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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Some Flowers Like It Hot

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 27, 2018


If you know a little about flowers, you’re well aware of the rules to follow if you want to make your centerpiece last:


  1. Clean Water
  2. Fresh Stem Cutting
  3. Quality Supplier
  4. Temperate Thermostat Conditions
tropcial_and_exotic_flowers-resized-172

The last one is particularly important, especially if you’re trying to pick up the perfect vase of blooms for a friend.  Living here in New England, there is a wide skew of preference for setting indoor temperatures, depending on both your internal comfort as well as the time of year.  While many of us do just fine in our homes setting the heater on 65 degrees, others like things to be just a tad bit warmer at 70-75 degrees. Here’s where we head for some trouble…  If you know the person you are gifting flowers to is habituating in conditions similar to Florida, then we need to select varieties based on that factor. Certain species have absolutely no shot at surviving in homes with heat standards hovering towards the tropics and will prove quite disappointing fairly soon after receiving the bouquet.  Don’t think about calling your florist to complain either because some of the responsibility to maintain healthy blooms should fall on you. Expecting a bunch of tulips to preserve its beauty in a space with temperatures held in the 80’s in just plain ludicrous so you’ll want to do a little research before sending fleurs to a loved one in a hospital (they are notoriously sweltering hot) or to a neighbor who likes to walk around in t-shirts in the middle of the winter.  


Don’t lose hope though…  Lucky for florists (and you), we’ve found plenty of species that are both stunning to gift as well as tough against typically undesirable locations.  While roses may not be the best option in cases like these, you’ll be happy to know there are a slew of others that are just as attractive to present to a family member or friend.  Jot down the names that appeal to you and ask a local florist about availability the next time you want to send flowers to someone with warmer weather condition preferences.


Do Ask For:

Orchids: Especially Phalaenopsis and James Story

Cymbidiums: Green do particularly well in the heat as long as they are fresh

Birds of Paradise: Native to the rain forest

Ginger and Protea

Succulents


Do Not Ask For:

Lily of the Valley

Sweet Pea

Garden Roses

Peonies

Ranunculus

Tags: Tropical Flowers, Orchids, Summer

Gemstones Matched with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 20, 2018

Along with gardening, I’m a big book lover who enjoys reading anything from middle grade/YA to thrillers.  Recently, I began the novel, “Grump” by Liesl Shurtliff which gives the (fairly) true story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  Geared towards kids in grades 5-7, this fun and whimsical tale gives a new spin on what the real deal with the 7th dwarf really is.  Were they all kind and supportive of the little girl’s path towards becoming the “fairest of them all”, a title that would earn her the crown or did one of the tiny men have an agenda of their own?  There’s nothing better than a great fairytale but when you get a chance to see the story from a new perspective-it’s even more enjoyable.

grump novel

Now, if you’re interested in “Grump” then you’ll need to know the first basic trait of the dwarf.  Dwarves LOVE to eat gemstones! Diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires just scrape the surface of these creatures bountiful and VALUABLE preferred dinner menu.  Not only do they dine on only the finest of treasures but they are also consuming the powers that are present with the stone such as strength, purity, and cleverness.  As I was browsing all of the powers the gems possessed, it got me to thinking about the same ability many flowers also retain and the influence they have over those they surround.  Blossoms have their own magic to give others and can be closely related to these stones and maybe even put into similar categories. Here is a list where I’ve matched the gems mentioned in “Grump” with a blooming counterpart with similar properties.  Take a peek and see if one or both pairings matches your taste!


GEM           POWER            FLOWER

 Amber        Protection         Heather

Amethyst    Peace                Apple Blossom

Diamond     Strength            Gladiolus

Emerald       Intuition            Calla Lily

Opal            Creativity           Lupine

Pink Topaz   Optimism          Daffodils

Ruby             Long Life          Peach Blossom

Sapphire       Truth                Chrysanthemum

 

Tags: Childrens Book, Flower Meanings, Jewels

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!

af6

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

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