Flower Blog - Floral Ideas and Arrangements

Monday September 22nd 2014

How Flowers Become Fruit

How many of us stop to consider how fruit comes about when we reach for that apple or blackberry? Not too many of us, I will wager. Technically, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a plant which contains a seed or seeds; thus, even beans, nuts, corn, and many other foods you wouldn't think of as fruits are fruits in the botanical sense. The process in which a flower becomes fruit is quite fascinating and depends on many factors.

Why Don't All Flowers Become Fruit?

First of all, you may be wondering why all flowers do not develop fruit. The truth is many flowers do develop fruit but we just don't realize it; I know I didn't. Roses develop rosehips which are fruit, and many plants develop seed pods, grains, or nuts which are technically fruits. Some flowers are strictly male, so they will not develop fruit, and other flowers have been made sterile through hybridization. Some flowers reproduce so well asexually that they have no need for flowers.

Photo via: Liz west (Flickr)

Pollination of the Flower

The first step of fruit formation starts with a pollinated flower. Some flowers pollinate themselves, while others depend on wind, humans, animals, insects, or other methods to bring pollen and ovules from different or the same plants together. For species that depend on cross-pollination, weather conditions and the number of pollinators can be a factor in how many flowers actually become fruit. By manipulating pollination, scientists and gardeners have created many new varieties of fruits, and many types that are resistant to various diseases.

Photo via: Daniel Jolivet (Flickr)


In order to explain how a flower turns into a fruit, I will take you on a trip down memory lane to high school biology class where most of us learned the parts of a flower. The female part of the flower is referred to as the carpel, and it consists of a long slender tube called the style which leads down to the rounded base which is the ovule-filled ovary. Surrounding the ovule is the pericarp which matures into what we consider the fruit; if can be fleshy as with an orange, or dry and hard as with an acorn. On the top of the style is the stigma, which is generally sticky in order to catch pollen. The male part of the flower is referred to as the stamen and it consists of a long slender filament topped by the pollen-containing anther. When a grain of pollen reaches the stigma, it creates a pollen tube for the sperm to journey down the style and fertilize the ovule; fertilized ovules become seeds. Fertilization is the death of the flower, as the petals drop or wither at this point and the ovary starts to enlarge and ripen into what we know as fruit.

Photo via: Internet Archive Book Images (Flickr)

Variations on a Theme

We all know that there are all kinds of fruit and that they can be quite different -- why is that? Well, let's look at the blackberry for example; the blackberry flower is composed of numerous carpels and thus numerous ovules. Each of these when fertilized become a separate fruit, but are held together by a receptacle; fruits of this type are known as aggregate fruits and they include raspberries and strawberries as well. Simple fruits form from a single carpel or many fused carpels in one flower; examples of these are lemons, beans, and peas. Some fruits are known as accessory fruits -- the apple and pear are examples. The part of apples and pears that we eat is not a swollen ovary, but a swollen stem and the ovary is actually the core. The pineapple is known as a multiple fruit and develops from an inflorescence which contains multiple ripened flowers. There are many other kinds of fruits as well, but these are some of the most popular. The fruit serves to protect the seed and to help disperse it later on.

Photo via: liz west (Flickr)

Factors Affecting Fruit Formation

After pollination, there are many things that can happen while fruit is forming. Weather conditions greatly affect yields. Fruit needs a lot of water to develop and if there is not adequate rainfall, fruit may fail to grow if not irrigated. Temperatures will also affect fruit set and ripening, as will hail and strong wind. Pests and disease are other problems that can decimate a fruit crop; choose pest and disease resistant varieties for best results. If everything goes right, over time the fruit will grow and hormones will kick in which make the fruit flesh become sweeter and change from green to the beautiful colors that we are used to.

Photo via: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr)

Time to Enjoy!

At long last, your fruit is ripe and now it is time to enjoy it; but first, you need to realize that you aren't the only one that wants to enjoy it! Birds and animals are going to want to reap what you sowed, so think ahead and drape your trees, shrubs, and plants with bird netting and fence out the rabbits. Some gardeners suggest feeding the wildlife well so that they will not want to eat the fruit. Stop and think before spraying the fruit with anything yucky to deter animals, because chances are you won't want to eat it either; I know I am not fond of pepper-sprayed strawberries! When humans and animals eat fruit, they are starting the plant life cycle over again by spreading the seeds that may someday develop into new plants and thus new fruit.

Photo by: Aaron Gustafson (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Monday September 15th 2014

Flowers That Thrive In The Fall Season

Just when I am tempted to feel sad about the end of summer, I look around me to see the vibrant hues of reds, yellows, and purples, and I am filled with joy. While the blooms of summer are winding down, the flowers of fall are just getting started. Some flowers, like sunflowers and chrysanthemums, are well-known fall flowers; however, there are several others that probably never crossed your mind. Most of these fall flowers make excellent cut flowers in addition to livening up the garden at the end of the season.


Photo via jacinta lluch valero (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in Plant Care
Monday September 8th 2014

The Best Flowers for People With Allergies

Until I became a florist, I assumed that anyone would love to receive a bouquet of beautiful flowers; then, I learned that for people with allergies, sending certain flowers is like sending sickness. For an allergy-sufferer, the wrong flowers can trigger sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, and sinus symptoms. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are probably quite familiar with these unpleasant effects. To understand what plants to avoid, it is good to know the science behind pollen allergies.

Plants can be monoecious, which means they have male and female flowers on the same plant, or they can be dioecious, which means the plants are strictly male or strictly female. It is the male plants and male flowers that are responsible for allergies. The male parts are the filament and the anther; together, they are referred to as the stamen. The anther is what produces the pollen that causes us so many problems. Both monoecious and dioecious plants depend on wind to move the pollen from the male to the female plant, and when the pollen becomes airborne, it causes allergies.

Photo via GollyGforce-Living My Worst Nightmare (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in Flowers Gift Ideas
Friday August 29th 2014

What Makes The Best Bouquet of Get Well Flowers

Phone calls, cards, balloons, and gifts are all traditional ways to cheer up a loved one who is ill; however, flowers do double duty, functioning as a way to convey your feelings and also as a sort of therapy for the sick. Many studies have shown that patients use less pain medication and are more positive with flowers and plants in their hospital room. There is even something called flower therapy, where flower essences are taken to alleviate stress and promote health and well-being. I am not at all surprised. As a florist, I see the happiness and health benefits of flowers daily. Nothing makes a person smile like receiving a bouquet of flowers. Are you having a trouble deciding on a get-well bouquet? Here are some great ideas.

Think Health

When giving flowers as a get-well gift, the last thing you want to do is make your loved one feel worse. Stay away from plants that could trigger allergies and strong-smelling flowers that could induce nausea in someone already sick. Carnations, chrysanthemums, and daisies are good choices. Roses that have a light fragrance are also a welcomed choice; is there anyone who doesn't love roses? If you have a loved one who is in the hospital for just a few days, you may want to consider sending the bouquet to the home instead of the hospital; that way, there will be no stress of gathering up all of the flower arrangements and transporting them back home.

Posted by Ava Rose in Get Well Flowers
Friday August 22nd 2014

11 of the Worlds Most Unusual Flowers

In the past, I have posted about carnivorous plants, foul-smelling flowers, and flowers that bloom in the moonlight; you may be thinking that I've written about most of the unusual flowers in the world, but that is not the case! It seems like the list of unusual flowers goes on and on and that more are being discovered every day. I never tire of learning about them, either! I have compiled a list of 11 unusual flowers that range from the rare and endangered to ones that you can grow at home.

Flor de Muerto, Lisianthius nigrescens

This flower is unusual because it is the blackest naturally occurring flower known in the world. The long, tubular black flowers droop from stems that can reach 6 feet tall. In addition to being black, they appear to be wilted, which makes the common name "flower of death" quite fitting. However, it earned the name because where it grows, in Mexico, locals plant it near graves. You can try your hand at growing this tender perennial by buying seeds online.

Sea Poison Tree, Barringtonia asiatica

Photo via VanLap Hoang (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Thursday August 14th 2014

Carnivorous Plants You Can Grow At Home

What comes to mind when you think about carnivorous plants? Perhaps you think of Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, or if you are like me, you think of how you killed multiple Venus flytraps as a kid. Chances are, you think about plants that are nearly impossible to keep alive in your own home; however, if you choose the right plants and you are armed with the correct knowledge, you can grow a variety of these fascinating plants in your home or garden. They require care that is a little different than the average houseplant, but growing such awesome plants is well worth the patience required.

Background on Carnivorous Plants

Although carnivorous plants can be very different and have different requirements, they all have some basic things in common; they capture and kill insects and other small creatures using specialized leaves that function as traps, and they get needed nutrients from their prey. Carnivorous plants grow in soils that are low in nutrients that the plants need to survive, especially nitrogen. This is why when you grow carnivorous plants, you need to use a special carnivorous plant mix or mix your own; one good recipe for the plants below is one part milled peat to one part silica sand. Only butterworts require something different. You should not use tap water on these plants or the total dissolved solids in the water and the chemicals (which these plants are not accustomed to) will build up and kill your plant. Carnivorous plants will need to be repotted every year with a complete change of soil, and most do not require fertilizers, although you can feed them insects.

Posted by Ava Rose in Plant Care
Monday August 11th 2014

Keeping Your Flowers from Wilting In the Summer Heat

The dog days of summer are here, and with them come hard times for some of our precious flowers, whether they are cut, potted, or in the garden. One of the unsightly symptoms of heat distress is wilting: Bbelieve it or not, in hot weather, wilting is kind of like the plant version of sweating! There are some steps that you can take to make your flowers more comfortable in the heat and to perhaps prevent wilting. Here are some tips I have put together for you.

What Causes Wilting?

Photo by Selena N.B.H. (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in Plant Care
Thursday July 24th 2014

Flowers that Pet Owners Should Avoid

Flowers are so beautiful that it is hard to believe that they are anything but good; however, many common flowers are extremely toxic to pets if eaten. I highly recommend that you keep the phone numbers for pet poison control handy and that you always know the common and scientific name of plants on your property so that you will be able to tell the medical personnel or poison control hotline staff what your pet ingested. Quick and accurate treatment will depend on this knowledge. If you have a pet that likes to eat plants or chew on things, then you should keep poisonous plants out of your pet's range or plant something else instead. Of course, the safest practice is to do your research and not plant poisonous plants on your property. Here are some of the famous femmes fatales of the garden to get you started.

Azaleas, Rhododendron species

Photo by: aussiegall (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Wednesday July 16th 2014

Up Close and Personal - Some Tips for Macro Flower Photography

Summer is in full bloom, and now is the time to capture the fleeting beauty of flowers forever with your camera. Keep your camera handy, because you may be inspired in your garden or even on a country roadside; you never know where you will be when the perfect subject appears. I think every flower photographer should know how to take close-ups - after all, the beauty is in the details. Thanks to modern technology, taking macro photos is easy; simply select macro mode on a point-and-shoot digital camera or use a macro lens on a DSLR camera. Taking good macro photos, however, takes knowledge and practice. Read on for some simple tips on macro flower photography.

Select the Best Subject

When taking close-ups of flowers, it is essential to find a perfect subject. The slightest imperfections that can barely be seen by the naked eye will be magnified and prominent in macro photos. You should expect to spend a while looking for the right subject and plan accordingly; I say this from personal experience. It is also important to make sure nothing is in front of your chosen flower that will block the view. Remember, you can always remove foliage or other plants around your subject or bend and tie them out of the way. Consider taking a close-up of a flower with a butterfly, bee, or other insect - this will add interest.

Image via Beckwith-Zink (Diane) (Flickr)

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Tuesday July 8th 2014

Fun Decorative DIY Projects For Your Garden

Image via Kevin Dooley (Flickr)

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time out in the garden watering, planting, pruning, and digging up weeds. I love looking out my kitchen window to see the beautiful blossoms on my blue petunias and purple pansies. And the brilliant yellow heads of my sunflowers look so happy in the morning sun! But why not place your personal stamp on your lovely garden with a decorative DIY project? Take a look at some simple projects that will make your garden all the more appealing.

Create a Wreath for Your Garden Fence

Posted by Ava Rose in General