While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
Extract from ‘The Lily’ poem by English poet William Blake, 1757 – 1827
Confession time: During high school and college days, I have composed poems. Don’t laugh - you may have done it too before, perhaps you don’t remember it now ;) Whether it was for official assignments, to impress secret crushes, or simply fill up time during a boring lecture – yep, we have penned out some corny words on scraps of paper. In poetry, we often try to rhyme beauty with something comparable, such as compare someone’s beauty & personality to pretty flowers, constellation stars or noble animals.
However, I admit that lilies are rarely thought of. Recently, I only realized that lilies have evoked men to compose poems about its pure beauty since ages past. The above mentioned poem is one of the most popular poems remaining today on just the (white) lily flower. In plainer English, the poet was referring to the Lily as an epitome of grace that has all the love to give to the world. No thorns (like those on a rose stalk) or flaws in this world could mar a lily’s beauty because the lily’s beauty will persevere and shine through in the end. So, to any male readers out there reading my article now: if you are considering giving your girlfriend a change from the usual roses, give lilies a try one day. Undoubtedly, roses are the traditional symbol of love to the receiver, but lilies are good alternatives too – and, lilies last longer :)
There are generally 5 types of Lilies: the Asiatic Lilies, Tiger Lilies, Oriental Lilies, Orienpet Lilies (Oriental + Trumpet Hybrid) & Double Oriental. What you’ll be getting this week is the usual ‘star attraction’ of them all - the pink Oriental Stargazer lilies from Holland.
A typical Stargazer has a sprinkle of dark freckles on its petals. It is usually dark pink in the middle which gradually fades to white at the edges. A good arrangement with lily flowers has a vase lifespan of 2 weeks or more, provided you change the water every few days and give a small dose of cut-flower food to the water. Once this lily blooms, it commands your attention effortlessly. It will draw you in further when you take a whiff of their natural fragrance.
To accentuate the lilies’ beauty, have some waxflowers alongside it. Or what florists would refer them to as Geraldton Wax. Waxflowers are commonly found in South-Western Australia, belong to the myrtle family and looked similar to tea trees’ flowers. Geraldton Wax is relatively hardy and can be cultivated in higher humidity areas, such as Sydney. Chances are high that Geraldton Wax can survive Malaysia’s infamous humid weather. It is very drought-tolerant and has aromatic leaves, despite its petals having a waxy feel to it (hence their name ‘waxflowers’). Their common name may sound unromantic, but their floral meaning is highly regarded, really! Waxflower symbolizes riches and enduring wealth. Their long lasting blooms make them a symbol of lasting success in wealth and relationship matters.
So, put in the symbol of graceful beauty in the same vase with the symbol of riches, wealth and success… voilà! Its allure may leave you tongue-tied, so that is where you let your phone do the job of snapping photos away at the too-beautiful-for-words floral arrangement ;)
Short quiz here: name as many as you can the types of vegetable greens are out there. (No, general name ‘salad’ doesn’t count.)
If you cooked healthy greens often for your meals, you would have come across terms such as ‘cabbage’, ‘kale’, ‘spinach’, ‘broccoli’ and ‘cauliflower’. But today, I won’t be lecturing about how healthy green is for you. I’m going to talk about a vegetable that is not for eating. And ‘cabbage’, ‘kale’ ‘spinach’, ‘broccoli’ and ‘cauliflower’ etc. have a common link to this one vegetable that flowers. Everybody, please meet the Brassica family (picture of it as below). The one you’ll like to pay more attention to is Mini Brassica.
Let’s see what Brassica is about. Brassica is the Latin name for a genus of plants in the mustard family. Translate it to non-Latin would be Kale, Cabbage or Mustard. The Brassica also consist in its family the flowering kind of vegetables such as Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Collards, Rutabaga and Turnip. (Ahh, see the connection link now?). Here’s something new to learn today: there are some cabbages meant for meal consumption, but some cabbages like the Mini Brassica is grown specifically as an ornamental plant. Variety of the Brassica species usually comes in arresting green, white and purple hues, making Mini Brassica quite a colourful bunch of flowers!
On and off, you’ll perhaps hear from florists spouting names such as Brassica Green, Brassica Red Crane, Brassica White & White Crane, Kale Sunset and Kale Tokyo. However, in case some florists are unfamiliar with the alien word ‘Brassica’, just show the picture to them or ask for ‘Kale’ / ‘Cabbage flowers’. Most Brassicas start blossoming in autumn and will be at its peak when winter is near.
Unlike other popular flowers, Brassicas are sturdier, less fragile and longer-lasting due to their waxy but tough stems and leaves. Brassicas has the ability to remain fresh as cut ‘flowers’ for a solid week; with floral preservatives, could possibly last longer than that.
“Wait a minute… Vegetable? Cabbage as a pretty plant for a house décor?” It seems hard to digest that thought at first, but look again. Brassicas aren’t that horrible-looking, and could compliment your room’s colour schemes like any other flowers. Some florists have considered them as one of the prettiest and are favoured widely by many flower enthusiasts. So, why not give it a benefit of a doubt? Consider them an alternative when you do the next floral arrangement ;)
Hey! *Wink, nudge* I give you a secret how to open your brassica to make it more like a full-bloom flower here:
PS: The woody stems from these cabbage flowers can dirty the water very quickly. So, change water regularly in order to eliminate potential cabbage smell from water.
Ahhh, we’re back again to Peonies. Peony has so much history that each story about it is too interesting to ignore. Aside from Greeks and Middle-Ages Europeans, here’s what peonies meant to the Japanese, Chinese and Americans (to the state of Indiana, specifically).
Their word for peony is 牡丹 or ‘botan’. Majority of historians agreed that it was the Mainland Chinese traders who had introduced to their neighbour the peony trees during the Nara period (710-794 AD). Some have argued that, “Nah, it was the Japanese Buddhist monks who brought it to Japan, not the Chinese merchants themselves.” Whoever brought peonies to Japan, peonies have definitely gained significant value as much as the Japanese’ beloved cherry blossoms ‘sakura’. The Japanese initially viewed peonies more as a medical plant than an ornamental garden plant, hence they once referred it as ‘ebisugusuri’ ("foreign medicine"). The botan’s root was used as a treatment for convulsions or epilepsy. But in time, ‘botan’ began to pop up in scrolls, brocades, ikebana (flower arrangement) and kimonos. When depicted in visual art and poetry, peonies symbolically meant good fortune, righteousness and noble spirit. To the Japanese, Paeonia suffruticosa is called the ‘King of Flowers’, while Paeonia lactiflora is called the ‘Prime Minister of Flowers’.
Peonies are grand in looks, but the taste of them is sweeter still. Mainland Chinese would use the fallen petals of Paeonia lactiflora and make it a tea-time delicacy by parboiling and sweetening it. During the Middle-Ages, they infused peony into boiled water and drink it. Once long ago, peonies were all the hype and rave during the Sui and Tang Dynasties. In fact, peonies were planted only in the gardens of the imperial palace, as only the emperor was allowed to own them. Peony was, and still is a traditional symbol of nobility and honor to the Chinese. In today’s China however, the plum blossom is designated as the national flower instead of the peony. Despite that dethronement, the Chinese still revere peonies and may continue to do so for many years to come. After all, if peonies has survived for centuries, why not into the future?
Indiana (United States of America)
Looks like China wasn’t the only one to dethrone Flower A and adopt Flower Something-Else. And it’s amazing how people can fight over flowers. You see, Indiana has a long-drawn fight about which flower should represent them. It started with carnation at first in 1913. People were dissatisfied because carnation was not an Indiana native flower. So, they substituted it with tulip in 1923. In just 8 years, the people decided that, “Tulip is interesting…but, ummm… also boring at the same time. We mean not flashy, big enough.” So, they tried the multi-talented zinnia flower and crowned it as a state flower in 1931. Rumour has it that a certain zinnia farmer was responsible of pushing zinnia in the 1931 legislation. In 1957, the Indiana General Assembly decided to review again their official flower. On 15th March, peony was crowned as Indiana’s state flower. Again, rumour has it that a commercial peony farmer, who was also a state representative, had persuaded the House to use peony instead of dogwood flower proposed by the Senate committee. People protested because like carnation, peony isn’t an Indiana native plant either. Somehow, the peony’s vibrant hues managed to win over the Indiana citizens to maintain peony as their official flower till today.
Over the centuries, peonies have been cultivated in different continents. Being nurtured in a different soil naturally meant that peonies would symbolize something significant in that country’s culture, arts, science, politics and literature. Today, we will look at what peonies meant to Greece and the Medieval Europe period then.
The Medieval period
The Medieval period, also known as the Middle Ages was from the 5th to 15th Century. (We are now in the 21st Century, in case you didn’t know or have forgotten ;D) The Medieval painters often painted peonies’ ripe seed-capsules, not the flower petals. It is the seeds, not the flowers, which were medically significant to them. During those days, they have a superstition about peonies too. The superstitious believed that while picking the plant’s fruit, you must not be seen by a woodpecker, lest the bird come and peck your eyes out. In asylums, people deemed as ‘lunatics’ were covered with peony petals and leaves, as it was believed peonies would cure them. At night, keeping some peony seeds under your pillow would help you avoid any nightmare experiences while you sleep.
Travel the southeastern part of Europe, and you would discover that the Greeks had many mythology tales about this flower too. The most popular tale would be Paeon, a mortal physician to the gods. He received a peony flower from Apollo’s mother on Mount Olympus. One myth tells of aging Paeon saved from natural human death. He was transformed into a peony instead of dying as other mortals. You can say the idea of peony as the symbol of compassion was derived from this tale – a mortal saved by a God; his legacy was preserved not in black ashes but in the ethereal form of peony, a widely-adored flower on earth.
Another story that connects peonies to Greek medicinal life is Paena. Paena was a student under the tutelage of the Greek god of medicine Asclepius. Paena was exceptionally brilliant to the point that he was better than his master. Greek gods gives in to jealousy easily, unfortunately. It would be a matter of time when Asclepius will become envious of Paena’s abilities, and made an epic fuss at Mount Olympus. Zeus had to save Paena from Asclepuis wrath by transforming Paena into a peony flower (Seriously, what’s with turning Greek doctors into flowers?!)
Okay, enough about Greek doctors and medicine. On a more romantic angle, some Greeks associate the peony to the moon. It was said that the moon goddess Selene created peonies to reflect the moon’s bright beams during the night.
While peonies generally have noble associations to it, particularly for couples to have a happy marriage life, only a few remembered that this flower has another meaning too - the floral meaning of shyness.
The original idea of peony symbolizing bashfulness came from legends of nymphs (female guardian deities of nature). Nymphs are known to be shy and bashful in the presence of humans. So peonies’ petals are usually used as a hiding place from human eyes. Since the nymphs favoured peonies, some associated peonies with beauty and female fertility. This is because peonies bloom during, or even directly after spring.
There you have it, symbolism of peony to Europe in general. Next week, we will look at what peonies meant to the Japanese, Chinese and Indiana Americans. Don’t miss out this juicy last part!
Marco Polo once called me “Roses, as big as cabbages”.
[The Lush Pink Peony]
10 Things Up, Close and Personal with me:
I have a vase life about 5 days. Just like my other flower friends, remember to trim my stalk and change water every 2-3 days, keep me away from direct sunlight and fruits. I look forward to beautifying your space with my presence!
[An elegant beauty simply in a vase]
Let me end with a quote by Jim Carrey, “Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”
So my dear Bloomsters, look up, turn your face upon the sun and follow where the ray of light falls. They are the most pleasant grounds to gaze upon.
Think beautiful thoughts always!
At a glance, they may not make the best partners but we’d like to think otherwise, just like a wonderful relationship where opposites attract! The Celosia and Gerbera compliment such a beautiful juxtapose with their personalities.
Getting to know Celosia and Gerbera
Originated from parts of Africa and Asia, Celosias are very unusual flowers in shape and texture. They come in bright pink, red, white, purple, yellow and orange. Also known as Cockscomb or Woolflower, they bear resemblance to a piece of coral or a psychedelic brain.
Celosia blossoms are formed with hundreds of tiny flowers packed in dense, brightly colored flower heads that usually stand above the foliage. Generally, this flower falls into 3 types:
[Celosia Cristata] source: http://goo.gl/y3f2rR
The Gerbera Daisy
Native to tropical regions in South America, Africa and Asia, the meanings of Gerberas stem from those attributed to the general daisy family. Daisies are also a classic symbol of beauty. However, the gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness.
The Gerbera Daisies comes in various forms. Generally, this flower falls into 4 types:
[Pink Gerbera Daisies] source: https://goo.gl/LLAlyY
Do you know?
Celosias made good dried flowers and has medical values. It can be used as a treatment for intestinal worms (particularly tapeworm), blood diseases, mouth sores and eye problems. The seeds treat chest complaints and the flowers treat diarrhea. The leaves are used as dressings for boils and sores.
How To Care for your Celosia and Gerbera Daisy?
Both the Celosias and Gerbera Daisies have long vase life spans but these simple tips will help you to have them around longer.
[Gerbera Daisies in a vase) source: http://goo.gl/c34rr6
[Red Celosia Cristata on a dinner arrangement] source: http://goo.gl/OP1FzS
Celosia means Silliness (but that name calling has a cute sweet teasing to it, like when you tease a loved one!). And Gerbera is the name of an anime exclusive town in Sinnoh (Pokemon)! Who would have guessed?
Never be afraid to try something new, Bloomsters! Till next week, have a beautiful one ahead.
Bold. Bright. Opulent.
Comes in various hues of orange with a strong and sweet smell, The Tiger Lily beams with pride, as though it knows exactly how good it looks. According to the floral dictionary, the Tiger Lily signifies wealth and pride. Don’t get it wrong though, this pride carries a positive connotation which exudes confidence, not vanity or arrogance. Nobility is also often associated with this fiery flower and a reason why it signifies a symbol of wealth.
Spotless Tiger Lily, close up (source: http://feelgrafix.com/905155-tiger-lily-flower.html)
Getting to know The Tiger Lily
It was first discovered in 1753 by a well-known Swedish botanist, Carl von Linne. There are five species of the tiger lily and these species are native to locations from western, southeastern and central North America, as well as central China and northern Asia to Japan.
Hybrid Tiger Lily (source: yardlovertimes.com)
Double Orange Tiger Lily (source: http://goo.gl/GjQviC)
Ditch Lily (source: http://goo.gl/J0kyJA)
Tiger lilies bloom in the earlier part of summer and is a favourite flower for this season. Of all the flowers in the world, this bright orange flower has the most unique looking petals. Some species come with spots that make them extra special - be it black or dark violet spots, it gives character to the tiger lily that cannot be seen on any other flower. This bold flower has six stamens that are made up of anthers and filaments; one pistil, with a long style; and a stigma with three lobes.
Do you know?
The Tiger Lily have a medical reputation for relieving nausea and nasal congestion. It is a highly esteemed plant for its herbal values and almost all of its parts are edible (except for the pollen which can be toxic!).
However for cat owners, do note that the Tiger Lily is toxic to cats. So please keep your cats at bay from the flowers! And if you are planning to grow the Tiger Lily alongside your other lilies, please keep a distance too as tiger lilies can carry viral diseases and pass them on to your other lily species. Gasp!
How To Care for your Tiger Lilly?
Tiger Lily in a vase arrangement (source: https://goo.gl/uAlpIj)
Do you know that in the Disney animated movie, ‘Peter Pan’ (2003), Tiger Lily is the character of an Indian Princess and daughter of the Native Chief? She is a loyal friend to Peter Pan.
Tiger Lily, the character (source: http://goo.gl/ucAoX5)
May your upcoming weekend be as bright as the tiger lilies, Bloomsters! Till next week, have a beautiful one.
This week’s selected choice: Pink Roses, Yellow Eustomas, and Statice!
Individually they put a sweet and soft touch to your environment and are fairly popular amongst florists for their own purposes; wedding bouquets with pink roses, eustoma corsages, fillers or dried flower arrangements. But with a combination of these three, you have yourselves a bouquet/vase of the sweetest colour combo that would melt the hearts of anyone who set their eyes upon them.
Pink roses are thought of as an imperative element in exclusive rose arrangements and venue decoration by high class florists and floral designers. And now over the years, these blooms have been growing in popular demand that they are now commonly used for special occasions like weddings, celebrations of birth, anniversaries. These charming pink roses that we’ve picked for you are the perfect fairytale bloom and ideal for baby showers or weddings.
Roses have a reputation for being difficult to care, but with these following steps, the pink roses that we have chosen for you will thrive and brighten up your surroundings for sure.
Eustomas, also known as Lisianthus, are one of the most exquisite and dainty flowers much loved by home gardeners and botany enthusiasts today.
You can get single or double flowers from the bloom, and much like the wide variety of roses, eustoma comes in an extremely generous colour palette such as purple, white, pink, blue, lavender, cream, mauve, and some may even be lucky and find bi-colours. Here’s how to keep them lively and ethereal for days to come:
Last but not least, we have the statice which are grown for both its colourful flowers (ranging from white, lavender, yellow, blue, and rose) and everlasting calyx and it is known to last for months (maybe even years when they are dried). Statice are one of the few flowers that look almost as beautiful dry as they do fresh, which is why they are so popularly used in dried flower arrangements and while they are in full bloom they are widely used by florists as a filler in cut arrangements because of their delicate look yet long lasting in the vase.
In addition to its traditional floral uses, statice also has a reputation for its medicinal benefits where lavender flower oils can be extracted and used as a cure for toothaches and ulcers, while its aromatherapy uses help eases people’s minds and relieve them of their troubles.
Another wonderful fact about this amazing flower is that the petite flowers you see are actually bracts (a modified or specialized leaf), and the real flowers are hidden inside. Oh, the simple little things!
Hope you find these information useful and maybe even interesting, and that you anticipate in getting these lovely blooms at your doorstep this week!
Hi Bloomsters, our selection for you this week is the night-blooming Tuberose!
Do you know that fresh cut tuberoses are a very fragrant flower with multiple blooms per stem? You'll see that each bloom is innocently white and elegant in trumpet shape. However, do you also know that not all of the blooms will open? Even so, they will release the most delicious fragrance! This white flower will definitely add a lush to your home.
We suggest you to follow the instructions below to help your flowers bloom big and bright over the next few days.
1) Carefully remove tuberoses from the cottons.
2) Fill your favourite vase/ jar with 1/3 water.
3) You may trim the stems again at a slant for about 1/2 an inch. This step can help open up the stem pores which in turn allows your flowers to absorb more water.
4) You may re-trim the stems and change the water on day 3 to when you observe the water is turning colour.
5) Remember to place your tuberoses at a cool place, away from direct sunlight.
At BloomThis, we are here to bring you convenience in flower arranging. We have already stripped the excess foliage off the stems for you so that you can conveniently place your tuberoses in your favourite vase or jar.
The delightful fragrance of tuberose makes it a common use in the perfume making industry for hundreds of years. If you are a fan of perfumes, chances are you might already been using fragrances that contain tuberose extract. Check out these few products that do have these magical scent :)
We hope you find these care tips for tuberoses helpful and hope you enjoy your bloom this (pun intended) week. Ciao.
We often take many things in life for granted; that we have clean water to drink, that we have
all sorts of communication to convey ideas, images and stories, good weather, the wonderful
human-invention called music, the existence of medicine, the ever-growing development of
technology, having complete sense and sensation (to see, hear, touch, taste, feel, laugh, and to
love), some free time, nature, pets, health, imagination, food…
… And more importantly, the ability to read, to write, to count, and maybe even to draw.
It is mostly the simple and fundamental things in life that we don’t take into account for
completing our lives.
Most of us have taken for granted the people who have taught us the skills we have now,
which are our teachers. Do you still remember your first English teacher who taught you your
ABC’s and how to differentiate noun and verb? Or your first Maths teacher who taught you
how to count, and then later on how to add and subtract or how to tell the time, the date, and
My favourite subject in school has always been English as I loved reading and writing a lot. I
was also very keen on learning everything there is to learn about the subject and how to write
creatively. For this, every English teacher I had in my school days were people I looked up
to, and needless to say I even paid extra attention to their classes as well (although my well
intentions either turned me into a teacher’s pet or the know-it-all in class, I still remember I
had a lot of fun). My least interested subject, on the other hand, was of course,
Sejarah/History. I plead guilty of nearly falling asleep and not paying enough attention in
classes. But in my last year of high school with the pressure and fear of not passing the
subject for my SPM, my Sejarah teacher made sure to keep her all her classes fun and
interactive while pouring out all her knowledge to us. She would make jokes to keep us
interested and often gave us interactive activities in class for us to remember what happened
in what year, who did it and whatnot, but more importantly, she would infuse the important
names, dates and events into songs which made it 110 times easier to remember (yes, she was definitely a very hip and modern teacher). I cannot thank her enough for making it so much
easier to like my least favourite subject just a little bit more, especially during my last year of
It is on the 16th of May every that we celebrate Teachers’ Day to thank the people who
have worked day and night to help foster and develop the talents of the younger generations.
We appreciate their hard work and selfless efforts in educating us and the generations to
come, as well as being a part of our years of youth and growth.
To quote Anatole France:
“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds
for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards”.
and for being my teacher.
Happy Teacher's Day.
Written by: Allyson Yong