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Autumn Greenhouse Growing

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Sep 24, 2016

Right about now our summer gardens are starting to bid their farewell as the vegetables finish up their final yield of crops and flowers bloom for the last time.  It certainly can be depressing but there are many ways to keep your green thumbs busy even if the weather is certainly changing towards the cooler temperatures.  There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t keep growing during the fall because with the right conditions and a positive attitude, anything is possible for New England’s challenging gardeners!  Whether you want to continue nurturing your cultivations outside or enjoy some of your favorite blossoms within your home, there are several ways to do so just by applying a little ingenuity.  Here are some helpful tips that will get you on your way to autumn gardening in Boston!


If you’re looking to bring your flowers and vegetables indoors for the season, there are many varieties that can be successful options.  When speaking of flowers, your best bet is to dig up the annuals that you planted last spring and repot them in containers that are big enough to allow growth.  Varieties such as geraniums, begonias and cosmos typically move with ease and are durable with slight variations in their environment.  The more delicate buds such as nasturtiums are tricky but that doesn’t stop you from beginning over with seeds and starting from scratch.  

Vegetables are also not impossible to grow inside if you’re clever with what you select to harvest.  Good choices would include wax beans, peas, tomatoes and yes, even potatoes.  Grab an extra large bin, fill it with dirt and place a rooted spud inside.  If you’re patient, you’ll be able to see their foliage begin to grow and three months down the road, you’ll be able to dig up real, fresh potatoes of your own!

Things to keep in Mind: Make sure you choose a well-lit area that is close by a heater and water the same as you would during the summer.  Feeding your plants every now and again will also keep them healthy and who knows?  You might even get them to survive through the winter and into the spring when you can put them right back into the earth for another season of blooming.  



Although most flowers flourish during June through August, there are species that won’t wilt or wither during September and October.  Depending on the weather pattern (a snowstorm will almost definitely ruin a fall gardening project), you can plant mums, asters and even start new seeds of sunflowers if the temperatures are right.  Morning Glories (which like the cooler air to sprout from) are also another option, particularly if you have access to a greenhouse.   

Vegetables happen to be a great thing to reap in gardens during this time of year and options include cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.  Kale, cabbage and lettuce will also thrive in autumn and also make lovely landscaping displays, which exhume a fun and festive presentation.  They enjoy the chill of autumn nights and the warmth that the days still hold so go nuts and re-plant your whole garden with these babies if you want to!  

Tags: Gardening, New England, Autumn, Fall, Greenhouse

Make Your Own Fall Flower Arrangements

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Sep 22, 2016

Boston is starting to slide into another season and so aren’t thecity’s florists who are changing their palettes accordingly.  The soft pastels and vibrant green and blue hues that traditionally grace the floral vases of summer are beautiful but it’s time to swap things up! Warm tints of gold, red, sienna and emerald are just what we’re looking for to dramatize our creations and omit a seducing taste of what autumn has to offer.  Texture, tone and container selection are all part of fall’s new style with simple designs that you can even recreate at home!  Here is one I whipped up over the weekend that reflects this current fad of flowers, which was not only easy to make but really inexpensive as well.  Here are the steps to achieving these three seasonal arrangements for your bedrooms, living rooms or kitchens!


What you’ll need:  

  1. A watertight container.  Preferably a ceramic dish, bowl or planter that has a bit of wear and tear.  The chips or faded color will just add to the appearance of the arrangement and reflect a fuss-free style.
  2. Flowers, flowers, flowers!  Either take a peek in your backyard or visit a flower shop for these fall ready varieties.  If you have one close by, hit a farm stand-they usually have freshly picked goodies that will last and last.  In these pieces, I’ve chosen green amaranths, black millet, October-weed and black privet berries but exchange any of these for other options available that you prefer as long as you don’t spend double the amount.  All of these flowers cost me less than $25.00 from a nearby farm with fill ins from my own garden so look for the native blossoms first that are usually low in cost.  
  3. A pair of cutting shears.  Try not to use scissors but if you must, cut the stems on an angle to avoid shredding.

As Simple AS 1-2-3:

  1. Fill your container up with warm water-NOT HOT!  Steamy water will kill the flowers faster than anything else so keep the temperature moderate.  
  2. Start with the variety that is most “bushy” and cut the stem to the desirable length, making a globe structure.  Once you have the base, add in the rest of the flowers placing them strategically throughout the arrangement.  Avoid clumping too many of the same varieties together in one place- it will make your design look “clumpy”.  
  3. Use whatever sprigs are leftover and place them in bud jars for the bathroom or entryway.  Never, Never, NEVER throw out flowers that can be used somewhere else and ENJOY!

Tags: Floral Design, Flower Arrangements, Autumn, Fall, DIY

Succulent Splendor

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Sep 20, 2016

Over the summer, you probably caught the glimpse of the succulent mania that swept over every flower shop, home furnishing store and nursery located in the New England area.  If you loved the new trend, you’re in for a treat because the fad is continuing throughout the autumn season and will be expanding beyond simply vase displays and window boxes.  Previews reveal that these beautiful, soft little cacti are beginning to show up in delicacies, restaurants, clothing/apparel outlets, décor stores and even wineries!  One reason why this highly adaptable plant is taking the flora and fauna world by storm is its delicate yet sturdy appearance.  Another explanation is the cool colors that are now being cultivated across the different varieties.  Many succulents come in shades of light to dark green but now we’re seeing new hues of red and maroon, which pick up the palette and make them useful in a variety of eclectic presentations.  The other positive attribute that makes these babies a high commodity is their resilience to drought.  They can go for a long period of time without any water at all and still survive by only being tended to sporadically.  As a matter of fact, the soil is even a contributing benefit to the plants allure since they prefer rocky sand and pebbles for easy drainage.  Lucky for designers, this sets the perfect stage, which is much more eye appealing that planting in dirt.

arizonaeast_magneticcorkplanter.jpg photo credit: arizonaeast.com

The design benches and garden centers aren’t the only place where you can find this product and certainly not the only area where they are becoming useful, either.  “Creatives” everywhere are figuring out how to incorporate succulents into their work and putting the “wow” factor back into the floral industry.  


Tags: #EXFL, Plants, Trends, Succulents

The Meaning of the Tulip

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Sep 14, 2016

Two Tulips

You walked past

the speed of life hit me

Like two tulips touching

because the wind blew

in a certain direction

with a certain strength


Tark Wain


Tulips are a favorite of many because they are grown in a variety of different colors and are easily attainable throughout the year.  These bulb flowers are one of the most popular items bought from nurseries and are usually the first bloom to rise during the early spring.  Lucky for tulip lovers, there are hundreds of thousands of different varieties so there’s a pretty good chance that you can find whatever shade, texture or size that appeals to you.

Most people don’t know that tulips have an extensive past and are not as modern as they may have previously believed.  The initial recordings of its existence began during the Ottoman Empire where troops named the bloom after society’s cultural wardrobe.  The original word used to describe the tulip was “tolipend” which directly translates into “turbans”.  Wild fields of tulips apparently grew in abundance during this time making it a common bloom for people to pick.  It wasn’t until much later when they were given as gifts to the Netherlands who made them into a major cash crop and exported them around the world.  Once the tulip hit Europe the era of “tulip-mania” began where the flower became a fashionable icon for countries such as England, Holland and particularly France.  Many famous painters chose to use the bloom as the focal point for their art and can be seen today hanging in prestigious locations including castles, museums and political hubs.  

The meaning of the tulip is vast and depends solely on the color of the head.  If the tulip is red, then its meaning can be associated with love, loyalty or death.  If it is white, then it could mean birth, virginity or loneliness.  When the color is yellow, then it can mean infatuation or just a happy and cheery representation.

If you are thinking of gifting this flower to a friend or loved one, please research the exact symbolic meaning before buying tulips since your intended gesture may be misread.  When in doubt, pink tulips are the best choice since they are beautiful in presentation and can be interpreted with joyous and beautiful thoughts.

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Tulips, Flower Meanings

New Trends in Fall Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Sep 12, 2016

What’s In Store for Fresh Fall Blooms

If you’re a true New Englander, you’re going to love what Boston florists have in store for this season’s hot new list of autumn blooms!  

We’re talking bright.  

We’re talking bold.  

We’re talking EXCITING new changes to alternate from this summer’s sweet palette of pink, peach and yellow spectrum that was such a huge success!  Instead of offering a taste of what last year’s fad reflected relying heavily on reds, golds and oranges, our designers are getting a bit frisky with their selections and opting for a fun and feverish floral mix instead!  

Think sultry.  

Think sexy.


phot credit via Flower Factor - aboutflowers.com

Think flirty and fierce because that’s exactly what florists and party planners are betting their shirts on to stun and amaze their customers!  With so many possibilities from farm field varieties to imported delicacies shipped straight from Holland, flower lovers will flip their lids when they see the new fall line of centerpieces and bouquets.

You’re curious aren’t you?

You’re a little excited, too, right?

Well, as long as you keep things under wraps, I’ll give you a little peek at the top ten autumn flowers that designers are stocking up their coolers with as we speak.  

So take a gander.


photo credit via aboutflowers.com

Jot your favorites down…

And get ready for a rollercoaster of fabulous fall flowers!

Top Ten Autumn Varieties in New England

  1. Sunflowers
  2. Black Millet
  3. Green Amaranths
  4. Octoberweed
  5. Zinnias
  6. Green Celosia
  7. Mango Callas
  8. Red Helenium
  9. Black Dahlias
  10. Black Privet Berries

For Those Who Like A Little Excitement…

  1.  Lime Green Gerberas
  2.  Red Spider Lilies
  3.  Green Gladiolas
  4.  Orange Protea
  5.   Purple Kale (for foliage)
  6.    Hens and Chickens
  7.    “Blacknight” Hollyhock
  8.    Orange Star Flower
  9.    “Jelena” Witch Hazel
  10.    Puschkinia

Tags: Floral Design, Autumn, Fall, Flowers

The Meaning of the Dog-rose

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Sep 09, 2016

To the laden gloom of roses

Desire in the hands of the blind

Prefer, in passing, the dog-rose

Of which I am the loving thorn

That survives your feelings of love.

By Rene Char


phot credit: via wikipedia

The Dog-rose is a beautiful spring flower blooming petals in soft shades of pink that surround a center of bright yellow sepals.  The architecture is delicately unique as it bends its boughs downward to reflect a waterfall effect.  The species grows in a bush-like formation and is also commonly referred to as “Sweetbriars” and “Witches Briar”.  As if their ornamental features weren’t enough to allure onlookers, the Dog-rose produces ripe red fruit when the autumn season arrives.  Theorists say that the berries are high in Vitamin C so they’re desirable for natural healers who like to use them in brewed teas, wine, jellies and syrups.  

The first recorded significance of the flower dates back hundreds of years ago to The Academy of Floral Games (founded in 1323), which gifted poets a sprig of Dog-rose to reward them for their literary excellence.  Due to this ritual, the branches became increasingly popular and can be found frequently mentioned in several famous poems.  Most prevalent in the United Kingdom, William Shakespeare wrote about the flower in “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” quoting his words:

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine."

Symbolically, the meaning of this shrub is quite extensive since the two dominating themes surrounding the flower are pain and pleasure.  The reference to “pain” is said to come from the belief that the medicinal properties of the plant can be used to cure a mad dog’s bite.  Rabies were commonly treated with the plant’s nectar before sophisticated medicines were discovered although if you ever find yourself in this situation without a nearby doctor, look for a berry from a Dog-rose bush and squeeze the juices onto the wound.  The positive meanings stem from its focus around “romanticism” and “pleasures of the body”.  In medieval times, Dog-rose was placed at the end of a maiden’s bed to signify a king’s interest in her company after the court and staff fell asleep.  Once the maiden received such a token, she was instructed to sneak into the royal chamber without being noticed where he would be waiting for her.

Today, the Dog-rose reflects a seasonal meaning of awaiting spring since it is one of the first bushes to bloom after the winter’s closure.  Used as either landscaping or as cut flowers, they make a beautiful variety for flower lovers to enjoy both in and outside their homes.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Rose Symbolism, Flower Meanings, Dog-rose,

Symbolic Meaning of the Pomegranate

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Sep 07, 2016

Pomegranate seeds

red as blood,

red as the sky when

the sunset sets it on fire.

shining like diamonds,

little seeds of hope in the

large, large, world.

By Carmen Reed

Nov 15, 2014


photo credit: Sharon McGukin via Flower Factor

I’m sure many of you have experienced the amazing taste of the pomegranate whether it is within a salad, fruit juice or maybe even in fancy flavored martini.  These small and dainty seeds have made a grand impression on the culinary world over the years, particularly within the “health nut craze” where the flavor is used in organic meals. The is often used in floral arrangements for its beauty, color, texture and symbolism. Interestingly enough, the pomegranate has a long history of influence throughout several cultures and is regarded as an important component in several different rites and ceremonies.  Originally grown in Persia and Afghanistan, the tree grows from 12 to 26 feet in height and produces round shaped vesicles that contain thousands of the crimson colored berries.  In fact, in Provence, the pomegranate is actually referred to as “miograno” which translates into meaning “a thousand seeds”.  The shade of the fruit is what truly earned the it’s decadent reputation, so much so that it is also responsible for the jewel “garnet’s” name.

The pomegranate foremost stands for fertility, a notion that dates back to Greek mythology where it is associated with the story of Persephone who is taken by Hades to the underworld.  The multiple seeds stand for “rebirth”, in this case her return to her mother to begin the spring season.  In many religions, it is not unusual for them to be gifted to women hopeful to become pregnant where they believe that a taste of the sweet seeds will encourage a seed to be planted of her own.  In the Christian world, the fruit is associated with the Virgin Mary as meaning “eternal life” as well as a reference to Doom’s Day.  Weddings, baptisms and birthday are typical occasions where the pomegranate makes an appearance during the celebration as a drink, food or present to the guest of honor(s).  The only negative meaning that seems to be associated with the pomegranate is “war” due to the core shape of the fruit resembling a grenade.

Otherwise, pomegranates have been used throughout time as a remarkable decorative feature in cuisine, art and even textiles such as fine rugs and leathers.  Their positive healthy attributes and affordability make this delicious fruit still sought after over centuries of world wide appreciation.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Pomegranate

What Is the Meaning of the Pansy Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Sep 03, 2016

The Meaning of Pansies

Finish the Verse

By Sadaf Syed

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

But I prefer a purple pansy

When I reminisce over you.


Pansies are a common flower we recognize as a sign of spring and often are used as our first featured blooms to be placed in pots and flowerbeds.  Pansies have also become one of the hottest autumn plants for their durability and vibrant colors. Their ability to withstand the chill of April and October weather keeps them a hot commodity for early and late gardeners but little do many people know of their symbolic importance as well.  Pansies are an interesting flower when speaking of their meaning because the options are vast including ideas of friendship, loyalty, love, passion and remembrance.  Due to this wide selection of interests, pansies are sought after for funerals, weddings and even retirement parties.  Here are the specific reasons why they remain so special even in today’s world of fashionable flowers…

Pansies are a part of the violet family and hold a high resemblance to the shape of her parent’s appearance, specifically the head shape and foliage.  A recognizable difference is its “Super Sized” girth, usually tripling the girth of a typical violet. Shakespeare was a huge fan of the flower and featured the variety often in his work. Ophelia and A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream were two of his most famous written works that showcased the blooms with significant importance signifying remembrance or sorrow for a loved one.  

On the opposite side of the spectrum, pansies can also refer to pleasant and happy notions such as true friendship, companionship, spirituality and modesty.  Depending on the color of the pansy, a warm hue of lavender or yellow usually can be interpreted with a pleasant meaning.  If the petal’s shade is darker, the implication could turn out to be more negative.  If you are speaking about a white pansy, typically the reference is drawn to death suggesting farewell and goodbye.  The wide usage of symbolism pertaining to the pansy has made this flower a popular subject for artists to paint, one of which is the famous Georgia O’Keefe who was known to have felt a strong connection to the bloom.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Pansies

Arrangements Thematic after Famous Children’s Books

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 30, 2016

I work in the children’s department of a library here in Massachusetts where thousands of books holding wonderful plots and characters constantly inspire me.  I also used to work in a flower shop, which too, provoked me to come up with different ways to display and arrange a variety of flowers.  So I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be neat if the two worlds could combine to make something really spectacular?


  photo credit via - pinterest Four Seasons Florist

\What if we took famous characters from well-known children’s titles and designed beautiful centerpieces and bouquets to mirror them?  Think about the conversations these presentations would encourage if they were used in libraries, youth events, schools or even kid’s birthday parties?  The idea has prospect doesn’t it?  Both fun and educational, flowers themed after juvenile literature can open the door to a whole new world of magical reading and floral appreciation.  Here are some of the best one’s I’ve seen so far from a few of my favorite picture books.

cat_and_the_hat_flowers.jpg photo credit -  A Touch of Class Florist and Gifts- Stockbridge, GA

Tags: Flower Arrangements, Books, Childrens Book, Kids, Libraries

The Symbolism Behind the Periwinkle Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Aug 28, 2016

retty Periwinkle Makes A Move

Pretty Periwinkle, lovable, at my happy doorstep,

full of purple flowers, winks at me every time I pass her;

she has something to tell me in private, it's evident,

she whispered, I tried within limits, but couldn't afford to concede.

By K Balachandran


photo credit via www.parkswholesaleplants.com

There’s everything to love about the Periwinkle flower, starting from its happy, bright petal shape to its stunning deep hue of blue or lavender that paints their heads.  This no-fuss plant is a sought after addition to many New England yards and can even be sometimes seen growing wild within forests or meadows.  The root system prefers an arid composition although other varieties have been known to relish in humid climates.  Currently the plant is being researched as a potential herb to treat cancer but because the flower holds a fraction of dangerous poison, it is still risky beyond using it as a decorative feature.  

Interestingly enough, periwinkles hold a large list of distinguishing meaning including both sentimental and religious symbolism.  Depending on your faith or viewpoint, these tiny blossoms can be referenced in several areas of literature and folklore and are often combined with ceremonial acts and traditions.  Here are the most popular references to the periwinkle.  


The most cited depictions of periwinkles are associated with pleasant emotional states or the experience of nostalgia.  One story that stands out is from the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who looked upon the periwinkle as meaning “fidelity in friendship”, “warm memories” and “remembrance of things past”.  According to his memoirs scribed within “Confessions”, he was taking a walk and stumbled across a patch of blue, which instantly reminded him of his dear friend, Madame de Warens.  As he warmly recollected his time with her, he stated that every time he came across the periwinkle, her face would instantly flash within his mind.  An opposite symbolic reference regarded this flower as being a necessary ingredient to make witched brew, hence the nickname, “witches’ violet.  


Religious views also utilize the periwinkle for symbolizing “wee virgin”, “purity” and “everlasting love”.  Several churches tie the flower directly to the Virgin Mary and have even been recreated through catholic paintings and stained glass displays.  They are often also used to make crowns for brides in Europe or bouquets in weddings because of their symbolism, which honors “honesty”, “truth” and “faithfulness”.

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Periwinkle, Vinca

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