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Hot Flower Fads for September

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Sep 02, 2015

Hot Flower Fads for September!

The summer is gone but not forgotten for Boston florists trying their best to impress their customers with a new fall line!  Designers are bustling behind their workbenches constructing cool and crisp floral products that will reflect the fresh start of a beautiful New England autumn.  In the past, popular styles incorporated bright yellows mixed with burnt reds typically found in roses and freesia but this time around, there’s a whole different approach for centerpieces and vase display.  If you like romantic fall colors integrated with a cozy “home” feel, you’re in luck because that’s just where the trend is traveling!  Color palettes, texture, size and height are being brilliantly engineered to match the essence of the season, which generally is defined by a warm and friendly feel.  After all, it won’t be long before we are all hunkered down once again for the east coast winter weather.  So here’s our last hooray for an outdoorsy and cool style just right for a September in Boston.

Sunflower Sensation


Red sunflowers are not only glamorous but they are also rich in color which means they can be combined with several different varieties of flowers including gerbera daisies, mums and particularly roses.  My taste is tints that easily blend and don’t force a hard contrast visually.  There’s nothing worse than a flat red up against a bold yellow or blue.  Variegated orange garden roses are stunning within this style as well as hypericum berries, hay and green amaranthus.  One word to the wise, stay away from “propped up” pieces that can look cheap and junky like added fake fruit or stuffed scarecrows.  A simple presentation with these flowers is all you’ll need to impress!

Dreamy Dahlias



Dahlias are another flower that trickles over to fall from summer and boy, are they fabulous in centerpieces!  Bright and cheery yet country themed as well, these beauties look great with just about any pairing, especially black or green calla lilies.  Ask for these in bubble bowls or fill your own antique jars and vases to create a lacy feel for a luncheon or evening dinner party.  Wedding planners also utilized dahlias in table centerpieces as well as boutonnières and bouquets.  They look perfect in pictures and surprisingly have an extensive longevity.  

Tags: Flower Arrangements, Flowers, Sunflowers, September, Dahlias

Flowers and Their Auras

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 31, 2015

People have many ways of expressing their feelings.  For some, they use words, for others their face changes expression and sometimes a mannerism can even be a strong indicator of an emotional state.  One interesting way to read someone’s feelings is by picking up on their aura.  An aura is defined by the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place.  Sometimes they are seen as light or actual color shades describing specific types of sentiment that are present at that exact time.  Now there’s a large portion of the population that don’t believe in this science and claim that it’s nothing more than empty fortunetelling.  

I strongly disagree.

Not only do I think that a person’s inner state is readable by light and color but I also believe that its possible to recognized auras based on the plants and blossoms one selects!  Florists might want to pay close attention and be prepared for the changing elements in mood a customer possesses and be prepared to accommodate by utilizing this theory.  Here are a few basics to be on the look out for if you’re a Boston designer!

Yellow Flower Auras

Yellow is a great aura to have since it usually means you’re in a good place both spiritually and mentally.  Positive energy and happiness usually surround this person who is likely to select varieties such as yellow tulips, gerberas, sunflowers, roses or freesia.  This customer will be pretty easy to please so put on your best smile and think bright and sunny.

Red Flower Auras

These guys are extremely physical and have strong senses of touch and smell.  If you witness a customer asking for red blooms of amaryllis, James Story orchids, geraniums or peonies, you’re going to need to aim to please an active and vibrant person who will be very particular about what they want.  Commonly sexy, passionate and adventurous, florists should be prepared to understand that this aura always knows what it wants and usually gets it!

Magenta Flower Auras

For those who are magenta flower lovers, their auras will tell you that they are creative and innovative dreamers.  They’ll be fun to design for, too because usually they are open to new architectural arrangements within centerpiece design.  Top varieties that you should have on hand for them are deep pink calla lilies, stargazers, phalaenopsis and sweet pea.  You’re going to have fun with this customer who promises to add a little adventure of their own within their flower purchases.  


Tags: Orchids, Roses, Flowers

Labor Day Party Planning

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 28, 2015

Summer 2015 was certainly a beautiful couple of months in New England and although it went by way too fast, we still have one last opportunity to celebrate!  Labor Day weekend is September 4th through the 7th and Boston is booming with parties and barbecues to close out the season.  If you’re hosting your own event, you’re going to want to head over to your local flower shop for some beautiful décor to go along with the grilled steak tips and potato salad.  Of course, we all know that different occasions call for different styles including the flowers you display on tables and decks.  Adding the right vase or centerpiece to your party can add the perfect touch in making this a summer we’ll never forget!  These are a few of this year’s favorites that have been organized according to the particular type of event.  


I love Labor Day brunches because the cuisine is delicious plus the decoration is light and airy.  Most of the time, light is used as the design base and often uses blossoms that are white or soft peach and pink.  The trick is to make the displays as easy breezy as possible keeping them low and dainty.  Think simple and delicate like short jars of one variety like dahlias, sunflowers, cosmos, lavender or garden roses.  You can mix and match if you like but make sure that there are no color combinations that fight each other instead of blending nicely.  Don’t be afraid to use clippings from your herb garden too like rosemary, thyme or sage.  Many of the dishes associated with brunch use these as ingredients, which make it the perfect detail to add to your floral presentation.  



photo credit: Lisa Greene via FlowerFactor

Okay, so you might think that flowers are the last thing guests are going to care about when scanning the buffet filled with barbecue delights but displaying a vase or two of blooms can actually enhance their mood and appetites!  Unlike the brunch, which uses a calmer mean of creativity, backyard-grilling parties can manipulate a bigger impact with texture and tone as well as taller heights and sizes.  Gerbera daisies make excellent choices along with yellow sunflowers, blue delphinium, hydrangea and anthurium.  You can have a huge urn of multicolored stems or showcase a single variety.  Colors that induce hunger are typically red, yellow and orange so if you’re looking to really put out a feast this Labor Day, try to keep these three options in mind.  Also, stay away from fragrant blooms like lilies

Tags: Entertaining with Flowers, Party Flowers, September, Labor Day

Cool Plant Designs for Outdoors

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Aug 26, 2015

Gardens are made to be enjoyed, to provide food from our vegetables, to produce stems of beautiful blossoms for our homes and to satisfy our green thumbs as our beloved hobby.  For many Bostonians, the design and shape of the beds is imperative to expressing our gardening personalities along with their contents of various plantings.  It is in the nature of those true gardeners who design every last nook and cranny from their flowerpots to window boxes in order to manifest the most spectacular display for the summer season.  There will be hanging baskets, vine curled trellises and exploding foliage sprouting from every inch of soil available and just in case we find another ingenious innovation that might look splendid within our gardening efforts, we save room for that too…

Trending this year is a new way to architect plant appearances and honestly, it’s a pretty cool change from your typical straight as an arrow plantings.  By using diagrams constructed by our regions most talented horticulturalists, we are able to now manipulate the pathway of shoots, tendrils and leaf formations to create art for our gardens!  Not only will the contemporary techniques update your flower and vegetable beds but they will also inspire others to join in the fun!  Sometimes children and spouses are reluctant to participate in backyard toiling but I guarantee, these ideas will get everybody up and excited about getting their hands in the dirt!

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Stunning Reading Nook


Constructed from

growing stems of

Myrtle structured

to form a hut.

   Recycled Shoe Rack For Lettuce


            Talk about your clever ways to go

                      green and saving space!

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   Child’s Shopping Basket of Greens


   Inspire the little ones with this

   shopping cart reused for growing

   cabbage, basil and peppers.  Line

   the inside with moss and watch

   the basket literally fill with veggies!

    Wheel of Herbs


   So fun for a pretty backyard piece!

Tags: Gardening, Gardening in Boston, Garden Show, outdoors, Outdoor Living, Vegetable Garden

The Most Popular Late Summer Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 24, 2015

Summer Loveliness

One of the most glorious aspects of summer are the beautiful blooms that reflect the very essence of the season.  Varieties tend to be fragrant, bright and silk textured making them high in demand for Boston party planners busy scheduling New England weddings and soirees. Centerpieces for these events often set the theme so it is of the utmost importance that the right texture, color and scent be utilized correctly.  Height and width of these pieces are also detrimental in pulling off the perfect summer look and consist in a wide array including low and dense designs to high and wispy.  Depending on the client, designers can materialize millions of different creations using the plants customary to the northeast region during this steamy fragment of the year.  From the Cape to the Vineyard, tourists and natives will be impressed by the efforts of some of Bean Town’s most stylish florists.  Here are some of my summer favorites that have graced the tables of fancy and not so fancy New England partygoers!

Simple Sunflowers

Sunflowers should be your number one consideration if you’re looking to put together something for August whether it is a casual gathering for barbecue or tea or formal cocktail party or matrimonial affair.  For one thing, they come in a variety of shades including brilliant yellow and sexy red.  You can even find some that have tones of greens where you can mix and match the different types to make a stunning yet natural allure.  Glass bubble bowls are just right to set off the cheery heads that wont distract with complicated shades and styles.  Hosts will also love the added bonus of affordability.  Remember, summer is about being easy going and fuss free so let your wallets take a vacation too!

Grandma’s Garden Roses

There is a short amount of time that we can enjoy New England’s native growth so take advantage of what we have to offer during the months of July and August.  My grandmother took extreme pride in her rose gardens, which only got more and more breath taking as the years rolled on.  Ask your florist for tea roses that not only reflect a sweet and dainty appeal, they also have an aroma that is sure to be a people pleaser.  There is no shortage of color selection either where you can pick deep shades of pink and red or soft tints of cream and baby yellow.  Another bonus of garden roses is that you don’t have to intermix them with several varieties of different flowers.  They are great on their own cut either low or high in large bunches.  

Lavender Loveliness

Lavender grows like weeds around the Boston area during the summertime and we are lucky because it is a fabulous plant to use either cut or in planters.  If you are having a luncheon for example, take a few sprigs and stick them inside the napkins for a nice added touch.  Boutonnières are another great way to show off this flowering herb and look lovely when paired with ivy geranium or nasturtiums (which by the way is another summer stunner).  Lavender can also be put in a vase by itself if they are arranged in large clumps with varying species.  Explore the English, French and ivy varieties that are available to you!


Tags: Garden Roses, herbs, Flowers, Summer, Sunflowers

Hollywood’s A-List Farm Picks

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Aug 22, 2015

Just because they’re Hollywood starlets doesn’t mean that they don’t like getting down in the dirt for some gardening fun!  I bet you assumed that just because they wear fancy dresses and attend extravagant dinner parties that they don’t let their hair down once in awhile for some healthy outdoor activity?  Well even the rich and famous need to have fun too, even if that means rolling their Christian Dior sleeves up and getting a little messy.  Many are in disbelief as to why they would choose gardening as a hobby when there are more luxurious pastimes such as croquet, polo, sailing and hang gliding.  Well, I’ll have you know that several silver screen icons depend on their backyard vegetable and fruit beds to provide them with the healthy nutrition their bodies need!  They bank serious bucks on looking their best and that begins with having an A-List diet.  Sure, they could outsource this responsibility to someone else but what better way to micro manage your food than to grow it yourself?  Gwyneth Paltrow certainly falls within this category and has made it clear that fresh produce is a necessity, which describes in detail within her cookbook start.  Here’s the buzz on some more of Hollywood’s hottest healthy foodie actors!

Gwyneth Paltrow

This actress loves her fruits and veggies but her favorite is cantaloupe!  You might remember seeing the evidence of this a few months ago during her media frenzied trip to the supermarket.

Jenny McCarthy

This athletic actress loves her squash and she swears it’s a huge role in maintaining her fit and glowing body!  Her top picks include zucchini and butternut squash for tasty soups and grilled recipes.  

Tori Spelling

Ms Spelling is all about good food and she particularly enjoys the summer selection available during the month of August.  Rhubarb seems to be her favorite this year which she uses as the major ingredient in rhubarb pie and rhubarb chutney.  

Brad Pitt

I bet you didn’t know that Pitt goes bananas for bananas!  That’s right!  This hunky actor thrives on the yellow sweetest of the fruit but unfortunately has to cut back when training for films since they contain a lot of starch.  

Channing Tatum

This cutie is in great shape for sure but lo and behold he’s not exactly a fan of veggies at all.  He does consume green smoothies packed with spinach and kale plus he loves yams.  Looks like his diet is definitely paying off!


Tags: Gardening, Celebrity Florist, Hollywood Florist, Vegetable Garden

Canning Your Own Tomatoes

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

If you’re lucky, you’ve got tomatoes coming out of your ears right about now and you’ve even considered the possibility that you might have too many?  Bite your tongues!  You can never have enough of those beautiful, juicy red vegetables and chances are if you’re like me - you’ve found plenty of ways to use your crop efficiently and effectively.  There’s the marinara sauce, tomato pies, tomatoes on the grill, garden salads, ratatouille, fried green tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes and if you’re a clever chef- you can even make your own Bloody Mary’s.  

If the stove has already been burning making these delicious tomato based concoctions and your pile is still overflowing with your harvest, you might be getting nervous about the possibility of waste.  Pitching vegetables because they aren’t used in a timely fashion is a shame and is often looked upon as a tragedy by hard working gardeners who have nourished the plants since they were mere seeds.  

Well, worry no further!  Canning tomatoes are a popular procedure when farms produce a vast amount of one crop and need a back up plan for preservation.  Many are deterred from this method because they believe it’s more work than its worth but honestly, its pretty simple.  Follow these steps for jarring your tasty tomatoes and enjoy them all year round.

Step 1 Select Your Preferred Tomato Variety.  

Keep in mind that less water such as Roma will keep better than juicier tomatoes with a thinner shell.

Step 2 Sanitize Your Jars for Canning

You need to make sure that your containers are squeaky clean so place them in your dish washer then place them and their lids in a pot of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.

Step 3 Prepare Your Tomatoes

Place the chosen tomatoes in a pot of boiling water and then immediately drain by putting them in ice-cold water.  You’ll be amazed how fast their skins peel right off.  You also want to discard any bruised or damaged vegetables as well because they wont preserve decently once canned.

Step 4 Fill Er’ Up!

Fill the jars with tomatoes leaving at least 1 ½ to 2 inches of space, which will then be filled with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the rest with boiling water.  Make sure all of the air bubbles have left the vessel and seal the lid securely.  If you’re feeling daring, add a sprig of rosemary or basil for seasoning.  

Step 5 One More Round of Boiling

You’ll need to boil the sealed containers in a pot of boiling water for about 40 minutes to make sure the contents will “can” properly.  Let them cool completely and then store in a cool place.  

Step 6 Bon Appétit Enjoy!  


Tags: Gardening, Chef, cooking, Vegetable Garden, Tomatoes

Activities For The Dog Days of Summer

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

Summer days are winding down but we still have a few precious weeks to fill before our kids are back on the busses and headed to school.  The end of August can sometimes be challenging for parents to find activities that are both affordable and entertaining for their children.  After all, we want them to have fond memories of summer 2015 so it’s our job to figure out a plan before its too late!  Fortunately, we live in a wonderful city chalk full of things to do and New England in general has a plethora of hidden haunts perfect for family fun.  Don’t let the dog days get you down with boredom and pick one of these great places to visit before autumn arrives!

Zoar Outdoor

7 Main Street / Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)

Charlemont, MA

If you haven’t been here yet-now’s your chance to rip down the rapids of Deerfield River in canoes, kayaks and rafts!  If the fast track isn’t your taste, rest assured that they also offer zip lining and biking through gorgeous trails.  The breathtaking view of cascading mountains and edge of your seat excitement will make this a favorite summer time spot for years to come.  

Quassy Amusement Park

2132 Middlebury Road (Route 64)

Middlebury, CT

Massachusetts has many amusement parks that are filled with wild rides but if you’re looking for something a little quieter, you might want to check out Quassy Amusement Park of Middlebury Connecticut.  This charming festival of fun is rated on the low-key side with traditional rides that are suitable of younger children or those with sensory issues.  Carousels and a Ferris Wheels are some of the attractions as well as a full list of delicious carnival foods.  

Ogunquit, Maine

Along with our lobster and clam chowder, New England is also famous for its stunning coastal waters.  From the Cape to New Hampshire, each state has a long list of pristine beaches to visit.  One of our favorites is Ogunquit Maine where dunes line silk strewn sandy shores.  Bring your appetite too because this area also offers a multitude of seafood eateries that are top notch and live up to their reputation for serving fabulous cuisine.  

Tags: outdoors, Outdoor Living, Summer

Grow Your Own Potatoes For Food and Fun

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Aug 13, 2015

Growing happens to be one of my favorite things in the whole world to do during the summertime.  The sun, the seeds and particularly the dirt all add to the pleasures of farming.  Not only are you producing your own food for your family but you’re also saving a heap load of money.  Other incentives to start a vegetable garden can also include starting healthy eating habits, exercise and most of all knowing that you’ve created a chemical-free harvest.  

So what’s stopping you?  Worried that your green thumb (or lack there of) doesn’t have what it takes to grow edible fruits and veggies?  Not to worry because here is an option that not even the worst gardener can fail at-potatoes!  

Potatoes are one of the greatest beginner plants to try for several reasons and the biggest is the fact that they are fun to dig for!  Simply grab and old potato and wait for the eyes to start sprouting tiny vines.  Place the bottom half in a cup of water to hasten the pace or just wait for the spud to do its thing naturally.  Once it’s aged a pair of healthy legs, place it in the ground and cover with dirt about four inches deep.  Not before long (maybe two weeks depending on soil, quality) a green stem will protrude through the earth.  

Now potatoes take a little time to mature but on the positive side, they take little work.  Occasional watering is needed and if at all possible, select a location with more shade than hot sun.  It takes approximately three months for the veggies to be ready to dig up and the best time to plant the host spud is early June.  Once the plant spikes a little white flower and the stalk begins to die, that’s when its right for the picking!  One plant can grow anywhere from three to ten potatoes so make sure you search the ground well to avoid missing any.  After you’ve gathered your harvest, store in a cool dark area and use when needed.  Growing fresh potatoes will not only last longer than store bought bags but you absolutely won’t believe the difference in taste-they’re delicious!!

Try out these dishes that make great potato based meals:  mashed potatoes, loaded baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, Shepherd’s pie and German dumplings!


Tags: Gardening, cooking, Outdoor Living, Vegetable Garden

A Summer Book Recommendation for a Real Plant Lover

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 11, 2015

It’s summertime and this season tends to be the time when we put a little extra “oomph” into reading more.  Although our schedules slow down and we’re apt to take some vacation time, it’s the perfect opportunity to stimulate our minds with material that we can enjoy and learn from!  Mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, historical, sports and a thousand other genres pique the curiosity of avid book lovers which all offer the gift of both educating, entertaining and exciting whoever browses through their pages.  Ordinarily, I’m a James Patterson or Elin Hilderbrand fan but lately I’ve been experimenting with dramatic fiction including the titles, “Lost in the Sun”, “Fangirl”, “Eleanor and Park “ and my recent conquest, “Sure Signs of Crazy”.  This last one I really enjoyed (although the others are fantastic too), because for one thing, it was incredibly well written (author’s name is Karen Harrington) and second, the main character’s best friend just so happens to be a plant!  If you’re confused I’ll fill you in a bit…

Sure Signs of Crazy” is a story about a twelve-year-old girl named Sarah who struggles with the tragic truth of having a mentally insane mother.  Ten years ago, she was institutionalized for murdering Sarah’s twin brother at the age of just two by drowning him in the kitchen sink.  The main character survives the incident but is now left with an alcoholic father who is vacant at best and incapable of realizing his daughter’s need to come of age.  That all changes during the summer going into seventh grade when our heroine takes control and forces her family to cope with the past and move on.  Now this might seem a little depressing but here’s the interesting part…

Having incredible writing skills (Sarah pens letters to Atticus Finch from “To Kill A Mockingbird” for a school assignment which ends up being therapeutic to her deeper understanding), she lacks ease with verbal communication and naturally befriends a plant.  Now you’d think the plant would just sit there and wilt but the author brilliantly personifies it to have opinions, likes and dislikes.  Harrington introduces situations where the plant is exposed to alcohol and feared to become “sick” as well as neglected and “lonely”, all things we know a pe plant was a real person.  My favorite example of this is seen when Sarah attempts to run away but is fearful of the needs of her plant.  She decides to dig a hole in the ground for her friend and describes this procedure where she clearly identifies with the plant as having human physical features:

“I placed her into the hole and pressed the old dirt around her waist.  I kneel at her new spot and try not to cry.  Tell her all the cool things she will be able to see from this view.”  (page 225-226)

As the book continues, she begins to open up to more person to person connections including her neighbors, grandmother, father and even her mother.  We learn through unpeeling the layers surrounding the little girl’s life that she is not the meek character from the beginning and in fact is a strong young woman who the world eagerly awaits to read her own words.  The reader is probed into believing that her friendship with the plant is at least partly responsible for this breakthrough.

Try “Sure Signs of Cralant is incapable of feeling.   In several passages the plant disagrees with Sarah and at other times, requests its caretaker to turn it around for appropriate sun as” for a fun yet intriguing read this summer!

Tags: Books, #EXFL, Plants, Summer

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