Saturday, July 8, 2017

April Flowers

What is flowering in April?  I'm glad you asked!  There is a misconception that as the autumn months arrive, flower production decreases.  But with natives, there are plenty of plants that flower in autumn and into winter, making proteas and natives available all year round.   The following gives an idea of what you can expect in the month of April (southern hemisphere).  This is a guide only, as we have to allow for fluctuations in weather which can hasten or delay flower production.  

Protea Varieties blooming in April

This selection of proteas were all picked in April.  Starting from the back middle, we have Protea Pink Ice, then clockwise to the right a mini red King Protea, then the soft pink bracts and red central mass of the Protea Compacta.  The next is a waxy hot pink Protea Repens, followed by a soft velvety white Protea Donna with a soft purple centre.  Next is a warm pink with a cream central cone.  To the left is a waxy creamy-white Protea Repens.  In the centre is a Protea White Ice.  The leucadendron on the bottom-left is Jester, a variegated pinky red with a green stripe.  

Brunia Albiflora and Grevillea foliage
Brunia Albiflora is a wonderful "flower" that is picked over summer here in Tasmania.  I usually don't start picking it until after Christmas but it can continue to be picked until early April.  Depending on the weather conditions, Brunia will begin to flower in March and into April.  

Flowering Brunia Albiflora
When it is flowering, Brunia is much lighter than in its "berry" form.  The little rings of tiny white flowers with creamy stamens create a textural effect in warm white.   

The bouquet above features a flowering Brunia.   I made this bouquet for a gorgeous April wedding held on a rural property in a sheep shearing shed.  Natives are perfect for a rustic, farm wedding.

Protea Repens in red, pink and cream
Protea Repens are a Protea that flowers prolifically in Autumn.  Here at Swallows Nest Farm, they can continue to flower most of the year in much smaller numbers.  But the main flowering time is autumn.  They are picked in large quantities in April and look fresh and gorgeous.

Protea Repens Pink
Protea Repens come in a range of colour forms.  The one above is light pink, with each tall outer bract tinged in pink and the central mass light.  Deep pink ones often have a central mass tinged with pink.  There is also a creamy white variety.

You can see the Protea Repens used in the bouquet above.  The lighter pink variety is used, blending well with the pink peppercorn berries.  (more of this wedding)

Banksia Ericifolia
Also used in the bouquet pictured above is an orange Banksia Ericifolia which are flowering abundantly from Autumn and into the winter months.  

Banksia Occidentalis
Another banksia available in April is the red Banksia Occidentalis.  This beautiful pinky red banksia flowers from February through to April.  

You can see the Banksia Occidentalis in this bridal bouquet from April.  Rich red, orange and pink flowers with masses of textural foliage made this a bright and memorable bouquet.  You can see the dark pink Portea Repens, and the very last of the orange Fountain Pincushions.  These Foutains begin flowering in January and usually continue through until March, with only a few left flowering in April.  The weather conditions really dictate their availability in April.  

Acacia Baileyana in bud in April, with flowering Brunia Albiflora and flowering Wattle
Some of the great textural foliages I used in this bouquet are pictured here.  Acacia Bailyana is a favourite wattle of mine.  It comes in two colour forms, a silvery blue foliage and a purple foliage, both with a silvery bloom on the young leaves.  It is a winter flowering wattle but in April, when it is in bud, it makes a stunning textural addition to a bouquet.  

Also pictured above are some flowering wattle (possibly Acacia Retinodes) which grow wild around my local area and are often in flower over April.  Some Banksia foliage in a light green with bronze tips can be seen at the top of the picture.  It is Banksia Brownii foliage, which has finely zig-zagged leaves which are lovely to use.  Flowering Brunia can be seen at the bottom left of the picture. 

For the same wedding, this arch decoration used more of the Protea Repens, some Fountain Pincushions, flowering Brunia, Acacia Baileyana, Grevillea foliage, varieties of red and green leucadendrons, and long branches of Acacia Retinodes coming into flower.

The wreath above is made using the light pink Protea Repens, red Banksia Occidentalis, Leucadendron Safari Sunset, Leucadendron Goldstrike, Acacia Baileyana foliage in bud, and some Lemon Scented Tea Tree.

Protea Compacta
This beautiful rich pink Protea with a wine-red central mass is a variety of Compacta which flowers in the autumn months and is available in April.  

You can see the Protea Compacta used in this April bride's bouquet.  You can also see a red Banksia Occidentalis, rich pink Protea Repens, and some warm golden Banksia Brownii.  Leucadendron Jester, a red and green variegated form is also used, as well as silvery green Leucadendron Pisa foliae, budded Acacia Baileyana foliage and flowering tea tree or Leptospermum. 

Another April bouquet, including Banksia Brownii, and Banksia Baxterii.  The Baxterii, or Birdsnest Banksia, is a late summer or Autumn flower here at Swallows Nest Farm, flowering from February until April.  Also in this bouquet are the beautiful Protea White Ice, and a creamy white Protea Repens.  The wonderful foliages available in April are here too, with the budded Acacia Baileyana, Lemon-scented Tea Tree, and including a beautiful velvety brown backed Magnolia foliage.  Such autumny goodness!  Also included are some wonderfully warm-brown dried leucadendron cones. 

Protea Pink Ice in plentiful supply in April
Protea Pink Ice are in plentiful supply in April.  They love the cooler weather and flower abundantly over the cooler months with clean clear colour.
In this April wedding, Protea Pink Ice teamed up with other pink, green and silver colours to create a simple colour scheme rich in textural interest.  

You can see beautiful Red King Proteas, Brunia Albiflora (some beginning to flower), Leucadendron Silver Tree cones, pink Kangaroo Paw and beautiful foliages including Leucadendron Pisa foliage, Silver Tree foliage and budded peppermint eucalyptus foliage.    (more of this wedding)

Eucalyptus Risdonnii  - budded Peppermint foliage

Protea Repens, red King Proteas and flowering Brunia feature again in this bridal bouquet from April.  Foliages used are budded Acacia Baileyana, flowering tea tree and eucalyptus buds.  (more of this wedding)

These are just some of the proteas and native flowers you can expect to be available in April in southern Tasmania.   If you need more specific information,  feel free to use the contact form on the right side bar of the blog.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

Engagement Photoshoot in April

Tasmania has a reputation as a tourism destination, and I find that often couples like to combine a special event in their lives with a trip to our fair shores.  This April, a gorgeous couple decided to celebrate their engagement with a holiday and photoshoot.  What a fun thing to do! 

An eclectic mix of natives with lots of colour and texture was the idea for the bouquet.

The flowers needed to travel well as the photos were taken in various places over the course of a few days.  

Protea Repens in both light pink and rich pink, both flowering and non-flowering Brunia, Protea White Mink, Banksia Burdettii and Banksia Brownii were the larger flowers that I used.  Leucadendron Galpinii (Purple Haze), Safari Sunset, and Leucadendron Discolour were the secondary flowers.  

A range of foliage including Tasmanian Myrtle Beech, Risdon Peppermint, and Banksia Brownii added fullness.  I also added some dried leucadedonron cones which are a rich autumny brown.


By the looks of the gorgeous pictures, they had a wonderful trip!

And the photos will make great memories too.

For the boutonniere, I used a dried leucadendron cone so that there were no wilting issues along the trail.  The Banksia Burdettii leaves are so gorgeous with their zig-zag edges, and they were teamed with Myrtle Beech, Risdon Peppermint among other bits and pieces.  

The iconic view of Cradle Mountain from Dove Lake - definitely a memorable destination for a special occasion!

What a fun job!  I wonder where they'll go for the wedding?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

January Wedding at Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed

Early January, and the first wedding of the new year was at Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed at the northern tip of the Tasman Peninsula area in Dunalley.  Bangor is is a stunning spot, on a hill surrounded by vineyards with water views in seemingly every direction.

Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed
Bangor is known for exceptional quality local produce, so any wedding celebration would be sure to please the guests! Its location is really special too - another reason many people choose to travel to Tasmania to tie the knot.  

The bride was going for a vintage/bohemian look with the colours of sage green, champagne and ivory.   Such a gorgeous, subtle palette.  Protea White Ice flower throughout the year here in Tasmania and in summer they tend to be more champagne coloured, with are darker central mass.  I built the design around these proteas.  

The Brunia Albiflora were ready picking earlier than usual this year, so I was able to use them with their soft grey-green tones.  Each bouquet also had a hydrangea variety called Paniculata in a white and green colouring.  Maui Sunset Leucadendron are a gorgeous mix of olive and grass green tones with pink tips in summer. They were scattered through.  I also used some old-gold Banksia Formosa (formally Dryandra Formosa)   They added a warmth and richness to the mix.

Soft and beautiful flowering gum in an off-white were used, as well as gum nuts, still green,  from a Corymbia.  I also used some Leucadendron Discolour and their cones.  The last few remaining Berzelia can be seen peeping out from each bouquet too.  They are usually all gone before January so it was a treat to be able to add them.

Foliages were really important for these bouquets.  I used some silvery grey-green Eucalyptus Crenulata, as well as some Risdon Peppermint.  

Branches covered in little lime green seed pods were foraged from a native plant growing at my local beach.  They were prolific in producing seeds this season and the colour and texture was so beautiful!  Also foraged were some local ferns.  Fishbone Water Fern are at their best after the new leaves have hardened off.  

I also used native Coral Fern which I love using in bouquets.  It sits so well around the edges of the bouquet.  

The groom had a combination of foliages - the Crenulata, Coral Fern and foraged seed pods (I haven't been able to find a name for them yet!) along with some of the last Berzelia, a Leucadendron Discolour and a green Corymbia gum nut.  

The rest of the boutonnieres followed the theme!

For decorating the venue, I did some large urns with lots of texture.  I used white hydrangeas, tea tree, fluffy white flowering gum, and some Berzelia.

Leucadendron Discolour, green with a pink blush, Pink Ice Protea, and Brunia Albiflora were the larger flowers.  The cones are the beautiful dried cones from the Leucadendron Silver Tree.  They are such beautiful things!

I also added more Hydrangea Paniculata too.  The greens included the native Fishbone Fern, Eucalyptus Crenulata, the foraged seed pods, and the gorgeous draping Coral Fern.  

I really enjoyed the colour scheme of this wedding - pared back and subtle and packed with interesting textures and shapes.  As always, a pleasure to be involved!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cradle Mountain Wedding in December

Photography by Michelle Dupont
Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania's iconic natural beauties.  Its no surprise then, that some couples choose to tie the knot in this remarkable location.  In December 2016, I provided flowers for a summer wedding at Cradle Mountain on what proved to be a very wintery day.  It's not unusual for Cradle Mountain to be dusted in snow, even during the summer months.  The weekend chosen for this wedding was cold one with some wild weather but I think you'll agree from the gorgeous wedding photos, that the weather added to the atmosphere in this extraordinary place.

The bride wanted natives in red, green and white.  For the green, I used Tasmanian Myrtle-beech foliage.  Myrtle-beech is the dominant tree in Tasmania's cool temperate rain forests.  Its fresh new growth is a rich green and perfect for bouquets.  For the red, I used Waratahs.  The Tasmanian Waratah (Telopea Truncata) flowers mostly in November, but because of the mild spring weather, there were still plenty of flowers available in mid December.  Their rich vibrant pinky red seems to glow.

For the 'white', I used Berzelia Lanuguinosa, a white flowering fynbos plant that has lots of little balls of tightly packed flower heads. When the Berzelia flowers, the balls look fluffy and white - so pretty in bouquets.  The Berzelia at Swallows Nest Farm flowered right up til the end of December which is later than usual, but it was a treat to have them flowering so plentifully for so long. 

For the Bride's bouquet, I also used a larger, NSW Waratah (Telopea Speciosissima) and a Protea White Ice. 

The bride and the four bridesmaids also had some Scarlet Ribbons pincushions in their dark red phase, with orangey styles and deep red "ribbons".  The rich burgundy of Safari Sunset Leucadenrons was a great addition too.

I also added gum nuts and Leucadendron Jubilee Crown which are a rich red leucadendron cone.

Red, green and white, without being too christmassy - always important in December.

For the groom and the groomsmen, more myrtle, Tasmanian waratah's and Berzelia.  The groom also had a Jubilee Crown cone.

Photography by Michelle Dupont
The breathtaking photos by Tasmanian photographer Michelle Dupont were just perfect.  

Photography by Michelle Dupont
Beautiful landscape, beautiful light, beautiful bride! 

Photography by Michelle Dupont
As always, it was a privilege to be involved in this beautiful wedding!