Monday, May 25, 2015

Colourful Summer Backyard Wedding

This January it was my pleasure to create some flowers for a simple backyard wedding in Hobart.  The weather was warm and the yard had been planted out with lots of colour to create a gorgeous environment for the ceremony.

"Rich native colours" was the request, so I knew I'd be using the Safari Sunset Leucadendrons in the mix.  Their rich burgundy colour in summer is always a great addition to a bouquet.

The focal flowers were rich pink-red Protea Compacta and apricot-orange Leucospermum Fountain.  There were other leucadendrons in the mix - some Leucadendron Pisa with their yellow-green bracts and silvery cones, and some Inca Gold which in summer are a rich jungle green with red tips.  

The yellow flowers are a plant from the daisy family, known commonly as the Curry Bush.  The flowers are long lasting and dry well.  There's some Brunia Albiflora in the bouquet too.  The foliage used is Risdon Peppermint, a native tasmanian eucalyptus.  There is also some wax flower and some myrtle foliage.  

I used some fresh poppy pods in both the bouquet and the boutonniere.  I love the shape and that gorgeous matte green!  

Such a gorgeous colour palette!

For the reception, there were little pots of colour to brighten up the local restaurant, a short walk down the road.  Rich green ceramic pots exploded with summer cheeriness!

You can see wax flower, Leucospermum Fountain, Safari Sunset, curry plant, foliage and brunia.  

Two larger pots sat along the large restaurant windows.

Rich summer colours to celebrate a relaxed summer wedding - perfect!

Friday, May 22, 2015

December Bush Wedding

A simple native bush theme was the brief for this December wedding.  

My first few blooms from Banksia Praemorsa bushes planted only a couple of years ago were the inspiration for the colour scheme.  What a beautiful wine-coloured flower!  I teamed a single Banksia bloom with some Protea Pink Ice as the focal flowers.

Creamy Leucadendron Discolour look great with their pink blushed tips.  I also used some late Berzelia, Pink Kangaroo Paw called Bush Pearl, and some leucadendron cones -  Jubilee Crown are the ruby red ones and Purple Haze are the silvery ones.  There's some wax flower peeping out in places too.   I also used some Hebe that were flowering profusely at the time.  I like the colour and structure they add. Some eucalyptus foliage provides a fresh background for a simple bush bouquet.

The groomsmen's boutonnieres were a simple combination of Berzelia, Wax Flower and Leucadendron Jubilee Crown, with eucalyptus and cyprus in the background.  

The groom's button hole adds a single creamy Leucadendron Discolour.

Table decorations for the reception held at Stewarts Bay Lodge, a fabulous local Tasman Peninsula wedding venue, used vintage preserving jars as the vases.

Leucospermum Scarlet Ribbons teamed with more Hebe, Leucadendron Jubilee Crown Cones, and fresh eucalyptus foliage fill the jars.  

Twisted willow branches create a sculptural effect against the white table cloths for a fresh, pretty bush themed wedding.   

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saving Seeds - Leucadendron Argenteum

Leucadendron Argenteum is the proper name for this stunning plant, commonly known as the Silver Tree.  This photo shows the male tree's flower.  The Silver Tree is like other Leucadendrons in that it has male and female plants.  With some, the male and female are quite different and easy to identify, especially when it comes to the flowers.  With the Silver Tree its difficult to tell the male and female apart until they flower.  These gorgeous flowers on the male plant bloom in spring and have a lovely vanilla-like perfume.

The female flower is not as showy, but as it swells, pregnant with seeds, it becomes this stunning silvery cone.  I love using these cones as cut flowers.  They always stand out in a bouquet.  They dry well too, and can keep in a dried arrangement for years. I've written about the Silver Tree cones in more depth previously on the blog if you'd like to see more.

The function of these stunning cones is to produce the seed for the reproduction of the plant.  The cones, unless picked, are persistent on the tree.  The seeds are locked inside the cones.  Sometimes a plant will release the seeds while the cone is still attached, but often they can stay on the tree for a couple of years.  

I thought it might be interesting to show you how I collect these seeds, as it's such a lovely process to watch the cones open and shed their contents.  

I cut the cones, usually selecting ones that are not suitable as cut flowers, and let them sit inside on a windowsill.  Out of water it only takes a few days for the cones to start to open.

Soon, they are unrecognisable - almost feathery.  The cones open to reveal the tip of the silky parachutes that surround the seeds, designed to help with dispersal.

I simply pick up the cone and tip the seeds out.  The cone that is left is a beautiful structure with a central furry white mass.  The outside of the cones is silvery and velvety.

The seeds are quite large and nut-like, and a little bit hairy.

Each is surrounded by a husk with a parachute.  

The parachute/husk easily slides off the seed.

What you're left with is lots of little parcels of potential which, if stored properly, can remain viable for many years.  

If you'd like to try your hand at germinating and growing some of your own Silver Trees, I have some packets of this years freshly collected seeds for sale here at the Swallows Nest Farm online store.