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Floral Festivities, by Greg Jackson

20 Nov 2023 10:40 AM | Anonymous

Menai Wildflower Garden meeting 12/11/2023:

After the formal election of officers for the next year, member and qualified florist Helen Patience demonstrated the construction of a Christmas Log table decoration for the rapidly approaching festive season. The log is based on a slab of ‘Oasis’ (floral foam) that has been pre-soaked in water then decorated with a selection of seasonal plants and foliage.
In Helen’s demonstration these plants included:

  • ·       Grevilleas – Kingspark Grevilleas for flowers and G. pilosa for foliage (watch out it’s as prickly as the holly it looks like and be careful as some people are allergic)
  • ·       Flannel flowers, they’ll last well
  • ·       Paper daisies, including Rhodanthe and Xerochrysum species
  • ·       Lilly pilli
  • ·       Billy buttons
  • ·       Kangaroo paws (the red ones look very festive)
  • ·       Christmas bush
  • ·       Salt bush foliage
  • ·       Gumnuts
  • ·       Leather fern

Some tips from Helen:

  • ·       Don’t push the Oasis into the water, allow it to slowly soak the water up.
  • ·       Start with a structure of foliage
  • ·       Cut the stems of the plants at an angle to maximise water intake.
  • ·       Make the log as symmetric as possible.
  • ·       Don’t make it so high or wide that it overfills the table or obscures guests.
  • ·       Add some small Christmas decorations or ribbon to the finished log.

Helen’s finished arrangement. Photo by John Prats.

Coincidentally Gardening Australia’s Clarence Slockee gave his tips for using natives in floral arrangements the Friday before which you can enjoy at Perfect for Picking. The flowers he suggested for a bouquet which will be available at Christmas are:

  • ·       Banksia - there are 170 species. B. menzeii is good but so are other local ones you may find in your garden.
  • ·       Hakeas provide both flowers and seeds as well as foliage. H. bucculenta and francisiana are recommended. Don’t cut into bare wood
  • ·       Pelagonium austral (Austral Storksbill)
  • ·       Geralton Wax
  • ·       Teatree
  • ·       Eucalypt foliage such as Argyll Apple
  • ·       Grasses like Themeda triandra

Our thanks go to Helen for the wonderful demonstration of the flower arrangers’ art.

Greg Jackson

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