Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February Lilies, Wine & Chocolate

I just wrote about how much I enjoyed that big bunch of tulips back in January, and then along came FedEx two Saturdays ago with another familiar brown box from Stargazer Barn! I could hardly wait to get this one open to see what was inside.

Lilies this time, and though they were still in bud, I had grown this particular lily in my own garden once upon a time and knew how beautiful they would be. I remember when I bought my bulbs in 2005, 'Starfighter' was advertised to be an improved version of the famous 'Stargazer', undoubtedly the most beloved of all Oriental lilies.

The Carolina sphinx moths (Manduca sexta - the ones whose larvae are hell-
bent on destroying your prize tomatoes) loved my 'Starfighter' lilies as much
as I did. They visited the lilies at dusk when they were in bloom. (2006)

One of the improvements of 'Starfighter' over 'Stargazer' was said to be extended vase life. Now that it's been nearly two weeks since the lilies arrived from Stargazer Barn, I can tell you that the vase life is pretty astounding for a cut flower, especially for one that traveled some 2,500 miles or so to get to my house.

Stargazer Barn ships overnight so your flowers arrive as fresh as possible.

The original 'Stargazer' lily was bred back in 1974 on the very ground where Stargazer Barn is now located. That was a pretty memorable year for me too, as I was 16 for most of it and graduated from high school that spring. (Yep, that's me, grinning and clutching my diploma as we left the gymnasium on graduation day.)

I cut about an inch off the end of the stems of the 'Starfighter' lilies and put them in water in the provided galvanized French-style vase, along with the flower food powder that came with it.

There was also some Bear grass included, if I wanted to jazz up the bouquet a little bit. An informational card showed a couple different ways to use it and I chose to loop mine all fancy-like.

The lilies came wrapped in floral paper and were tied with this red
burlap "ribbon." I know it was included because it matched the lilies, but
it was also pretty much perfect for my kitchen color scheme too. Bonus!

As I said, the flowers were in bud when they arrived, but it didn't take them long before they began to open. As each opened, their intoxicating fragrance got more intense and it reminded me of how wonderful it always is to be walking through the garden in summer and catch a whiff of my own lilies.

Photo from Dick Taylor
These 'Starfighter' lilies are part of the Stargazer White Collection, which includes not only a dozen stems of the lilies, but a bar of that yummy Dick Taylor craft chocolate. This time it was Madagascar, which was dark chocolate with a hint of molasses, orange and raisin. (How do they do that?) This particular variety has won several awards, including being a  2015 International Chocolate World Final Bronze winner.

But that wasn't all! Also included was a bottle of Stargazer Barn's own 2014 Chardonnay. It's also won its own awards, including most recently, a Silver Medal in the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

I admit to not knowing a whole lot about wine, other than I know what I like and what I don't. I don't like a dry wine at all. I prefer white and those that are on the fruity, sweet side, but not too sweet. This one was good, and I say "was," because it didn't take too many evenings before it was gone.

This was really a special gift package and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, if you act quickly, you could send this anywhere in the lower 48 in time for it to arrive on Saturday. They don't charge extra for Saturday delivery and like I said, standard delivery is overnight. (No Sunday or Monday deliveries.)

Here's a code for Free Delivery: yummy. I'm not sure when that code expires, but I know it's good for this Saturday's delivery if you get your order in quickly. Not only that, the Stargazer White Collection is on sale right now for $79.99.

I counted the number of flower buds in this bouquet and there are 30 all together. They have continually opened up over the course of the last 12 days and only just today, I snipped off two of the earliest to open. There are still a few that are just now opening, which makes for an amazingly long-lasting fresh cut bouquet of American Grown flowers.

The entire first floor of our house smells like summer and the huge blooms are just so gorgeous that I stop to look at them every time I walk by. Thank you, Stargazer Barn, for this beautiful gift.

I received the Stargazer White Collection from Stargazer Barn free of charge. No other compensation was given and I'm happy to share these beautiful flowers with you. Perhaps they will be something you might want to send to someone else or enjoy in your own home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Gift of Tulips in Winter
It was the coldest day of the year so far (23°F, with a low of 1° overnight) in mid-January, when our doorbell rang. Our house faces west and it was windy, so you can imagine the blast of cold air that greeted me as I opened the door to receive a box from the FedEx delivery man.

I knew when I saw the box that what was inside it was going to be like a breath of spring - just what I needed.


These flowers were packed very well, with a zip-tie around the flowers
and through the box so they wouldn't move around during shipment.

I'd met the folks from Stargazer Barn when I was at P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm in Arkansas last May during the 5th Annual Garden2Blog event. They provided oodles of gorgeous fresh blooms for our Field to Vase Dinner we had at the farm on our last night there. It was a magical evening...

One of the best things about the event was getting to wear flower crowns.
Here, I'm with my co-writer and best bud, Jenny Peterson.

Stargazer Barns is a California-based grower of fresh-cut flowers, which ships throughout the U.S. Most of our cut flowers in this country come from South America, but in recent years, American growers are taking back as much of the industry as they can by raising awareness that we can and do grow gorgeous flowers right here in our own country.

The Slow Flower movement has Debra Prinzing to thank for getting the ball rolling, with her publication of both The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers (2012 & 2013, St. Lynn's Press). I encourage you to read Debra's explanation of what "slow flowers" means.

Now that you have an idea of the goal and purpose of buying American Grown flowers, just take a look at the flowers I got - 24 'Ile de France' long-stemmed tulips - complete with a galvanized French-style vase, three Tulip Perfume fragrances, along with a bar of Dick Taylor craft chocolate!

This is how the tulips looked when they arrived. In just a couple of days
they opened up, and lasted more than a week.

These are what you get when you order the Sensory Seduction Collection. The flowers are beautiful enough, but with the other items it makes for a really special gift.

Stargazer Barn grows their own flowers in Humboldt County, California, and the other two gifts in the collection are also Humboldt County businesses. I love how they've collaborated to create an All-American gift package.

The chocolate bar is almost too pretty to eat! Almost...

'Lemon Sugar', 'Mandarin Peony', and 'Coconut' spray bottled scents
come packaged in their own ribbon-tied box.
Stargazer Barn is certified by Veriflora™, a third-party organization which uses a strict set of standards to govern sustainable growing conditions, protection of local ecosystems, energy efficiency, waste management as well as worker wages and conditions.

There are many other options for sending a gift of flowers (and more), and through March 1, 2016, you can use the promotion code flowerhouse to receive 15% off your order (excluding tax and shipping).

I'll be back in a few days to share more luscious flowers and gifts from Stargazer Barn, but for now, enjoy the spring cheer of these tulips!

I received the Sensory Seduction Collection from Stargazer Barns free of charge. No other compensation was given and I'm happy to share these beautiful flowers with you. Perhaps they will be something you might want to send to someone else or enjoy in your own home.

blogger templates | Make Money Online