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The 2012 London Olympics kicked off last week as citizens around the world tuned in and rallied in support behind their athletes to take gold. Countless hours of planning and preparations go into every detail of the ceremonies and games. One detail often over-looked by spectators are the hundreds of thousands of fresh cut flowers, plants, and trees that have gone into beautifying the Olympic Games from start to finish.

North Raleigh Florist always notices the flowers in every occasion. Here is what we found…

100 Day Countdown:

The motto for the London Olympics is to “inspire a generation” and London has left no detail untouched. In the 100-day countdown to the opening ceremony a set of Olympic Rings were presented by London 2012 chairman Seb Coe at Kew Gardens. The rings were comprised of over 20,000 flowers and could easily be seen by passing planes.

Olympic Park:

Two years of development and research went into creating the UK’s largest man-made wildflower meadow in the Olympic Park Gardens surrounding the stadium. Over 150,000 late summer blooming flowers have been planted and include cornflowers, tickseed, corn marigolds, star of the veldt, Californian poppies, prairie flowers, and plains coreopsis.  In addition, over 4,000 trees and 300,000 wetland plants also adorn the park.

Opening Ceremony:

The Netherlands team has earned every moment of attention they have received for their sharp and detailed Opening Ceremony attire. The perfect finishing touch to their outfits was the large, bi-colored, parrot tulip corsage/boutonnière adorning their jacket’s lapel. The design is simple with a long stem and no greenery. This is a look not commonly seen in US corsage/ boutonnière fashion and is very clean and modern. The Netherlands are well known for their Tulips and other bulb flowers making this floral fashion statement a terrific nod to the region’s agriculture sect.

The Winner’s Circle:

All medal winners are presented with a bouquet of flowers during the Victory Ceremonies. In the 2012 London games 4,400 bouquets comprised 100% British grown flowers and herbs will be awarded. The contents of the bouquets include the traditional English Rose, but in fun bright modern colors with accents of mint, rosemary, English lavender, and wheat. Everything about these perfectly selected, fragrant bouquets designed by renowned UK florist, Jane Packer is the epitome of contemporary English garden.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled while watching the Olympic Games this week because you never know where more flowers might show up!


What are good rules for your outdoor landscape? Are there any rules to follow? At North Raleigh Florist we have a few guidelines to make your outdoor landscape look and feel like a natural tranquil garden.

Our first rule of thumb is to create harmony! Having a garden that is too busy with too many different types of plants can be harsh to the eyes. Staying with plants that have similar colors, textures and size can be alluring and draw appeal to the area.

When selecting plants for your outdoor landscape consider the following:

  1. What will the plants maturity size be? Too often plants are purchased because they are small and cute, and the gardener ends up with a 5 foot plant that started out as a small 6 in plant. So always double check to see what the maximum maturity height and width will be, so that you have the proper space allotted.
  2. How will the plant look in the space that you have provided for it? Make sure to consider all ready existing plants that may surround you new addition. Having enough room and making sure to stay in a color theme.
  3. What color scheme will you choose?? Having too many color schemes can also be very distracting and busy looking. The Staff at North Raleigh Florist likes to use cool and calming colors in their personal outdoor landscapes. Colors like Silver and Purple or Silver and Blue having calming effects and are very neutral.
  4. What types of features do your plants have through out the year?? Will your plants bloom throughout different seasons or do you have your plants on a rotation. Having your plants on rotation you will have some that are green during one season but bloom during the next so that you will always have something that is blooming.
  5. Where will your plants be planted? Keep in mind how much sun or shade, rain and even what type of insects you might have inhabiting your outdoor space.
  6. Does your outdoor landscape have a natural look?? Having decorative rocks can make a big impact on any landscape while giving it interest and character and adding a more natural look than placed barriers.

These are just a few of the guidelines the staff here at North Raleigh Florist likes to go by when planning and planting our outdoor landscapes. Let us know what kind of guidelines you go by write us a comment on our blog so that next time we can share your ideas with everybody too!!

So we all know about the carnation and the typical stereotype, simply put everyone thinks of them as a cheap flower, but we are here to break that stereotype!

Beautiful Carnation

Biggest trend of the New Year?? That’s right it’s the carnation and it’s making a big comeback!!  From A-list Celebrities like Martha Stewart to your everyday local flower shops, we are seeing the trend coming to a head.

Purple and White Carnations

When high-quality carnations are tastefully arranged, they can be an eye-catching, sweet-smelling, long-lasting addition to any bouquet. When arranged in a bouquet they can resemble a peony. The carnation is so much less expensive than the peony that you can have a larger bouquet. They are also a perfect compliment to peonies in any bouquet.

Carnations and Peonies

Carnations come in a variety of colors that can be stunning!! Light yellows, whites, pale pinks, hot pinks, light and dark purples and even a few variegated that add a lovely spark to any bouquet.

Carnation Varieties

Carnations express love, fascination and distinction, and every color carries a unique meaning:

  • White carnations suggest pure love and good luck
  • Light red symbolizes admiration
  • Dark red represents deep love and affection
  • Purple carnations imply unpredictability
  • Pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary’s tears – making them the symbol of a mother’s undying love

Chinese Hibiscus can be purchased in the colors you prefer.  They may grow up to 4 feet high and flower the length of the stem.  The University of Florida states that they need at least a half day of direct sunlight.  Most hibiscus bloom year round in Florida.  In other locations they die back to the ground in the winter, and you will need to cut the canes back to the ground while they are dormant.

Hibiscus, is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae.  This flower could easily have its own section because of the many different uses this plant has from landscaping, paper-making, beverages and as a food.  The hibiscus flower is quite large, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world; Malaysia, India, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Cambodia, etc.  The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees.

Landscaping; many species of hibiscus are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs, and are used to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

One species of hibiscus, known as kenaf, is extensively used in paper-making.

Used as a beverage, teas made from hibiscus flowers are known by many names in many countries around the world and are served both hot and cold.  The beverage is well known for its color, tanginess and flavor.

Use as food, dried hibiscus is edible, and is often a delicacy in Mexico.  It can also be candied and used as a garnish.  The Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable.

Symbolism and Culture, hibiscus species represent nations:  Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia.  The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali, and appears frequently in depictions of her in the art of Bengal, India, often with the goddess and the flower merging in form.  The hibiscus is used as an offering to goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

The red hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian women.  A single flower, tucked behind the ear, is used to indicate the wearer’s availability for marriage.

Health Benefits, the tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine.

Dieters or people with kidney problems often take it without adding sugar for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic.

A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.  Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 8.1 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 mmHg drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage.

In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, hibiscus, especially white hibiscus and red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is considered to have medicinal properties.  The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair graying.  As a hair treatment, the flowers are boiled in oil along with other spices to make medicated hair oil.  The leaves and flowers are ground into a fine paste with a little water, and the resulting lathery paste is used as a shampoo plus conditioner.