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Behind the Rise in Popularity of Succulents

Posted by Jenny Holt on Mon, Oct 23, 2017

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If you’ve recently visited a coffee shop, restaurant, doctor’s office, a friend’s home, or anywhere else with counters and tables, you may have noticed the rise in popularity of succulents. For those unfamiliar with these types of plants, a succulent refers to any plant that stores water in its leaves or stems (sometimes both). They are available in all shapes, colors, and sizes, making them perfect for almost any space. Well-known succulents include aloe plants, cacti, and zebra plants.

Take a look at three of the top reasons succulents have risen in popularity within recent years.

They can match almost any decor

Whether your style is more modern or traditional, succulent plants work well with almost any decor. If you want a design that will match a particular room, planting succulents in decorative containers is a great way to achieve the look you desire. Succulents are available in small enough sizes to fit a tiny glass container, and they can also be arranged to fit large pots or containers. Whatever your space constraints or needs are, succulents can be customized to work with any interior or exterior area. Additionally, succulents provide a wide availability of colors. Although there are many green options, succulents can also be found in shades of pink, red, orange, purple, and blue-green.  

They require minimal maintenance

If you don’t have a green thumb, or can’t commit to consistent care of a plant, succulents are a great choice. Because they can store water in their leaves and/or stems, one weekly watering is all that is needed to keep these plants healthy. They are built to handle drought conditions, so occasionally forgetting to water them will usually not cause any harm. Also, succulents can handle almost every environment (except for the extreme cold). This means that whether you have access to full, minimal, or no sun, or if you choose to plant indoors or outdoors, your succulents will stay alive.

They are gorgeous plants

Aside from the concrete, logical reasons for the rise in popularity of succulents is a more subjective reason: they are simply gorgeous to look at. The diversity of colors and shapes of succulents are powerful enough to brighten one’s mood and environment in an instant. Whether decorating a dorm room or an upscale cafe, you can easily bring a stunning element of nature into any space. Perhaps it is the desire to experience beautiful, natural elements on a daily basis that has contributed to the continued rise in popularity of these versatile plants.

Choosing succulents for your space

When choosing the best succulents for your space, decide what colors and styles will work best with your existing decor. Do you want a bright, vibrant feel, or a more natural, relaxed appearance? Also, be sure to assess how much space you will need to cover with your succulent plants, and what style of container you would like to use. No matter what you choose, you are sure to enjoy the wide array of benefits provided by succulents.

Tags: Plant Care, Plants, DIY, Succulents

Why You Need a Yucca Plant in Your Living Room

Posted by Jenny Holt on Fri, Sep 15, 2017

The yucca plant originated in the hot dry areas of the Americas and the Caribbean. It is an incredibly resistant plant which can adapt to pretty much any climate; it is becoming more and more popular as a garden or indoor addition, thanks to the fact that it is easy to care for, beautiful and has various uses, such as being a powerful air cleaner. 

There are around 40 species of yucca and around 24 subspecies, so there are a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to choose from to display your plant and floral personality and style. 

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photo via ftd.com

Tips for Growing Your Yucca Indoors

A yucca plant inside can add a wonderful focal point to your living room or be part of an interesting indoor display. They are easily adaptable so they are perfect for displaying indoors as well as outdoors, although indoor yucca plants are usually smaller in size. As more than 40 species of yucca exist, coloration can vary greatly: they can range from the classic green to bluish with variegations of white, cream and yellow and delicate beautiful flowers.   

Yucca plant care is simple and straightforward; yuccas grow on large woody stems or canes do not require much attention. The ideal placement is in a sunny to partly shaded location; indirect light greatly helps leaf color, as full exposure to sunlight might cause browning tips or white spots on the leaves. 

Yucca plants, both indoors and outdoors, require little water and are actually drought tolerant to some extent. A light fertilization can help the plant grow when it is being grown in container, but it is not necessary for plants which are already established. Soil quality doesn't really matter but it should be heavy enough to maintain the plant upright and well-draining. Aim for a three to one mixture of sand and peat to grow yucca effectively in containers. 

The Many Uses of Yucca Plants

Yucca plants are not only a stylish indoor addition but also have many surprising uses. 

The yucca is one of the top-rated air cleaning plants which can remove toxins from the air, according to an important NASA study.

The yucca is also edible, especially certain species such as the banana yucca and the soapweed yucca, which produce succulent flowers and fruit. The roots are also edible; although they do not taste as good as the fruit and flowers, they are natural anti-inflammatories. 

Yuccas can help you with your washing and beauty routine as well. In fact, it is a key ingredient in natural shampoo and the Native Americans used the roots and trunk of the soaptree yucca (yucca elata) to make soap to wash hair and clothes. It can be quite easy, not to mention satisfying to make your own yucca soap at home! Yucca is also a wonderful skin salve, as it nurtures cuts and scrapes.

According to the Native Americans, a yucca symbolizes transmutation, protection and purification. With its many uses, beautiful flowers and stylish look, a yucca can be the perfect low maintenance addition to your living room. 

 

Tags: Plant Care, Plants, Health, Lifestyle

Plant, Animal, People

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Aug 16, 2017


There’s an old saying for those who are looking to create more balance in their life that caring for something should start in this order:


Plant-----------→ Animal ----------→ Human


The reason behind this strategy is to build the concept of responsibility by taking baby steps towards reaching your goal.  You may have heard of this approach in connection to AA, becoming a new parent or Sexaholics Anonymous but in general, this is very good advice for anyone who’s looking to enter a solid relationship with another individual.  

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photo via aboutflowers.com

If you believe that you may be on the “Plant” end of the diagram, there are excellent varieties you should be aware of to get you set up in this type of training but before I give you a list to go on, you might want to keep in mind these useful tips.


  1. Water- Just like people, plants have to be well hydrated in order to survive and flourish, making this the number 1 rule when you purchase your plant.  Be careful to read the instructions given to you by your florist or nursery since every species is different with their needs (Again… just like people).  If you feel you might fall in the forgetful realm when it comes to this task, you may want to start with a cactus, which needs very little and is drought tolerable.

  1. Sunlight-  Plants are living entities who need plenty of sunlight in order to create their own photosynthesis (food generation) so you’ll need to find a brightly lit area of your home to set your new friend up in front of.   Again, there can be a variation between different species but I can promise, there needs to be some kind of sun at least part of the day available to the plant if you’re hoping to ever continue to phase 2- an animal.  

  1. Love-  It might sound corny but plants need love just like humans do and the way to accomplish this is to follow both previous rules as well as add a little extra into the mix.  While the age-old theory claims that talking to plants will help them grow into epic proportions, some people prefer to sing to them instead.  While you may be reading this and thinking it’s silly, plants have been proven to positively react to human verbal contact and have been recorded to double in size compared to those spent in solitary.  If you need another reason to loosen up around your ficus, just remember that it’s great practice for starting a conversation once you get to step 3- a real human being.

  1. Suggested Plants- Fiddle Leaf Ficus Trees, spathiphyllum, ferns and cacti


YOU CAN DO IT!

Tags: Care Tips, Plant Care, Plants, Health

Succulent Splendor

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Sep 20, 2016

Over the summer, you probably caught the glimpse of the succulent mania that swept over every flower shop, home furnishing store and nursery located in the New England area.  If you loved the new trend, you’re in for a treat because the fad is continuing throughout the autumn season and will be expanding beyond simply vase displays and window boxes.  Previews reveal that these beautiful, soft little cacti are beginning to show up in delicacies, restaurants, clothing/apparel outlets, décor stores and even wineries!  One reason why this highly adaptable plant is taking the flora and fauna world by storm is its delicate yet sturdy appearance.  Another explanation is the cool colors that are now being cultivated across the different varieties.  Many succulents come in shades of light to dark green but now we’re seeing new hues of red and maroon, which pick up the palette and make them useful in a variety of eclectic presentations.  The other positive attribute that makes these babies a high commodity is their resilience to drought.  They can go for a long period of time without any water at all and still survive by only being tended to sporadically.  As a matter of fact, the soil is even a contributing benefit to the plants allure since they prefer rocky sand and pebbles for easy drainage.  Lucky for designers, this sets the perfect stage, which is much more eye appealing that planting in dirt.

arizonaeast_magneticcorkplanter.jpg photo credit: arizonaeast.com

The design benches and garden centers aren’t the only place where you can find this product and certainly not the only area where they are becoming useful, either.  “Creatives” everywhere are figuring out how to incorporate succulents into their work and putting the “wow” factor back into the floral industry.  

 

Tags: #EXFL, Plants, Trends, Succulents

Flowers Found in New England Forests

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jun 24, 2016

I have two boys and happily, they are extremely active kids who love the outdoors.  We typically make several visits to places that encourage fostering this relationship with nature and one of those locations is the forest.  Hiking has become a favorite pastime for the whole family, which gives us our exercise and allows us to explore stunning woods and everything that grows within it.  We talk about the birds we see, the sounds we hear and the plant life that decorates the landscape everywhere from the ground to the trees.  It’s extraordinary what you can learn by only taking a thirty-minute walk through a nearby forest, including several different floral varieties that exist in our very own woodlands.  Thousands of species sprout wildly every year with some being protected and others just being discovered for the first time by botanists.  If you are looking for something fun to do during the next few months of fantastic weather, grab a notebook and write down all of the flowers that you notice along the forest path.  If you feel like it, doodle a quick picture so that it will make it easier to identify once you get home and Google what you’ve found.  Here is a list of common flora typical to our New England forests and some great places to visit to get you moving on your way.  Happy Hiking!

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photo credit: www.gardenia.net

                                                        Northeast Woodland Flowers

Nightcaps Anemones, Hooked Agrimony, Spreading Purple Aster, White Baneberry, Shrub Yellowroot, Tickseed Sunflower, Sessileleaf Bellwort, Cobbler’s Pegs, Water Lilies

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photo credit: www.lookfordiagnosis.com

Recommended Hiking Grounds


Hale (Westwood, MA)


Harold Parker State Forest (North Andover, MA)


Walden Woods (Lincoln, MA)

Tags: exercise, Plants, outdoors, hiking, wild flowers

Fresh Cut Flowers By The Numbers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 06, 2016

Math and statistical data formulas are useful tools if you are into flowers because these applications can tell you a lot about the probability of success rates when plantings varieties, how many seeds you’ll need to plant and many other useful situations.  For example, what is you wanted to know the probability of how many bulbs you would need to plant to ensure you had 5 healthy plants bloom in the spring?  Or what if you’re planning your wedding and need to know how many stems of a variety you can afford to stay safely within your budget?  Florists utilize their numerical skills everyday when they make decisions about ordering flowers and providing just the right inventory for their shops.  Careful research needs to be done with forecasting sales so that they not only please their clients but also maintain a healthy bottom line in the accounting books. Trust me… it’s not easy!  If you hold an interest for flowers and data driven facts, you might find these figures fascinating that pertain to the industry of growing, exporting and shipping.  

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Do you see any fact or figure that surprises you?


  • 80% of all flowers in the United States are imported from other countries around the world.
  • The estimated amount of roses bought by suppliers for Valentine’s Day is roughly 300 million stems.
  • The flower industry made approximately over 31 billion dollars in 2015, a 5 billion dollar increase from sales in 2011.
  • With over 784 growers nationwide, the Gerbera Daisy is one of the most popular flowers in the United States.
  • 144, 000, 000 stems of tulips are circulated annually from wholesalers, Holland being the largest market trader.
  • Close to 2 billion dollars are spent on flowers each Mother’s Day making it one of the busiest holidays for florists followed by Valentine’s Day.
  • Working farms growing flowers only account for about 1% of the US population.
  • 30% of the gross income for farming comes primarily from their export business.
  • Garden Plants are still the most popular in the US for purchase followed by cut flowers and houseplants.  

Garden Plants

46%

Cut Flowers

34%

House Plants

20%

Tags: Floral Indusrty, Tulips, Flowers, Valentines Day, Plants, Mothers Day

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.  

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photo credit: newsnish.com

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?  

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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

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.   

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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.  

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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

Lucky Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 02, 2016

The month of March is the luckiest time of the year when we search for four leaf clovers, leprechauns and of course, their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  It’s the season of adventure, the season of mystery, and most of all, the season to find trinkets that we believe can bring prosperity to anyone clever enough to find them.  The magic that surrounds the idea of certain items enhanced with good fortune is a popular belief found throughout many cultures although Bostonians typically celebrate this during Saint Patrick’s Day.  Although we may never retrieve a perfect shamrock or trace the whereabouts of an imp’s treasure, there are certainly other tokens that are believed to be symbolic of “luck” and are quite a bit easier to obtain.  


One suggestion is to do a little research on varieties of flora and fauna that have been known to precipitate a shower of good tidings to all those who plant or place them within their homes.  In case you’re cringing, I wasn’t talking about those familiar green carnations that seem to arrive at the beginning of every March.  No, fortunately there are several other plants and flowers that have been labeled as “luck” driven conduits.  Although not all of them are shaded in green, these species are not only a good omen in your garden but also breath taking to feature in a favorite vase or landscaped bed.  If you’re looking to make a change from the traditional symbols of Saint Patrick’s charms, take a look at these varieties that promise to please and might even send good fortune your way!

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Peace Lilies

The name of this flower is literally the characteristic it holds, which is the ability to enhance peace and a constant flow of positive energy whether they are in your garden, office or on your dining room table.  A Peace Lily’s creamy supple texture is translated into the flower’s nature to smooth out disagreements as well as raise comradely.  Not only are they stunning in appearance and easy to take care of, they are easily ordered from local florists in and around the city.  

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Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo is the next most popular flower next to green carnations sold in the month of March.  The reason is because not only are these stalks inexpensive and readily available, they are believed to attract the five core luck factors (wealth, love, happiness, health and spirituality) to those who place them in a vase in their home.  If the funky abstract stems and cool presentation interests you, be sure to buy the stalks in multiple packs.  The more stems you have bunched together, the stronger the ability of the plant to attract the five lucky attributes.

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Sunflowers

Not only are sunflowers one of my favorite blooms having strong round heads with color resembling sunshine, but they are also know to bring safety and protection to your family as well as nurture positivity within the home.  Other attributes to sunflowers include and increase of fertility, cultivation of new relationships and the ability to ward of those who are not truthful.

Tags: Flowers, Plants, Sunflowers, March

Ten Magical Plants for Happiness

Posted by JessiRae P. on Wed, Feb 17, 2016

Plants are far more useful than we think. Beyond visual aesthetics, plants continually shape the world around us. They serve as the font for most of our oxygen, and adorn every building, sidewalk, home, and office. Whatsmore, plants are known to improve the environments where they exist, purifying the air, and giving boons related to their metaphysical properties of the old.

 

Folk tales abound surround plant species, detailing what their uses were- and are still used for in New Age practices today.

Plant Intelligence

Charles Darwin first elucidated plant intelligence in Power of Movement in Plants, and subsequent findings of plant intelligence have been asserted by neurologist Stefano Mancuso in a Ted Talk.

Ten Magical Plants for Happiness

Returning to the allure of the olden days, where herbs and plant life were readily used to treat both physical and mental ailments, try these ten beautiful flowering plants to promote happiness wherever you are!

1.Azalea

Spriety, flowering azaleas are known to attract benevolent energy, put a pep in your step, and brighten up any garden or room they’re in. Azaleas make wonderful flowering houseplants.

2. Beech

Long revered for casting hopeful wishes upon, Beech is purported to increase literacy skills (hear that bookworms?) and illuminates happiness in every soul that passes. Dr. Edward Bach elucidated Beech is ideal “for those who feel the need to see more good and beauty in all that surrounds them. . . to be able to be more tolerant, lenient and understanding of the different way each individual all all things are working to their own final perfection.”

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3. Geranium:

Turn to the bloom of Geraniums to relieve negative thoughts to fonts of happiness. The essential oil of Geranium is said to prompt happiness while balancing the mind and body.

4. Hawthorn:

Sacred to peoples of the past, Hawthorn carried elicit happiness, invites benevolent spirits, and banishes negativity from your person and home.

5. Lily:

 

A lasting fan favorite, all varieties of Lily promote happiness and invite prosperity- making them a perfect addition to any home or office.

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6. Lily of the Valley:

If you want a different spin on Lilies, Lily of the Valley dispels negativity, exudes happy energy, and has a measurable calming effect to those in its presence.

7. Neroli:

Feeling down, or know somebody that is? Invite Neroli into your space! The lovely plant promotes joy, happiness, and confidence. If you’re in inner conflict Neroli can help lift emotional blockages and uplift your spirit to make the best decisions going forward.

8. Quince:

Perhaps somewhat obscure, Quince is a bloom promoting love, happiness, and prosperity! People of old believed Quince protected from evil and negative energies.

9. Rose:

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Of course the supreme flower of love and friendship also permeates all who surround it with peace and happiness.

10. Saffron:

Much loved my New Age practitioners, Saffron is believed to promote healing, happiness, and strength. The dried petals are sometimes used in sachets of herbs and oil to promote happiness.

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Jessica Rae Pulver-Adell is the author of Holistic Healing: Enlivening Body, Mind and Spirit to Remedy Depression, Anxiety and Self Hate. She is currently writing her second book on Natural Medicine for Mind & Body. You can follow her work on Harbor Village.  

Tags: Flowers for Emotional Health, Flowers, Plants, Wellness

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