Tuesday, February 21, 2017

March Flowers

What native flowers are available in March?  

I often get asked what will be available at certain times of the year.  Maybe its a wedding, maybe a big event but to plan ahead, its always helpful to know what flowers might be available.  At Swallows Nest Farm, all our flowers are grown out in the paddock, not in poly-tunnels or controlled environments, so they are dependant upon the seasonal differences in rainfall, temperature and sunlight to bring them into bloom.  This means that the plants will often flower earlier or later according to the variable conditions.  Having said that, we can make some predictions based on past years performances.  I decided to do a series of blog posts, one for each month of the year to provide some guidance with planning ahead for weddings and events. 

So here's what you can expect from Swallows Nest Farm in March.

Protea Pink Ice
Protea Pink Ice are a favourite in the flower industry because of their beautiful clear pink colour, and their growth characteristics.  In Tasmania, we have Pink Ice for almost 12 months of the year.  March being the beginning of autumn, we see a flush of flowers with lots of beautiful clear pink proteas.  I really think Pink Ice are at their best in Autumn.

Gum Nuts - Corymbia Ficifolia
Gum Nuts can be sourced all year round too, as the nuts are retained by the trees after setting seed.  But because the Corymbia Ficifolia are often just finishing flowering in March, the gum nuts are in the forefront of our minds.  They come in grey-brown as above, when they have been on the tree for more than 12 months.  Under 12 months they still retain a green outer colour but are big and plump and woody.   If picked too soon after setting fruit, the nuts will wither and wrinkle rather than keep their shape.  

Bright Pink Corymbia Ficifolia - Flowering Gum in a range of red, pink and orange
Flowering gum is a mid to late summer flower in Tasmania.  In March there will still be trees that are producing blossom like this stunning hot pink.  There is a diverse range of colour in this species of tree - very light pink so that it's almost white through to the richest blood red, as well as bright orange, coral, salmon and all the variants in between.  A truly gorgeous flower!

Bouquet by Swallows Nest Farm
This bouquet from an early March wedding shows Protea Pink Ice, Flowering Gum and Gum Nuts in use.  

Photography by Sarah Williams
It also uses a range of foliages in blue-grey. 

Burnia Albiflora
The bouquet above also has one of my favourites, the Brunia Albiflora.  It is a summer flower here in Tasmania and we have never picked it before Christmas here.  It begins to be ready for picking some time in January and continues to flower through February and March and even into April if it is not all picked and sold!

Brunia Albiflora starting to flower
In March, depending upon the seasonal changes, it can start to flower.  Tiny little flowers begin to burst forming a ring around each ball.

Brunia Albiflora in full flower
The flowers continue to open until all the entire bunch is covered.  Brunia a great to use at any time during its flowering process.  

Red Mini King Protea
Here at Swallows Nest Farm, our red Mini King proteas have flowered in Spring Summer and Autumn.  Early Autumn seems to be their favourite time to flower, so you can expect to see some availability in March.

Banksia Occidentalis
Banksia Occidentalis is a rich red banksia that starts to flower here in late summer and continues on until early winter.  It has a beautiful clean red colour in Autumn and is a joy to use.

March Wedding Bouquet by Swallows Nest Farm
This March bouquet uses the red Mini Kings and the Banksia Occidentalis. You can also see a flowering Brunia and some mature gum nuts.  The proteas used a variety of P. Compacta which has a rich red centre and soft pink outer bracts, giving a slightly different look to the Protea Pink Ice.  We have a limited supply of this Compacta protea available in March.

Wedding Reception Decorations by Swallows Nest Farm
Flowering Brunia, Protea Pink Ice and Banksia Occidentalis are the main flowers used here in these table decorations for an early March wedding.  The orange Pincushions are a Leucospermum called Fountain, and are a late flowering variety that we grow here at Swallows Nest Farm.  It can vary in colour from apricot through to deep salmon.  When the flowers first begin to open, they are lighter and have a purplish tinge to their unfolded tips.  Then, as the flower opens and matures, the colour deepens.

March Wedding Decorations by Swallows Nest Farm
In this close-up of the same table arrangements, you can see Banksia Occidentalis, Brunia starting to flower,   

These colourful table decorations for a wedding in late March show plenty of March flowers being used - the rich red Banksia Occidentalis, creamy yellow Banksia Marginata, flowering Brunia, Pink Ice Protea and some new season Silvan Red Leucadendrons.  

A detail of a large urn arrangement for a march wedding using Pink Ice, Banksia Occidentalis, flowering Brunia, and lots of lovely fresh foliage.  

Protea White Ice
Protea White Ice flowers from spring through to autumn here in Tasmania but it can vary in numbers depending on the season.  In Autumn, the colour is clear and clean - so beautiful!

Banksia Baxterii - Birdsnest Banksia
Banksia Baxterii is a gorgeous Australian Native that flowers in late summer and autumn.  We are planting more of these beauties because we love them so much.  Their foliage is gorgeous too and can be used in arrangements as a feature in itself.

March Wedding Bouquet by Swallows Nest Farm
This bouquet from late March shows the last of the Fountain Pincushions bringing some colour amongst the creams and whites.  There is a White Ice Protea, Banksia Baxterii, smaller Banksia Marginata, and flowering Bruina.  Some early green leaucos, Gandogerii, Silver Tree, Wattle, Flowering Gum and Tea Tree are all in the mix too.

Rison Peppermint in bud
Risdon Peppermint is a gorgeous blue gum foliage that is native to Tasmania.  It's juvenile leaves, when the new growth has had time to harden off, can be stunning, especially when it it in bud as it is here.  Its a joy to use in arrangements and bouquets.

Leucadendron Argenteum - Silver Tree
Leucadendron Argenteum, also known as Silver Tree, is a stunning foliage plant that is ready to use in March.  In early summer, it is growing and can't be picked because its tips are wilty, but by March the new growth is soft, silky and luscious and ready for use.  It is difficult to photograph how silvery this amazing plant is.  

Silver Tree Cones
The Silver Tree also produces beautiful silvery cones at the end of summer, and these are available in March in limited numbers.  Silver Tree cones are rare as they are only produced on mature female trees.  We feel so privileged to be able to provide them.  

Fountain Pincushion
We grow a late flowering pincushion here at Swallows Nest Farm that continues to flower until autumn.  We have two slightly different colours - a rich orange and a pinky deep salmon.  These are usually still available in good quantities in March.

Protea Repens - Sugarbush Protea
Protea Repens begin flowering in Autumn.  Depending on the seasonal differences, they will begin appearing in March.  We have a range of colours from rich pink to red, light pink and creamy yellow.

This late march bouquet combines 2 varieties of protea - White Ice and Red Compacta, with a Banksia Baxterii and a flowering Brunia.  Lots of late march foliages including lemon-scented tea tree and Leucadendron Galpinii are also used.

I hope this gives some ideas as to what sort of flowers you might expect from Swallows Nest Farm in the month of March.  All flowers are subject to availability and you are encouraged to contact us if you need more information.