Recent Posts

Follow Me

Exotic Flowers in Boston

Tips to Transform Your Garden into a Great Outdoor Space

Posted by Jenny Holt on Fri, May 18, 2018

Is your garden looking a bit neglected after the winter? Maybe you’ve piled surplus stuff from inside the home to make some extra space? Whatever your reason, it’s time to think about transforming it into a fabulous outdoor space and growing plants from seeds before spring arrives. Giving your garden a spruce-up will not only make it a beautiful and relaxing space to hang out for family and friends, but it can also be rewarding feeling once all the work is done. Here are a few ideas for you to try.

winter_garden-resized-600

Make it comfortable

Inject a bit of personality into your outdoor space through repainting your fencing, buying or re-purposing garden furniture and decluttering broken or useless junk lying around. Try and think about maximizing the space to make it more comfortable for everyone to enjoy, and that includes making a pet-friendly garden if you have animals. If you want privacy, consider planting tall, evergreen trees which will also provide shade on hot, summer days.

Create a grassy space

Lawn care takes a lot of work to get the lush greenness you want to relax on but it’s not the same if you have to sit on concrete paving stone! Plus, it’s a great space for children to play on. If you’ve already got a lawn, look out for any patches or signs of unhealthiness that have appeared but if you don’t have grassy area then maybe it’s time to consider planted grass seeds. Either way, depending on the size of your space, the chances are you’ll need a handheld spreader for a small space or review broadcast and drop style spreaders for larger areas as they'll allow the area to be covered in a few passes.

boston_urban_garden-resized-600

Add color

Who doesn’t like the stunning colors of nature’s flowers growing in a garden? Admittedly, it takes a bit of effort to start off but once established you’ll be able to enjoy their beauty in the months to come. There are many ways to brighten up your garden, even on a budget and you should choose different types of species, for example, exotic flowers, edible flowers, annual, etc, to mix it up. It’s important to make sure they’re watered well and receive the right amount of shade or sun they desire and you can either plant from seed or buy in pots from a gardening center.

Whatever you decide to incorporate or add into your garden, it will be a reflection of your style and tastes so makes for a perfect escape in the good weather.

Tags: Gardening, Outdoor Living, Garden

Trellis Flower Designs

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, May 16, 2018

The weather is finally looking up around here, which means it’s time we filled up our leaf bags, mulch the yard and do a little planning for a spring season of landscaping!  Many people see this process as a chore but for me- I look forward to the task each year and actually become excited with the possibilities of new plantings I’ve been dreaming of all winter long…. There’s nothing better than gazing at your green thumb efforts once the summer appears so right now is the moment to kick up your gardening to-do’s in high gear!  One area that’s a nice place to start is choosing the seeds you would like to feature in your pots, raised beds or lawn props. Might I suggest focusing on the species of blooms you would like to watch blossom up your trellis? Archway trellises are some of the most beautiful places to harvest vine plants that will slowly creep up the sides to make a stunning veil of buds.  I myself, have a couple I can’t wait to see covered in strands of brightly colored flowers. If you are in need of a bit of research before you plant around your trellis, here are some of the best varieties that do particularly well in this area of the garden.

GEORGIA_OKEEFE_MORNING_GLORIES

Morning Glories: Morning Glories are pretty much a staple flower when matching a bloom to an archway trellis.  They exist in a variety of cheery hues and can survive with little fuss from the gardener. Just take a pack of seeds and pour near the base of the structure and they’ll do their own thing throughout the entire summer!

trellis-inspiration-225x300

photo via http://handydad.tv/diy-trellis-in-a-weekend

Clematis:  These are another great choice and will not disappoint those who want to quickly cover their trellis with wild looking blossoms!  Another species growing in many different colors, clematis will return each year in the spring although it will die once the heat appears in July and August.


Ivy Sweet Pea: This particular variety of sweet pea is capable of growing in a cabled vine that is simply gorgeous when scaling poles, arbors and trellises. They are extremely delicate in appearance but manage to take their curly leaves and tiny buds to great lengths if allowed.  


Wisteria: Wisteria is very popular in the United States and is able to last for generations if grown in temperate areas with shelter from severe ice.  These heads will drop in cone-like shapes and create beautiful overhangs for people to walk underneath as well as provide a pleasant aroma to the air.  

Tags: Gardening, Garden, Gardens

Gardening in Ancient Egypt

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Mar 16, 2018

As you all well know, I’m a garden lover who looks forward to raising a new batch of crops each and every year.  This spring, I was curious to do a little research on ancient horticulture to see what civilizations from long ago used to replenish their beds.  As you may have figured, each demographic of the world composes their gardening ritual in their own specific way making the process a specialized skill across thousands of different cultures.  One that I found to be particularly interesting was the growing model performed by the ancient Egyptian civilization. Although the country is located across the globe, we can learn a few things about the process and platform utilized to harvest a fascinating scope of plants and flowers.  

Le_Jardin_de_Nébamoun.jpg

The Garden, fresco from Nebamun tomb, originally in Thebes, Egypt, now in the British Museum, London, U.K. Painting on plaster, 72 x 62 cm

The first thing we need to know is how important the Nile River was to those who had the duty of planting the gardens.  Being the primary source of water, the Nile is responsible for the efficient yet stunning formatting chosen to raise both plants and flowers.  As you can see by the side photo, beds were created to resemble a square box instead of a flat surface which here, we are accustomed to seeing.  The reason for this complex shaping was to give water a better chance of seeping into the soil instead of being wasted by spillage. By growing a “box-like” containment around their harvests, gardeners believed there was a better chance of keeping their efforts hydrated for longer periods of time.

Gardens_of_Nakh_1.jpg

Gardens of Amun from the Temple of Karnak, painting in the tomb of Nakh, the chief gardener, early 14th century B.C. (Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels.)

Once we understand how Egyptians kept their crops lavish in such an arid environment, we can begin to look at the specific varieties of flora and fauna they chose to grow.  Initially, most gardens were made primarily as a sole source of food, choosing vegetables that were tolerable of the desert conditions. As time evolved, the inclusion of plants began to be added although not for nutritional benefits.  Acacia and Sycamore Trees became pleasurable “garnish” as well as small bushes such as Cypress and Olive branches which increased the landscape architecture as well as provided shading. Once plants began to show more popularity in the Egyptian gardening palette, it wasn’t long before the idea of inserting certain species of flowers became the next logical step.  Poppies, lotus, anemones and even certain breeds of roses soon appeared, creating a dynamic specimen of beauty with a multi-purpose value of feeding families. Usually seen near temples, gardens then were attempted to be placed inside tombs to pay homage to the Gods of long ago.

Tags: Gardening, Vegetable Garden, Gardens

Flower Apps for Flower Lovers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Oct 30, 2017

Our phones have become our lifelines these days, holding millions of bits of information that we believe we require each day.  Just by the swipe of your finger, you can access worlds of data leading you everywhere from weather reports and sports stats to bank accounts and social media updates.  The cell has really become a major (if primary) source of communication for most of us and thanks to technology, we can find answers to any imaginable question with the proper programming.  Another bonus to owning one of these handy gadgets is that users can input their devices beyond basic functions and personalize them to create a unique carrier for hobbies and interests.  Are you a beach goer who enjoys frequent trips to the shore but is concerned about arriving only at high tide?  Guess what?  There’s an app for that.  Do you enjoy meditation or a quick session of yoga when you have a few minutes to spare? Guess what?  There’s an app for that, too.  No matter where your interests lie, you can be sure there’s a specialized program out there just waiting to be downloaded onto your phone-even if you happen to be a flower lover like me.

growitappfeature.jpg

photo via growit app

Florists and flower enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that geniuses around the world have been successful in inventing several different apps made especially for us which decipher, label and distinguish flora and fauna specimens.  You don’t have to carry a huge manual around anymore when you’ve come across a blossom you don’t know which family species it belongs to.  Heck no!  Now with a tap of your finger and a snap of a picture, you can find out all sorts of information about any flower or plant that exists.  Since there are several to choose from, you can browse this list and find the one that perfectly fits your taste to help grow and nourish your knowledge.   Designing ideas, centerpiece palette advice and details about where varieties are grown can all be passed down to you in thirty seconds or less.  Don’t be worried about extensive costs to set these up because you’ll be happy to know that all of them are free!  


Flower Apps


  1. Garden Flowers Plant ID 6. What’s That Flower
  2. Garden Guide 7. Ask it to Flowers
  3. Leaf Snap 8. Parrot Flower Power
  4. Fungitron 9. Flower House
  5. GrowIt!           10. Flower Garden Free

Tags: Gardening, Photography, Garden, Apps

Holding Onto Our Summer Flower Beds

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 25, 2017

We are well into August now and I hate to tell you- but our flowerbeds are coming to an end for another year.  It’s sad, I know to see such a beautiful miracle of colorful blooms meet their demise when it seems like we’ve only just started to enjoy the warmer weather.  I personally get a little down when the new season shows signs of ascending down upon us and grow weary of the days ahead where my green thumb’s work will be buried underneath mounds of snow.  Yes, yes there’s always next year to look forward to but still- if you’re like me, the whole presumption can feel a bit depressing…

garden in winter.jpg

It is for this unavoidable truth that I make sure to bask in the last weeks of summer gardening with feverish tenacity in the hopes that these memories might just carry me through yet another stormy New England winter.  Even though we can see the tall stalks of hollyhocks begin to bend and the heads of gigantic sunflowers withering their heads, we can still take it upon ourselves to do some last minute snipping, caring and tending for our beautiful flowers.  The generation of gorgeous blooms is a talent that shouldn’t be taken lightly so why should our determination to preserve these triumphants not be weighed as equally?  Just by completing a few final floral tasks, we cannot only savor the sweet success of the gardens we’ve created but also encourage next year’s harvest to be one that flourishes healthily.  Take a moment to see if you’ve made sure your garden remains in good hands for the colder temperatures and don’t forget to snap a couple of final pictures to last you until next April!


  1. Clean out all debris surrounding the plants to make spring-cleaning a little easier next April.  You’ll thank me later…
  2. If you have pine needles nearby, sprinkle some at the base of the plants.  If we have a frigid winter, your flowers will thank you for the extra blanket.
  3. Remove shoot perennials that have sprung from the master source to avoid unwanted spreading that might choke other root systems.
  4. Make a vase of cut flowers that are still blooming.  You might as well make a bouquet for yourself!

Tags: Gardening, Gardening in Boston, winter, August, Garden

Deadly Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jul 31, 2017

We’re always talking about the beauty of flowers but what if we took a second to analyze some of the deadliest flowers in the world?  Still stunning in their appearance, toxic blooms can be found growing all over our globe, just waiting to claim their next victim…  If you’re a person who likes to pick their own bouquets while walking in the woods, a little helpful information on the subject might really come in handy.  Even if your mother always taught you to never put anything near your mouth, particularly when it comes to treasures found in the forest, this list of highly poisonous plants can still infect a person just by the mere touch of their petals or stems.  If you were planning to hike this summer, it would be wise to steer clear of these deadly flowers to avoid harmful contact that might cause infection or even death.

monkshood.jpg

photo via wikipedia.org

Monkshood

You need to be aware of this variety of flora because although it originally harvested naturally in parts of Western Europe, the monkshood is popularly cultivated in our region for perennial gardens and landscaping.  It’s no wonder why due to its attractive characteristics of long sleek stems and beautiful purple blooms, which grow up and down the stalk.  I’ll warn you though, the monkshoods allure ends there because any contact with the florets at a minimum, can erupt in a case of increased hypertension or numbness of the fingers.  If you are less lucky, ingestion leads to almost certain death.

castor oil plant.jpg

photo via wikipedia.org

Castor Oil Plant “The Palm of Christ”

This may be the most deadly flower in the world since every inch of the specimen is lethal.  Having shiny leaves and heads that are referred to as “ticks” the flower grows as a perennial in countries such as India from July through October.  Ingestion of any part of this plant’s anatomy will give you a one-way ticket to an early grave, although a unique benefit exists in the plant’s leaves- castor oil.  Castor oil is made from the plant extract where it is used to treat burns, cuts and other flesh injuries.  The plant is also referred to as “The Palm of Christ” due to its biblical ties of healing Jesus’ hands.

Poison_Hemlock.jpg

photo via wikipedia.org

Poison Hemlock

This one is tricky because the flower resembles some of my favorites like Queen Anne’s Lace and other similar members of the parsley family.  Naturally, it grows along the roadsides of Washington and is indeed extremely harmful if eaten or touched.  There are a wide array of symptoms including dizziness, swollen glands and nausea, which can be contracted from all parts of the plant.  Stay clear of those grown in direct sunlight because they are the most lethal in toxicity.  

Tags: Gardening, Garden, wild flowers, About Flowers

Floral Attractions in New England

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 21, 2017


The weather is beautiful here in New England and we’re finally footloose and fancy free to travel to the destinations we’ve been longing to see throughout the dreary months of winter.  For some of you, it may be a resort or maybe a beach where you can swim the shores of our Atlantic Ocean.  For me, it’s the time of year where flower gardens are in full bloom, making a road trip to a floral destination sound extremely enticing.  Thankfully, this region is loaded with talented gardeners who harvest robust crops of floral masterpieces in july and August (if we’re lucky, maybe even September).  So if you’re a flower lover who might be interested in learning a thing or two from the aces in the trade, here’s a list to pin to your maps this summer!


Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

106 Central Street

wellesley college garden.jpg

photo credit via http://www.wellesley.edu

Wellesley is a beautiful town to visit, which is home to historic houses, a quaint shopping center and of course, the prestigious educational center of Wellesley College.  Although most of the students have left for the summer, this college gives you another reason to stick around and it’s all thanks to the beautiful botanical gardens thriving on the grounds.  Open daily with no charge to visit; this should be at the top of your list to visit this summer.


Fells Historic Estate and Gardens

Route 103A / P.O. Box 276

Newbury, NH, 03255

fells garden.jpeg

photo credit via https://thefells.org/gardens-at-the-fells

If you’re a history buff, you’ll like this location because not only does it have some of the most beautiful gardens you will ever see, there is also a rich background tied to the property regarding the famous statesman, John Milton.  Along with stunning flowerbeds surrounding the property, you can also enjoy the wooded trails if you hike as a hobby.


Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

101 Ferry Road / Route 114

Bristol, RI, 02809

bithewold gardens.jpg

photo credit via: http://www.blithewold.org/

Also referred to as “An American Garden Treasure”, this location will have you saying “WOW” as soon as you get there.  One reason is due to their vast collection of plants and flowers, which range from exotic to romantic if you’re looking for some diversity in your travels...

Tags: Gardening, Flower Travel, New England, Gardens

Is It the Dirt ? - Video

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Jun 22, 2017

 

Is it the flowers ?

Is it the dirt ?

Is it the hard work ?

It's all that.

when you are working outside and dirt weaves through your hands, your endorphins get going. Step outside and make your life better.

 

 

.

Tags: Gardening, outdoors, Outdoor Living, Garden, DIY

What Does A Late Spring Mean For Your Garden?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jun 13, 2017

Right about now, you’re noticing that things are starting to warm up a bit outside after a very long-too long cold season.  Yes, sadly New Englanders have had to wait well beyond the typical arrival date of spring due to a lingering winter, making us all wonder if we’ll be skipping the outdoor months altogether.  Some may even be a tad bit pessimistic about how long they’ll be able to enjoy their favorite activities, particularly those who are green thumb enthusiasts.  Since the northeastern state’s gardening season is fleeting already, I understand how important it is to get out there digging as soon as you can.  To say that the fifty-degree temperatures we experienced in April, May and June provided a substantial setback is an understatement but believe me when I say there’s still hope.

 suzie canale.jpg

By doing a little tweaking of your usual planting strategy, you can still harvest a gorgeous garden filled with beautiful flowers and delicious veggies.  Species that have fast germination periods are wonderful choices to rely heavily upon instead of putting all your prayers into slow growing plants.  For vegetables, try picking out seeds such as snap peas, lettuce and green beans- they’ll shoot right up after only a few days of temperate weather plus they usually prefer the cooler weather anyhow.  If you’re a stickler about planting only seeds instead of purchasing ready 6-pack trays from greenhouses, you may want to rethink your philosophy this year.  Even though it’s a lot more fun and cost effective to grow your own, plants like tomatoes and eggplant won't have any shot at all unless you started them indoors around the time of March.

 

Something else to think about since we are definitely seeing a pattern of later spring arrivals is the possibility of investing in raised beds.  Plants growing in above ground containment will likely have a warmer soil temperature, which will boost their growth earlier than what is planted straight in the ground.  If you’re worried about cost, you can build your own simply by using slats of wood that can be nailed together in either square or rectangular shapes.   Perennials in particular adore this type of growing atmosphere and typically will come back closer to their regular schedule.  

Tags: Gardening, New England, Spring, Vegetable Garden

New Home, New Garden

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Jun 03, 2017

It’s typical this time of year in New England to see several houses for sale in your neighborhood.  During the months of June, July and August, this real estate market is in full swing, selling more homes than any other time of year.  It’s no mystery why since we’re more than likely to be covered in snow during the winter, which is not a great sales pitch for future buyers.  So if you are getting ready to buy a house in the Boston area, besides paying close attention to the condition of the roof and plumbing, make sure to inspect the grounds including lawn care, landscaping and most importantly – THE GARDEN!  

mahoneys_garden_center.jpg

You might think this is a small improvement you’ll have to make down the road, an issue that needs very little concern but I assure you it will save you time and money to investigate beforehand.  Renovating garden beds is a bigger job than you suspect and will absolutely affect the value of your property down the road.  I know… I know… you’d rather replace old furniture with new or perhaps blast out an outdated bathroom before getting your hands dirty in the backyard but the truth is-it’s the perfect place to start.  With a few tips on how to get going, you can whip up your surrounding outdoor area with little headache or worry.  Not a green thumb?  No sweat!  Follow these suggestions closely and you’ll be on your way to having an ideal spring and summer season both in and out of your new home.


Tips for New Homeowners Concerning Gardens, Lawn Care and Landscape:

  1. Take a look around and notice if there are a density of pine trees hovering over your lawn.  If there are, it’s likely that you’ll have trouble keeping a nice green patch growing and will need professional care down the road.  The reason is because the needles will drop, affecting the growth of healthy blades beneath so you might want to consider mulch or another attractive ground covering.  

  1. Landscaping is a tricky area of renovation because it relies a lot on the past owners taste and whether it is congruent to your own.  If they preferred large shrubs as opposed to flowering bushes like hydrangea, this might be an area where you’re going to have to invest some money.  Also watch out for large rocks that might be difficult to remove if you’re interested in another layout for your yard.  There are companies who will come out to lift and take them away but they are costly.
winter_garden-resized-600.jpg
  1.  Now for the area of grand discussion….THE GARDENS.  You’re in good shape if the previous gardeners liked their perennials because lucky for you-they come back every year bigger and better than before.  In this case, you’ll have to do an occasional weeding but for the most part, the hard work has been done for you.  If you’re working with a blank slate, that’s also fortunate since you can design the area with anything you like.  It’s your yard now, so go for it!  If the new property has old framework like rotting raised beds or other accessories you don’t want, get someone who can help you lug the stuff away and start fresh.  Try to salvage anything that might be reused, though because again, this can get costly.  

Tags: Gardening, Outdoor Living, Garden, DIY

Subscribe via E-mail

Contact Us for All Your Floral Needs