A familiar face in the Pacific Northwest horticultural scene, horticulturist Riz Reyes increasingly concentrates on his floral art outside of his full-time job as the garden manager for McMenamins Anderson, Bothell, Washington State. Reyes employs flowers and foliage locally as much as possible, and his adroit skills in creating sumptuous floral arrangements can be witnessed in his top ten favorites. He offers the following three tenets of his design philosophy:
1.) Cut flowers are a gateway to the art and science of horticulture celebrating the diversity of botanical wonder all around us.
2.) Whether it be texture, scent, or serendipitous movement as the bouquet is being held, floral designers always possess a natural element inspired by nature so anyone can fully engage with the composition.
3.) Acknowledge the hard work it takes to plant, nurture, and harvest the bounty available to floral designers by letting very little go to waste and allow what’s not used to come back to earth to nurture the following season’s growth.
Those who reside in the Seattle metro region are fortunate to have Riz’s talents at your tip of the hat as he is available for floral commissions. Riz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a few years of purchasing ceramics, my collection has grown to a considerable size, constructed of many different periods, styles and shapes. My justification for a new addition is that it must be a striking piece on its own, with or without flowers. Sometimes I enjoy grouping single arrangements of different styles together, similar as to how I would display a grouping of pots of annuals. If I can play with the colors and shapes to match a piece of artwork, then it’s another win. With this type of display I can easily put more pieces of my collection out rather than one at a time while still showcasing beautiful blooms or foliage, and tying it in nicely with the surrounding art, making for a nice group show. – James
Cut hellebore stems do not last long in arrangements unless they are picked when the anthers have dropped and seed carpels somewhat developed. Instead a more successful arrangement would to cut individual flowers and float them in a shallow basin where their colors and patterns can be admired up-close rather than bending down on knees in the garden. ~ Eric
As I sit at my desk and write this to you, the Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’ that I have planted on my terrace are now fiercely glowing silhouettes, brightly backlit by the sun that is also shining warmly on my face. The smiling sun is a nice change from the cooler temperatures and gray days and from this late winter flu I have been entertaining these days. Spring is almost here, I can almost smell it hence this cold, but the last day of winter is officially March 19th, so we are just about out of the woods. From the windows, I can see the leaf buds of Platanus x hispanica swelling up and pulling away from the branches, just about ready to open.
I haven’t been outside much the past few days but besides getting enough rest and drinking plenty of teas I have surrounded myself with multiple vases of these little striking yellow blooms to make myself feel better, a little extra sunshine inside. Who wouldn’t smile because of that?! Most everybody loves the Narcissus, for their own reasons, but for many it heralds the triumphant return of spring and an end to the long, cold months of winter. But why else do we love it and what is it about them? Is it the piercing yellow color that demands the attention of our eyes in an otherwise still drab landscape? The color alone, reminiscent of the sun, invokes an uplifting feeling of happiness and cheerfulness. Is it maybe because the rest of bloom parade is not far behind in the marching procession of blossoms known as spring? So while admiring them from my reclined position, the stories and symbolism of Narcissus started playing out in my medicated head….
The Narcissus has been a subject for writers and artists for more than 20 centuries, often-symbolizing rebirth, new beginnings and representing luck and prosperity. Could that be the reference in the cultivar Narcissus ‘Fortune’ as seen above? Giving daffodils as a bouquet is said to ensure happiness to the receiver but remember to always present them in a bunch because though the cheerful flower is associated with good fortune it might forebode misfortune if given as a single boom. Could this be why they are sold in florist shops in bunches rather than single blooms as other flowers?
There is one story about Narcissus and Echo that I love. I owe my introduction and love for Greek Mythology to Edith Hamilton, when I purchased her book, Mythology, while doing research for a school report as a young kid. I still have that same book packed away in New York, and escaped through all of the images those stories painted in my mind. But, yes, the story back to the story….
Narcissus was a young man of immense beauty who broke the hearts of many lovers along the way, lastly in his mortal life was the wood nymph Echo. Narcissus not paying attention to anyone else and constantly looking at his own reflection in a pool of water, falls in love with himself, thinking of no one else. This is how he spends his time, leaning continuously over the pool and gazing, until he discovered he could not embrace his reflection and soon enough he fell into the water and drowned, with the gods immortalizing him as the narcissus. The story of Narcissus in Greek mythology, is a sad one where the flower symbolizes self-esteem and vanity.
There is a wonderful poem to read of this story, written by the American poet Fred Chappell
Narcissus and Echo, a poem
by Fred Chappell
Shall the water not remember Ember
my hand’s slow gesture, tracing above of
its mirror my half-imaginary airy
portrait? My only belonging longing;
is my beauty, which I take ache
away and then return, as love of
teasing playfully the one being unbeing.
whose gratitude I treasure Is your
moves me. I live apart heart
from myself, yet cannot not
live apart. In the water’s tone, stone?
that brilliant silence, a flower Hour,
whispers my name with such slight light:
moment, it seems filament of air, fare
the world becomes cloudswell. well.
The meaning and symbolism behind this flower has inspired many writers to artists and will continue to do so for a long time to come. InKate Greenaway’sLanguage of Flowers – it is listed twice, once by the common name daffodil where it means regard and in its latin form Narcissus we see it listed as egotism. You choose. Salvador Dali, Caravaggio, John William Waterhouse, and Poussin, among countless others have been inspired when putting brush to canvas, using the the subject and the stories behind it as their muse.
The blooms are out in full force here in Madrid, and hope they are not too far behind for you in Pennsylvania, spring will be banging on your front door soon enough. By the way, did you know that ‘tete-a-tete’ means a face-to-face meeting, or a private conversation between two people? It’s been nice chatting with you and I hope these images and stories find you well and smiling…… -James
“I shall find the black tulip,” said Cornelius to himself whilst detaching the suckers. I shall obtain the hundred thousand guilders offered by the Society.” (La Noire Tulipe by Alexandre Dumas)
The fact that black, like blue, is commonplace in our contemporary lives, but rare in the natural world is a beguiling one. Black diamonds, black orchids, and black roses have that particular mystique and cachet. What we perceive as black in flowers is purple that verges on the darker end of the spectrum close to black. Late to flower, usually in May, black tulips seem a dark afterthought to the earlier tulips in softer and warmer hues, like the arrival of the evil fairy Maleficient at Sleeping Beauty’s christening pageant. They are difficult to place in the garden, deadening plantings if not carefully paired with zingier colors. When cut and admired closer in a vase, black tulips are a sensual treat magnified by the inky blue stamens and white edges revealed after the petals come apart.
There are usually tricks to getting some of your cut flowers to look better and last longer. The best time to buy lilies is when most of the buds are closed or are just beginning to open (which then allows you to see the color of blooms). Purchasing at this time will get you a longer period of display with them.
Once a flower bud has opened enough to see the dark anthers, it’s a good idea to remove them from the flower by pulling them off. Doing this will ensure that no pollen will fall off and land on the petals, which will discolor them. It also helps prevent any pollen from falling off and causing an unsightly and hard to remove stain on nearby fabrics, the lilies may be placed near. If some pollen does get on fabric, do not try to remove it with your fingers because your natural oils will just cause the stain to set, causing more damage. Use tape to remove it – a piece for each time you need to touch the fabric until all the pollen is gone.
Even though lilies symbolize purity in art, that is not always be the case in reality. -J
When growing bulbs in the garden, it’s natural to want to cut those beautiful spring ephemerals to bring them inside. There are tricks as to when is the best time to cut them to help ensure maximum amount of pleasure from these blooms. For Scilla siberica it is recommended to cut them when the flowers have just started to open to prolong vase time, which can be up to 7-10 days. Muscari armeniacum is best to cut just as the flower florets have started to open, starting at the bottom, and giving them an indoor life in a vase for up to 4 days or more. Always remember the small task of making a fresh cut at the bottom with floral scissors or sharp knife while changing the water daily will give further life to your cut flowers. -J