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Still Trending This Summer - Succulents

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 18, 2018

If you’ve been following what’s trending in gardening news, you probably noticed that succulents are still one of the most requested plant species for at home gardens and summer events. These exotic and beautiful creatures have been implemented in everything from bridal centerpieces to patio potting, making them a popular purchase at local nurseries.  What exactly is the definition of a succulent? Succulent:  Succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word "succulent" comes from the Latin word “sucus”, meaning juice, or sap (According to Wikipedia).  If you have a backyard soiree to host over the next few months, succulents might very well be your best friend when it comes to table arrangements and decor.  For reasons of cost effectiveness, versatility in shape, interesting texture and readily availability, most greenhouse, nursery and florists are now stocking up on this particular inventory throughout the whole year.  If you haven’t already experimented with succulents within your flower beds or deck window boxes, I’ll give you another reason for enticement…

succulents

Succulents are amazing in the fact that they are grown in many, many shades of color.  It is possible to find species in tones of red, orange, yellow, green, pink and purple so no matter what your preferred palette might be, there’s sure to be a plant in this family that will certainly please.  

 

Here are a few of my favorite breeds:

Hens and Chicks

Panda Plant

Jade Plant

Pincushion Cactus

Crown of Thorns

 

Fun Facts About Succulents:

 

  1. They originate from arid, dry climates so they need little water to survive.
  2. Succulent jewelry making is becoming a big thing in the arts community including necklaces and bracelets.
  3. Overall, succulents are pest resistant so they won’t get “buggy” like other varieties.
  4. They will weather well indoors once winter arrives in New England.
  5. Cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.  The “Christmas Cactus” is an example.

Tags: Summer, Trends, Succulents

Rejuvenating a Garden

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 13, 2018

Beginning a garden is a wonderful experience.  Tilling the soil, planting seeds, watering, loving and eventually- watching it grow can be one of the most magnificent experiences for a person.  There is a certain amount of affection and nurturing that flowers and vegetables need to be given in able to transform themselves into living, breathing ecosystems, which inevitably contribute a viable abundance of food and pleasure.  Wherever and whenever possible, gardens should be erected no matter what type of sun, soil or space is provided. By cultivating land into these magical, flourishing oases, life on earth would improve exponentially as we know it.

GARDEN CLEMATIS

So, what’s easier…  Starting your own garden or rejuvenating a new one?  The answer to this question is tricky. Depending on where you are and what is already provided for you, rejuvenating a piece of soil that’s once been used beforehand can be just as difficult as starting from scratch.  If the property is loaded with broken pots, planters and other unsightly growing apparatus, the space has to be cleared before you can even get a realistic vision of how you want to rebuild. That goes for old annuals that were never pulled from the ground before winterizing or perennials that don’t agree with your taste. Take day lilies for example… While they are a favorite to many, they can be toxic to beds due to the fact that they spread like wild fire and can take over plots quickly if they are not yanked and pulled back.  Again, it depends on what your taste is but pumping life back into a garden that has been abandoned can require some pretty heavy lifting. But I’ll tell you; if you have the time and patience, it’s worth the effort!


The truth is that any real gardener usually loves taking over an old and dwindling garden because:

  1. True farmers never let anything go to waste.
  2. The soil has been perused which means there is probably great nutrients in the ground, including the waste left by the previously planted plants.
  3. If there are any signs that perennials once existed, there is a chance they can be brought back to life so you might actually save money. If you have ever seen or read the movie/book, “The Secret Garden” you know what I’m talking about).
  4. You can continue someone else’s love affair with their garden-we growers are also hopeless romantics.
  5. Gardeners LOVE a good challenge!

What do you do if you have the opportunity and have no idea where to begin?  Here is a check list of all the things to be prepared for. You might be surprised how easy it is to get started!


  1. Clear the area of all pottery remnants, collect left behind salvageable tools and collect any other clutter artifacts.  Put them to the side and do not throw anything out until you are sure you have your plan mapped out. You’ll be surprised how much of it you may end up using.
  2. Churn the soil with a tiller or hand-held shovel depending on how large the plot is. You want to get to know your garden and what type of earth you will be dealing with.  Certain crops grow better in certain areas over others and you’ll want to figure out the acidity, moisture and composition as soon as you can.
  3. Take it easy the first year and start simple.  Add a few of your favorite perennials, locate old plantings that might have a little life still in them and focus on seeds that won’t cost an exorbitant amount of money.  It takes a while to get to know your garden and building a plot to what you want it to become is worth the patience. It’s like any other relationship-it takes time to figure out and appreciate one another.

Happy Gardening!

Tags: Gardening, Gardens, garden flowers, Clematis

Great Gift Ideas for Father's Day

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 11, 2018

IMG_3412-991348-edited-167883-edited

Across the United States, we will be celebrating a time old tradition of celebrating our fathers for everything they do.  Recognized on June 17, 2018, families everywhere will be doting on dad, trying to convey the message of thanks and love he so much deserves.  While some people have their own traditions that they stick to year in and year out (ties, chef’s apron and barbecue paraphernalia), others are always looking for fresh ideas in the gift department that might surprise the lucky recipient.  Father’s Day gifts can be a tough order to fill and many find themselves in a rut of gifting boring and useless presents that are really not needed. While a simple card does go miles in the recognition department, I understand this common conundrum and have therefore whipped up a list of items you may have never thought of in the past.  If you have a true winner that never fails-stick with it (no need to fix something that isn’t broken) but if you are chuck out of thoughts, maybe one of these Father’s Day presents might spark your interest? Remember, the most important present you can give any father is a phone call or visit but if you’d like to bump it up a notch, this list is worth the peruse!


Top Father’s Day Gifts for Dad



steak


  1. Gift Cards to his favorite store.
  2. A lunch out to his favorite restaurant.
  3. A New Grill
  4. A bouquet of Flowers (See previous blog).
  5. A date on the golfing green with his greatest kid.
  6. CAKE!  Chocolate covered mousse cake if you really want to dazzle him!
  7. Gardening supplies or perhaps his favorite plant to add to his bed.
  8. Shaving Kit
  9. Passes to a nearby car wash.  Dads love that sort of thing.
  10. A new board game you can play with one another.
  11. A DVD Box Set He Loves Watching
  12. A bottle of his favorite wine/a 6 pack of his favorite beer
  13. A select steak from a premium butcher
  14. A Fishing Pole
  15. Baseball Treasure Trading Coins

Tags: Father's Day, Steak, June, Baseball Treasure

Father's Day Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jun 08, 2018

It’s a wide misconception that flowers aren’t to be given to men but rather they are the ones to give this gift to women.  Who says a guy can’t enjoy a beautiful bouquet of blooms or appreciate a vase of seasonal sprigs? This is an old wives’ tale that has been believed by many for far too long and I say it’s high time we started changing the stigma.  Isn’t only fair that your favorite fella can peacefully enjoy a healthy relationship with fresh cut flowers? Father’s Day is the perfect place to begin focusing our efforts on maybe switching the tie he gets every year for an orchid plant or a bunch of sunflowers. The possibilities are endless and thankfully- Boston florists are readying their holiday displays for some fantastic options!  So, for this much-anticipated Sunday where we cherish deal old dad, think about presenting some of his favorite flowers that he can enjoy for himself. Stumped on what varieties and styles might work the best? Try this list to satisfy a sensational flowers Father’s Day gift!

fathers_day_gifts_boston-resized-600

Red is a major color associated with sending love to women but it also works nicely for men, too!  Particularly when talking about deeper shades of burgundy and wine, this palette is really attractive when creating more masculine styled pieces.  Take amaryllis for example. Grown in a long, strong and sleek appearance, this bloom is sensational for the “Manly Man” appeal and will fit wonderfully amongst décor that resides for a more masculine taste.


Interestingly enough, the shade, white is another go-to for whipping up attractive centerpieces for the masculine sex.  Clean, unfettered and simplistic varieties will dazzle him way beyond what your first expectations may be. Try varieties such as lilies, ranunculus and gerbera daisies, either mixed together or given as bunches by themselves alone.

blue roses-1

Blue is another way to go when searching for the perfect floral gift for dad because let’s face it-the male identity was raised on this hue starting at birth.  To tell you the truth-there’s really nothing wrong with that because now there are several varieties grown in this shade, which are suitable for this holiday. Blue hybrid delphinium, Bachelor Buttons and forget-me-nots make sweet gifts and present a sentimental thought.

Tags: Father's Day, Blue Roses, June

Pink Orchid Mantis

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 06, 2018

pink orchid mantis

photo via - www.houzz.com

I am an orchid lover by nature.  I adore James Story, Phalaenopsis, Vanda,  Cypripedium and just about any other flower that resembles this delicate family of blooms-even if it happens to be a MANTIS.  Yes, Mother Nature is awfully clever when creating her creatures, especially when it comes to the species, “Pink Orchid Mantis” that lives in the warm climates of SouthEast Asia, Malaysia.  Some scientists call this predator of the wild a miracle specimen due to its unusual coloring that looks exactly like a real blooming orchid. What do you think?

 

Although quite beautiful to behold, don’t get the wrong idea about this little guy who is seen as a threat to many other organisms living inside the same habitat.  This Mantis (like so many others) is capable of attacking and killing insects as well as frogs, birds and lizards. Don’t judge him by his size because Mr. Mantis can take out enemies possessing small vertebrates just by using his legs and teeth.  Mrs. Mantis is said to be even more dangerous to her prey since she can double in size from her male counterpart. If you happen to be traveling to this side of the world and catch a glimpse of this critter, don’t be afraid you’ll be his next meal because the venom of most Mantis is harmless to humans although you might feel quite a pinch.  The bottom line is- this species means BUSINESS when it comes to their appetite and can also be quite domineering of their territory. There are even recorded instances of a mantis’ consuming family relatives who get too close for comfort when threatening their dinner.

 

But you have to admit… the Orchid Mantis is quite a beauty!  Often shaded in pink to blend in with the environment, this mantis is also known to change to tints of brown and green when nature calls for further blending into landscapes.  The flower look-alike can play one of the best games of “Hide-and-Seek” with both predators and prey that mistake the legs for petals and face for the center of the blossom. Don’t make the mistake that unknowing species might make because the bloom really are teeth that are waiting clenched for an attack!

 

Praying Mantis have long been a mysterious creature that lurk in woods, rain forests and even outdoor gardens which make perfect homes because of their rare physical appearance and hunting skills.  Many children dream of owning a mantis as a pet but truth be told-their survival rate in this condition is only about a year. Its best to leave this wondrous animal out in the wild where it can continue to stun, amaze and leave all those in awe of its tremendous presence.  

Tags: Orchid League, Orchids, Orchid Plants

What Flowers to Order for Every Occasion

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 04, 2018

Flowers are one of the top five gifts to send for all occasions, being beaten only by Hallmark cards statistically speaking.  Baskets, bouquets, centerpieces and even single stemmed blooms have always been the go-to for making a thoughtful gesture in both good times and bad.  No matter what the events is such as birthdays, holidays, wedding or funerals- local florists are always prepared to extend your thoughtfulness with a gorgeous selection of fresh blossoms.  While designers are always happy to steer you towards the appropriate mix of variety, there is a generalized system for ordering these flowers although customers can definitely bend the rules.  If you don’t know the person’s favorite variety, color or style, here are some tips that may help you navigate these waters. Remember, this is a broad outline for the best flowers to give for each occasion so don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and select the species that appeals to you most!

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Birthday: A special birthday present for her is always a beautiful bouquet so you really can’t go wrong when selecting the variety mix.  If you know her favorite blooms, then great but if you don’t, pink roses, purple lilac or green cymbidium orchids will do the trick!


Mother’s Day:  Pink roses are another big hit on Mother’s Day but you can also substitute them for ranunculus, sweet pea or peonies.  Blush and coral work best for this holiday but there’s a wide spectrum of shades to choose from.


Valentine’s Day: You can’t get away with not giving a nod to red roses on Valentine’s Day but mix bouquets of lavender, hot pink and green seem to become more and more popular each year.  Red is clearly the theme tint for V-Day but it’s okay to stray away with some variation.


Funerals: This can be a difficult venue to book flowers for but keep in mind, the family will appreciate your thought no matter what you send.  Staples for funerals usually include white lilies, white callas, white Phalaenopsis and white roses but again, color is not taboo for funeral pieces.  Gifting a basket of bright flowers can sometimes really pick up the mood for those who attend the services such as pink peonies, sunflowers or blue delphinium.


Get Well Soon: “Get Well Soon” bouquets are typically mixes of soothing shades, textures and aromas.  Even though one may believe that bright yellow is cheerful, the tint can actually cause anxiety, particularly for those who are on the mend.  Instead, ask for tones of light blue, peach, blush or coral. If you are set on yellow, go for a lighter shade that won’t attract so much attention.


New Baby: This is an easy one… Blue for boy and pink for girls!  Don’t make it any harder than it has to be…


Graduation: This is an occasion where you want your flowers to stand out so go for jewel tones that “pop” with color.  If this is a high school graduation, do your homework and find out where the student will be attending college.  Look up what the colors for the university are and then design your bouquet accordingly.

Tags: Flowers, Gifts, About Flowers

How to Make Rose Beads

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jun 01, 2018

When I was a little girl, I remember a special gift my parents gave me for my seventh birthday, a necklace made from rose beads.  Being a lover of flowers starting from a young age (I figure it was in my blood since both mom and dad were florists), I adored anything and everything made from the petals of blossoms.  When I opened the tiny pink box to see the delicate piece of jewelry, I immediately believed that I would cherish them for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, my education in horticulture was only just beginning because I hadn’t yet understood that my trinket was almost 100% organic and would eventually disintegrate.  Nevertheless, I did my best to preserve the pretty bauble in the hopes that I would one day pass it down to my daughter. Thirty-four years later, this is merely a sweet memory of my childhood I carry with me and smile thinking about every time I spot a similar styled necklace in a store window.

black pearl roses

Along with a rose beaded necklace being a lovely way to show your affection for flowers, this form of jewelry is actually the outcome of some interesting history dating back to centuries ago.  Before even the 1500’s, rose beads were used as tools for counting, originating in the country of India. Easy to make and a reliable resource, they were made by the bushel and used to teach science and mathematics.  As time continued, they found their way into the religious realm, specifically by the Christians who formed necklaces as a sign of worship. The delicate yet stunning presentation of the strung roses made them a precious commodity-some of which survived to be passed to future family members. Today, they are still used in religion although you probably see them more often as a metallic chain called, “the rosary”.


Get togethers called, “Beading Bees” still exist today and are still quite popular all over the United States.  During these group meetings, friends and family join to make their own rose beads to use as bracelets or necklaces.  If you are interested in trying out a simple and fun recipe to make your own, follow these simple instructions to create them today!


  1. De-petal a dozen roses (preferably red) and discard the center core.
  2. Boil a pot of distilled water and throw the petals in until they are soft.
  3. Drain the water and place in a blender.  Puree until they have a doughy consistency.
  4. Add a few drops of rose incense to replace any aroma that has escaped.
  5. Let the dough dry until it is easily capable of being formed into balls.
  6. Roll small balls to whatever size you would like and push a sewing pin through the center.
  7. Let the rose beads dry in the sun and string for decoration!

Tags: Rose Symbolism, Roses, DIY

Flower Bags Are All the Rage

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, May 30, 2018

f you’ve been perusing the nursery scenes lately, you might have seen a cool new way of growing and displaying your favorite blooming flowers.  Unlike other planters and pots filled to the brim with spring and summer blooms, there is an interesting method that clever gardeners have invented to optimize growing power while providing a dynamic presentation.  “Bag-a-Bloom is a funky container system that yes-is made out of plastic bag material. Usually fashioned in black or forest green, these interesting harvesting contraptions allows you to hang wherever there is a spot available.  Depending on the variety used to be planted, long cascades and tendrils can flourish down walls and posts, causing an optimal floral display for all who pass by. I’ve even seen these babies used by restaurants and hotels to create show stopping entryways for an ultimate ambiance splash.  For personal consumption, we can hang them on a hook outside front doors or place on gates, poles and trellis archways. Use your imagination when it comes to Bag-a-Bloom styling and here are some ideas to get those wheels turning!


Coleus

urban_garden_boston-resized-600

Coleus is an awesome variety of foliage to add in this type of growing vessel because it will appreciate the heat generated within the plastic as well as enable to the roots to firmly situate themselves in the condensed soil.  This variety grows in a variety of colors including green, purple and even pink so the overall arrangement is tremendous no matter what type of coleus plants you choose. Conveniently, these flowering bags are only good for one season and since the coleus is an annual, you can just toss the whole thing out in the fall.  Remember to hang the bag in a brightly lit area with tons of sunlight and water frequently to keep the plant moist and continuously flowering.

Impatiens


Pansies are probably the top choice for bagged flowers because again, they are an annual that can be discarded at the end of the season plus they are a wonderful spreading décor to hang outside.  Impatiens are pretty tough in nature and don’t demand a lot of fussing over if you don’t have the hours to play full time gardener, which keep their demand high with good reasoning. With partial sun to shade flexibility, impatiens bags are a guaranteed winner for gifts or seasonal garnishing.


Tomatoes


Yes-I know.  Tomatoes are not a flower but you’ll love growing your own juicy veggies all summer long with the convenience of no large garden patches to tend to.  Treating yourself to freshly made salads and other tomato based recipes will become a luxury I guarantee you’ll become accustomed to quite quickly! If you really want to see something spectacular, select a species that possesses long vines and watch a hanging garden appear right before your very eyes!

Tags: Garden Center, Gardening, Outdoor Living, Gardens

Trends in Late Spring Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, May 28, 2018


You might be seeing a lot of hype lately over certain seasonal blooms we’re typically accustomed to in the northeast this time of year.  Unlike other plants and flowers that grow during the fall or summer, springtime varieties have a certain magical quality around them that their counterparts just seem to lack.  Maybe it’s because we’ve waited so long to see their arrival or maybe they presume a delicate presence among their soon to be followers like roses and sunflowers. Whatever the reason, when the May bulbs finally decide to poke their heads out of the newly thawed earth, New Englanders tend to swoon over their presence.  What’s not love, really? Spring blossoms are some of the most stunning species to ever sweep over our lawns and gardens, which also make perfect clippings to fill up our floral vases. If you are in need of adding this type of landscaping to your surrounding property, here are my favorite bulbs to plant every fall!

Fritillaria


This is honestly my most anticipated flower to watch out for every May because of its funky shape and cool coloring.  Appearing like an upside-down bell, fritillaria is often purple in color with speckled dots across the petals. Although there are different hues available for purchase, this variety grows traditionally in the Massachusetts area.  One thing to keep in mind though- fritillaria is happier growing in soil than cut for arrangements, which will considerably shorten the bloom’s lifespan.

PEONIES-71464900193

Peonies


Peonies are pretty standard for New England spring bulbs and luckily for us, they will last a bit longer than its seasonal competitors such as tulips and hyacinth.  This flower will bloom large, fluffy heads on a bush along with green foliage that stretches up and down the stem. Due to their popularity, peonies are the number #1 variety requested by spring Boston brides and continues to be cultivated in more and more colors to satisfy a growing selection.


Bearded Iris


These are probably the most majestic species out of any spring bulb due to its fierce appearance and striking array of color.  The bearded iris only blooms for a short time before the weather turns too hot but boy is it worth planting a few around the house to really make the yard “pop” for those few weeks in May and June.  Bearded Iris grows in shades of purple, pink, red, orange, yellow and even black so there’s a ton of options to choose from!

Tags: Peonies, Spring, May

Flowers for Your Summer Cottage

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, May 25, 2018

The salty air is beginning to waft off our coastlines and people everywhere in New England are thrilled to be dreaming of near future visits to our gorgeous beaches.  For some Bostonians, they might even be lucky to own or rent a cottage on the Cape, Maine or Rhode Island in the next few months where they will enjoy the closeness in proximity to the ocean.  New England summers are a treat for us locals so we tend to accentuate the season as much as possible with barbecues, pool parties and evening get togethers on the porch. Foods such as shrimp, lobster and clams are a theme for these events but other areas of party planning are equally qualified for the same sort of inspiration-namely flower arrangements.

beach_theme_flowers

photo via aboutflowers.com

While we usually select blooms such as red berries and pine greenery for winter décor, summer time reflects a whole other field of wild blooms of a softer palette.  Mimicking the motif of a beach cottage, these varieties are softer in nature with hues of pale peaches, whites, creams and blues. Top designers around the city try their best to replicate the sensation of the sea and sand within their pieces so customers will take in the “feel” of the beach even if they are remaining within their city dwellings.  For me, this is my favorite time of year when blossoms represent a core attribute of peace and tranquility, especially when displayed near the oceanfront. If you are anticipating a love for summer flowers reminding you of past/present days spent on the seashore, check out these “can’t miss” bouquets that envelope the meaning of beach living in New England.

beach_theme_flowers_boston-resized-600

Stunning flowers to request or replicate on your own which convey a beachy feel are those that are light, airy and whimsical.  This may sound like a strange description but species such as delphinium, lace flower, ranunculus, garden roses and wisteria are perfect examples of what I’m talking about.  If you live by the shore, take special notice of any blooming shrubs such as hydrangea that love the salt air-they make great clipping for inserts in arrangements. Peonies are another excellent variety that goes cuckoo for a seaside habitat, particularly those that produce buds of sweet pink, cream and blush.  I also like a fresh vase of stems that have been gathered from around the yard in hues of deep blues and purples. If you’re planning a summer getaway to the ocean or just enjoy the notion of the idea, treat yourself to a cottage inspired arrangement which will keep you happy throughout the warmer season!

Tags: Hostess Flowers, Beach, June, Summer, July

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