Episode 203- Beauty from the Flower Farm – Flowers in Season

Episode 203- Beauty from the Flower Farm- Flowers in Season

Host J Schwanke shares how Flower Farms can broaden the range of flowers in your life. Flowers make us happier and give us hope. J shows you how to brighten your home through flower crafts, garden cooking, and more.

It's all about Dahlias- this week on J Schwanke's Life in Bloom as we learn more about one of my favorite flowers!

It’s all about Dahlias- this week on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom as we learn more about one of my favorite flowers!

This is a fun episode and features one of my Favorite Local Flower Farms- Hope Dahlias… and a Colorful Craft- features Repurposed bottles and Design Master’s Tint-It! I use Sage 3 different ways- create an Elder Flower Cocktail and Mocktail- and arrange and talk about Dahlias and Hostas!

There's nothing quite like filming in the Flowers- what a treat to introduce you to Kristen Farmer and Hope Dahlias on this week's show!

There’s nothing quite like filming in the Flowers- what a treat to introduce you to Kristen Farmer and Hope Dahlias on this week’s show!

A Visit to Hope Dahlias

We start this episode with a trip to Hope Dahlias- it’s a local flower farm in Grand Rapids Michigan- I met the owners many years ago- at the farmers market- and we’ve become fast friends- I can’t wait for the flowers to start blooming! That means my trip to the farmers market will be flower filled- and so will my house!

Filming at a Flower Farm is really fun- we learned this many years ago- when Chris Randall and Keith Golinski – our crew- created the CA Grown Experience- and the Florida Fresh Tour! (You can watch them at the links provided) People sometimes think flowers come out of a box or bucket at the flower seller- but going behind the scenes to see how the seeds, bulbs or corms are planted, and sustained is fascinating- not to mention picking, grading, packing and shipping… there’s much more than meets the eye – when it comes to flower farming.

J visits Hope Dahlias - owned by Kristen Farmer and her Mom Barb Esch

J visits Hope Dahlias – owned by Kristen Farmer and her Mom Barb Esch

Learn more about my Friends Kristen and Barb- and Hope Dahlias- in my Flower Friends Blog – here!

It’s incredible to see all the different varieties and everywhere you look there are dahlias- in different colors, shapes and sizes… it’s incredible! In Season 1 of Life in Bloom we visited Hamilton Dahlia Farm- you can watch that episode here!

And we even created a special documentary about Hamilton Dahlia Farm- you can watch it here on uBloom.com for Free! Follow this link…  Unfortunately Hamilton Farm closed- and sold many of their tubers to Hope Dahlias- to help get them started. It’s a natural legacy that the incredible flowers from Hamilton would live on at Hope Dahlias.

When you're surrounded by Dahlias- you can help but make arrangements!

When you’re surrounded by Dahlias- you can help but make arrangements!

Dahlia Arrangements

It’s hard (no wait IMPOSSIBLE) to resist creating flower arrangements when you’re in the midst of all those Dahlias- so I took the opportunity to create 3 different arrangements- with different degrees of skill- A Single Flower Bubble Bowl, A Small vase with a Monochromatic Color scheme (all pinks) and a larger cylinder with a mixture of warm colors, yellows, oranges, peaches and reds… complete with my favorite tips and tricks.

Check out my Flower Project Blog- that gives you more details, tips and tricks for arranging Dahlias- for your home, office or as gifts- follow the link provided!

Using Sage 3 Ways- In flower arrangements, making your own smudge stick- and sage crisps are revealed!

Using Sage 3 Ways- In flower arrangements, making your own smudge stick- and sage crisps are revealed!

Sage Three Ways!

I love sage- I can’t actually remember when the romance began- but I do know that I’ve been smudging for years… and when my friend Chef Jenna visited fun with Flowers and J- years ago- and we made an Italian Styled Bouquet- she taught me how to make sage crisps- (Check out the Visit with Chef Jenna and Sage Crisp debut here) .

Then having Sage in the Garden- and it’s wonderful white/grey/blue cast is a wonderful addition to any arrangement. It also is fragrant and that adds an additional creative layer to any arrangement. I have a big patch- that does great – and I can grow it – and govern it- so it’s chemical free and completely organic. It’s simple to walk out the back door- and grab some sage for a recipe, or flower arrangement.

Sage Crisps are a great alternative to potato chips... and there's BUTTER involved!

Sage Crisps are a great alternative to potato chips… and there’s BUTTER involved!

I’ve included my recipe for Sage Crisps- which is very simple – in this Link!

In this show I share how to Make your own smudge stick- from Sage- there’s more about that Flower Craft in this Link!

And finally- I show how easy it is to create a structure with foliage in a vase- to hold your flowers in place. I used a large stalk of Scented Geranium- along with Hydrangea, Sage and Green Zinnias- from my Friend Craig at Z’s Farm. The process of using foliage as a structure is a key component in making flower arranging easy… Everyone always tells me how easy I make flower arranging look- and the truth is… it’s the little tips and tricks that make you look like a pro.

Having a structure of foliage- sometimes even 1 -2 or 3 pieces can alleviate all the stress- and flowers almost magically stay exactly where you put them… it’s the structure- (or preparation you implement) that makes flower arranging easy to do!

I create an Elderflower Cocktail and Mocktail this week on Life in Bloom!

I create an Elderflower Cocktail and Mocktail this week on Life in Bloom!

Elderflower- Cocktail and Mocktail!

This week’s #FlowerCocktailHour is all about Elderflower- and the health and wellness this natural herb can provide. What better way to enjoy Elderflower than with a Cocktail – or Mocktail- depending on your preference! Here at Life in Bloom we want Anyone to enjoy Elderflower- Here’s a link to the Elderflower Cocktail and Mocktail Recipe!

It's easy to recycle and re-purpose glass bottles with Design Master- and a few flowers!

It’s easy to recycle and re-purpose glass bottles with Design Master- and a few flowers!

Colorful Dahlia Centerpiece

This is a wonderful craft- and it’s a great way to re-cycle and re-purpose glass bottles… and it’s all about Color- my Friends at Design Master- the color experts- have all sorts of Color Tools- that make adding color to your Flower Crafts and Projects easy! Design Master is the expert when it comes to creating colorful paints that are gentle enough to be used on Fresh Flowers and Foliage- and that makes them Eco-Friendly, Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly.

I use their Tint-IT Paints- translucent French Dyes- that help shift the colors of flowers- but also color enhance glass magically- with a few light airbrushed coats. I have helpful instructions, tips and hints- in this blog about the Colorful Dahlia Bottle project – follow the Link!

Sometimes a few flowers is better- with these Designer Bottles and Tint-IT- you've got a simple centerpiece- loaded with color!

Sometimes a few flowers is better- with these Designer Bottles and Tint-IT- you’ve got a simple centerpiece- loaded with color!

Learn more about Design Masters Color Tools- and find TONS of Color Inspiration for projects, crafts and flower treatments on their website at DMColor.com

Dahlia- Featured Flower

Obviously the Featured Flower for this week’s show is the Dahlia. There are over 40 species of Dahlias- and as I reference several times in this episode- the Dahlia is an octaploid – which means that dahlias have 8 complete sets of chromosomes in a single cell structure- which accounts for it’s diversity in color, petal formation, shape, size and proportion.

These little yellow petals on the Collarette Dahlia are actually part of ONE petal- the yellow smaller petals grow out of the other petal... Amazing!

These little yellow petals on the Collarette Dahlia are actually part of ONE petal- the yellow smaller petals grow out of the other petal… Amazing!

Dahlias are one of very few Octaploid species- and the only flower I know of… (Strawberries are also an octaploid fruit) -which leads to my favorite legend- that perhaps Dahlias were left by space aliens- and are not of this world… whether you believe that- is up to you… but I like the idea of a Dahlia being left by a flying saucer… and then creating it’s unique form of beauty all over the world.

The Café Au Lait Dahlia - is a very popular formal decorative dahlia - difficult to ship and challenging to grow!

The Café Au Lait Dahlia – is a very popular formal decorative dahlia – difficult to ship and challenging to grow!

Native to Mexico- the dahlia was discovered by Andres Dahl in 1751. The dahlias come from tubers- that are planted in the ground- the Dahlia tubers are not winter hardy so in areas like mine- in Michigan – we have to dig the tubers after hard frost and store them to be replanted in the spring.

The Dahlia Tuber was reported a food source for the Ancient Aztecs- and was attempted to be reintroduced to in Europe as a food source- but was not accepted and fell out of favor. Dahlias can grow up to 4-5 feet- tall with dinner plate variations of blooms that can be the size of dinner plates or a human head…

This yellow dahlia in the center is a Laceniated Variety- with a fringed or shredded petal look!

This yellow dahlia in the center is a Laceniated Variety- with a fringed or shredded petal look!

I am particularly drawn to the Laceniated varieties- meaning that the lobed shaped petals look to be torn- or shredded – giving the blooms a fringed type appearance. There are Formal and Informal Decorative Varieties- that have been thick blooms- one of the most common and well liked varieties- but there are also Pompon or Ball – that are round and shaped like balls… Cactus types which look spikey- I like these too! Singles, Semi- Doubles, Collarettes (I love these with little petals that sprout right out of the center of a petal… (More fodder for the Alien Mystery)… Varieties that resemble orchids, peonies and anemones… and ones that resemble water lilies… it’s almost like the possibilities are endless…

Using Hosta leaves for flower arranging seems to be a little known secret... so I'm sharing this wonderful arranging tip!

Using Hosta leaves for flower arranging seems to be a little known secret… so I’m sharing this wonderful arranging tip!

Hosta Leaves for Flower Arranging

One of my favorite tricks- (and it’s included in my award winning book- Bloom 365- buy it here)is using Hosta leaves in my flower arrangements. Once the leaves have had time to harden off- (this takes about a month in the garden) the leaves are leathery and can be cut early in the morning- and used in your flower arrangements. I’ve done this for years… but I recently was talking to a friend- that said she has grown Hosta for years and Never Ever suspected the leaves could be harvested and used in arrangements. So sometimes – we take for granted that thinks we know- are secrets to others…

That’s why sharing is so important. I’m crazy about Hosta… several years one of my favorite garden catalogs had a deal on 75 hosta tubers for for $20… I planted them everywhere- and this year they are really established and ready for harvest… I have lined paths- and filled in shady spots… I’ll have foliage all summer long- Green, Lime Green, Blue, Green and White, Yellow and White and even a Ghost Variety that is completely white… Hosta- no longer a secret… Enjoy!

You’ll learn more about dahlias and the people that love them… tips for arranging… and much more on this week’s episode of J’ Schwanke’s Life in Bloom!