Episode #409- Birds of a Feather

Episode #409 Birds of a Feather  

Here's a Photo taken by Friend Donna McLin- of a Hummingbird searching a stem of Gladiolus Blossoms... I love it!

Here’s a Photo taken by Friend Donna McLin- of a Hummingbird searching a stem of Gladiolus Blossoms… I love it!

On this episode we’re taking a flight of fancy with birds. Bird of Paradise is the featured flower, we’ll get tips on photographing Hummingbirds, we’ll create a willow branch bird sculpture, arrange flowers, and more on today’s Life In Bloom.  

“Like the hummingbird sipping nectar from every flower, I fly joyfully through my days, seeing beauty in everything.” – Amethyst Wyldfyre 

Many a time, I heard my friend and mentor Frankie Shelton say – ‘put a bird in it, and it’ll sell.’

She was referring to adding a cute little bird to any flower arrangement. And she’s right not only because the bird is cute, but also because we have an endless fascination with birds and flight. While we long to soar in the sky as birds do, we listen for their curious songs and calls in our gardens and  anticipate the first birds and flowers of spring.  Let’s explore the kinship of birds and flowers.

 

James Lutke- Talented Artist and Botanical Sculpture joins J in the studio - to create willow swans!

James Lutke- Talented Artist and Botanical Sculpture joins J in the studio – to create willow swans!

Willow Bird Sculpture  with GUEST James Lutke

James is widely known for the Bird Sculptures he created for the White House Christmas Trees- during the Obama Administration. He’s a local artist- and so very talented- he’s created so many innovative and creative botanical sculptures. You may also remember him from Episode #111 The Art of Flowers-

Here’s a link to that show: https://ubloom.com/blog/2019/06/14/episode-11-art-flowers/

James creates this magnificent Willow Bird Swan and fills it with flowers... Amazing!

James creates this magnificent Willow Bird Swan and fills it with flowers… Amazing!

In this show James translated a piece of Art – into Flowers- at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) for their Art in Bloom Event. James is a great teacher as well- and he helped inspire me- with this wonderful willow swan- and he gives so many great tips, hints and techniques- that helped us create one of kind bird sculptures filled with flowers!

COMING SOON- More with Flower Friend and Talented Artist James Lutke- STAY TUNED

Here's the detail of the Bird of Paradise "Eggs" getting ready to hatch in the Craft Wire Nest... oooooh!

Here’s the detail of the Bird of Paradise “Eggs” getting ready to hatch in the Craft Wire Nest… oooooh!

Featured Flower: Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise- Trivia/Facts

https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/perennial/bird-of-paradise/ 

https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-grow-strelitzia-1902742

https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/bird-of-paradise-meaning-and-symbolism

wikipedia listing for Bird of Paradise

- The flower is so named, because of a resemblance to birds-of-paradise, a family of birds  found in found in Papua New Guinea and eastern Australia, with 42 species

- Bird of Paradise plants are a tropical plant, the blooms of which make fantastic cut flowers.

- They are also known as Crane flowers.

- Blooms of the bird of paradise are actually made up of many different parts. The base of the flower (the “beak” of the bird) is a bract or a modified leaf. The orange petals at the top aren’t true petals, but actually sepals or modified petals. The true petals of the flower are the blue parts. 

- The multicolored blooms are truly unique, and each blossom can last up to two weeks.

- Bird of Paradise plants are tropical and need protection from cold and plenty of warmth and sun to thrive.

- In the wild, birds of paradise are not pollinated by insects, they are pollinated by sunbirds, that regularly feed on its sweet nectar. When the bird lands on its petals, the pollen is transferred to the bird’s chest, which gets transferred to the next flower the bird lands on.

- The bird of paradise is closely related to the banana plant, which is evident in its similar-looking large fan-like leaves.

- birds of paradise are available in yellow, orange, and white

Bird of Paradise- Open and Closed- BTW- I teach you how to gently open these amazing flowers in this show as well!

Bird of Paradise- Open and Closed- BTW- I teach you how to gently open these amazing flowers in this show as well!

Bird of Paradise Arrangement 

Let’s use our Featured Flower- the Bird of Paradise to create an arrangement inspired by the world of birds… that represents a bird family and their hatching eggs… it’s a fun way to use this Bird-like flowers- in a fun yet elegant interpretation!

COMING SOON- Flower Project- BIRD of PARADISE Arrangement- and Instructions… STAY TUNED

I will create a Nest of Craft Covered Wire, feature some Goose Eggs (actually the same ones that used as vessels- in Episode 202- From Farm to Plate to Vase- Here’s a link- https://ubloom.com/blog/2020/05/01/episode-202-farm-plate-vase/

I got the goose eggs from Crane Dance Farm and this time- we’ll hide the holes- and make them appear to be eggs of Birds of Paradise -just ready to hatch!
This arrangement features Birds of Paradise from Kennicott Brothers Wholesale- and Dusty Miller Foliage- from my friends at Garden State.

The State Bird of Michigan is the Robin- and the state flower is the Apple Blossom- and this lovely Vintage Planter was a gift from my Friend MaDonna- (Yes that MaDonna)... and it's filled with gorgeous flowers...

The State Bird of Michigan is the Robin- and the state flower is the Apple Blossom- and this lovely Vintage Planter was a gift from my Friend MaDonna- (Yes that MaDonna)… and it’s filled with gorgeous flowers…

Vintage Bird Planter Arrangement

I love vintage containers- and I have a wonderful friend- MaDonna Schmitz (that’s Right- THAT MaDonna!) – that loves to send me vintage containers… she saw this Wonderful Robin Planter- that not only features the State Bird of Michigan- but also the State Flower- an Apple Blossom. As I’ve always said- a Vintage planter makes a great vessel for an arrangement- and provides an opportunity to use flower foam as the mechanic- I use the Midnight Foam from Oasis Floral Products for this arrangement- and also other flowers… including Pussy Willows From Kennicott Brothers- Carnations and Hellebores from FabulousFlorals.com, Boxwood from Bandy Ranch-Mini White Gerbera Daisies- from Ocean Breeze Premium Flowers- (these resemble the Apply Blossoms- symbolized on the Planter, Luecodendron from Resendiz Brothers and Ranunculus from Sun Valley Flower Farms!

My Flower Friend Donna McLin shares her favorite tips and tricks for photographing Hummingbirds (and other birds) in this episode of Life in Bloom!

My Flower Friend Donna McLin shares her favorite tips and tricks for photographing Hummingbirds (and other birds) in this episode of Life in Bloom!

Photographing Hummingbirds with GUEST Donna McLin

Allow me to introduce one of my long time Flower Friends- Donna McLin- we have been friends for decades- and today we’re on the deck of her home- where she takes incredible pictures of hummingbirds. Donna is going to share some of her favorite tips for photographing these fast moving birds- and also hints for capturing incredible images of birds all year long.

Donna has set up a Humming Bird Garden- to help attract her photo subjects- and she tells us more about the design and desire behind her specialized elevated gardens- she installed just for the purpose of photographing Humming Birds.

Not only does Donna Take amazing pictures- she has a set up to capture the birds at their best... we share those garden backdrop tips as well in this show!

Not only does Donna Take amazing pictures- she has a set up to capture the birds at their best… we share those garden backdrop tips as well in this show!

This past New Year- we had the opportunity to attend the Rose Parade with Donna in Pasadena CA… however we staying in Palm Springs and Donna invited us to her friend’s home- Shirley Burkovich- (Yes- that Shirley- Aunt Shirley from League of their Own fame)… Shirley has an amazing collection of Hummingbird Feeders and has for many years- and the hummers are so tame- they will eat out of your hand… here’s a couple pictures of Kelly and I feeding Hummingbirds – at Aunt Shirley’s Home- PHOTOS Courtesy of Donna McLin- of Course!

Kelly is the Hummingbird Whisperer- they LOVED landing on his hand- there's just something about Kelly and any kind of Animal... he's got the magic touch!

Kelly is the Hummingbird Whisperer- they LOVED landing on his hand- there’s just something about Kelly and any kind of Animal… he’s got the magic touch!

This little guy- wanted to be face to face- I thought he might be looking at his reflection in my glasses... I Could feel the wind from his wings on my face... what an amazing experience... Thanks Aunt Shirley and Donna!

This little guy- wanted to be face to face- I thought he might be looking at his reflection in my glasses… I Could feel the wind from his wings on my face… what an amazing experience… Thanks Aunt Shirley and Donna!

Donna will also join me for Flower Cocktail Hour- complete with a Flower Crown- and a Hummingbird Cocktail… what fun!

COMING SOON- Flower Friend Donna McLin- and more helpful Hummingbird Tips… STAY TUNED

Here’s a sample of the questions and observations I share with Donna… Watch the show- to find out her answers!

“You’ve had a few careers, really – one of them as a photographer…”

“We’re focusing on hummingbirds, but you’ve photographed many birds in all seasons…”

Here’s an Article on how Life satisfaction increases with bird sounds and bird diversity of species

https://www.southernliving.com/syndication/seeing-hearing-birds-increased-happiness-life-satisfaction?utm_campaign=southernliving_southernliving&utm_content=manual_syndication_msl&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_term=6050f98ad141e5000186983e&fbclid=IwAR0TzOCBZ3xOUzXfRvjhbxkv3lnS80FiyKQBpDD-sfhr_5nIGWdtzZGId3o

Highlights:

- A new study conducted in Germany has found that the more often we see and hear birds chirping and singing, the happier we are.

- According to the study, seeing 10 percent more bird species generates satisfaction on par with a comparable increase in income.

“Thanks to Donna for sharing her photography tips – especially for Hummingbirds – which reminds me of an appropriate cocktail -please Join Donna and I for a little Flower Cocktail Hour refreshment!

There are many cocktails named Hummingbird… but this is the recipe I chose for today’s show…

Flower Cocktail Recipe- The Hummingbird Cocktail!

Flower Cocktail Recipe- The Hummingbird Cocktail!

Hummingbird Cocktail

3/4 oz of Gin
3/4 oz of campari
1/2 oz of St Germain (or Elderflower Cordial)
1/4 oz of sweet vermouth
1 wedge of orange

Soda water to top off

Combine in Collins Glass, fill with crushed ice, top with soda water, swizzle, garnish with orange wheel.

Another Hummingbird Cocktail _BONUS

https://www.popsugar.com/food/Hummingbird-Cocktail-Recipe-20785215

The Flower Craft- shows how easy it is to create a NEST as a flower arrangement accessory- out of Bind Wire (Craft covered Wire)... it's easy and fun!

The Flower Craft- shows how easy it is to create a NEST as a flower arrangement accessory- out of Bind Wire (Craft covered Wire)… it’s easy and fun!

Nest Arrangement

I think it’s fun to incorporate a nest into my arrangements- but Nature doesn’t always  provide an unoccupied nest… so I learned long ago to make my own- out of craft covered wire- or bind wire… it’s a simple technique that I’ve featured on P Allen Smith’s Garden Home- and here today for this simple flower craft… I hope you enjoy this fun arrangement that pairs my handmade nest with a few glorious Carnations from my Friends at Pride Eclipse Flowers in Colombia South America!

COMING SOON- Behind the Bloom- J’s Bird Planters/Vases Collection – STAY TUNED!

I’ve got an amazing little collection of vintage flower vessels that are inspired by birds… sometimes I take control of a collection- and actively search out more additions- but this Bird Collection- seems to have taken on a life of it’s own… and is made up of gifts that were given to me… rather than items I sought out… so that makes it even more special… Let’s look at this vintage bird collection that includes the following- Czech Bird Vases, A Vintage Owl Wall Pocket, A Vintage Chicken Planter, A Collection of Bird Pitchers, My Vintage Robin Planter from MaDonna- and more!

Jere's another Amazing Photo from my Flower Friend Donna McLin- with the Black and Blue Salvia- and an Incredible Hummingbird Visitor... WOW!

Jere’s another Amazing Photo from my Flower Friend Donna McLin- with the Black and Blue Salvia- and an Incredible Hummingbird Visitor… WOW!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our flight of fancy with birds and flowers – and that you’ve been inspired to spread your own wings and enjoy flowers in your life, too. For Life In Bloom, I’m J Schwanke.