History and Meaning of Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are very popular both as cut flowers and plants for the garden because of their big, beautiful blooms. Plus, they smell fantastic! Just as popular in bridal bouquets as a country garden, these flowers are loved for their versatility.

Big hydrangea heads are actually many smaller blooms clustered together. The little star-shaped flowers grow along wooden stems and create a big, pompom shape.

The Meaning of Hydrangeas

The etymological meaning of hydrangea stems from the Greek words for water, hydros and jar, angos. The name comes from the constant moisture required to keep the flowers happy, healthy and blooming. In Japan, they are said to be a sign of apology or gratitude because an emperor gave them as apologies to his maidens.

Contrastingly, hydrangeas have a negative sentiment in Europe where they were used to declare arrogance. They also became synonymous with frigidity in the Medieval ages because it was believed that young women who grew them would never find husbands.

Color Meanings:

  • Pink – love, sincere emotions
  • Blue – forgiveness, regret and rejection
  • White – purity, grace, abundance and bragging
  • Purple – abundance, wealth and royalty

The History of Hydrangeas

The hydrangea was first cultivated in Japan, but ancient hydrangea fossils dating back to 40-65 million years ago have been discovered in North America. Hydrangeas didn’t appear in Europe until 1736 when a colonist brought a North American varietal to England.

Hydrangeas are primarily used for landscaping because their petals contain low levels of cyanide, making them unfit for consumption. The exception is hydrangea serrata which Buddhists drink in a sweet tea as part of a cleansing ritual. The tea is said to help treat autoimmune disorders as well as malaria, kidney stones and enlarged prostate.

June is National Rose Month

June is National Rose Month, but we think this beautiful flower deserves our praise all year round! For centuries, roses have been a symbol for love, beauty, war—even politics. In fact, in 1986 President Ronald Reagan declared the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States, saying “Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.”

To celebrate National Rose Month, we’re sharing five of our favorite roses that you can plant in your garden this year.

Drift Roses

White Drift Rose
New in 2016, the White Drift Rose has pure white, fully double blooms perfectly shaped like a miniature rose flower. It has a true groundcover habit, with the superior disease resistance you would expect from a Drift Groundcover Rose. Quantities are limited, so check your local garden centers for availability.

Apricot Drift  Rose
Double apricot colored flowers begin in spring and display a season-long show of color. This rose works best in small gardens or along paths and walkways.

Coral Drift Rose
Bright, coral-orange blooms cover this small mounding shrub from mid-spring to mid-fall. The Coral Drift Rose has vibrant flowers that catch your eye from anywhere. Mix and match with similar or contrasting colors to really wow.

Knock Out  Roses:

Double Knock Out Rose
The Double Knock Out Rose has full double flowers that look just like a classic rose. It has beautiful cherry red flowers and is best suited for zones 5-11.

Sunny Knock Out Rose
The Sunny Knock Out Rose is the only fragrant variety in the Knock Out Rose series. It has a more upright habit with bright yellow flowers that fade to a pastel cream color. The yellow color stays more intense during cooler times of the year.

The History Of Roses

Roses have a long and colorful history. They have been symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics. The rose is, according to fossil evidence, 35 million years old. In nature, the genus Rosa has some 150 species spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, from Alaska to Mexico and including northern Africa. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, probably in China. During the Roman period, roses were grown extensively in the Middle East. They were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. Roman nobility established large public rose gardens in the south of Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the popularity of roses seemed to rise and fall depending on gardening trends of the time.

During the fifteenth century, the rose was used as a symbol for the factions fighting to control England. The white rose symbolized York, and the red rose symbolized Lancaster, as a result, the conflict became known as the “War of the Roses.”

Roses were in such high demand during the seventeenth century that royalty considered roses or rose water as legal tender, and they were often used as barter and for payments. Napoleon’s wife Josephine established an extensive collection of roses at Chateau de Malmaison, an estate seven miles west of Paris in the 1800s. This garden became the setting for Pierre Joseph Redoute’s work as a botanical illustrator. In 1824, he completed his watercolor collection “Les Rose,” which is still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration.

It wasn’t until the late eighteenth century that cultivated roses were introduced into Europe from China. Most modern-day roses can be traced back to this ancestry. These introductions were repeat bloomers, making them unusual and of great interest to hybridizers, setting the stage for breeding work with native roses to select for hardiness and a long bloom season. Many of these early efforts by plant breeders are of great interest to today’s gardeners.

Roses are once again enjoying a resurgence in popularity, specifically, shrub roses and old garden roses. Gardeners realize that these roses fit the lifestyle of today’s gardeners who want roses that are not as demanding with regard to disease control, offer excellent floral quality, have excellent winter hardiness, and fit into shrub borders and perennial gardens without seeming out of place.

To be successful in growing roses in Midwest gardens, one needs to be aware of some basic considerations. Attention to plant selection, a basic knowledge of the wide array of classes available, basic culture information, and information about potential disease and insect problems will go a long way in making roses an enjoyable addition to the garden.

This short guide to rose gardening will hopefully help sort through some of the confusion about roses and entice you to include one or more of these plants in your garden.

Why Do Flowers Cost So Much?

I often get asked this question on a regular basis. As a wedding florist I understand what one little flower has to go through to make it into a bridal bouquet. Just think when you plant seeds not all of them pop up, and the ones that do need time and love to grow strong. So many factors affect flowers like the recent floods that we have had locally and the high temperatures in the southern states.

I am a very caring person at heart and often get taken a back when bride’s get a shock at the quoted price from my quote and other florists quotes to compare prices. Some bride’s say ‘they are only flowers and they will die!’ Well, it is not the fact that they will die, it is all about the journey they go through in their little life to make it into your bouquet!

It is a well known fact that buying Australian made in most purchases whether it is food or furniture costs more and so be it! If I am supporting an Australian business then I will pay what they are asking. I also prefer to buy Australian flowers and more importantly local flowers because the quality is so much better then flowers brought in from overseas (even as far as Europe-Amazing!!!) And even they attract a high price due to freight and so on.

We are so lucky in our country to have access to some of the most amazing wedding flower choices due to our varying climates depending on our state whether it be transporting peony roses from Tasmania or beautiful spring bulbs from Victoria we are so lucky to have that choice!

Flowers need to be transported carefully so they are delivered in prime quality, they take more time and that means, and yep you guessed it, more money! Flowers also need to be picked; packaged and processed carefully too and at just the right time to avoid bruising as one bruised petal is not good enough for a wedding bouquet!

 

How to Fit More Lily in Your Garden

I love lilies and every spring I somehow manage to find room for more of them. Since my flowerbeds are already packed with plants and my garden isn’t getting any bigger, I have had to get creative about where to put them.

A few years ago, I started planting lilies in 1 and 2-gallon nursery pots. I got the idea from a local garden center. In late summer they offer a pot of ready-to-bloom lilies for about $20. A pot of lilies will instantly perk up a tired perennial border or revive a flagging container. It’s a trick I’ve used often — especially when company’s coming.

Growing lilies in pots has another big benefit: you can feel free to use them as cut flowers. If you have an established clump of lilies growing in your garden, it’s fine to cut a few stems. But cutting those long stems comes at a cost. Like other bulbs, lilies need their foliage to produce the next year’s flowers. Unlike most other bulbs, a lily’s leaves are on the stem, so when you cut the stem, you are also removing most of the plant’s foliage.

Growing lily bulbs in pots makes it easy to treat them as annuals. I can cut as many stems as I want and at the end of the season, just toss the bulbs.

If you grow your own potted lilies instead of buying them at a nursery, you’ll save a lot of money. Longfield Gardens offers big, plump Oriental lily bulbs for just $2.08 each when you purchase them in quantities of 15 or more. (The more you buy, the lower the price, so you might want to consider combining your purchase with a friend!)

 

Everything Has A History Even Tulips!

With spring, comes the sprouting of tulips. Tulips have a very interesting history. Sharing information about the history of the tulip is a great way to show kids that EVERYTHING has a history.

It is believed the tulip came from Asia and the area of Turkey,1000AD. Its name, is thought to come from the word dulban or tuliban(meaning turban), because the flower looks like an upside down turban. In Turkey, tulips were very much prized and in fact, for a time, it was forbidden to buy or sell the bulbs outside of the capital city. Such crimes could mean exile!

In 1634, tulips caused people to go a bit crazy, in the country of Netherlands. The bulb, looking like a onion was as prized as diamonds. It got so nobody was planting the pretty posies, they were just buying and selling the bulbs. People used tulips to purchased homes, food, clothing and even horses. Government officials kept a record of tulip purchases.

Sadly, one Englishman made a very bad error one day while visiting Netherlands during this time called Tulipmania. After spying a tulip bulb on a table at a home he was visiting, he took a knife and sliced it up. When the owner saw what the man had do, he went into a rage! He screamed ,”Do you know what you have done?”

The Englishman replied,”Peeling a most extraordinary onion!”
The “onion”, an Admiral Van der Eyck tulip, was worth thousands of dollars! The Englishman was led through the streets where mobs followed the man to jail. He would have to remain in jail until he paid for the value of the tulip! The tulip craze ended a couple of years later with many people losing their life savings.

Interesting facts:
1. Back in the 1600s, one tulip bulb was sold for two loads of wheat, four loads of rye, four fat oxen, eight fat pigs, twelve fat sheep, two hogsheads of wine, four barrels of beer, two barrels of butter, a thousand pounds of cheese, a complete bed, a suit of clothes and a silver beaker!
2. To have a tulip in your home was a way to impress others!
3. Interestingly, the tulips with the most value, really were infected with a virus and were feathered and not solid colored tulips.
4. Skilled workers in 1635 Netherlands made 150 florins a year. A sale of 40 tulips sold for 100,000 florins!
5. Those who could not afford to purchase tulip bulbs settled instead for art, furniture, embroideries and ceramics which featured the flowers!
6. The tulip capital of the United States is Holland, Michigan!
7. The tulip capital of the world is the Netherlands. 80% of the world’s 1700 tulip varieties come from here.