Recent Posts

Follow Me

Exotic Flowers in Boston

Clipping Garden Parties

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 08, 2016

here are so many reasons why we nurture a garden and one of those reasons is because we love to watch beautiful things grow. Like many green thumbs of New England, we enjoy to watch our efforts from start to beginning, as each bloom unfolds with brilliant color and alluring scent.  In terms of visual and aromatherapy benefits, nothing beats a perennial garden in full maturity during the pleasant summer season.  I look forward to mine every summer…


Last year, a friend of mine told me how much they liked my garden and how they wished they could grow one similar.  I thanked her for the compliment and asked rather dumbly, “Why don’t you?”  She soon explained that it wasn’t the time it took to complete the project but the cost to supply the plants.  It was just too expensive.  Immediately, I began thinking about ways to solve this dilemma remembering all of the hefty nursery bills I myself had gathered over the years in order to accumulate the dozens of varieties nestled in my backyard.  I came to the conclusion that yes, the price to grow my masterpiece had in fact added up to be considerable.

So after this realization, an idea came to me that would both increase the number of plant varieties in my garden without having to buy every one of them myself.  I called it a “Clippings Party” where the idea was to invite all of your friends over with one sample they had collected from their own gardens to be traded with other the other attending guests.  The preparation would be simple enough by readying a specimen by cutting the stems from a preferred plant and re-growing its roots by placing it in a cup of water.  Most plants will re-root in about a week or so although others take longer so it would be important to send invitations at least three weeks in advance.  Depending on the flower or greenery, you can also pull apart a small portion of a plant with roots already attached if the base is strong enough.  Have all of your guests replant the starter sprout in a Dixie cup full of soil and allow them to swap with others!  


This practice isn’t only financial effective in staving off high prices at the garden center but it’s also a lot of fun too!  After doing a little research, I learned that this type of entertainment is quickly growing, particularly in the New England area.  You can host a fast and casual trading session or make a night out of by throwing a clippings bash!  Party games appropriate for this soiree can also be used to create a festive environment such as using the “Yankee Swap” tradition or playing trivia rounds where the clippings become the player’s prizes.  Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?

So the next time you become frustrated with paying loads of money to watch your garden grow, think about throwing a “Clippings Party” to help all of your fellow green thumb’s foster a triumphant garden this season!

Tags: Gardening, #EXFL, outdoors, Outdoor Living, Garden

The Magic of Butterflies in the Garden

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, May 31, 2016

Butterflies are one of the most beautiful creatures, which aren’t only breathtaking to watch but are also quite important for maintaining a flourishing garden!  Flowers and vegetables thrive on the assistance of these stunning creatures for pollination and the ability to create new crossbreeds of plant life.  The presence of butterflies can literally help produce hundreds of different varieties of color, smell and presentation just by feeding from one flower to the next from the natural nectar of a blossom.  


photo credit:

That’s pretty cool, right?  

Did you also know that butterfly monarchs and larva are also excellent sources of food for destructive predators that damage stems and foliage?  Useful bugs such as the ladybug are among one of the many species attracted to butterflies that act as a protector to flower and vegetable stems and foliage.  Without their help, most of our green thumb efforts would be chewed to bits so it’s important to encourage a healthy following of beneficial insect life.

How do we attract butterflies to our gardens?  


By placing plants in our beds that are high in nectar content, which will provide a bountiful food source.  Luckily, there are a ton of varieties that are known to do just this.  Here are a few of the top flowers guaranteed to lure these beautiful creatures to your garden.   

  • Blue Coneflower
  • Milkweed
  • Scabiosa
  • Mexican Sunflower
  • Blue Aster
  • Zinnias
  • Marigolds
  • Milkweed

There are several other species that will do the trick as well, but these are sure-fire winners to creating a stunning backyard wonder full of butterflies.

Happy Gardening!

Tags: Gardening, Plants, Garden, Gardens, Butterflies

Is it Time to Plant Yet ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, May 24, 2016

If you’re anything like me, you could be a bit depressed by the lingering cooler weather that winter just refuses to pack up and leave with.  For weeks, we’ve been preparing our beds, weeding, reloading soil and getting our gardening tools in order but the frustration still burns with the question, ”Is it time to plant yet?”  The answer is well, sort of….  

Perennials can yes, absolutely be planted in the ground but as most of you know who have previously planted, you’ve already seen them making an appearance.  Flox was the first to arrive this year in my flower patch, followed by sedum and columbine. It was rather exciting to see something grow but it’s almost June right?  Shouldn’t the earth be covered in splendid color instead of the brown patches strewn across our lawns?  It’s known as a sluggish spring, which means that the nights are still too cold (not rising above 50 degrees) to place frost susceptible plants outdoors.  If you have a greenhouse, you’re all set.  If you don’t, your windowsills should still be hosting seedlings for another week or so.  Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant and squash could still get nipped so stick to broccoli and cauliflower that can take the cold a little better than the others.  Snap peas are another great way to pass the time until things heat up because they take a bit to sprout.


Flowers are also something you want to be weary of before sticking them in the ground because although nurseries are carrying them now, it doesn’t mean they are ready for the great outdoors.  Many growers will harvest them in their nice warm greenhouses to get them ready for their customers but many are disappointed when they take them home and they die instantly.  In order to make sure that doesn’t happen, select springtime bulbs or species such as delphinium, lavender and rock flowers.  Not only will they pop a pretty color in your yard but they’ll return next year.  Stay away from geraniums, lantana and other “soft” blooms that need the temperature to rise above 60 in order to thrive and survive.  


I know it’s a lot to ask for but if we wait a little while longer, we’ll see a massive difference when it comes to our flower and vegetable gardens.  Happy Planting!

Now Later


      Snap Peas                       Geraniums

Sun Flower Seeds           Lantana

        Sedum         Cucumbers

        Lavender         Tomatoes

Tags: herbs, Vegetable Garden, Tomatoes, Garden, Gardens, May

Garden Accents, Decor and Planters

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, May 23, 2016

When you’re into your garden, one tends to try making everything around the lush flowers as beautiful as possible.  To those who find themselves relating to this statement, you know what I’m talking about… We attempt to design the perfect accents to accessorize our gardening efforts such as matching colorized pots, adding decadent potting benches and even incorporating pieces of furniture into the presentation such as tables and chairs.  When it’s all said and done, yes- you’re probably going to have one heck of a spread but how about the cost of this to make it all happen?  Companies specializing in these products like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel aren’t cheap.  They’re really EXPENSIVE!  Even if you do buy everything new, the outdoor elements are bound to age your props at some point, forcing you to go out and spend another wad of cash just to replace what you’ve lost.  Doesn’t that sound wasteful?  


As I find myself admittedly a member of this crowd, I’ve found a better way to use my resources and still “outer decorate” my flower and vegetable beds.  By recycling used furniture, repurposing items already owned and inserting a little creativity into the mix, you can orchestrate a stunning stage of garden galore while still saving money on unnecessary purchases. If you can be cleverly thrifty, you’ll see that your garden will explode with fun and complimentary accents making a splendid Eden you can enjoy throughout the summer!  Here are a few pointers to get you started…

  1. Attic Search                                                                                                                  Before you do anything with your wallet, go check in the old attic for some finds such as chairs, tables and stools.  All of these can be sanded down and re-painted to whatever color you’d like to make pop near your plantings.  Other hot treasures include ceramic bowls, teapots and wooden crates that can be made into dish gardens, flower vases and small raised beds.
  1.   Yard Sales

Yard sales are excellent places to hunt for props and they’ll also be marked at prices well below market value.  Since people are generally attempting to get rid of their “junk”, often you can even negotiate for a better bargain than already offered giving you a deal that you simply cannot refuse.  Plus, you’re helping the environment with your “green” savvies!  

  1.  Repurposing Old Furniture

Do you have old shutters lying in the garage with no place to go?  Make your own standing window boxes by hinging three shutters together constructing a screen.  Either build small boxes or look around the house for something that would be similar and connect these at different angles on all panels.  Add your favorite pots of geraniums, lantana or cacti and now you have the perfect standing garden boxes!

Tags: Gardening, Outdoor Living, Pottery, Garden

Fruits and Vegetables for Cooler Summer Plantings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, May 13, 2016

The summer is finally here and that means that our gardens are perking up and producing!  New England fruit and vegetable gardens can be extremely temperamental due to the unpredictable weather but there is some sure fire winners guaranteed to grow deliciously even when the thermometer isn’t feeling the heat. Boston doesn’t always experience the ideal hot and humid temperatures that most produce native to this area requires.  There have been many seasons where our average climate doesn’t climb above 75 degrees so we need to make a backup plan that includes plants known to successfully cultivate in cooler zones.  There are plenty of substitutions that we can use that will not only thrive but will also appreciate a more temperate growing atmosphere. Try these out and watch your fruits and vegetables go bananas even if the summer scorch seems to miss us this year.


photo credit:


Strawberries are a New Englander’s best friend when it comes to finding crops that can maintain productivity throughout any weather condition.  Although they do enjoy the heat, this berry variety will grow fruit in temperatures anywhere from 60 to 80 degrees.  You might have to wait a little longer for the strawberries to ripen and mature but the taste will still hold the yummy sweetness that is infamously tied to this traditional seasonal treat.  Just make sure your garden has room for crawling vines since this root system loves to spread once in the ground and can easily take over the space of other vegetation.


photo credit:

Snap Peas

Snap Peas are another great go-to seed when the weather seems uncooperative.  They actually prefer the cooler temperatures and enjoy the spring season as apposed to the summer season because of crispness of the air.  Not only will they give you early vegetables, but you can re-seed the garden for a second harvest in late August or September.  Cooler nights are no problem for this legume although you might want to cover seedlings with newspaper or netting if there is a frost in our midst.  


nothing like harvesting your own potatoes


Not only are potatoes awesome to grow visually but also are pretty predictable when it comes to New England harvesting.  They enjoy the coolness beneath the soil as the veggies mature and are quite happy to skip the sizzle of the summer by being below ground.  You don’t even have to buy seeds since you can use a potato already found in your kitchen!  Put an old potato in the ground and make sure its “eyes” have started to sprout.  Dig and place the spud 2 inches deep and soon you’ll see a green plant rise.  The stem will flower with leaves but be sure to resist the temptation to search for ripe spuds until at least the end of the summer or early autumn.  Once the plant dies, dig in and find your buried treasures!

Tags: Gardening, #EXFL, Vegetable Garden, Garden

Growing Wild in Los Angeles

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Apr 25, 2016

Los Angeles Succulents 

When we receive a beautiful arrangement, the vase is usually filled with more than just pretty blooms tossed in an array of color.   For many florists, the display is not complete without finishing it off with a few flecks of greenery such as leather leaf, lemon leaf, ruscus, palms, ivy or tropical foliage in order to fill in holes and create a bountiful presentation. Typically found in New England flower shops, these greens are imported from all around the world and even from some parts of the United States, particularly California where the weather is more formidable for this type of growing.  The sunshine state is a major exporter for this product because there is no need for the crops to be cultivated within expensive greenhouses as well as the fact that many species are a natural part of the west coast landscape.

Los Angeles Outdoor Plants 

During a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was off on a morning run and was stunned by the eclectic assortment of greenery popping up from everywhere around me.  Not only did I find clumps of plants such as variegated pit (an expensive floral foliage in Massachusetts) seen in front and back yards but I also spotted them growing wildly in unlikely areas.  I was honestly impressed by the horticulture in the area and the fact that California foliage is so wonderfully different from what we commonly see here.  Below are a few of my favorite species I snapped photos of during my trip which gave me a new appreciation of Los Angeles’ dynamic foliage development.

birds of paradise los angeles

Tags: Gardening, Garden, Los Angeles, Gardens

Plant Identification - There's an App for That

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 28, 2016

I have this friend who is always sending me pictures of plants and flowers with her phone when she’s stumped by the variety or species.  For most of them, I can pretty much quickly give her an answer but for others that I’m not familiar with, it can be a real problem.  For many of us who have the same habit of curiosity, we can sympathize with the frustration of seeing a beautiful bloom or appealing shrub that might look great in our yard and having no idea how to find it!  Although the greenhouses and florists located within the Boston area are on the whole, sharp as tacks when it comes to deciphering the Morse code of unusual flora and fauna, it would be quite helpful if they had a name to go by.   


So wouldn’t it be awesome if someone inventedan app that could do all of this for us?

You’ll be excited to learn that there’s a brand new way to identify plant life using cutting edge technology developed in France!  With the use of the already popular application, Shazam, creators have now found a way to decipher breeds in a habitat just by clicking a photo and filtering it into the program.  With a vast collection of plants and flowers being loaded into the system named PlantNet, not only can you find what you’re looking for but also add to the collection.  Taking another step forward inside the future of horticultural technology, IdentiPlante is evolving to include the name of the featured flower/plant and also supporting data on subjects such as the preferred habitat and care instructions.  


How cool is that?  

Pretty soon a walk in the woods will inspire snaps of sensational living foliage, which you can now instantly learn more about with a simple swipe of your phone.  Landscaping issues, wedding planning and garden architecture will be as easy as one, two three with the use of this fascinating “i invention”!

Tags: Gardening, Plant Care, Plants, Garden

Our Favorite Celebrity Gardeners

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Mar 15, 2016

When we think of Hollywood starlets, we commonly associate them with glitz, glamour and a whole lot of sparkle.  We figure their job mainly consists of looking fabulous in all places from the red carpet to the silver screen but recently we’ve been reminded that this isn’t true for all of L.A.’s A-listers.  Several very famous actors and actresses including Oscar and Emmy award winners have been know to roll up their sleeves and show their adoration for the great outdoors by using their green thumbs!  


photo credit:

Do you find this hard to imagine?  

Well, it seems that gardening has become one of the fastest growing pastimes amongst this crowd because it enhances a spiritual connection to our environment as well as providing an excellent means of relaxation.  Plus it’s way healthy, too!  Stars including Brad Pitt, Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres, Lisa Kudrow and Tiffani Amber Thiessen all enjoy getting a bit dirty in their backyards and produce some, if not all of their dietary vegetables and fruit for themselves and families.  Not only is this new trend in Hollywood excellent for the earth’s natural resources, it’s fun and engaging as they teach their children and the world the value of planting seeds.  

Are you curious about who are the most serious harvesters from our television and movie favorites?  Here are a few of the most vigilant gardeners from the acting industry!

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr is not only famous for her successful career in TV sitcom, but she’s also really into exploring the botanical front.  Reports show that she is an avid grower of nuts on her Hawaiian property, which hosts fields and fields of macadamia trees!

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts is one pretty woman and there is a good reason why!  For decades, the famous actress has raised her own crops, feeding her children from garden to table since birth.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, potatoes and an extensive collection of berries are among the few varieties she takes pleasure in growing on her extensive property.


photo credit:


Sting is cool all on his own but when you pair him with his love for cultivating natural products such as his own home made olive oil, he’s awesome!   Although he swears there is a garden present surrounding almost all of his abodes, his favorite seems to be his estate in Italy where he is able to enjoy grape growing.  The perfect weather conditions present in Tuscany make this hobby a successful and delicious venture!  

Tags: Gardening, Celebrity Florist, Hollywood Florist, Garden

Early Seedling Starters

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Mar 11, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I’m already getting the itch to start my indoor seedlings even though there’s still snow falling on the ground!  For many New Englanders, this is a common frustration since we know that planting too early in the spring season will not cultivate a healthy crop once it is transferred outdoors.  Plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and peas are perfectly ok but for other species, it can be a problem.  While the average time to begin this process is usually the middle of April, you’ll be glad to know that there are actually a few varieties of vegetables that will do just fine if not benefit from a March potting.  Usually, these types are typically those that take a prolonged period of time to get going, which is an important variable to learn about when selecting your seeds.  Since we must keep in mind the temperature constraints of our climate having such a short summer season compared to other southern states, veggies that take four to five months to mature with fruit almost have to be planted indoors way before the normal gardening season.  Fussy produce such as peppers, corn, cauliflower, celery, garlic, onions and eggplant can be challenging for Boston green thumbs so getting a jump on these before April will be helpful.

And why not?  It only takes a few basic things to get started!  

All you have to do is find a warm and sunny area of your home and set up camp!  Select your seeds from either a catalog or store and then grab an empty egg carton or potato chip container.  They might not seem like it but they are excellent for nurturing organic soil because both materials encourage growth and moisture.  Finding a radiator in close proximity will also give your seeds a nice little push as well since an added bit of heat can trick the seeds into thinking it’s summer.  Water as needed and let them do their own thing on their own time until the stems are at least two to three inches in height.  When they get that big, they are ready to be transplanted into your garden.  That is, if the earth has warmed enough to be adequate for growing.  If the ground is still frozen, you’ll have to wait a bit longer but don’t worry because the seedlings will do just fine inside.  


Tags: Gardening, Seeds, Vegetable Garden, Garden Calendar, Garden, March

Best Containers to Start Your Seedlings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 19, 2016

I know it seems a little early but even in New England we can get a jump-start on the growing season.  Pay no attention to the ice and snow on the ground and get your green thumbs ready to begin planning your gardens now!  You don’t need a greenhouse or any other expensive contraption, either.  All you need is some things found right around your home, a few packets of seeds and the right warm and sunny window to get things blooming.  With a few tips on which material is the best to use, you’ll have a fabulous and bountiful collection of fruits, veggies and flowers to transplant as soon as the earth thaws later this spring.  So don’t get discouraged if you see yet another blizzard coming our way on the news, by following these guidelines you’ll be able to salvage your love of gardening all year round.



The truth is, you can plant whatever you want and at least one seed should spring up through the soil eventually.  While this is true, for those who are determined to grow hearty species for their summer gardens, there are a few species that will do better than others when potted indoors.  The later you begin potting during the winter season, the more options you have but in case you want to get cracking now, here are the seeds that I suggest.


photo credit:

Potting Material

You’re going to hear a lot about what certain specialists deem are the best materials to plant seedlings but in general, you have a ton of options available.  Most of these containers you can find around your house or garage so don’t go nuts buying expensive seed sets which are the same if not inferior to what you already own.  Using everything from recyclables to empty fruit rinds, you’ll be amazed what works as a beneficial nutrient supplier to your seedlings.


Tags: Gardening, winter, Seeds, Garden

Subscribe via E-mail

Contact Us for All Your Floral Needs