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Blog Posts (7)
- Precious Primula
There are currently 430 species of Primula. These plants are very amenable to hybridization and doubtless many varieties have come and gone over the centuries. The wild primrose seen in Britain at woodland edges, clinging to banks and rocky hillocks has a subtle yellow hue with a darker yellow centre. Seen en masse the colour appears to be darker, but close-up the primrose's hue is of the faintest but prettiest yellow - perfectly suited to Spring's blue sky. It is the primula - polyanthus growing in my own garden that I press. Doing so is fairly easy if using a microwave press with one caveat! It is best to keep checking that the moisture has gone from the flower, but you will still be able to gently tease the flowers away from the cloth. If too much heat is applied in one go then the wafer-thin flowers will stick to the cloth and become very brittle. Another point to note is that the pigment will change once heat is applied to some of the polyanthus colours. ©Sandi Phillips Yellow tends to stay the same, however, pinks turn purple as do the reds. Once pressed polyanthus are quick to turn brown once exposed to light. This is great if your desired effect is one of sepia tones, but not if you are relying on a colour to stay true if it is the centrepiece of your project. ©Sandi Phillips Primula scotica The above primula is endemic to the north coast of Scotland and the Orkney Isles. Its leaves are hairier than other primula. In the UK it is illegal to pick flowers or the plants of wild primula (and that includes the ever-decreasing cowslip [Primula veris]). This form of primula grow on calcereous soil and prefer sunnier and drier conditions to other primula. The cowslip flowers in April and May, so follows on from the earlier flowering primula. The oxlip [Primula elatior] grows in Switzerland and in a small area of the UK. Primula vulgaris subsp. sibthorpii grows in the eastern Mediterranean and is coloured mauve. The mountains of Greece, Majorca and Sicily have Primula balearica, a white subspecies which is rare. A primula is represented on one side of the Austrian five cent euro coin. Candelabra primula have whorls or umbels of flowers on a single erect stem and come in many colours. These varieties of primula thrive in acid to neutral soil which is moist or poor-draining. As with other primula they also prefer shady conditions. ©Sandi Phillips Primulas press well in many ways - in traditional presses as well as using microwave ovens. One particular press that I use in the microwave is the Microfleur. A great tool for the flower presser, you can buy one from Microfleur's website*. https://www.microfleur.com/?ref=92bscxQlKGALlu *If you purchase the Microfleur using this link, I get a small percentage.
- No Shrinking Violet
Viola odorata (the Sweet Violet) has been known to Man for a very long time. A manuscript of AD 904 written in Persia (translated from the older Aramaic) explained the cultivation of violets. According to the Woodland Trust, this violet is becoming increasingly uncommon. Viola riviniana (the common dog violet) is almost identical to the sweet violet in appearance, but cannot be confused with Viola odorata as it has no scent at all. The Sweet Violet has quite an illustrious history! From the Ancient Greeks who quaffed wine scented with violets to the late 18th century’s popularity in Britain , this shade-loving perennial with tiny flowers certainly knew how win over hearts and noses. Plutarch wrote that in Italy gardeners of the 1st century AD planted sweet violets amongst garlic and onions so that the vegetables’ flavour might be improved. However, I suspect that this might well be the first documented case of companion planting. Perhaps the violets’ scent put off pests such as the onion root fly? Interestingly, while doing my research on violets I found a modern day recipe of ‘Spicy violet pearls’: Combine lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic purée and violet syrup and carefully place droplets of this mixture onto white gladiolus petals. In Syria and Turkey violets are used as an ingredient in making sherbet. It is Viola odorata that was beloved by Napoleon. On their anniversary Napoleon would gift to Josephine bunches of violets. Having been banished to Elba it is reported that Napoleon said, “I will return with the violets in Spring”. Violets were Queen Alexandra’s favourite flowers. In the gardens at Windsor as many as 5,000 violets were grown (cultivated in frames). Presumably these were the less hardy Parma violets. In the late 1800s Parma violets were very popular. Ladies of country houses wore them as buttonholes while out hunting. One Irish grower grew 7000 blooms from just a quarter of an acre! A postcard from the end of the 19th century shows violets being harvested in the olive groves of the Côte d’Azur. Violets were grown in fields in Devon and in the late 1800s flower trains bought masses of violets from Dawlish to London Paddington. These were then taken to Covent Garden to the flower girls who made up the violets into nosegays or buttonholes and then sold them from their baskets. Viola odorata flowers were also used in perfumery. Arab perfumers perfected a technique for distilling the oil. In the late 1800s the chemists Tiemann, Kruger and Semmler discovered a way to separate the aroma compounds (known as ionones) in violets. It is likely today that any violet scent found in items is synthetic. Ionones were produced in Haarmann’s factory on an industrial scale along with vanillin. Violets can be used to flavour ice cream, sorbet, sweets and cakes. In Britain the Derbyshire firm of Swizzels makes Parma violet sweets. The firm has been making them since 1928. Found growing at the edges of woodlands, in early spring the violet’s flowers provide nectar for butterflies. If you want to pick violets for your own pressing, then make sure that there are plenty of plants where you’d like to pick them and pick sparingly so that others can enjoy their delightful prettiness and exquisite scent. One particular press that I use in the microwave is the Microfleur. A great tool for the flower presser, you can buy one from Microfleur's website*. https://www.microfleur.com/?ref=92bscxQlKGALlu *If you purchase the Microfleur using this link, I get a small percentage.
- Musings on Ikebana
Literally translated, 'Ikebana' means 'to put in flower material', but its more fluid translation means 'flower arrangement'. Historically, in the best room of a Japanese house there was a tokonoma (alcove). This acted as a focal point and within the tokonoma a picture scroll and flowers were displayed. Emphasis is on the form of natural life. Like the drama which makes use of living men on the stage to represent various phases of man's life, Japanese flower arrangement represents various phases of nature by utilising flowers and other objects. In flower arrangement the actors and actresses are the flowers and trees and the stage is the vase. The container for the arrangement should be discreet and tie in with the main flow of the piece. For instance, if a vertical arrangement is wanted, then a tall thin container would be ideal such as is used in Heika. Similarly if the arrangement is a horizontal one, then a low shallow oval or semicircular shape is utilised (as in Moribana). Both Rikkwa and Ten-chi-jin styles are formal, while the Nageire style is free and natural. Here the hanging Ikebana which is cascading is placed in front of the Scroll. This enhances the realistic painting of nature creating a 3D effect for the viewer, almost making the viewer a part of the environment. Margaret Wolfe Hungerford wrote the idiom ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ in her novel of 1878, 'Molly Bawn'. It is this phrase that we still use in our language today. The Buddhist belief that there is beauty in imperfection can also be applied to Ikebana. Although there is an element of precision in displaying the plant material (making sure that there isn't any messy overlapping of branches, stems or flowers), a naturally bent branch or stem is rejoiced in as much as a perfect-looking specimen. (Above) Here the arrangement is being stripped of extra leaves. Margaret Wolfe Hungerford wrote the idiom ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ in her novel of 1878, 'Molly Bawn'. It is this phrase that we still use in our language today. Also the Buddhist belief that there is beauty in imperfection can be applied to Ikebana. Although there is an element of precision in displaying the plant material (making sure that there isn't any messy overlapping of branches, stems or flowers), a naturally bent branch or stem is rejoiced in as much as a perfect-looking specimen. Contacts: www.Ikenoboukandireland.com www.ikebanancar.org www.ikebanahq.org See the above website for a short explanation of the eight different schools of ikebana: Ichiyo; Ikenobo; Misho; Ohara; Ryeseiha; Saga Goryu; Shimpa Seizan and Sogetsu.
Other Pages (8)
- Online Store | Pressed Flower Art | Edinburgh
Pressed Flower Art Shop unique pressed flower gifts Shop now About Welcome to the Pressed Flower Art Store If you are anything like me, then as you get older finding presents becomes more and more difficult! This store offers unique gifts handcrafted by myself. Items are either made with pressed or dried flowers. Choose from framed art, paperweights, cards, and coasters. I hope you find inspiration on these pages. Unique pressed flower artworks Quick View Wildflower meadow Price £4.00 Quick View Vase arrangement Series no.5 Price £4.00 Quick View Vase Arrangement Series no.4 Price £4.00 Quick View VaseArrangement Series no.3 Price £4.00 Quick View Wildflower meadow Price £4.00 Quick View Vase arrangement Series no.5 Price £4.00 Quick View Vase Arrangement Series no.4 Price £4.00 Quick View VaseArrangement Series no.3 Price £4.00 Shop all Shop Contact Us @pressedflowercrazy
- Clothing | Pressed Flower Art
Clothing and more Finding Inspiration in Nature Browse our range of products printed with unique designs from my pressed flower art.