earlier bloom. And then, those people that really want more dahlias can do cuttings. But that's a whole other project. 

So on this one, it's a little easier to see where you might cut it. And so you just cut in there. And you still have multiple buds. And on this one, hopefully, we still have multiple buds there. 

Yeah. Can you see this? You can see, up around this eye, how there's already even these little buds that are starting to pop out. So cool. So there's a plant. And here's one. And here's one. And here's one, maybe two? 

Yeah. Maybe two, if you're feeling brave. 

I don't have enough room, so I won't feel brave. I'll just-- 

Since these are Kelly's, I'm not going to cut it up more. 

And since I don't have a lot of room, I don't need-- look at all these. It's amazing how, this was three plants. So here and now we already have three more plants coming up this year. 

Especially if you're doing this in the fall, you want to let this sort of seal over before you were to put it in some-- 

To store it. 

Don't do what I did. Don't put them in Ziploc bags and store them. You will kill them. All mine rotted one year when I did that. So you do want to use some sort of loose bedding, newspapers, shavings, or something like that. But you also, just give it a day or two, like a potato that you've cut up and let it seal over and you should be good to go there. 

Well, Susan, thank you so much for coming to tell us and share what you know about the dahlias and dividing them. This has been really helpful. And now, all my dahlias are ready to get potted up and I guess to get an early bloom, get started out there. 

So thanks so much for coming. We look forward to seeing you. And for those of you who come to Susan's workshop, we can't wait to see you soon. 

Video: How to Grow, Hydrate and Hold Cut Hellebores

Susan from Shady Grove Gardens is joining us to share some information on growing, hydrating and holding cut hellebores! Susan has been working with flowers for 31 years and has been so gracious to come and share. If you've ever been captivated by the charm of the hellebore you are in for a real treat!

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Transcription:

I'm Kelly, and I'm here with my friend Susan from Shady Grove Gardens. She's a grower here in Boone, North Carolina! Susan, why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do up at Shady Grove Gardens? 

All right. Well, we're growers and florist. And we've been doing-- this is year 31. 

31, wow. 

We grow our flowers and use them for all our wedding designs. 

OK. 

So, we grow well over 300 different varieties, and we sell them to people like Kelly. 

Like me! Actually, to me! Yes. 

[LAUGHTER] 

And florist. 

So, I'm, like, nodding, like, oh, this is new information. But I of course know this, because Susan is one of the growers here in Boone. So, a lot of flowers that you saw whenever we were doing bunches of weddings and things like that, some of those things came from Susan's farm. 

Mhm! And we sell directly to brides, as well. 

OK, fantastic. So, before you started doing weddings and doing flowers just cut, you had a little bit of experience in landscape design. And then also tell us a little bit about your education. 

Well, I have a master's in Biology, and I have a Naturals degree and a Botany degree. And then I did landscape gardening, for about 20 years. And then we slowly transitioned into having a flower farm. 

So that's all we do, now. We have a flower farm and a nursery. We grow all our own seedlings. And I'm the grower, seedling, office mouse, designer. And Brent, my husband, is the main grower and farm manager. 

Yeah! Because they've got some flowers at their main place, where all of the seedlings and office work takes place. And they have a beautiful, you call it "The Peak," that's out-- just beautiful mountain views. I mean, one of the prettiest farms that I've ever been to. Fantastic views, great location. So, again, all of that then happens out at the Peak. 

Tell me a little bit about that Naturalist degree. What's included in that? 

Well, it's from Appalachian State. And, back then, we just did a lot of fieldwork. So it was all ornithology, mycology-- which is mushrooms-- 

You're going to have to tell me what-- so, mushrooms-- got it. 

Mushrooms and fungus, you know. So it was all fieldwork, as opposed to, like, learning how to do lab sorts of things. 

OK, sure. 

But I also took Plant Physiology and things like that, as well. 

Yeah, fantastic. Well, when it comes to hellebores, there are a few things that are really great that we want to share about keeping them hydrated. And one of them actually goes back to some of this plant physiology and some of those things that Susan's been talking about. 

And one of them is keeping the water that you're using-- having quite a full vase of water. Because having all of this water in here creates pressure that then pushes the water up through the stems! So that's one of the first things about hellebore hydration. And that would apply to a wide variety of plants, actually. 

So, it's great to have some deep water, whenever you're working with hellebores. We have several different types of hellebores here. And Susan really loves the ones that have their necks up, because they are a lot easier to use in arrangements. So, do you want to tell us a little bit about the ones that you brought today? 

All right. This one is actually a seedling, from my other hellebores around the yard. I will point out that it takes four years for them, at least, to bloom. And they don't move terribly well. 

So I love this one, and it's in a pot, so it's going probably back in my yard somewhere. 

OK, it's ready to go out. Uh-huh. 

This one is one that you can buy on the market. It's called Winter Thriller. There is a mix, and this one is Pink Ballerina. And it's a really nice ruffled double. 

But it does hang down a little bit. So, Kelly might be able to tell you how to solve that problem. 

[LAUGH] Yeah. Well, whenever they have kind of that natural facing, like, that their heads are moving down, sometimes what I'll do is take a branch-- like, for example, spiraea and quince are blooming at a similar time as the hellebore. And they both have, like, nice, branchy stems. 

So what I'll do is put this one-- you know, since this is a short stem, I put this kind of lower in the arrangement. But I would just, like, hook its little neck, here, onto one of those branches, or prop it over one of the branches, so that you could get that effect. And sometimes, too, seeing the backs of the stems, and the silhouettes that you get-- 

It just all depends what the point is, and what the purpose of that flower that you're using is, in your arrangement. Because this, even pointing down like this, I think, would be really lovely, depending on the lines and the shapes that you're using in your arrangement. But if you have some that are a little bit droopier, you can prop them up using those branches and things. 

So, love this. Pink Ballerina. Another one that's on the market right now, this one's called Pink Frost. And this is one-- I got a couple of these at Lowe's-- had them. 

I like the stiff stem on that one. 

Yeah. Very hardy. And that's what Susan-- as soon as Susan picked it, she's like, yeah, this is a really hardy one. And several years ago I visited Pine Knot Farms, which is where some of the research in this book took place. And I cut several different types from their garden. They were so gracious, to let me do that. 

And this was the variety that really held up well, comparatively. I mean, this went on for almost a month, I think, whenever I had it that first time. So I think this is a really great one, if you're looking to add some cuts to your garden. 

But really, most hellebores, I think, do hold up quite well. All of the progress that they've made in breeding and all those kinds of things, they're a great, strong plant. 

So, anyway, this one, I just cut from the garden, right before we came in to record today. So I'm going to give it a quick snip, exposing as much of this area as I can. And then I'm going to have some Quick Dip, here, from Floralife. And I'm just going to do a 1, 2, 3. [LAUGH] 

And then I'm going to put in that deep water. And then, same thing with this. And this one, I'm not 100% sure on what exactly this is called, but I got it here at Pine Knot Farms, if you really love it and you're looking for one that's similar. It's a very unique-- 

It doesn't have the picotee, like this Ballerina. I love the little spots. But this is more of a gradation in color, from white to this just really rich burgundy. And the back sides of the petals are so lovely, too. And a double, like the Ballerina that we have, here. 

And most of the hellebores on the market now are hybrids, so you just have to go by variety name and which ones you like. 

Yeah. There we go. OK. So those ones are in there, and they're ready to go. 

So, Quick Dip is one way that you can process your hellebore. And another way that you can do it, kind of an old-fashioned technique-- we just wanted to show a couple of different techniques that you could try out-- is to take-- 

And, Jessie, why don't we just get a close-up of this, if we can, here. We want to get water up into the stem as quickly as possible. So we're just doing a very small, gentle, super-gentle scoring of the stem. 

And that is also done with tulips, occasionally. And that just helps them get water into that-- what's it called? The xylem? 

Mhm. 

In the-- 

Yeah, in the xylem. In case you have a stem that's sealed off at the base, somehow, that allows more water uptake. And if there's air bubbles in there, like an embolism comes out. 

Mhm. So there we go! So, tell us a little bit about how the Quick Dip works. Because it serves somewhat kind of a similar purpose, when it comes to-- 

It does. 

--the air bubbles and the embolism-- things like that. 

In theory, you shouldn't have to do this on your own cuts. But with the ones that are shipped in, especially if you have them wilted, the Quick Dip, what it does is it changes the surface tension of the liquid and the water that you're trying to get taken up. 

So, it's acidic, and it's just-- that's all you need, is that few seconds to change that surface pH. 

So, the acid breaks down kind of the surface. 

Mhm. 

Mhm. And then it pops those bubbles and lets everything flow through freely! 

And that's similar to what you're doing with the slits. You're allowing the air bubbles to be dissolved, in one way or another. And you get more uptake. 

OK. Yeah, because sometimes with hellebores, we get those little, droopy necks at the top, especially when you're shipping them in wholesale. And for a long time-- Susan and I were just talking about how, for a long time, it was considered that hellebores just weren't a "good" cut flower. And how unfortunate that we lost that. 

But we moved into a season where a lot of our sourcing was coming from other countries. And we were doing a lot of shipping in planes and all those types of things. And so, comparatively, in the world of flowers, it was a little bit more complicated to get hellebores going, and because of their bloom season being whenever it's cooler-- things like this-- maybe flowers weren't as much in demand. 

So there was sort of this little period of history, in the cut-flower world, where they disappeared. But whenever we were doing cut flowers using things that were in our own backyard, before, you know, airplanes and all those types of transportation methods were a piece of it, this is something that you'll see in floral history and in art and different things. You'll see these being used. 

Well, the hybrids certainly have made them more popular, because there's nicer colors, better stems. But yes, back in the '40s, when people grew their own flowers as a florist, they used them. 

And then, the tropics, they don't do well in the tropics. They have to have that cold period. They bloom in the snow. They're Lenten roses. So, now that there's more North American growers, we have more hellebores. 

More hellebores. Yeah, and how lucky we are, because just the variety that's available, now. And Pine Knot Farm has done so much work in pushing us forward, in terms of just the interesting types and colors and, you know, all the doubles and picotees and all those beautiful gradiations in the colors of the petals. I mean, it's just fantastic. They have such a great variety, there. 

Tell us, Susan, a little bit about these little rubber-band guys. 

[LAUGH] 

We were talking about when the best time is to cut them. In the summertime, we, of course, whenever it's warmer, we want to cut them early in the morning or late in the evening. But what's interesting about hellebores is, they are blooming whenever it is freezing, unlike most other flowers. So you actually have to pay attention to, is it frozen? [LAUGH] 

Well, these were cut last night, at 11 o'clock at night. And they were frozen solid. So, I had my doubts about bringing them over to Kelly. But, sure enough-- 

Yeah, pull them out! 

--every single one of them-- 

Wobble them around a little bit. 

--looks just fine. They're a little more wilty than the ones I cut the day before, before the freeze, but not much. 

So here's day before the freeze, what we're looking at, here. 

And this one's not too terribly much different. 

I don't see a huge, like, visible difference. What do you think? 

I don't! Now, what you're going to notice, especially if you're getting ones from your own yard, is the buds probably will never look good. They may turn brown. 

If they were frozen. 

Or the immature ones, that stem might decline much faster. But the bigger ones, they will be fine. 

Mhm! 

Now, it does depend on how long they stay cold, and whether it's windy and they have wind chill and dehydration. But a short spurt of snow or deep cold, they are OK! 

Mhm. Yeah, and that's something else that's important to consider, is, what-- and, a lot of times, with cuts, when you're having things, if you're someone who's having things shipped to you, there is a whole life that that flower lived before it even landed at your doorstep. And so, you might be doing all of the by-the-book right things to do but still be like, but these never opened, or these just kind of-- you know, whatever. 

They had a whole life. They could have not been hydrated properly, whenever they were a plant in the ground. They could have been malnourished. It's like, how strong was that plant before it was actually cut? 

And so, one of the great things about hellebores, I think that they are-- it's something that I think everybody should have in their-- I think everybody should have these in their garden. They're very easy, once you've got them in the ground. 

They're easy. 

A very easy plant. And tell us a little bit about when you think the best time is to cut them. Like, you would water them two days before or-- 

Yeah, about-- 

--what do you think? 

You know, just make sure it's either rained, or you watered, about 48 hours out. And then you should be able to cut them early in the morning, as long as they're not frozen, is probably your best time. And bring them in immediately, and put them straight into water. Where you could go wrong is leaving them lay around, like I did with the one. 

Yeah, yeah! 

[LAUGH] 

But, even so, look at how-- I don't remember exactly which one it was, but there's only three to choose from. 

It's the one I cut with the knife. 

Oh, yes, this one. 

It's this one. So this one accidentally got left out overnight in freezing-cold weather. And I didn't pick it up till that afternoon. The next day, and it is perfectly fine. 

Yeah, look at this. 

And I didn't put it in anything. This just went into water. So that's a tough plant. You know, it's almost an evergreen. Now, you'll also notice on these blooms, here-- I think it's on this one-- you can see where there is some freeze damage from the past freeze. 

OK. Here, let me hold that out, so Jessie can see it really well. But, if you can just kind of get rid of this-- you good, Jessie? You see that OK? I mean, you can just pinch this out-- 

Right. 

And it's still perfectly fine to use. 

And I use them like that, because people love green flowers. 

Mhm? 

And so, these will all turn green in a few months. And that's generally when I use them. Because my brides are getting married in May and not in February or March. So, even the burgundies turn towards a green color. 

Yeah. They all sort of fade, a little bit, as they're aging. And-- good grief-- OK, so, this starts coming out-- well, I know, we're up in the mountains. It's a little bit cooler longer. But the amount of time that this stays on the plant is really fantastic-- that it's usable as a cut. I mean, you really have, I would say three-- 

Into June. I use them into June. 

--solid three months! 

Mhm. 

Yeah. So, their color tones and things are going to be changing throughout that period. And the look of them, of course, will change. So-- let's see. Do we have any where the seed pods are maybe a little bit more developed? 

A few. And there is a reason why it's called "Lenten rose." It's at its peak during Lent, which is now. 

Which is now, mhm. 

There was-- I think one of the white ones has a pod on it. 

OK. 

Because they're a little earlier. So, some of these will come in at different times. So you have to kind of look at the ones that work for your yard. 

Mmm-- I feel like this one might be kind of as close as we're doing to get-- 

Oh, that's right. 

--in terms of time period, right now. But these will actually swell out. So, this is the female part of the plant. Right? Yeah? 

Mhm. That's your ovary forming, there. 

Mhm! And then these are the male part of the plant. You can see the pollen popping off of them. So the pollen's popping down in here and then going down in. And these are going to, then-- these little parts, right here, Jessie. They're very small right now. 

Mmm. It's right here. Can you see that? That's going to swell. 

Mhm. And make seeds. That's the ovary, and that's where the seeds will come on and live. So, there's lots of different stages, so you can have it where it's, you know-- actually, in this book, there's tons of pictures in there I could show. 

There's a green seed pod. And they're very usable with the green seed pod on them. 

Mhm. Yeah, absolutely. So, here's a picture of the life stages of the hellebore. And here is the part where-- you know, this is what it's going to look like late in the season, once the seed pods have developed and ripened on the plant. 

But tell us a little bit, Susan, about this life cycle that we're looking at, here. I know you mentioned four years to bloom, on this. 

So, if you're growing them in your yard, and you let the seed pods drop the seeds-- which you can barely see in the photo, there-- you should, in theory, have seedlings the next year. But they're going to be tiny. They're going to be like these little seedlings you see here. 

Now, you can move them. And probably the best time to move them is when they're that small. 

Oh, OK. 

They don't especially like being divided. They don't especially like being moved. 

OK. 

But the other important thing is, once they get really big and mature, they make a better cut flower. So maybe that first year or so, you might not really expect those flowers to be great and hold up well. 

Kind of like a peony, maybe. Like, you know, that kind of three-year mark. Well, for a lot of-- you grow a lot of perennials. And three years is when they kind of have established and they're doing well. 

So, as far as bloom goes, for those little guys that you might be wanting to do yourself, don't expect to see anything for about four years. 

Yeah? [LAUGH] Patience, big-time. 

And that's why hellebores are not that commercially available or that inexpensive, if you're buying. 

Right. They are a more expensive plant, and there's a lot of time that's involved in babying those things, unlike some of these annuals that you can pop up pretty inexpensively, at Lowe's or different things. Like this one, here, the Pink Frost, I think that that was maybe $16 or $18, compared to some of the other, kind of, quick annuals that they have or biannuals that they have that are coming and going. 

Yes I saw some at Lowe's, just yesterday, day before. $17 for just the standard Lowe's gallon pot. 

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But they're great when you can get them going and established. There's nothing else really happening in the garden at that time. 

That's true. 

So it is that kind of like-- I guess I think I plant them more for myself, because it's like, oh, here's something! 

[LAUGH] 

You know, spring is here. Anything else that you wanted to share? 

I started growing them because all my brides were asking for green-- 

Oh, OK! 

--and green flowers. 

Right, right. 

So, I needed something green, and there's only so many green flowers. And in June, and in May, perfect green flowers. 

Yeah, yeah. 

I also use the leaves. 

Mhm! Yeah, I love these. Mhm. These are so great. I'm not sure how you use them, exactly, but I like to use them low in arrangements, over the rim of the container, to frame some of the larger flowers. 

And the leaves you can use all season long. I might be-- am I destroying my plant by clipping from the leaves after they've bloomed? Maybe a little bit. [LAUGH] 

If it's a big plant, I think they can handle it. 

They can handle it? Mhm? OK, great! Well, I just wanted to share, again, this book. It's called Hellebores, a Comprehensive Guide. Burrell and Tyler are the authors on this. And it is one of the American Horticultural Society award-winning books. 

And you hop over-- this was at the Royal Horticultural Society gardens, in England. Whenever I was there, they have-- this is one of the ones that they have in their library. 

But it's a comprehensive guide. And there's all kinds of great resources in here and a lifetime of several people that are kind of summarized in here. And also, what we've got is, there's a plant trial, back here, that John Dole from NC State headed up, in the appendix-- which I guess I don't-- there's a little nutrient study, here, in C. 

Back here, in Appendix D of this book, there was a study that Fanelli and John Dole from NC State, the Department of Horticulture Science, put together-- a little experiment using hellebores as a cut flower. And their results-- and you can see all of, you know, what their control was and their temperature and all those kinds of things. 

But 17 and 1/2 days is where they landed. They were experimenting with cut-flower preservatives. So, like, not the Quick Dip specifically, but those kinds of hydrating solutions and holding solutions, versus when you're cutting the plant. Because, for almost-- a lot of people-- and Susan, you know, I would consider one of them-- that cutting them later, you know, finds that there's really not a whole lot of problem, once they've got those seed pods on them. 

So, that's what he was testing. You know, was there a notable difference between if the seed pods were developed versus if they weren't? And he didn't seem to find a major-- in this study, he didn't see a major difference. But it doesn't mean that there might not be for someone else. 

Like, this one's starting to form a seed pod. So I would prefer to use one like that, because it's a little more leathery. 

Sure, mhm. 

And I would assume that it would last longer than one that still has all its anthers. 

Very delicate and soft. Mhm. Exactly. 

John was using a hydrating solution and a holding solution. A holding solution is a professional solution you can get from Floralife, is the one he uses. 

Oh, and I think he did-- actually, in this experiment, I think he used-- 

And Chrysal. 

Yeah, I think he used both-- like, the kind of equivalents of both brands-- and didn't see a big difference. 

Basically, they have less sugar in them than the standard Floralife that you would get in the little packets. So that's really the main difference. The hydrator is just a solution you leave them in for several hours. And it's similar to Quick Dip-- 

Mhm, but the plant just sits in it for a while. 

--just a different brand. 

OK. Why do you think people-- why do you think that, like, higher sugar content that you would get in a packet, if you were buying flowers from a florist or something, why wouldn't it be the lower sugar count, if that actually makes them last longer? 

Yes. Because, when you give somebody regular Floralife, with a lot of sugar, that's carbohydrates. So that feeds the flower, and it also makes it continue to mature. 

OK. 

So, if you're a flower grower or a florist, you just want to hold that in stasis. So you just barely want to feed it. You don't want it to continue to mature, and you don't want to feed the bacteria. Of course, there's things in there to keep the bacteria from growing. But that's why they give it very little sugar. 

OK. 

And then the home person gets the product with the sugar. 

Right. So then they're really seeing kind of the best parts of the plant, and the rest of the life cycle of it, I guess. 

And most flowers are cut in bud, so you want them to stay in bud till they get to where they're going. 

Right And then that extra sugar lets them open. 

Mhm. 

Perfect! Well, thank you so much, Susan, for popping on to join us, today, and to talk about hellebores a little bit. This has been really fun. And we're excited to share these beautiful things with you. 

So, best of luck on your hellebore planting that you have coming up. And you let us know if you have any questions. 

Finding your Instagram branding

We have the joy of being able to work with flowers every day, yet I know I am not alone when I say that I feel like I didn’t measure up just based on how my Instagram feed looks. That is just not right! Here I'm sharing my journey as I discovered what worked for me on Instagram.

Interview: Natalie at Native Poppy

In this episode we're talking with Natalie from Native Poppy. We're discuss leaving corporate world for flower work, the differences of owning an event studio and retail store. You'll enjoy learning about Natalie's flower subscription services.

Interview: Erin from Floret Flowers

I'm delighted to have Erin from Floret Flowers with us this month!  In this article we’ll discuss soil testing, amendments, cover crops and how much to charge for the flowers you grow. If you’re a florist, you’ll enjoy learning how you can source local flowers and tips to start a small, productive garden at home. Erin is also sharing her #1 tip for growing a flower related business. You can read on or hop on the podcast to listen...

Video: Solomon's Seal and Poppies

Watch as Kelly puts together a simple two ingredient arrangement. Poppies and Solomon's Seal are a sweet late-spring pair. This design is perfect for dressing up a windowsill at home, wedding bar or guestbook table on the fly!   

Transcript

Hey, I'm back, excited to share an arrangement with you that this time only has two ingredients. I have Solomon's seal and poppies. I also have a message for you on the upper side of my camera. And it is that you are awesome. OK, have a flower frog in my container. This is also [INAUDIBLE] decor, if you're looking for one. Have my pieces of Solomon's seal are arranged by size. I have one that's long, and then two that are more of a smaller/medium size. 

Gonna start with this one. We're going to go straight up. Going to be fun. And I'm going to clip it down just a little bit. Got a frog in here that's raising my levels. Whenever you're not using a lot of flowers, mention frogs are great, because they're just kind of pretty to look at. I think they look nice in an arrangement. 

So I have to be as conscious about covering-- kind of the point is to show negative space in the arrangement. We're using the principle of design of radiation in this arrangement. Everything is going to-- all the lines are going to come out from one point with this base material that we're working with. 

And for balance, I'm wanting to keep this as my center point, and then same amount both to the right and left. And what I'm doing with these pieces, I'm kind of moving around in this circle a bit, and I'm creating a little house for the poppies to live, making room for them. 

So this is where we are. This is the front side of the arrangement, and my poppies are going to live in this area here. So we created the general shape, the general size, that goal of level one. We're not going to worry about covering the base. And this sort of is just another part of that. And then we're going to use the poppies as both level two and level three. We're going to have them work together to create a resting point for the eye. But then we're also going to use them to create movement through line. 

Now, a lot of the times I like to use gradation in size whenever I'm arranging, but my smallest poppy has the shortest stem, so we're going to reverse that. This is probably technically-- let's see here. One third, it looks a little bit-- yeah, the poppy is a little bit too high proportion wise. So I'm going to let him come down a little bit. 

I was reading somewhere that poppies like to drink through the little hairs on their stems. So getting them this way, you singe the ends to seal off that little wound, and then put them in deep water till they're properly hydrated as these ones are. 

OK, so those are going to be my bottom two. With poppies, too, I think they're really pretty if you could just have their faces pointing in different ways as you work. They're all looking straight at you, staring you down, making you feel a little bit uncomfortable. Poppy etiquette. 

So this is something that would be fantastic for a guest book table or bars, anywhere to add a little extra thing, only 10 stems, 10 stems, two ingredients. Big, the whole way down to small. We're doing this kind of trickle, faces up, faces out, moving in and out throughout the arrangement. OK. Be back with another one for you.