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October 31 2020

Hungry Like The Wolf

Tags: Flower Profile

Allan Armitage, in his book Herbaceous Perennial Plants wrote: "Flowers any more perfect as those of the lupine hybrids are difficult to imagine." That perfection, and their local elusiveness, is why lupine makes Ellen hungry like the wolf.

Long before she became a florist, Ellen worked part-time at Breidenbauagh Farm in Carney, MD. She weeded, planted, and watered. There was some selling too. One of the plants she sold were baby lupine starters. They were just a tiny, nascent green sprig sprouting in a flimsy black temporary planter. Nothing about them seemed special, let alone perfect. However, the colorfully tantalizing picture of the mature lupine on the white plastic label skewered into the moist soil promised a beauty only poets, painters and Allan Armitage could imagine.

Lupine, I’m on the hunt/I’m after you.

It would be years before Ellen attempted to possess lupine for herself. As an established florist, Ellen was a presenter at Butterbee Farm's Blooms and Bouquets class for farmer/florists. Mimo, a farmer, of Urban Buds in St. Louis was also presenting. She taught growing on the shoulders to extend the season. Lupine in the greenhouse was a success for Mimo. Just as a risen full moon rouses the wolves, Ellen's lupine lust was rekindled. She wanted the flowers grown in Baltimore.

Lupine, I howl and I and whine/I’m after you.

When Laura Beth expanded her greenhouse capacity at Butterbee, Ellen's mouth was alive with juices like wine. Lupine was within reach. LB started with ten plants, but just one bloomed and it turned out to be the wrong variety - not the kind Mimo grew.

Lupine, You feel my heat/I'm just a moment behind.

Lupine remains elusive at LoCoFlo, for now. Is it the bloom or the chase? Either way, the hunger is insatiable.

Lupine, I’m after you.


September 17 2020

We Got Big Gomphocarpus Physocarpus

Tags: Flower Profile

Hairy balls are, by far, our most talked about flower at the shop. Of course they are. Just look at them! They're hairy balls!

Gomphocarpus physocarpus is their botanical name (that's a mouthful). Their alternative names aren't any better: monkey balls (pass), bishop's balls (way worse), nailhead (why), balloon plant (not bad, but there's already a balloon flower).

Hairy Balls. Accept them. Celebrate them. Love them. They are a type of milkweed. The balls are full of seeds (of course). They burst open at the end of the plant's life and the seeds fly away on silky strings in the wind.

Monarch caterpillars munch on the leaves. We find them all the time in the shop and keep them in our terrarium for the metamorphoses. We name each caterpillar Gregor. (Second Kafka reference in the blog if you're keeping score at home. Or was it Breaking Bad?)

When John Waters was promoting his hitchhiking book, Car Sick, he gave a reading at a neighborhood bookstore (he also lives just a few miles from the shop). We thought, who loves hairy balls more than John Waters. So we walked over to the bookstore with a hairy balls bouquet arranged in an old motor oil can.

The pope of trash thanked us with a post card:

Your flowers were beautiful + rude and great!

That sounds about right.


August 15 2020

Super Naked Ladies

Tags: Flower Profile

Ellen chanced upon these naked ladies in our neighborhood. They are featured in the title of one of our favorite flower books (for sale at our shop) and is a topic in our trivia game. How about that, Mel Allen!


February 15 2020

Spring Awakening

Tags: Flower Profile, Games

It’s a little early, but we need it. Our Spring postcard has sprung! Find it in our shop and with your Spring flower order.

How many of our locally grown Spring flowers can you identify?

click for zoomable image

1.ranunculus, 2. delphinium, 3. lilac, 4. anemone, 5. tulip, 6. daffodil, 6. hellebore, 7. tulip, 8. butterfly ranunclus, 9. freesia, 10. tulip, 11. ranunculus, 12. forsythia, 13. hellebore, 14. butterfly ranunculus, 15. hellebore, 16. daffodil, 17. daffodil, 18. tulip, 19. anemone, 20. poppy, 21. fritteleria, 22. ranunclus, 23. sweet william, 24. freesia, 25. hyacinth, 26. pieris japonica, 27. ranunculus, 28. anemone, 29. cherrycarnation


January 24 2020

Next on the Bachelor: Aphrodite’s Frenemy

Tags: Hilarious, Flower Profile

The Greeks have a myth that anemones originated at the site of Adonis’s death. Aphrodite, who warned her boo of dangerous wild boar, found Adonis did not heed her advice. (They never listen, am I right ladies?) Adonis took a tusk to the yarbles. (There is speculation that jealous Ares transformed into the beast to do the deed, and still another rumor that Persephone sent the boar from Hades because Adonis did not answer her “you up” text.) Anyway, the myth says Aphrodite’s tears sprouted anemones where Adonis died. It was also at this tragic event, that she created the first red rose from her blood – but that’s another story.

Anemones start to come up in our region in late December. These greenhouse-grown flowers give us some much-needed color in the Winter and early Spring. With their signature navy eye, they are popular for weddings, events and great for every day designs. They continue to bloom into May for us if it doesn't get too hot early in the season.

Anemones are nyctinastic: they open in the light and close in the dark. They have circadian rhythms just like you, me and Aphrodite. Scientists are not sure why they do this. Darwin thought it was to reduce the risk of freezing. Other theories include fending off predators and keeping their pollen dry.


It’s not the pervy relative you avoided as a child at the family holiday gathering. If you look closely at an anemone from the root there is the stem. Follow up the stem and you will find some ruffly green leaves. The stem continues before the flower. The part of the stem between the ruffly leaves and the bloom is called the peduncle. The peduncle lengthens as the anemone grows. It can serve as a natural gauge to indicate the best time for harvesting. Dave Dowling likes a quarter-inch peduncle.


October 27 2019

Falling for Fall Flowers

Tags: Flower Profile, Games

Our Fall postcard has dropped! Find it in our shop and with your Fall flower order.

How many of our locally grown Fall flowers can you identify?

click for zoomable image

1. eucalyptus, 2. hops, 3. sunflower, 4. marigold, 5. sea oats, 6. cosmos, 7. hairy balls, 8. ageratum, 9. dahlia, 10. broom corm, 11. cattail, 12. celosia, 13. lisianthus, 14. eucalyptus (again), 15. dahlia (again), 16. gomphrena, 17. lisianthus (again), 18. hydrangea, 19. cosmos, 20. celosia (again), 21. marigold (again), 22. hairy balls (again), 23. amaranth, 24. dahlia (again), 25. salvia, 26. grass, 27. zinnia, 28. celosia (again).


August 07 2019

Hunnid Bands Bucket

Tags: Farmers, Flower Profile

We got the Money Plant. It has a lot of names and a lot of stories. And it's weird: how it looks, how it grows, how to harvest it, how we prep it, how we use it. Even how we get it. All of this makes it one of our favorites.

Lunaria (from the Latin meaning moon-shaped) is the botanical name. Money Plant is the most popular common name. It is also called Chinese Coins, The Pope's Money, Silver Dollar and Coins of Judas. Obviously, the unique silver color and flat round shape of the seed pods are what gives Lunaria so many monetary nick-names.

Not to be outdone by Jess, Stacy grew ours. It's a biennial. Stacy planted the seeds last Fall and it sprouted up this Spring. Lunaria is easy to naturalize - it reseeds itself. Set it and forget it. When they're young, they flower and their seed pods are green. As they season, the seed pods brown and the stem turns a pied purple. The signature silver color of the pod is achieved by letting the plant age in the ground. But that is when the work begins.

After cutting the plant, each of the pods has a dull husk that needs to be peeled back, like gold foil on chocolate coins, to reveal the shiny silver disks. Do that 100 times per plant and it's finally ready to go. It's a real money shucker.

That's one reason so few people are growing it, but the response we get from customers is worth all the hassle. One Lunaria lover stopped by Open Studio because she remembered it growing in her grandmother's yard. The nostalgia even prompted her to pack Lunaria as her carry-on to share the memory on a trip to visit her mother in California. Yeah! Maryland flowers going to the west coast.

According to Feng Shui, the Money Plant is to be placed in the Bagua area of shop to enhance the energy of wealth and prosperity. We just display it among our other seasonal local flowers. It's a treasure, even if we are still looking for those hunnid bands.


June 21 2019

What's Your Statice?

Tags: Farmers, Hilarious, Flower Profile

Ours is German. It's unremarkable all alone in a bucket straight from the farm. But Statice, Ellen says, is a floral work-horse. Old Reliable. AD ('All Day' if you are familiar with the confusing nickname of football player Adrian Peterson - sometimes misnomered AP). What I'm getting at is Statice is a hearty and versatile cut we use year-round from Winter wreaths to Summer bouquets. It's a two-way player. It's a multi-instrumentalist. It's a flower for all seasons. It gets the job done!

LB (status: sassy) with her Statice

And that's why Ellen loves herself some Statice. She also loves to enumerate:

  1. Statice looks the same fresh or dried (there's your versatility and longevity)
  2. Statice is a competent local substitute for the oft-requested and locally-scarce Baby's Breath
  3. With a name like 'Statice' the jokes write themselves. Baller.
  4. Statice is a staple for arrangements out of water: arches, bouts, head crowns, aisle swags and the such.
  5. Not a lot of growers sell it, so it provides a unique look in our arrangements.

Despite the high regard it holds today here at LoCoFlo, it took a few seasons for Statice to reach its current status (it didn't even get an at-large bid in last year's inaugural Flower Madness Tourney). Our first deliveries came from Greenstone Fields in 2014. After a few weeks, we saw the upside, and went all in. The next harvest, Ellen bought the entire crop.

Statice: flush.

As quickly as Statice came into our lives, it was gone. Hey Lloyd, Ellen was ready to be heartbroken (she really said 'heartbroken'). The Greenstone Statice bonanza lasted only one year.

Statice: sadness.

There were no other Statice growers nearby. Ellen started to recruit. Butterbee accepted the challenge and ordered up the plants from Dave Dowling at Gloeckner in the Fall of 2017. A year and a half later, we bought Butterbee's entire crop.

Statice: back in business.

Fake ending. More Statice. When LB delivered the Statice, local flower OG Bob Wollam came into the studio and said "Oh, you've got Limonium (fancy name for Statice). I used to grow a purple variety."

Statice: so many emotions.


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