Host J Schwanke goes on location to two Florida foliage growers to show you this beautiful staple of the plant world, along with several inspired ways to use these long-lasting plants.
*Bonus Content- Click on the Blue Links!
I absolutely LOVE Foliage… my favorite color is Green- so that goes hand in hand… but I’m truly fascinated about all the different varieties, textures, shapes and sizes. I also love the new interest and trend in having more Plants in our homes- and the ability of foliage to clean toxins from the air… whether it’s a plant or vase of fresh foliage in our homes.
“Living Green” is all about Foliage this week on “Life in Bloom”… and it starts with a visit to my Foliage Friend David Register from FernTrust. FernTrust is a coop of 11 farms- that grow all different types of foliage in central Florida. Central Florida- (formerly the citrus) belt- is the perfect place to grow foliage- because it’s on the “frost bubble”… it’s an area that gets cooler at certain times of the year- too cold today for citrus crops- but there are a few trees that remain…. it was actually “Tangerine Headquarters” back in the day…
The FernTrust packing house sits on the railroad tracks- where the trains would pick up the citrus – many years ago- today that historic building is dedicated to packing over 126 different varieties of Foliage- and home to an amazing team of talented artists -that create custom made foliage bouquets, wreaths, garlands and assortments of foliage- that are shipped all across the USA and over seas.
I visit with my friend David- and he shows me how they grow millions of stems of Rumohra andiantiformus – Florida Fern, also known as Leatherleaf, Baker Fern, Leathery Shield Fern, Iron Fern or 7-Week Fern. At the very beginning of this episode- I show off the Victoria Leatherleaf- a special delicate, lacy-edged fern- named after David’s daughter Victoria!
On my tour of Ferntrust, I could resist creating a wedding bouquet- featuring their ColorFresh Florida Fern- with Birds of Paradise… you can catch the entire visit to FernTrust- in this documentary about the Florida Foliage Farms- Visit FernTrust here! You can learn more about David and Ferntrust in my blog- click here to learn more!
In this show we also visit Jennifer Strickland and her father- Joe Strickland- my friends from Alpha Fern also in central Florida- I created a special series of documentaries on the Florida Foliage Farms- that is available here – on the uBloom.com Website. The Florida Foliage Farmers are a tight-knit group of passionate farmers- and here’s a fun fact- they all have lunch at the local restaurant- with a Giant Black Chicken on the highway- sharing stories, experiences and helping one another- it’s fascinating to see … and testament to their life-long dedication to foliage and family farming! Learn more about Jennifer and her dad- in this blog about Alpha Fern!
Foliage is long lasting- and it’s an unexpected addition to entertaining- I love setting a table with different types of foliage- and this trend has gotten even more popular – especially with Weddings and Events- using Monstera Leaves (the Foliage of the Year for 2018 and 2019… check out my Flower Trend Reports here… and download your free 6 page Full Color Reports!)
www.uBloom.com/Trends2018 www.uBloom.com/Trends2019 – Placing a fern frond in between 2 glass plates is a fun way to create a serving dish – for your next party. Using a variegated leaf underneath silverware is another fun accent- in this segment I also show you how to add foliage to stemware- and use a permanent marker to create Foliage Placecards with the help of flower frog!
Here’s an episode of my first web-based TV Series- JTV- where I use Foliage in Different ways to spark some creative entertaining and decorative accessories- Watch it on my Youtube Channel- (and subscribe while you’re there!- Thank you!)
Once the table is set- you have some fun Foliage inspired recipes to serve… One of my favorite leafy greens is Kale. I’m so delighted it’s found so much favor in today’s cuisine… there are so many different types- and I even add to my my container gardens – so that I can pick it- and have “farm fresh” kale – right from the garden. (I’m attentive to use organic fertilizers- and organic certified soil additives… ) I got the Variegated Kale Plants used in this episode from my Farmer Friend Craig at the Fulton Farmer’s Market- the color is amazing- and it’s yet another twist on color with this salad- check out the recipe for this salad at www.uBloom.com/KaleSalad
Brunch is always better with #flowercocktailhour- and this recipe helps make it #foliagecocktailhour with fresh basil from the Garden. I have to admit that I’ve fallen deeply in love with Purple Basil- again my Farmer Friend Craig- provides wonderful African Blue Basil- (my favorite- for the flowers and sweet taste) I like to include it recipes- but also in flower arrangements… Follow my Instagram feed for examples of my Flower Arrangements- I create (almost) on a daily basis throughout the summer. Purple Petra, Red Rubin or African Blue Basil would be a welcome addition to my Tomato Basil Ceasar Recipe – check it out here www.uBloom.com/TomatoBasilCeasar
One of my foliage favorites is Florida Fern (Rumohra Andiantiformis) or leather leaf- I love the delicate fern fronds- and the different varieties… however we see it so frequently as a sub-text in flower arrangements- for this week’s arrangement- I wanted to create a project that STARS the fern- and uses the other flowers as a subtext- I love this project… and you can see more about this project- by subscribing to uBloom.com- for only $3.99 a month- you can binge watch over 1800 videos about flower and foliage arranging… or sign up for a year… I post a NEW show each week- without fail- and for our “Life in Bloom” viewers – here’s a discount code FIFTYOFF - to use for an annual membership – that’s less than $20 for a whole year- www.uBloom.com/Join/Annual
Here’s the link to the Florida Fern Project! After I got done with this project… I thought I would enhance it a bit more- I’m an action figure kind of guy and I love Planet of the Apes (or anything that has to do with Monkeys or Apes)… so I brought in one of my action figures- the Chimp Astronaut from the Movie and set him up in the arrangement… that’s just another way to enjoy your flower arrangements! hehehe!
I’ve got two craft projects on the Living Green Show- One is a Living Wall- that created to fill with plants and hang on the wall… here’s a link to where you can get the wall mount container to create your own... maybe you’ll try herbs in the kitchen or succulents on the patio… share what you create with me on my facebook page- www.facebook.com/Jschwankeflowers – and you can follow me there for more flower and foliage updates!
I also create my own wrapping paper – doing a crayon pattern transfer with Florida Foliage- placing the “leather leaf” fern under the craft paper and going over it with different crayon colors- helps to create a foliage inspired wrapping paper. I accent it using some foliage inspired ribbon- I love the three different types ribbon- included in this project… including the one that has different types of foliage embroidered on the ribbon- you can get these ribbons and lots more from my friends at www.theribbonroll.com.
Foliage gives us so many opportunities to Live Green- my Friends at FernTrust- create foliage bouquets- that are mixture of different kinds of foliage- one is called the Ultimate Bouquet- and it’s featured in the final project of this show- with over 20 different types of foliage – this bouquet can be dropped into a vase and will last for weeks- BONUS- it continues to clean the air- and provide oxygen- even as a cut bouquet- it’s beautiful all on it’s one- and it can also provide the perfect structure for adding a few flowers from the garden… it’s peony season- so I drop a few yellow peonies- into the green bouquet… WOW!
Also many people travel for a few weeks in the summer- and it’s a great to bring along a green bouquet- to the summer cottage… it can set the tone for Summer- cool, breezy- and you can even add a few permanent flowers- the fresh foliage makes them look REAL. Permanent Botanical Flowers are care free- and dropping them into a fresh bouquet of foliage- adds to their realness… no fuss- no muss!
There are so many things you can do with foliage- and it’s one of my favorite creative inspirations and muses… I hope this episode of “J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom” inspired you to give Foliage a try- and take a step or two into “Living Green”.