Hello lovely people!
I've been loving the rain. This morning when I went to the flower market it was pouring down and I felt grateful for it. It has this beautiful cleansing effect and after what we experienced last year I'm embracing it a lot more than before and am hoping it'll stick around during Summer. We need it, our farmers need it!
Trips to the flower market always get me excited because of the flowers that are newly available. They definitely do stick out like a sore thumb because you see the regular year-round blooms on the stands and out of the corner of your eye, bam! something new just naturally stands out. Proteas, especially King Proteas get me extra excited because I love to dry them and so I try to stock up on them when they become available.
If you didn't read my journal post from a couple of weeks ago, then you possibly won't know that I've already covered that Proteas are not an Australian native. Yes, we grow them in Australia and they complement Aussie natives so beautifully. In fact, we have some blooms from the same Proteaceae family such as Banksia, Grevillea and Waratah but these guys are Aussie natives. If you haven't seen that post but would like to, you can click here to read more and take a look at my list of 21 Aussie and South African natives.
So this week for #APRflowerEd I'm talking all things Proteas!
Proteas are a hardy flower with leathery leaves and long, tubular bracts which surround smaller, tubular flowers that come together in a cone shape. They come in pinks, white, green, red and cream. There are many different varieties including Protea: Cynaroides (King); Magnifica (Queen); Repens (Honey); Pink Ice and more! They’re native to South Africa, with the King Protea as its national flower and symbolises diversity, transformation and courage.
There are different varieties available throughout the year and so technically Proteas are available year round. King - Spring/late Summer; Queen - Spring; Pink Ice - Summer/early Spring; Honey - late Summer/early Autumn.
They typically last up to 14 days but this can extend to 21 days with good care and is also dependant on how long they have been cold-stored and at what stage they’ve been bought. It is a common misconception that natives will last forever - they most definitely do have a shelf life. And the stage at which they've been bought does matter in terms of how long they last! After about the two-week mark, hang them upside down in a low light, low humidity location to dry. Once I see it changing colour I often just let it sit in its last vase of water and won't change the water before I hang it upside down.
Select bunches that have green leaves with no bruising, blackening or yellowing. Proteas are prone to leaf blackening and even with the best care pre and post harvest, it can still happen so if the entirety of the flower looks healthy to you, just take off those blackened leaves. Buy Proteas that are not completely open as this means you can watch them unfold and enjoy a longer vase life. Over mature Proteas are fully open and will be well on its way to the end of its vase life. Proteas are a prominent focal flower and are great on its own or in a bouquet or floral arbours.
Put in a clean vase of fresh water with some floral preservative and/or a drop of bleach and place in a well-lit area. Snip at least 2cm off the stems when changing the water every two days or so. Ensure that no leaves are below the water line. Keep in cooler temperature, out of the sun and away from ripening produce and wilting plants.
Don't forget to take advantage of my week-long Black Friday Sale. It'll be the last sale for 2020 (I can't believe we're so close to the end of the year, how?!) and then it's all things Christmas and a well deserved break for everyone, yay! Have fantastic week!