Plant Food (for humans)

Did you know that Hibiscus, a rich source of Vitamin C can be used in food. You can add it to Pork dishes and Mexican foods such as Quesadillas where it adds a deep red colour and a degree of sweetness to the food along with a cranberry aroma.

Hibiscus has also been known as a meat replacement; re-hydrate dried flowers then saute them for the look and texture of meat.

Another way to use the  dried flower is infuse it with water for about 5 minutes, strain off the flowers, mix the liquid with cinnamon and sugar and serve it over a glass of ice cubes

Asiatic Day Flower

We've mentioned before how rare the colour blue is in nature. Most of the blue things we see around us such the sky and the sea are caused by refraction of light rather than any blue pigmentation. Here's another rare example of natural blue, ;the Asiatic Day Flower.

This has a beautiful cornflower blue bloom, but unfortunately, it only last for a single day (hence the name) and, the flower is only at its absolute best for an hour or two. Although first found in Asia, the plant now grows in many other countries and will grow in the UK.

Chrysanthemum Blues

Less than 1 in 10 species of flora are able to produce a blueflower. Sad, given that polls have repeatedly shown that blue is ourfavourite colour.

Horticulturists have long tried to develop blue strains offlower, but with little success; primarily due to the fact that mostplants do not have the genetic make up to be able to produce blueblooms. However, now, some cunning Japanese scientists have managed todevelop a Chrysanthemum ( more commonly seen in red, pink or yellow)in a blue variety. In due course these blue pioneers plan to releasetheir research, allowing blue varieties to be developed on otherflowers. What might a blue rose signify?

In very simplified layman's terms, it appears that the scientists’breakthrough came when they made a genetic change to the plantcausing it to add a sugar molecule to the pigment, changing its PHbalance and colour.

We don’t know how long it will be until we can buy blue flowerssuch as this. Being genetically modified means they are subject tostrict regulations, but perhaps in time.

Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

It's pretty simple really. Make sure that you sterilize your flowers vase with some bleach before putting your flowers in. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria which will damage the blooms. Also, if you have any left over fizzy drink (particularly clear drink such as 7Up), pour it in to the vase. The sugar in the drink helps make the flowers last longer.

The the other trick is to add a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of sugar to your water. This will keep bacteria at bay and feed your flowers.

Happy Plants

Reading The New York Times the other day I came across an article by some leading botanists regarding thriving plants. they describe most plants as "social creatures" the essence of the article is that as gardners we spend a great deal of time segregating and isolating plants in neat little borders and clumps, when what most plants enjoy most in order to thrive, is the company of other plants. plants have evolved to compete and co-exist with each other, and planting a a less controlled fashion will result in each species finding its niche. they also point out that many plants rely on each other for support, shade etc.

The take-away message from this is that you should consider a less regimented planting, and allow a natural ecosystem to develop - this will also better suit the wildlife in your garden. The plants will thrive and are likely to present you with an unexpectedly beautiful display all by themselves.

Help for Disabled Down Under

Meanwhile, down under in Australia, an enterprising young lady called Nipuni Wijewickrema, formally trained in Floristry has created an opening for her disabled sister, Gayana.

Concerned about the lack of opportunities for her 16 year old sister, who suffers from Downs Syndrome, 22 year old Nipuni has put her training to great use by opening up a Floristry business from her garden shed. She now has Gayana working for her, delivering flowers, but with a difference

Most of Gayana's deliveries are accompanied by a hug for the recipient, or if she's not quite in the mood, a high five. Unsurprisingly, Gayana is a big hit with all Nipuni's customers. (Image courtesy of ABC News Australia - http://www.abc.net.au/)

Breath life into your cut flowers

Next time you gargle in the bathroom, take a capful of your favourite mouthwash, dilute it in a couple of pints of water and use that in your vases with your cut flowers from Carolannes Flowers. The active ingredients in the mouthwash will help keep your blooms fresher for longer.

Flower Power for Senior Citizens

Research has shown that flowers have a remarkably beneficial effect upon senior citizens.

  • Flowers Reduce Depression. Participant is a recent trial noted a substantial improvement in their moods when flowers were present with them
  • Flowers Promote Companionship. Elderly people who were given flowers engaged more with their local communities, made more friends, and spent more time with their neighbours .
  • Flowers Improve Recent Memory. With regular exposure to flowers, the elderly performed better on memory tasks and had fonder memories.

So what are you waiting for, buy granny a nice bunch of flowers and help make her happy!

Beautiful Begonias

Begonias can produce spectacularly colourful blooms during the summer and early autumn,blooms that can often be up to seven or eight inches across and areself pollinating. They are native to subtropical regions and werefirst discovered in Brazil in the 17th century and namedafter botanist Michel Begon.

Certain types of Begonia can make great houseplants and have been used in a number ofcountries, including China, as a medicine and as a food source,tasting of Rhubarb they are often used in salads

Edible Flowers in the Garden

It may surprise you to know how many every-day flowers that you can grow in the garden are edible. We’ve selected just a few here, but please remember, if you buy any of these plants from a garden centre, they are likely to have some residual traces of pesticide on them, so you are best to allow them to grow naturally for at least 3 months before any harvesting.

  • Chrysanthemum - Use the petals to add both flavour and colour to soups. They also complement both egg and fish dishes very well
  • Hibiscus - Perfect in black tea to provide a lovely citrus zing
  • Marigold - Use them where you might otherwise have used Saffron
  • Lavender - Use in cakes and biscuits or add to roast pork or chicken
  • Nasturtium -Use the whole flower to add a peppery note to salads
  • Carnations -The sweet petals can be used as cake decoration or to flavour drinks
  • Primrose - Crystallize them and use for cake decoration
  • Rose - Add to summery long drink
  • Tiger Lilly - The petals add a delicate flavour to salads and to fish
  • Begonia - You can eat the leaves, flowers and stems and they will add a citrus flavour to salads. You can also try them with stewed apple.
  • Fuchsia - Quite acidic but great as a garnish

Bouquets available

Here's a small selection of some of our bouquets available for delivery around Milton Keynes

If you don't hear from us...

Most employed people will have heard those words at one time or another. You make an application for a job, you fill in endless forms, you dress up in your best outfit, take a day off work and attend an interview. You then spend an hour on your best behaviour doing your level best to impress, so that you are the chosen one for that new job. When it's all over, potential employers can make you feel just great by telling you, "If you don't hear from us, you can assume you didn't get thejob".

It doesn't seem like a great reward for all the effort you've made to impress. Presumably, employers like this don't feel the need to make you feel valued after all the effort you've made.

Well, perhaps things are changing. There are reports from the US that some potential employers are now sending a thank you note with a bouquet of flowers to failed candidates. Now that seems much more civilised, and as a Florist, we'd certainly welcome that!