The Goddesses of Spring - our new collection

Welcome to our new blog. Over the coming months we will be featuring Flower Box shop news, focusing on different flower varieties, talking plants, and interviewing some of our Irish suppliers. 

Some of our new Spring Goddesses on location in the stunning Wicklow Mountains.

Some of our new Spring Goddesses on location in the stunning Wicklow Mountains.

Welcome also to our new Mother’s Day and Spring Collection. To celebrate this lovely time of year, we have created a collection inspired by the magic of the garden bursting into life again, with a range of vibrant and pastel colour palettes, exuberant and delicate blooms, all presented in a range of beautiful bouquets and containers. And as a tribute to our wonderful mothers, the entire collection is named after the goddesses of mythology. Deciding how to theme a new collection always generates a bit of debate in the shop – but this time there was no disagreement amongst the girls that the theme of goddesses was justifiably perfect for Mother’s Day.

We’ve learnt a lot in the course of our research into the realms of ancient mythology (who knew that floristry could improve your knowledge of history?) – and as a result, we will definitely be lobbying for the revival of some ancient traditions, such as the Roman spring festival of ‘Maternalia’ to worship the goddess Juno, and when husbands were expected to give their wives gifts!

The Spring Collection is always one of the highlights of our year – some of our favourite flower varieties come into season and it’s the chance to create both pretty, feminine pieces and at the same time go a bit colour crazy. In this collection, we’ve tried to create something to suit the tastes of every goddess, not to mention the pockets of the mere mortals who will be offering gifts! We’ve even included a very cute kit called “Mamaí”, which gives kiddies the chance to create their own special flower posy for Mum.

‘Mamaí’ – a kit for children to create a posy for Mother’s Day

‘Mamaí’ – a kit for children to create a posy for Mother’s Day

Spring flower crushes

One of our key motivations in starting this blog was to focus from time to time on a few special flower varieties which set our pulses racing - the flowers we would pick if we were making our own bouquet. As highlights of the Spring Collection, this time we’re looking at the Icelandic poppy, scented roses and the ranunculus.

Poppy perfection

Icelandic poppy - ‘Papaver nudicaule’

Icelandic poppy - ‘Papaver nudicaule’

The Icelandic or Arctic poppy, or to give it its proper botanical name – Papaver nudicaule, is a relative newcomer to the shop, and it has certainly been creating a bit of a sensation!  Huge flowers and a gorgeous range of colours from vibrant pink and orange, to soft lemon and coral pastels, are two reasons why we love these papavers and why they take something of a centre stage in our new collection.

When they first come into the shop, fresh from the Dutch flower market, the poppies are tightly budded. If you are not familiar with them, at this stage you might be forgiven for thinking that they are the strangest things , with their wiggly stems and huge hairy green buds. As florists, however, always looking for variety in texture and form, we find that these alien-lifeform shapes are rather beautiful in arrangements. What they are shyly hiding, though, are some of the most magnificent flowers we have ever seen. Rather like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, after a long drink and some tlc, the buds open slowly, little by little, to gradually reveal ‘crumpled’ petals that shake themselves out and open entirely to reveal their full glory.

The Icelandic poppy bud gradually unfurls before revealing its full glory.

The Icelandic poppy bud gradually unfurls before revealing its full glory.

How to care for your poppies. Like most cut flowers, poppies don’t like to be kept in a heated environment – try to avoid displaying your bouquet or arrangement for long in a hot room and keep it out of direct sunlight. Re-cut the stems when receiving a new bouquet, check the water in your vase or bottle set often, and change it every couple of days to prevent bacteria forming. Make sure the oasis in an arrangement doesn’t dry out – if it feels a little dry you can pour water into the side of the container to increase the moisture levels.

Scentsational roses

For those of us old enough to remember, there was a time when all roses smelled of … well, roses; old garden varieties were prized for their heavenly scent and as cut flowers, they would fill a room with a glorious perfume. As production and consumer demands have increased, though, sturdier varieties have been developed to be more commercially viable, able to better withstand long journeys in difficult conditions. One of the casualties of this process, unfortunately, has been a loss of scent - some incompatibility in genetic properties according to scientists - these new hybrid varieties will never need to survive in the wild and so have no need for scent to attract insects for pollination. This is a sad fact that we lament in the shop; and so we’ve begun to work with more of the ‘old-fashioned’ scented varieties because we think they are everything a flower should be – stunningly beautiful and stunningly fragrant. They may be more fragile than their hybrid tea counterparts, but we believe that nothing can compare with the thrill of receiving a bouquet of scented roses that you can plunge your nose into and breathe in the magnificent perfume.

Scented roses are everything a flower should be - stunningly beautiful and stunningly fragrant

Scented roses are everything a flower should be - stunningly beautiful and stunningly fragrant

How to care for your scented roses. These roses will last best if they are kept away from direct sunlight and in a room that’s not too hot. Be careful also to locate your roses away from fruit! Ripening fruit like apples, pears and bananas produce a gas called ethylene which can cause wilting in some flowers, including roses, so a bouquet next to a fruit bowl is less than ideal. When you receive your bouquet, take it out of its cellophane water bubble, re-cut the stems at an angle to increase their ability to draw up water, and put them immediately into fresh water with the flower food provided. Keep the bouquet tied to display the flowers to best effect. Place fresh water in the vase every couple of days to prevent bacteria from forming.

Ravishing ranunculus

The exquisite ranunculus - layer upon layer of delicate petals

The exquisite ranunculus - layer upon layer of delicate petals

Ranunculus are one of those flowers which really signal the arrival of Spring into our shop. Part of the buttercup family, they are available from November to May but in Springtime we see them start to arrive in a huge variety of shades and they are very much a Flower Box favourite. Delicate and frilly, they are by no means the cheapest flowers (think in terms of the Spring equivalent of a peony), and they respond best to careful handling - but for their exquisite beauty, they are surely worth every cent and every extra minute of care. Most of the ranunculus we sell in the shop are grown in Italy and the Italians seem to be producing ever more impressive bloom sizes and new colours year on year. You may or may not be aware that the colour trend setting company, Pantone, has decided that ‘Living Coral’ is its colour of 2019 - and there could surely not be a more beautiful incarnation of a coral shade than the ranunculus pictured above (flowers, of course, like everything else, are subject to fashion trends).

We like to use ranunculus alongside other typically spring flowers as they seem to work most harmoniously together. Like the Icelandic poppies, ranunculus don’t oblige by having ruler-straight stems, so they can sometimes be a little rebellious in an arrangement - but then that’s the challenge and the fun of working with flowers!

How to care for your ranunculus. As with most cut flowers, ranunculus don’t like to be kept in a hot room. Be careful when handling them as they are delicate flowers and both petals and stems can be easily crushed. Change their water frequently (ranunculus are notorious for making vase water a bit murky!) to prevent bacteria forming, and trim the stems mid-week to help the flowers continue to draw up fresh water. Despite their fragile appearance, ranunculus last well in a vase and will reward your care with their ravishing beauty!

We hope you enjoy our new blog. Do send in your suggestions for new features, or any questions you may have on flowers and plants, and we will do our best to answer them. Until the next time … Happy Mother’s Day!

Tracy Biggam