Friday, June 15, 2012

Late Floridian Spring

Cassia fistula "Golden Shower Tree"
Passiflora incarnata "Maypop"
Flamboyant Tree
Cestrum nocturnum goes by lots of English names such as Night Blooming Jasmine, Queen of the Night, Night Jessamine, Lady of the Night and Bastard Jasmine. Despite all the references to Jasmine, Jasmine is something else entirely, in the Olive Family not the Nightshade. I've settled on the name Lady of the Night just because that's the mood you get in when you smell it.
Many scented plants bloom exclusively at night. These plants typically have white, or light-colored flowers and are pollinated by moths. Some of these nocturnal flowers actually open during the day but don`t release their fragrance until after the sun sets.

Aromatic and Fragrant Plants
Many plants are aromatic; the scent emanates from the essential oils contained in their foliage or flowers. Apparently, strong scents protect from browsing animals; they also attract insects for fertilization. Strength and character of the scent, however, can vary depending on time of day and year, exposure to sun, wind, and temperature. Scent can also vary with different specimens even among the same species. For that reason, it is advisable to buy plants while they are in bloom.

Most plants with aromatic leaves are evergreen and many are grown both for the effect of their gray-green or silver foliage and their smell. However, some leaves have to be rubbed or crushed underfoot to release their perfume; a practice used during Elizabethan times when leaves and aromatic herbs were strewn over floors.
Cestrum Nocturum "Queen of the Night"
 I have returned from vacation where the end of the South Floridian Spring was visible in blossoming tropical trees and other flora. Strolling through my family's back yard I discovered wild Passion Flower vines twisted through the long needles of the tall Australian Pines. At closer inspection I saw a thick cape of Night Blooming Jasmine behind it! With little restrain I clipped a few heavily laden vines and immersed them in hot water and placed them in a cool room. The Jasmine was dense with open and closed blossoms and had no scent in the daytime but at night the entire house was flooded with its fragrance. I was surprised to discover that the closed buds ceased to open as opposed to the passionflower vine whose buds continued to develop and blossom.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Magenta vs Puple

"Blue Mammy" Roses, Clematis, Sweet Pea, Lisianthus, Phlox, Pincushions, Super Vanda Orchids
Bride's Maids bouquet of Stock, Geranium, Maidenhair Fern and Viburnum
Delphinium blossoms decorating a Strawberry Shortcake Wedding Cake
Hybrid Delphinium and Larkspur
Tall arrangements: Curly Willow w/Mokara Orchids & Delphinium w/Larkspur

Here are some photos from today's Traditional Home Facebook blog post and others from a Violet themed wedding we produced this weekend at Tribecca Rooftop.
If truth be said, purple is not my favorite color of the spectrum. It crosses into fuchsia and blue so readily that it's often a challenge to keep true to an exact hue when buying for events. The same can be said and probably applies even more so to the saturated hot-pink family which you have to keep a very close eye on when ordering and picking up from the market. Magenta and many pinks and purples are not found on the visible color spectrum because they require a mix of multiple wavelengths to exist. That may be the reason they are so difficult to describe to your growers when ordering a very specific hue. Once I produced a magenta wedding and ordered the orchids directly from the growers. When the packages arrived they looked lavender veering into purple. A quick flurry of unexpected activity ensued, including running to the market before closing time to buy what I could find on hand that could substitute for the purple shipment. Needless to say time was spent, nerves were frayed and my feet were already hurting! What could have been a smooth operation turned into yet another stressful challenge. Tip of the day: make sure your vendors have exact names and samples before ordering and then check all the boxes before you leave with them to ensure you have exactly the correct shade of pink that's on the invitations!