Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa Claus, Stockings and Chimneys

There are many names this time of year; Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas, but where did Santa come from and why does he come down the chimney instead of knocking on the door?

It is said that Santa Claus was a true individual, known as Saint Nicholas, a Bishop from Asia during the fourth century. Saint Nicholas was a son of a wealthy family and inherited his family fortune at a young age upon the death of his parents. Nicholas was a kind individual who helped the poor and in secret shared his wealth with the less fortunate.

It is a story about St. Nicholas that the tradition of hanging stockings on the fireplace is born. It is said that a very poor man had three daughters that were unable to marry because he could not provide a dowry for them.  (A dowry was a payment made to the groom on the day of the wedding to marry daughters. They included money, furniture, jewelry and anything valuable.) St. Nicholas heard of the man’s misfortune and decided to help the family.

While he did not deliver his gift the Santa Claus way of climbing down the chimney, he did drop a bag of gold down the chimney. The following morning the man found the bag of gold where it landed, inside a stocking that had been hanging by the fire to dry. With this money the man’s oldest daughter was able to marry. St. Nicholas repeated this for the second daughter in secret but the man wanted to know who was delivering these gifts.

The man waited by the chimney every night to see who was bringing the gold to his daughters. When the man caught St. Nicholas, he was asked not to tell anyone the name of the person bringing the gold, but the word was spread about St. Nicholas and from that point on, anytime a gift was left in secret it was said to be the work of St. Nicholas.*

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Images from: and 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Candy Canes and Christmas

What are holidays without those delicious sweet treats? Nearly every holiday has a corresponding confection that seems to go hand in hand. Easter has chocolate bunnies and Peeps™, Valentine’s Day has gourmet chocolates, Halloween is a candy company’s dream and Christmas is for candy canes.

Unlike most candy, candy canes were designed with a purpose and even their shape and color has special significance. During the 17th century people began to decorate their trees with fruits and sweet treats. One such treat was a straight white stick. It was the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany who first bent the straight stick into the hook we know today. In 1670 he bent the stick to the shape of a shepherd’s staff. He also gave out these confections to children during the nativity services in order to pacify them through the long service. From Germany this tradition spread and eventually made its way to America by 1847.

By this time these canes were decorated with sugar roses. It would not be until almost the 20th century that the red stripe would be added to the canes. Along with the stripe, peppermint and wintergreen flavors were added to enhance the flavor. While many companies have expanded on the flavors of candy canes, the original peppermint and wintergreen are still favorites today.*

Friday, December 5, 2014

Caring for Your Poinsettias

Remember when caring for your poinsettias that they are a tropical plant. They are accustomed to the tropical climate of Southern Mexico. There are a few things to know about caring for these tropical plants:

·         - They like direct sunlight. It is ideal to keep your plants in 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. But take care to keep them from getting too close to cold windows.

·      -   Keep them in temperature from 65-75 degrees F during the day and no lower than 55 degrees at night. They like the slightly lower temperatures at night.

·         -Water the plant when the soil is dry to the touch. Water until the excess water drains from the plant. Do not let the plant sit in this excess water.

·         -Make sure your plants are not in the path of a warm or cold breeze from radiators, windows or open doors. This breeze will hurt the plant and any direct contact with too high or too low temperatures will hurt the plant as well. Do not let your plant touch a cold window.*

Follow these few tips and your poinsettias should last long past the holiday season.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Season of Poinsettias

Poinsettias have come to be the Christmas flower in North America, but the origins of the plant is actually Mexico. Records of this holiday plant go back as far as the Aztecs who believed the plant represented purity, a notion still held today. The Aztecs called the plant ‘cuetlaxochitl’ and used the plant to make dye, medicine and cosmetics.

It was not until 1828 that the poinsettia was introduced to North America. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the U.S Ambassador to Mexico, sent some of these plants back to his South Carolina plantation while on a visit to Southern Mexico. Poinsett was the first person to grow the cuetlaxochitl within the U.S. He gave these out as gifts to his friends. A friend of his from Pennsylvania passed on the plant to another friend of his, Robert Buist, who became the first person to sell poinsettias in the U.S.

The combination of poinsettias and Christmas does not have its origins within the U.S. There is a Mexican legend that a young girl named Pepita was walking to Christmas Eve services and she was upset because she could not afford a gift for the baby Jesus. A friend assured her that even a small gift, given in love would make the baby Jesus happy.

In this spirit she picked a handful of weeds along the side of the road and woven them into a bouquet. When she laid the bouquet at the base of the nativity scene the weeds burst into color. The bouquet changed to bright red flowers, known today as poinsettias. It was for this miracle that the plant was thus called ‘Flores de Niches Buena’, Flowers of the Holy Night (

 In Mexico, the poinsettia shrub can grow to be 10 to 15 feet tall.

December 12th is National Poinsettia Day, in honor of the death of Joel Poinsett. He died in 1851, 23 years after he introduced the poinsettia to the U.S.

Poinsettias are not considered a Christmas flower in all countries. In Spain the plant is called “Flor de Pascua”, “Easter Flower”.

The week of Christmas, San Diego hosts the annual Poinsettia Bowl.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All Hallows' Eve

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Eye of newt, toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing.
                                                     (Macbeth by William Shakespeare).

The time has come again, perhaps children’s second favorite holiday of the year. (I think Christmas beats out Halloween by just a bit.) Today Halloween is a holiday for costumes, parties, things that go bump in the night and a new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial. It is the one time of year where it is acceptable for all ages to dress up in costume and intentionally scare everyone within sight.
Unlike a popular belief, Halloween was not created by the candy companies. Like most holidays, Halloween started long ago to honor spirits and to appease the gods. The name Halloween has descended from All Hallows’ Eve. All Hallows’ Eve was a celebration on the eve of the Celtic New Year, on which the Samhain festival was celebrated.  In Celtic tradition this was the perfect time to start the New Year, the time of the switching of the seasons, from Summer to Winter, and the last harvest of the year.

The festival of Samhain is the end of the last harvest season. This is the time when farmers and herders collect their goods and prepare for Winter months. Food is stocked and inventories are taken. Stock is also slaughtered to prepare the meat for the winter, during which months large herds could not be cared for due to the lack of availability of their food.

It was believed that during this time the souls of the deceased would return to the world of the living and visit their living relatives. While family could return and visit, so could the mischievous and malicious souls as well. Souls were thought to return to their family homes to visit their living relatives. Places at the table or seats by the fire were often set for these visiting spirits. Malicious spirits were thought to cause havoc or seek revenge during this time and they were often feared. It was for these spirits that the costumes were adorned to appease and mimic them (

Trick or treating is not a modern concept. Even during the Samhain festival, children would go door to door requesting treats. If treats were not given, the residents would have a trick played on them. Today these pranksters are watched for rigorously. Around Halloween the sales of seemingly harmless items like toilet paper, eggs and shaving cream are monitored. Some places even go to the lengths as not to sell these items to minors in the week or so leading up to Halloween. In some countries parents of these pranksters can legally be prosecuted for the offenses for their children.

Beware the ghouls and goblins that roam free this All Hallows’ Eve! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

50 Years Ago Today: Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton

Fifty years ago today Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton. In an unusual wedding, Liz wore a yellow, empire style chiffon gown. In her traditional, out of the norm style, she wore a crown of white hyacinths and lilies of the valley around her head that cascaded down her pulled back hair style. Like many Hollywood couples Taylor and Burton meet onset of a movie they costarred. In 1961 they meet on the set of Cleopatra; Taylor playing the eternal Queen and Goddess and Burton playing her second husband, Marc Antony. Throughout their careers they costarred in 11 films together.

Burton was Taylor’s fifth husband, married only days after Taylor was divorced from her previous husband. They would be married for ten years before they divorced in 1974. A year later they remarried, only to divorce again less than a year later. Taylor would have a total of seven husbands and was divorced when she died in 2011. 

* Image courtesy of

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fighting the Dark Ages with a Little Green

The days are growing shorter, we have now seen a few days that did not reach 70 degrees and soon the greens will give way to yellows, orange and red. Fall has come again! While the change happens every year with only a slight variation on the timing and the life expectancy of the yellow, orange and reds, for many of us this change still comes as a surprise.

While the days start growing shorter after June 21st, for some reason it takes weeks before we suddenly realize that it is 6:00 and we are being blinded by the setting sun. Soon the days are over before most of us are able to walk out of work and the nights of dinner in the backyard, warm night breezes and bright garden flowers are over. Welcome to the ‘Dark Ages’.

Before panic sets in, counter the dreariness that comes with the seemingly never ending night and monochromatic views of the winter months by bringing in a little color to your winter with some of your favorite plants. Not only are plants great to look at but they also have many health benefits*.

Plants, whether indoor or outdoor, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Similarly to how our bodies use oxygen to metabolize, plant use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, each discarding the gas that the other needs to support life. Without oxygen our bodies are unable to metabolize, meaning we could not repair old tissue, create new tissue, discard unneeded materials or convert those yummy calories into energy**.  

The plants themselves are not the only things that help the air. The plants’ soil acts as a purifier, pulling toxins out of the air. What a great option when it is too cold outside to open the windows for fresh air. While plants cannot create a breeze, there is no need to live in stagnant, dull air simply by bringing in a few plants*.

During photosynthesis plants also release water vapor into the atmosphere. In the winter months the humidity often drops as the heater are turned on, causing dry and irritated skin. Bring some of that life back to the air with something refreshing to the body, mind and atmosphere*.

But do these benefits actually make a difference in day to day life?

Studies show that hospital patients who have plants in their rooms tend to recover faster, require less medication, have higher levels of energy and are often released earlier than patients who do not plants in their rooms. Other studies show that offices with plants have higher levels of productivity and energy, are less likely to suffer from common colds and flu and have lower blood pressure*

Here are some plants we recommend:

Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)***

Dracaena (Dracaena)***

Croton (Codiaeum)***

Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia)***

***All images curtesy of Rose of Sharon Floral Designs

Monday, April 21, 2014

Prom!!! Which Flower(s) will you wear?

Its PROM season and here at Rose of Sharon and we couldn't be more excited!!! Prom is not only the biggest dance of the year, it is a chance to dress up, strut your stuff and make memories :).

With that being said, what accessory could be more important than your boutonniere and/or corsage?

Why not come and get your custom made, design specific floral piece from the pros?

We are here to make sure that YOU get that perfect piece to match any outfit and have all your favorite flowers and styles to choose from.

Feel free to browse our prom gallery here and pick your favorite or work with one of our designers to create that custom elegant look that you deserve. Its not too late, order yours today!!!

Check out these matching sets, wouldn't you and your date be stunning in a pair...
White Cymbidium orchids with blue accents
Red Gerbera daisy with black ribbon accents and just a touch of BLING