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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.

Rustic Sunflowers Arrangement

Rustic Sunflower ArrangementWhile grabbing late summer/early fall ingredients at the farmer's market we couldn't resist these deep dark burgundy and gold and brown sunflowers. Especially at only a few dollars a bunch! No longer limited to just plain yellow, you can grow or find hundreds of different varieties of sunflowers in a wide range of colors and sizes. This arrangement should last at least a week if kept in a reasonably cool place. Rustic Sunflower Arrangement

7 large burgundy sunflowers
12 smaller yellow and brown sunflowers
Floral preservative
Cold water
Large wide mouthed or trumpet vase

Recut the sunflower stems one at a time under water and place in a large vase or bowl. The burgundy sunflowers should be cut at least eight inches taller than your vase. The smaller sunflowers should be Rustic Sunflower Arrangementcut 4-5 inches shorter than the burgindy sunflowers and should just be a little taller than your vase so they will seem to explode out of the vase. Remove any foliage that will fall within the vase. If you are using a wide vase that does not taper at the bottom, place a floral frog or piece of floral foam to help cluster the stems together. Add water and floral preservative to the vase and mix well. Add all of the burgundy sunflowers and arrange evenly around the vase. Fill in with the smaller sunflowers, propping up any droopy burgundy sunflowers with the yellow sunflowers. Place in a cool place and change the water at least every other day with fresh preservative.

Rustic Sunflower ArrangementTips and Tricks:

Sunflowers like lots of water. If you are buying them from a florist or farmer's market, make sure to have a vase or container filled in water to hold them why you transport them or else they will wilt.

Water changes are important as well - or at least adding water daily because they absorb water very quickly and will empty your vase in no time.

When buying or growing sunflowers, make sure to double check that the variety you want to buy is the pollenless type. The pollen bearing sunflowers will generate an unbelievable amount of yellow pollen that will cover your furniture within hours - if not minutes - from bringing them inside.

Rustic Sunflower ArrangementIf you are growing your own sunflowers, it is really important to get them in water immediately after you pick them. I even go so far as to remove the leaves in the water rather than before dunking them after stripping the leaves.

Sunflowers really respond to conditioning if you have the time and the space to do it. They will usually last at least a few days longer and will retain more petals if you condition them overnight.

Some sunflowers are going to droop or bend no matter what you do to them. I actually like these "lazy" sunflowers and use them in arrangements, but you can include them in larger arrangements if you use smaller flowers to hold them up. Wiring is OK for short term arrangements in a pinch, but will severely limit the life of the bouquet.

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