Archive for the ‘Roses’ Category

Be our (Green) Valentine

Want her to bury her nose in chemical-laden blooms?  Bathe in a tub of pesticide residue roses? Give a bunch that somewhere, somehow is slowly mowing down farm workers?

Nah.

This year, be our (Green) Valentine.

Not all flowers are created equal

Our flowers are not only safe to smell, bathe in, or even eat, these were grown with a strong commitment to preserve ecological balance. Our flowers are grown using sustainable agricultural practices including organic, biodynamic and natural farming methods. We don’t use highly toxic herbicides or pesticides to keep pests off our flowers.  What do we use?  Fish emulsion and milk! Even beneficial insects like ladybugs and wasps. Our flowers don’t feed on carcinogenic chemicals to live. They feast on organic matter made from cow manure, legumes, wild sunflower and farm weeds.  That means no health hazards for our farm workers or our florists.  That also means no toxic runoff in our groundwater or soil. No contaminated waterways. We also grow them here, in the Philippines. That means you can be assured of less carbon footprint to send your hearts’ greetings. Want another reason?  They are actually more vibrant and colorful, and they last longer than their conventional counterparts.

We draw on years of experience, trying to grow our flowers biodynamically, without chemical inputs.  What we give you are vibrant, beautiful and living blooms, you will be most happy and proud to give. And if you were our Valentine, you help keep harmful toxins from our soil, our environment, your family, our farm workers, and you even help us change the floral industry too. Read more about our Farm Practices.

Make this day of Love count. Send your well-meaning intentions without the toxic back-story*.

*Toxic Back-story

As with most monoculture agriculture, conventional flower farming makes use of a large number of dangerous chemicals including methyl bromide and methyl paratheon (chemicals deemed too toxic for use in the US or EU.) Flowers grown conventionally use a lot of herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizer. The only reason why you do not know these is because flowers are not edible (well, some are) and are not under strict Food and Drug standards.  In fact, a study found pesticide residue in imported rose petals to be 50 times more than in food imports. Aside from the health hazards, conventional floriculture is damaging to the environment. Imagine the amount of carbon that is released from cultivation, fertilizer production, transport, or think about environmental contamination from fertilizer run-off, pesticides and fungicides. But the most toxic back-story of all is the health of farm workers.  Workers in conventional flower farms are exposed to herbicides and fungicides on a daily basis and in closed spaces. Flower farm workers in Ecuador and Costa Rica suffer from respiratory problems, eye problems and skin rashes. They also show symptoms of pesticide poisoning: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fainting and skin eruptions.

Now why would you want that in your bundle of love?

Edible Flowers

We have ventured into growing flowers that you can eat.  Imagine having a salad of bright violet, yellow and fuchsia blossoms. Or having a cake strewn with flowers you can actually eat. Flowers are just too pretty not to eat right?  And since our flowers have been grown without pesticides, they are quite the safest to eat.

Pansies

There are a number of edible flowers. You can even grow them yourselves.  Just make sure that the flowers have not been sprayed or grown with chemicals. What are some of the edible flowers that we grow:

Let’s start with the most common culinary herbs flowers: You can actually eat the flowers of culinary herbs like thyme, sage, basil, rosemary, chives, cilantro, dill, and arugula. Their flowers are as tasty as the herb, even more attractive.

Nasturtiums

Next are the real flowers! Among our most popular edible flowers are the Butterfly Blue Pea.  The flower has been used in traditional Ayuverdic medicine for memory and its antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative qualities.  In Southeast Asia the flowers are used to color food or rice.. In Thailand, they use the flowers for a syrupy blue drink.  The flowers are also used in Burmese and Thai cuisine, dipped in batter and fried.

We also grow those bright and pretty nasturtiums. These are quite beautiful on the plate and the palate too.  They taste peppery and a bit like watercress. You can add these to salads, vegetable dishes and to make your herb butter, infuse your vinegar or even vodka. Then there’s the pansy flower, with its mild and minty flavor.  The rose petals are edible too!  There are different flavors, depending on the kind of rose variety, some a very mild whole others are quite lush you can use them for flavoring sweets and sorbets.  Chrysanthemums have been heavily used in Chinese cuisine and have a pungent, slightly bitter flavor. They can be used for garnishes.  Lastly, we grow snapdragons, which have a bitter taste but is used as a garnish.

If you want to grow edible flowers yourself, they are easily grown from seed (except for the roses and rosemary).  Just buy the seed packets and grow them in your garden or in pots.  Make sure you examine the blossoms well as you pick them, remove any insects or dirt and don’t go overboard. Use them in moderation in your salads and soups and lavishly for garnishing.

The most important thing to remember about edible flowers is to be fully familiar with them. Don’t go around the garden nibbling at everything- some flowers are poisonous and make sure they are organically grown. – David Hirsch

Taken in part: Old Farmer’s Almanac, Flower Gardening Secrets

Of Men and Roses

3RosesI wanted to sleep and wake up on February 18. No one shrinks from Valentine’s Day like I do. It is not because I abhor sentimentality. I have a deep fondness for that which makes you fleet and float and flitty-flee and fly. I can fritter away my time reading Neruda and Rumi, or watching The Love Affair for the nth time. I adore fated meetings that lead to soft wet kisses on a woman’s back. Dark chocolate and scarlet red roses, I am that kind of girl. But if you please, not on Valentine’s Day! It’s February 6 today and I have been cursing the season. For the past four years, I have been loathing every rose, every bear, and every heart balloon bellowing “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Well, not today. Writing this piece, I am illumined by the splendor of what I do. We grow flowers, the lucky kind that gets picked to bear love and heartache, joy and pain, every yearning, and a lot of times, carry tears of regret and hope. There is something magical about what I do. I carry sentiments. I get to see every bold and brazen guy in town and all over the world, get loopy over the Day of Hearts. And oh, if there was one thing I am fond of, it’s watching cool dudes sheepishly choose a flower arrangement to symbolize devotion and then painfully declare love on a piece of paper. No matter how hard and callous our world has become, I have a daily, hourly, by the minute proof of love in all its guises: There’s the husband who writes: “I fall in love with you everyday;” Casanovas who cunningly order identical bouquets of flowers bearing the same love notes to three different girls; doting sons who buy two bouquets every year for their two great loves: mother and wife; a horde of faraway husbands and lovers blowing their kisses in the wind; besotted lovers onto a new romance; smitten couples who are yet to meet; my list is as boundless as the love that overflows. And oh, the prose and poetry that love can inspire. Lest not forget a few brilliant lines. Message for the bejeweled wife of an affluent executive who obliged his driver to buy his wife’s prized flowers: “Happy ValentiMes!” At least, he left out “Ma’am.” Still, and clichéd and soppy as it may read, whether it’s a husband who knows his lines, a Casanova who knows even better, or even when all the grammar falls apart, every man falls in love and tells it so. They touch the very same virtue and vice that launched a thousand ships, wrote “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” painted Mona Lisa and played Canon in D. Every human being, whether he’s all muscle and brute, at one time or another, will be captivated by love. And one day I’ll find him at our flower shop. And it’s Valentine’s season again. And how I would want to wake up on February 18 when all their sentiments have already been sent and I can once again be enamored by love.

A Rose by any other name

I always wondered about roses.  Such exquisite works of art.  She is not simple. She is delicate and intricate, alluring, sexy and enchanting.  And yet she can prick you until you bleed.  The rose seems to keep a deep, dark, sweet, and divine secret that she won’t tell.  The legend of the rose is intriguing.  She is the enchantment of a beautiful maiden and her suitors, all turned into the exquisite flower.  Legend has it, that “during the Roman empire, there was an extraordinarily beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana became jealous. And when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe, she also became angry turning Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns.” That is the story of the Romans.  Ask the Greeks, and Greek mythology point to Aphrodite, she named the Rose.  According to the Greeks, the rose was created by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, from a lifeless body of a nymph.  She asked the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave her beauty; Dionysus, the god of wine, added nectar to give her a sweet scent, and the three Graces gave her charm, brightness and joy. Then Zephyr, the West Wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. And so the Rose was born and was immediately crowned Queen of the Flowers.”  I can almost say with certainty, that roses are eternal.   In fact, archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of wild roses over 40 million years old. I also think roses, as with all other gifts of nature, have mysterious, healing powers.  In fact, Napoleon gave his officers bags of rose petals to boil in white wine, to cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds, Even today, rose water is still used to refresh the hands before a feast or festive greeting, from the Middle East to northern India.

Oh, and don’t forget , there is a special rose language that was invented as a secret means of communication between secret lovers in the harems of the Middle East.  A red rose bud secretly conveys that you are starting to fall in love (“budding love”), a fully open white rose asks the question: “WIll you love me?” An open red rose means “I’m delirious with love and desire for you.” And, an open yellow rose asks “Don’t you love me any more?”.  So imagine how much love and passion is invoked by a room filled with roses!99Roses

Our farm has been growing roses for the last ten years.  Our varieties include the deepest reds, burgandys, scarlets, lilacs, pinks, peaches, magentas, oranges, two tones, light greens, yellows, even celadon!  And, despite the availability of all other flower kinds, carnations, lilies, daisies, snapdragons, etc.., men, are always drawn to the queen of the flowers!  Who can blame them?  If you had to pick one among the beautiful and sensual, why not pick the queen? And it is really no wonder, there is no other flower, named by Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, with graces bestowed by the God of Wine and Merriment, a nymph and a beautiful maiden in a flower, and who knows, the Great Goddess herself.  Now, if only she wasn’t so feisty.  Be careful, this exquisite flower has a secret, and you’re lucky if you don’t get pricked.

Holding on to your Rose Romance

Our farm prides itself with perfect blossoms, roses with strong stems, buds that open slowly, as if in a slow dance, elegant petals like velvet, and sweet smells that waft, giving you the scent of all things beautiful!  We harvest an average of 6000 stems of flowers a day, including elegant roses.  We have colors for your every whim and fancy, deep reds and burgundy, peaches and sweet pinks, two-tones with colors that swirl, angelic whites and misty greens, sunny yellows and tangy oranges. You can see a sampling of these at http://www.myflowerdepot.com

Whatever your rose preference, enjoy your blooms even longer with these tips for cutting roses.

10 Tips for Cutting and Displaying Roses

Flower Depot Roses

  1. Cut roses in after 3 in the afternoon, when they are highest in food reserves.
  2. Chooses rose buds that have already begun to open, but that are no more than 1/3 to ½ fully open.
  3. Always use clean, sharp pruners to prevent damaging the rose canes and spreading disease.
  4. Leave at least 3 leaves on the stem, to feed the plant.
  5. Remove all leaves that would be below the water line.
  6. Get your roses into water as soon as possible. Bring a bucket of water with you when you cut. If you cut the roses outside without water, re-cut the stems indoors either underwater or immediately plunge them into water
  7. Use either a floral preservative or add a splash of a lemon soda or even a squeeze of lemon and a tablespoon of sugar to the water in the vase.
  8. Change the water whenever it starts to get dirty.
  9. Let your cut roses have a few hours in a cool spot out of direct sunshine before you display them. This conditioning extends their vase life.
  10. If your roses seem to be wilting, water is not able to flow through the stem. Re-cut the stem bottoms and submerge them in very warm, (not so hot you can’t touch it) water and let them sit for about an hour before replacing them in the vase.

How to make the most out of your flowers

There’s nothing like fresh flowers around the house, especially when they come straight from MyFlowerDepot. Surely you’d like the flowers to last forever or at least for more than a few days! Here are some tips for extending the vase life of your flowers.

gerbera_daisy_flower_philippines

In a NUTSHELL:

  • Give them water.
  • Give them food.
  • Protect them from decay or infection.
  • Keep them cool and out of direct sunlight.

How do you ensure these:

 

 

1.  Recut stems at a 45 degree angle. 

Recut stems on a slant indoors under water to eliminate air bubbles that block uptake of food and water. The angle increases the amount of water absorbed.

To prevent decay, remove leaves and foliage below the water line.  If the leaves are submerged in the water in the vase, they will die and cause the flowers in the bouquet to rot.

2.  Place the flowers in a clean vase.

Dirty and dusty vases are often filled with bacteria. These bacteria can cause the flowers to quickly wilt and die.

3.  To slow aging, place the vase in a well-ventilated cool place (as low as 38° F).

Keep the flowers in a cool room. The fresh flowers should not be in direct sun or placed near a heating source. This causes the water in the vase to evaporate quickly.  Also, don’t store flowers near ripening fruits and vegetables, which produce ethylene, a gas that hastens ripening, or in the case of flowers, aging.

Hydrangea

4.  Add water.

Freshly cut flowers have enough stored sugars to survive in a vase. But if you would like to add a preservative, try adding sugar. However, sugar can cause bacteria to grow (so we prefer you just change the water regularly).

5.  Change water and cut the ends constantly.

Change water every couple of days. In mixed bouquets, some of the flowers may give off sap that is toxic to other varieties in the vase shortening their vase life, a process that is avoided by frequently refreshing the water.  Replace the water in the vase at least every three to four days.  Every time you replace the water, also cut the stems.