Csa pick-up: week 6, August 23rd

If this is your first week with us, welcome! If this is your 6th week with us, you’re halfway through! This week’s flowers came from Chicory & Jig-bee. Both are small cut flower farms located in Philadelphia.  Both farms sell their flowers to floral designers and manage events/weddings of their own. They’re run by the sweetest and funniest people you’ll ever meet and they make it possible for me to distribute their gorgeous flowers to people like you.

Unlike cities such as Seattle and New York City, Philadelphia lacks a central flower market where floral designers and consumers can regularly purchase flowers.  As more flower farms have popped up around Philadelphia, more designers have been introduced to the top-notch quality and freshness of locally-grown flowers. Unfortunately, there is still not a central location where regular consumers can come to buy beautiful, local flowers. (Instead, people have come to rely on Whole Foods’ expanding flower section and Trader Joe’s cheap bunches and bouquets!) That is one of the reasons I started the CSA and why it is so exciting and rewarding for me to get local flowers into the hands of more people.

In your bouquet this week:

Sedum –  (or stonecrop) IMG_5743.jpg

Strawflower – IMG_5704.jpg

Celosia – I’m kind of freaking out over the celosia this week again.  That almost iridescent-looking pink/orange bombay (crested) variety is so big and perfect! If you want to experiment with dried flowers, I would recommend trying it with one of these big crested celosia stems.  Make sure there aren’t any insects or spider webs in between the ridges of the flower head, and then simply hang it upside down in a dark, warm area (with low humidity). IMG_5708


Cosmos – IMG_5703 - Copy.jpg

Gomphrena – IMG_5695 - Copy.jpg

Coleus – Coleus is a fairly common ornamental plant that you’ll often see in flower borders & gardens. It comes in some really striking colors, and I thought this week’s bouquet needed a little pop of a chocolate-colored variety to add some depth. IMG_5750.jpg

Zinnia – IMG_5709.jpg

Rudbeckia (black-eyed susan) – IMG_5699 - Copy.jpg

Ammi – IMG_5742.jpg

Hibiscus “Mahogany Splendor” – This variety of hibiscus has become more popular recently as an addition to cut flowers designs/bouquets.  In our cooler, temperate climate, it lives as an annual, dying in the fall with the first freeze. In other warmer zones, it can survive as a perennial, dying to the ground then returning the following spring. Its rich “mahogany” color helps add depth to floral designs and it’s unique shape adds nice texture. It’s a really nice plant that grows 3’-6’ in the garden and is a great cut foliage, especially as it grows sturdier into the fall. IMG_5712.jpg

I’ve already mentioned this to my 10-week members, but want to reiterate the details to all the new 5-week members! When you take your bouquet home, remove the paper and rubber band. Then drop your flowers into a fresh, full vase of water.  To extend the life of these little beauties, double check that there are no leaves left on the part of the stem that is submerged in the water.  The quick demise of your flowers will be due to rotting leaves in the water and the general degradation of the stem, creating lots of bacteria in the water of your vase.  To increase your flowers’ life, a few days after you get your bouquet, give them a fresh cut off the bottom of their stems, clean your vase, refill the vase with fresh water and drop the flowers back into the water.  As flowers sit in a vase, they begin to form a version of a callous over the bottom of their exposed stem, in an effort to heal themselves.  This, however, begins to slow the uptake of water into the stem.  By giving a little fresh cut to your flowers, you give them one last chance to take in some deep gulps of water.

One of our csa members recently asked me “What type of sunlight should cut flowers get?” Once flowers are cut, there’s a fairly short amount of time left in their lives ranging from 5-14 days depending on the durability of the flower.  Generally speaking, it’s best to keep the flowers in a cool, shady environment to extend their life.  This is why floral designers need large coolers to store their flowers.  It increases their life length.  When cut flowers sit in the hot sun, they will die much more quickly. However, if you’re like me, and are obsessed with the beauty of dead, wilted, and dried flowers… go ahead and set them in a sunny spot and watch how beautifully they die! (Most people probably aren’t obsessed with dead flowers, but don’t knock it til you try it.)

If you haven’t tried arranging your flowers a little bit, I would recommend giving it a try this week!  The way that your bouquets are arranged is to optimize the view of them from the top, wrapped in the brown paper.  In order to feature them all in that top view inside the paper, I have to make sure they are all cut at a very similar length. (If there were very short stems in the bouquets, they would get squished inside the paper and you wouldn’t be able to see them from the top.)  So when it’s time to them in a vase, you won’t get the best view of all of them if you leave them all at the same height.  So don’t be hard on yourself, if arranging flowers doesn’t come naturally.  Just cut some of the stems shorter so you can see them as well as the taller ones behind them.  Cut them all at varying heights so they can be seen when they’re all tucked into your vase or jar at home.

Please feel free to send me emails with questions you may have.  I really do love getting feedback and questions from you because I want your experience with flowers to be as special and rewarding as it is for me!  Enjoy!

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