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Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

Gentle Lady Bouquet

by Wen Zientek-Sico

Created in memory of a very special "gentle lady", this arrangement is a picture perfect blend of lush petals, feminine colors, and elegance. Easy on the budget as well as the eyes, this arrangement squeaked in just under our $10.00 budget. One of the longer lasting arrangements we have profiled, this arrangement will last for several weeks.

Gentle Lady Bouquet

Created in memory of a very special "gentle lady", this arrangement is a picture perfect blend of lush petals, feminine colors, and elegance. The soft lines of the lisianthus add a lot of weight to this arrangement, giving it an impressive size and depth at a very reasonable cost. I used a large soft grey vase for this arrangement, but any wide, trumpet shaped vase will work. The lisianthus does look better over time if it is allowed to spread out as it grows towards the light and the buds open.

I had wanted to include some pale pink sweet peas from my garden in this arrangement, but blistering heat and damaging rain took their toll on them and they were not in good condition for arranging. They would make a delightful addition.

This bouquet is composed of deep pink spray roses and deep blue Mariachi Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum). While I am sure most of you are familiar with the economical spray roses, Lisianthus may be new to most readers…but not for long! It is quickly becoming very popular among florists and flower aficionados everywhere. Lisianthus is actually a sturdy hybrid of the common Western American flower commonly called the Texas Bluebell or Prairie Gentian. The blooms are beautiful, looking like a cross between sweet peas and roses and have a very elegant appearance. The Mariachi Lisianthus is an even newer hybrid with quadrupled petals for an exceptionally lush look. Part of the appeal of Lisianthus is how long it lasts, with each open bloom lasting up to two weeks and with most stems coming with dozens of buds that will slowly open over time. With some judicious removal of spent blooms Lisianthus arrangements can easily last over a month.

There are some tips to keep your Lisianthus bouquet looking bright, colorful, and attractive. First of all, Lisianthus performs better with a really sweet solution. Ideally you want to start the flowers out in a 10% sugar solution with fresh flower food added. Any later water changes can be done with a 5% sugar solution and fresh flower food. This will make the colors brighter, more buds open, and let the flowers last longer. Lisianthus flowers are also quite phototropic. If you arrange them in a wide vase as we have in our current arrangement, the flower tips will grow upwards towards the light. Beware placing the flowers to the left or right of a strong light source as they will grow towards it which will alter your arrangement. Lisianthus tend to prefer cooler temperatures, and if you keep the arrangement in a cool place it will last longer. As with most flowers, you should recut the stems at an angle and remove any foliage that will be under water before arranging the lisianthus.

Some other great flowers to pear with lisianthus are other varieties of roses, freesia, sweet peas, poppies, and lilies. Lisianthus flowers have no fragrance which make them ideal for mixing with these fragile, but very fragrant flowers. They come in a wide range of colors and varieties, including single, double, and quadruple blooms in both solid and variegated colors.

Working with spray roses is much the same as other roses. They prefer a cool location, fresh flower food in the water, a little bit of additional sugar, and need to be trimmed before placing in an arrangement. All leaves should be removed that will be underwater in the arrangement. Thorns that will be underwater can be removed for easier handling, but it is not necessary. Thorns that will be above the water in the arrangement should not be removed - they will make the roses last longer.

The Bouquet

Detail of Gentle Lady BouquetLarge wide vase

Floral frog or rubber band


Floral food



10 pink spray rose stems

20 Blue Mariachi Lisianthus Stems

Place your vase on your work surface. Place the frog in the bottom of the vase, or set aside the rubber band. Fill the vase mostly full with water, measuring how much water you use. Add the floral food. For every cup of water you add to the vase, add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Stir well until the floral food and water are dissolved. Remove the leaves and thorns from the bottom of the rose stems. Trim the roses so they rise about four inches from the top of the vase. Make sure to trim the stems at an angle. If you are using the frog, add each rose to the center of the vase after trimming, using the frog to hold them tightly together. If you are not using the frog, add the roses to the center of the vase after trimming each of them, but once they are all trimmed, remove them from the vase. Quickly bundle them together with the rubber band and return them to the vase. Trim each lisianthus stem to between 1/2 inch and 5 inches longer than the vase, cutting each stem at an angle. Add the cut lisianthus to the arrangement, placing the shorter stems in the front of the vase and the longer ones in the back. Place in a cool location.

We have had several requests for a breakdown of costs associated with each arrangement. There are some things we assume you have on hand for each arrangement, including water, a suitable vase or container, and scissors. When using specialized or expensive materials, we always try to give low cost alternatives as well.

Here is the price breakdown for this arrangement:

Vase - Free, inherited

Roses - $4.99 at local grocery store

Lisianthus - $4.99 at local grocery store

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