How to grow and brew tea at home

Most of us grow herbs in our garden to add to dishes we create in the kitchen but imagine harvesting blooms from your garden and drying them to make your own tea. Doesn’t that sound like the most delightful slow living experience?

Growing chamomile and echinacea flowers is an easy and wonderful process that not only fills your garden with delicate blooms but will give you an abundance of buds to make herbal tea.

How to grow and brew chamomile

Chamomile is a herb with a white daisy-like flower and yellow centre which has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a range of health conditions. These include improved sleep and digestive health, as well as being high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is also well known for its soothing effects and for being a gentle relaxant.

Chamomile produces a pleasant apple scent with its abundance of flowers. To make a tea, simply gather the flowers and steep them in hot water for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can dry the flower heads and petals in a dry dark place. Then simply store them in an airtight container and infuse a teaspoon in hot water as you please. Many people enjoy chamomile tea as a caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea.

To grow chamomile, plant seeds in full sun or light shade during late winter/early spring. Bury seeds as deep as the height of the seed and keep the soil moist.

Shop chamomile seeds here.

How to grow and brew Echinacea

Echinacea is a purple flower with a prominent central cone, giving it the more common name of ‘Coneflower’. They are loved by pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies, making an attractive addition to a cottage style garden.

After watching your flowers bloom, they make a lovely cut flower, or are also widely used as a medicinal herb.  The herb encourages the immune system (by increasing white blood cells) and reduces symptoms of cold, flus and other illnesses.

To make echinacea tea, simply harvest the cone-shapes flowers and infuse in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.  Alternatively, you can dry the flower heads in a dry dark space for a few weeks. Once dried, store in an airtight container and infuse a teaspoon of dried echinacea in hot water.

Echinacea tea on its own is quite an acquired taste, that is why it is commonly combined with other herbs to produce a more pleasant-tasting tea. If you’re not fond of echinacea tea, simply add mint or lemongrass to your brew for a milder taste.

To grow echinacea, plant seeds in free draining soil in a sunny location. Bury seeds as deep as the height of the seed and keep soil moist.

Shop echinacea seeds here.

A gift to send to someone who is grieving loss

Giving a gift to someone who has lost a loved one is one of the most difficult gifts to give.
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Aside from spending time with a grieving person, a gift can provide some comfort during a deeply emotional time. The right gift can show that you’re thinking of them and you care, especially if you can’t be with them in person.
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Forget-me-not flowers are a nice condolence gift to give during these times. Historically, these flowers symbolise remembrance – not only associated with love, but for those we’ve lost. These sweet, tiny blue cottage garden flowers are easy to grow and will offer a beautiful reminder as time passes.
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Whether someone’s lost a loved one, friend or pet, we’re here to make these difficult times easier for you the next time you need to send a special gift to a grieving loved one. You can include a special heartfelt message on our Gift of Seeds and have them wrapped and sent directly to the recipient. Shop Forget Me Not Gift of Seeds here.

5 thoughtful, sustainable and affordable Mother’s Day gifts

Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be an extravagant and lavish experience that drains your bank account, sometimes it’s the small, more thoughtful gifts that make the biggest impression. This year, surprise your mum or that special person in your life with any of these five thoughtful but affordable gifts. All gifts cost no more than $15. They’re also environmentally friendly, so they’re good for the planet too.

Homemade Cake and a Gift of Seeds

Nothing tastes better than a cake made with TLC (tender-loving-care). Why not bake your mum a delicious cake and decorate it with edible flowers. Pair it with a Culinary Flowers Gift of Seeds so your mum can grow her own edible flowers to add to cakes she bakes. Sow ‘n Sow Gift of Seeds is a card and gift of seeds in one. Simply write your message on the back of the Gift of Seeds and either hand to your mum or post in the mail with the envelope supplied.

This lemon cake is made by @sustainable_holly (on Instagram).

Gift of Seeds | $9.95 | Purchase Here

Gift a Plant

If your mum favours plants over flowers, surprise her with a new plant to add to her collection. Simply take a cutting from a plant you have in your home or garden and propagate it. When the cutting is ready to be potted, place it in a Sow ‘n Sow Pop Up Pot and gift it to your mum on Mother’s Day. The best plants to regrow from cuttings are Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Sansevieria, ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia), Chinese Money plant (Pilea Peperiomioides), Moses in the Cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) and String of Pearls (Senecia rowleyanus).

Pop Up Pot | $15.00 | Purchase Here

Upcycle an old jar into a terrarium

If your mum loves terrariums, surprise her with one you’ve made yourself. In an upcycled glass jar place pebbles, potting mix, a selection of small plants such as succulents, ferns and moss, and decorative elements.  Write a nice message on a gift tag and tie it to the neck of the terrarium jar.

Aloe Flora created these beautiful terrariums.

Gift Tags | $9.95 for a pack of 10 | Purchase Here

52 Weeks of Love and Appreciation Cards

Write on beautifully illustrated gift tags nice messages, thoughts, memories, and words of love to your mum.  Place them in an envelope, small box, jar or tie them together with twine. Each week your mum can read a new message of love from you.  If 52 weeks is too much, you can create 7 Days of Love and Appreciation Cards and give it to your mum a week before Mother’s Day. Save your best message for the last card which is intended for her to read on Mother’s Day.

Trust us, she will adore this!

Gift Tags | $9.95 for a pack of 10 | Purchase Here

Cookie Jar Mix

Give your mum her favourite cookie mix. Simply upcycle a large jar, add the correct measurements of all the dry ingredients into the jar. On a gift tag, write the baking instructions plus additional wet ingredients she’ll need to add into the mix when baking the cookies. Tie the tag around the top neck of the jar with twine.

Gift Tags | $9.95 for a pack of 10 | Purchase Here

Flowers from Catherine Hamlin’s garden to yours

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of designing a truly touching custom Gift of Seeds for the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.

Over 60 years ago Catherine Hamlin and her partner Reg embarked on an unexpected journey of a lifetime. They signed a three-year contract to work as obstetrician-gynaecologists and set up a midwifery school in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. On arrival, Catherine and Reg were confronted by the heartbreaking reality that there was little or no treatment available in Ethiopia for obstetric fistula – an internal injury caused by an obstructed labour that leaves a woman incontinent, humiliated and isolated.

In their first three years in Ethiopia, Reg and Catherine operated on 300 fistula patients. It wasn’t long before news of a cure spread, and more patients came seeking treatment.  Upon completing their three-year posting Catherine and Reg chose to stay in Ethiopia to continue treating women suffering obstetric fistula. To cater for the demand, they began fundraising and opened the now, world-renowned Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in 1974.

Catherine Hamlin not only transformed maternal care in Ethiopia but around the world pioneering what is now noted among medical professionals globally as the world’s best-practice preoperative and postoperative fistula treatment. The Hamlin Model of Care combines clinical excellence with Catherine’s vision of treating every woman with compassion and dignity. Surgeons from around the globe visit and train at Hamlin’s hospitals to learn this acclaimed, world-best treatment.

Sadly, on 18 March 2020 Dr Catherine Hamlin passed away but she left an unforgettable legacy, one that will continue to treat patients and save lives. Under Dr Catherine Hamlin’s pioneering guidance, over 60,000 Ethiopian women with fistula injury were treated. Catherine was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and received numerous international awards and acknowledgements for her dedication and pioneering work.

It is estimated up to 31,000 Ethiopian women still live with an untreated fistula injury and new cases continue to occur. The Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation and Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital will continue to work towards eradicating fistula until every woman in Ethiopia is assured a safe and healthy delivery.

A special Gift of Seeds

Catherine’s journey was one of passion, determination, and selflessness. She worked tirelessly for decades to improve maternal health care across Ethiopia and to give women love, hope and the opportunity to regain their lives.

Dr Catherine Hamlin loved her garden at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. The hospital garden is a tranquil space where obstetric fistula patients can sit in the sunshine, convalesce and socialise with one another.

Catherine Hamlin Foundation chose Everlasting Daisy and Forget-Me-Not flower seeds to include in their beautiful custom designed Gift of Seeds. Both Gifts of Seeds are available for purchase in the Hamlin shop.  They were also given to guests that attended the recent Celebrating Catherine Dinner.

If you would like to support the Catherine Hamlin foundation, you can purchase their Gift of Seeds here or donate here.

We are truly touched to work with such a wonderful charity and create a Gift of Seeds in honour of the belated Catherine Hamlin and her truly remarkable work.

 

 

Tomato and Lettuce Seeds for Live Well Logan Program

We enjoy working with organisations that promote healthy living, so when the City of Logan reached out to us in need of custom-designed Gift of Seeds for their Live Well Logan program, we jumped at the chance to help them.

Live Well Logan is an active and healthy program offering residents free or low-cost activities to keep fit and healthy. Activities include boxing, ball sports and tai chi, as well as diabetes and weight management education and maintenance programs.

To promote this program, we worked with the City of Logan to create two varieties of Gift of Seeds containing tomatoes and lettuce seeds to hand out to program participants. Both packets feature vibrant illustrations of tomatoes and cos lettuce along with information about the Live Well Logan program.

We love being part of a program that not only encourages you to live a healthy life by moving your body, but by eating pesticide-free fresh homegrown produce too!

 

Trending plants and how to keep them happy

Indoor plants not only make your home feel tranquil with their vibrant green foliage, they’re also great at cleaning and purifying the air by filtering out harmful contaminants. When shopping for an indoor plant, it can be overwhelming finding the right one for your home.

With the volume of plants that pass through Aloe Flora’s indoor plant studio in Maleny, Queensland, Lauren and Henry have a rather good gauge on what’s trending and the best indoor plants for your space. Whilst trends come and go with the seasons, this list of indoor beauties are very much a staple in your home for 2021.

Cacti

Aside from being drought-tolerant and virtually indestructible, the best things about cacti is you don’t need a green thumb to grow them.  Whether you keep your cacti inside or out, the general rule is to let the soil dry out completely between watering. Give your cacti a good soak allowing the water to run out the drain holes.  Ensure your cacti is kept in a pot that allows it to be very well drained, after all these are desert plants and don’t like to have their feet kept wet! Fertilise in the warmer months and place in a bright spot to allow for maximum growth.

Monstera Deliciosa (AKA Swiss Cheese Plant)

The monstera is found in tropical rainforests so with this in mind it’s important to get the watering right. To keep it simple, we advise our clients to put their finger into the topsoil to their first knuckle – if it feels dry then it’s time for a water.  If your monstera is kept in heating or air-conditioning mist the leaves one week or more to keep the humidity up. Monsteras like a bright spot but never direct sun, they are pretty aggressive growers so repot every two years so there’s plenty of room to move. Every three years it’s a good idea to trim your monstera up otherwise your plant baby may just take over. Keep your monstera nourished by fertilising every two weeks in spring and summer.

Ficus Lyrata (AKA Fiddle Leaf Fig)

The fiddle leaf fig is by the far the most questioned plant instore.  A little tricky to get right, when looking good they have beautiful large leathery green leaves, but when they’re not so happy they will drop these beauties in a heartbeat!  So, it’s important to get your fiddle leaf positioned correctly – lots of bright filtered light and keep rotating so your fig is encouraged to grow up straight. Dry out between waterings then give a big drench of water taking care to wash the leaves at the same time. Fiddle leaf figs love to be fed – give a good dose of a slow release fertiliser four times a year.

Epipremnum Aureum (AKA Devils Ivy or Pothos)

We love low maintenance over here so the devils ivy is a definite soulmate.  The Devils Ivy is an all-rounder, happy in bright or low light and can be grown in water or soil.  Keep an eye on the leaves as they tell you how the watering is going.  If the leaves look limp it’s time for a water, if they are yellowing or soggy then stop the water immediately.  Generally speaking, water once a week and keep nourished in the warmer months with fertiliser.

Spathiphyllum (AKA Peace Lily)

Recommended to everyone, no green thumbs required for this beautiful plant. Easy to care for, they are one of the best indoor plants to choose for low light in your home.  A favourite of ours as they are one of the best plants to purify the air indoors.  The Peace Lily is a little dramatic and will certainly let you know if she is in need of a water.  Not to fear, her droopy leaves will stand upright again after an overnight soak.  Keep the leaves clean to maximise the air purification process.  At home, our kids shower with their Peace Lily – I’m not sure if this is genius of just laziness either way, it works. To keep your Peace Lily flowering all year round, fertilise once a month.

Ficus Elastica (AKA Rubber Plant)

The Rubber plant is a gorgeous statement plant growing up to 2.5 meters indoors. With big shiny leaves in colours ranging from burgundy to variegated pink and white they will fill any negative space in your home. Super hardy with excellent air purification properties this is a forever favourite.  Like the Fiddle Leaf Fig, they like bright filtered light and a rotation to keep them going tall and straight. Dry out between waterings then completely saturate the soil.  Don’t forget to keep the leaves clean – they too love a shower.  A regular feed with fertiliser will keep your rubber plant happy and healthy.

Visit Aloe Flora here.

15 pressed flower crafts and activities for kids

Pressing flowers is a craft that has been around since the Victorian era when it was used for preserving plant specimens. Today, pressing flowers is mostly used to preserve flowers which have a special meaning such as blooms from a wedding bouquet, flowers from Grandma’s garden or flowers given to you from someone special. They’re also used as a base of many beautiful craft activities.

The best way to press flowers is to use a flower press. A flower press contains multiple layers of cardboard sandwiched between a heavy top and bottom plate. Flowers are placed in between the layers of cardboard and the top plate is tightened with bolts to compress the layers and press the flowers. After a few weeks, flowers can be removed from the flower press. You can purchase a flower press here and learn how to press flowers here.

Pressing flowers is a fun activity that gets kids out in nature. Once pressed, the dried flowers can be used as a base for a wide range of craft projects and activities. Here are 15 pressed flower activities that will entertain kids of all ages.

Pressed flower butterfly wings

Create pressed flower butterfly wings for your kids to wear while exploring the garden. You’ll need a thick branch, sheets of baking paper, clear contact paper and pressed flowers. Cut two sheets of baking paper into wing shapes. Lay the sheet onto the contact paper and trace around it with a 5cm gap from the baking paper. Lay pressed flowers facing upwards on the baking paper sheet. Peal the backing sheet from the contact paper and gently lay it down over the top of the flower arrangements on the baking paper. Use a hot glue gun to glue the branch body to the centre of the wings and two elastic straps to the top and bottom of the wings.

Image by Woodlark.

Pressed flower nature journal

This activity is a great way to get kids out of the house and in nature. Explore your garden and collect a range of flowers and leaves that are suitable for pressing. Make notes in your nature journal of the types of flowers and leaves you collect, the location and why you picked them. Press your collection of flowers and leaves using a flower press. After a few weeks, your pressed flowers should be ready to add to your nature journal.

Image by Ginger Tonic Botanicals.

Homemade pressed flower petal paper

Making your own paper is not only a beautiful craft to indulge yourself in, but a great way to give scrap paper a second life. Using a traditional and simple paper making method, you can transform scrap paper such as office paper, junk mail, paper grocery bags, or even the yellow pages into beautiful handmade paper creations adorned with pressed flowers and leaves.  Follow the steps here to create handmade flower petal paper at home.

Image by Burnetts Boards.

Pressed flower ornaments

Make pressed flower ornaments with salt dough. To make salt dough, combine 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1 cup of salt in a bowl. Slowly mix in 1 cup of water and combine until dough is smooth. Knead for 10 minutes and roll out onto a flat surface to the desired thickness. Cut shapes into the dough, place pressed flowers onto each shape and use the rolling pin to press the flowers into the dough. Poke a hole at the top of each shape where you would like the string to be threaded through. Bake in a preheated oven at 120 degrees Celsius for 2 hours or until hard. Allow to cool before tying string around them.

Image by Sprouting Wild Ones.

Pressed flower egg decorations

This craft is particularly fun to do at Easter with your kids. Create blown eggs by gently piercing a small hole in the top and bottom of uncooked eggs with a needle. Holding the egg with your hands, gently blow over the top hole. The egg should run out of the bottom of the hole. Leave them out in a safe place for a few days for the inside of the egg to dry out. Stick pressed flowers to the eggshell using craft glue and a paint brush. Once the glue has dried these decorated eggs can be placed around the home to celebrate Easter.

Image by Clover Home.

Make a pressed edible flower cake

Take your pressed flower creations into the kitchen. Bake a cake or cupcakes and decorate them with pressed edible flowers. Find out how to make a pressed edible flower cake here.

Image by Blushing Cook.

Pressed flower gift tags and cards

Share your pressed flower creations with loved ones in the form of cards and gift tags. Use sturdy cardboard to create your own gift tags and cards and use a paint brush and craft glue to glue pressed flowers on them.

Image by Instructables.

Pressed flower bookmarks

Create pressed flower bookmarks to gift to your family and friends. Simply cut a bookmark shape from sturdy cardboard and use a paint brush and craft glue to stick pressed flowers onto it. Once dry, you can leave the bookmarks as they are, or if you want to make them last longer, you can laminate them. Add decorations to the top by using a hole-punch to create a hole and tying ribbon or a tassel to the top.

Image by Aberle Home.

Pressed flowers on cardboard shapes

Create beautiful eco-friendly decorations for celebration days such as Easter or Christmas, or to gift to loved ones. Simply cut shapes in different sizes out of recycled cardboard and glue pressed blooms onto them.

Image and craft activity by Moments Like Mine.

Pressed flower jars

Teach your kids the value of upcycling and turning something destine for the bin into a usable item they can treasure forever. Collect glass jars from your recycling bin. Using craft glue and a paint brush, sick pressed flowers onto the glass jar and apply more glue over the top of the flowers to secure them in place. Once dry you can use your newly decorated glass jar as a storage container, vase or candle holder.

Image by Babyccino Kids.

Pressed flower phone case

This craft is great to do with teenagers or for yourself. Use your existing phone case or purchase a new plain case. Using craft glue and a paint brush, stick pressed flowers to the phone case and apply glue over the top to secure in place. Allow to dry before putting your phone into the case.

Image by Capture by Lucy.

Pressed flower wall art

Turn your pressed flowers into beautiful wall art. The beautiful aspect of this craft is it’s only limited by your imagination. You can use a normal frame, double-sided glass frame, canvas or paper to showcase your pressed flower creations. You can arrange the pressed flowers to make works of art such as floral faces, letters, words or sceneries.

Image by Design Sponge.

Pressed flower Jewellery

Purchase clear glass lockets from a craft store. Press small flowers and place them inside the locket. If you need to secure the flower in place, use a small drop of glue on the back of the flower.

Image by Monsters Circus.

Pressed flower sun catcher

Create a pressed flower sun catcher by cutting a ring out of thin cardboard or paper. Use two different sized plates to get a perfect ring or draw freehand for a rustic style ring. Place the cardboard ring on the back of contact paper and trace around the outside. Complete this process twice to create two circles of contact paper. Cut out the contact paper and peel the backing paper off one of the circles. With the sticky side facing upwards, place the cardboard ring on top and decorate the inside part of the ring with pressed flowers. Peel the backing paper off the second piece of contact paper and carefully align with the ring and place over the top to secure the pressed flowers in place. Hang up the sun catcher in a sunny place or sick it to a window.

Image and craft activity by Melissa Wastney.

Pressed flower candles

Make a beautiful gift by decorating a plain pillar candle with pressed flowers. Light a small spare candle and place a knife over the flame for a few seconds to heat up. Place the flat side of the hot knife on the pillar candle to gently melt the wax. Take the knife away and place a pressed flower onto the section of wax you’ve melted. Once the wax has hardened, it will secure the pressed flower in place. Reheat the knife and place it on top of the flower to further heat the wax around it. This will completely secure the flower in place. Repeat this process until you’ve added all of the petals and flowers to your candle.

Image by Debbie Macomber.

Learn how to make a pressed edible flower cake

If you own a flower press, you may use it for creating all kinds of beautiful items from adorning homemade cards to decorating your home, but have you ever thought to add your pressed creations to a cake?

This Mother’s Day, spoil mum or someone special in your life with a homemade pressed edible flower cake. It’s a delicious work of art they will truly enjoy!

Type of flowers to use

When adorning a cake with flowers, be sure to only use organically grown edible flowers. There are many edible flower varieties you can try, be we recommend Nasturtiums, Violas, and Cornflowers as they press well and retain their colour.

Pressing flowers takes a few weeks, so plan the cake decoration in advance.  For best results when pressing flowers, use a flower press and avoid flowers with big thick cores such as roses as these won’t flatten well. You can cut thicker flowers up into sections, or even just press the petals on their own. Learn more about pressing flowers here.

Press a combination of petals, flower heads and flowers with their stem attached. Using a variety of pressed flowers and foliage will create an aesthetically beautiful cake.

Type of cake to bake

There is no rule as to the type of cake you should make, in fact, any type of cake looks beautiful when decorated with flowers, however before baking your cake, consider the height and shape of the cake. If you can make a tall or tiered cake you will be able to decorate the sides as well as the top of the cake whereas a short cake will only give you the top surface to decorate.

Image by Blushing Cook

Type of icing to make

Only add pressed flowers to your cake before you’re ready to serve it. As pressed flowers are dried out, any moisture they absorb will make them soft again.

If you only want to add pressed flowers to the top of your cake then any icing will be fine to use, however if you want to decorate the sides of your cake then it’s best to use buttercream icing as it’s soft enough to hold the pressed flowers in place.

When adding pressed flowers to your cake, if some flowers aren’t holding well, gently press a wooden toothpick into a section of the flower and then push the toothpick into the cake.

Image credit: Blushing Cook. View more creations here.

Christmas shipping cut-off dates

To ensure we can deliver to you before Christmas, please take note of these delivery cut off dates:

To Australian Metropolitan areas:  Order by Friday Dec 11

To WA and regional areas: Order by Friday Dec 4

For Express Post parcels, if sending to areas within the Australia Post Express Pot Network, order by Thursday Dec 17.

Free shipping is offered for orders over $100*

Regular shipping is $6 Australia Wide, and Express Post is just $9*

Our studio will be closed from Friday Dec 18th until Monday January 4th. Any orders placed during this time will be shipped on our return from January 4 onwards.

*Excluding wholesale sales – wholesale freight is calculated at checkout

Our Giant Flower Press in action with Heart of Blooms

The lovely Andrea Lind from @heartofblooms_ on instagram has been documenting her Flower Pressing journey using our Giant Flower Press.

We can hardly believe how beautiful these photos are, or how she achieved such fantastic colour retention in her pressed flowers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I think these are just perfect, and really appreciate Andrea sharing her journey with us.

Andrea and I were messaging each other after she posted these, and we discussed the lines which have come up on some of the blooms. This certainly does happen with delicate petals but if you’d like to avoid them, be sure to use some paper between the sheets of cardboard, and try not to tighten the press too much – a firm hold does the trick, with a check and possibly a little more after a week or so 💗🙏

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