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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

The Beauty of Terrariums

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 06, 2016

This year my favorite present was a stunning terrarium built with glass, copper and iron and boy have I been having fun with it so far!  If you’re an avid gardener like me, you can sympathize with the fact that winter is unbearably depressing when it comes to waiting for growing season to return.  As the now continues to fall, most green thumbs are waiting in anticipation for the thaw to arrive so that they can resume their passion of vegetable and flower harvesting.  

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Terrariums solve this winter woe by allowing you to foster seedlings or even tropical beauties from the sanctuary of your own home!  

 

Built to capture heat and light, this ingenious vessel works to keep your seedlings safe while nurturing them as if they were in a real greenhouse.  All you need is a window with ample sunlight and a few plants to get started.  If you have already began searching online for the best price and model, you’ll find that there is a huge array to select from with choices on different sizing, materials, height and price.  

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The best plants to use can be anything your little heart desires as long as the compartment is large enough to store it.  Cacti and orchids are fantastic options as well as Airplants, which are awesome to hang from the ceiling and sides.  Don’t forget your cucumbers, carrots and squash this spring to get them ready for future outdoor plantings!

 

If you don’t want to spend a bundle paying for a terrarium, you can actually make your own at home.  All you have to do is reuse an empty egg carton or other appropriate container and place plastic or saran wrap over the top.  There’s a million different ways to do it so be sure to browse Pinterest for some other cool and affordable ideas!  Happy Winter Planting!  



Tags: Gardening, January, winter, Plants, Terrarium

The Medicinal Power of Orchids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 11, 2015

Over the weekend, I was fortunate to visit an orchid show in Winchester, Massachusetts and boy was I blown away by the impressive presentation!  So much so that when I returned home, I began researching the exotic plants to learn further about their history and purposes beyond home décor.  I was amazed at what I found!  Not only are there millions upon millions of varieties in existence but orchids are actually used for medicinal purposes as well!  

Emperor Shen Nung was the official “Father of Medicine” who discovered the flower’s healing properties, which include everything from curing sore throats to potentially lessening some of the symptoms commonly experienced by cancer patients.  Holding most of powers within their root systems, tubers and stems, orchids continue to be studied by scientists and herbalists in order to get a better understanding of potential benefits that can be used by the medical industry.  

After surfing a few of the web’s top agricultural websites, I found many examples of the stunning bloom’s incredible attributes beyond their obvious rare beauty.  Take a peek at some of these spectacular species that could quite honestly be life changing for all of us!

 

Dendrobium

 

These beautiful plants are some of the most common and affordable in the orchid family.  Along with being used predominantly for making Hawaiian leis and funeral casket sprays, dendrobiums have also been known to assist cancer patients with alleviating radiation side affects such as strengthening the immune system and improving eyesight.  Like several of the species, it’s not the flowers that are used as the main ingredient for elixirs but the stems, which are dried and ground for making tea.  



Orchis Mascula

 

This is another “orchid wonder” and maybe the most utilized for creating medicine and vitamins in countries around the world.  Orchis Mascula was the plant of choice during the Ottoman Empire where beverages were derived to help cure digestive problems, diarrhea and even gum disease.  Today, the orchid is still used in areas of Saudia Arabia, Syria and Iran.



Calanthe Liukiuensis

 

This is another find for the medical world and has contributed to making major changes for those who experience hair loss and other low protein associated illnesses.  The orchid is also known to increase skin blood flow by drying and grinding the plant into flour when it can then be transformed into pill format or sold as an ingredient for cooking.  



Tags: Exotic Flowers, Orchids, Orchid Plants, Flowers for Emotional Health, Plants

Best Flowers and Plants for Office Buildings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Oct 19, 2015

One of HR’s biggest puzzles when attending to tasks of the office is trying to figure out what varieties of plants and flowers to order from their Boston florists.  Why is this challenging?  Office buildings tend to run warmer than the average climate of other work places so only certain varieties will hold up for a full week.  The other component of the predicament is that you have an eclectic group of people to be weary of who might have allergies or a general dislike for certain fragrances and textures.  Because of this, you need to be careful to order pieces that are low in pollen count and odorless, which shortens the list of possibilities even further.  

 

Does that mean to skip the weekly flower order all together?  Heck no!  

 

There are several options towards solving this pickle of a problem and all are easily attainable just by contacting your florist.  Check out these perfect flora and fauna for your office and watch the employees and clients stand in awe of their beauty.   

 

Tropicals


photo credit: Flower factor

Tropicals such as Birds of Paradise and orchids are fabulous for stagnant environments with little air movement because they can withstand the heat and have an incredible property of longevity.  Their bright colors and dynamic shapes will create a great topic of conversation as well as a bright welcoming for guests.  



Hydrangea


You might want to consider using hydrangea for two reasons; one they hate the cold so a warmer temperature is better for them and two if they are watered regularly, they will last for weeks.  Green is the strongest in many cases, so you might want to coordinate that color in your order.  



Cacti & Succulents


Photo credit: Flower factor

You can’t go wrong with cacti because they’re durable, need very little upkeep and come in a variety of colors and sizes.  Cactus plants also hold no aroma making them outstanding for sensitive noses.  Just be sure to invest in succulents instead of prickly varieties!




Tags: Tropical Flowers, Exotic Flowers, Orchid Plants, Flowers, Plants

A Summer Book Recommendation for a Real Plant Lover

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 11, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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

Tags: Books, #EXFL, Plants, Summer

Plants Who Fight Back Against Predators

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Aug 05, 2015

As flower and plant lovers, we often associate them with décor, landscaping or centerpieces when in fact we are limiting our interpretation by not realizing that flora and fauna play active roles in our environment.  For instance, some species encourage the breeding of other imperative vegetation, insects and in some circumstances animals.  They supply the needed nutrients for critters as well as provide shelter and habitats for millions of different varieties of life.  Yes, plants and flowers capabilities move far past their characteristics of beauty and provide essential food, warmth and shelter for many of the earth’s inhabitants.  Since their role is so imperative to maintaining a healthy ecological system, it made me wonder if they possess the necessary defense mechanisms that other moving life may have.  Surprisingly, I found several examples of plants that not only have the capability to protect them from danger but can also use insects and animals to act as their personal weapons.  I know it sounds wild but there are actually some examples of growing vegetation that are gifted in this sense and can actually fight off potential harm by befriending other members gifted by Mother Nature, the most impressive being a flower called the “Black Mustard Plant”.


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Black Mustard is a seemingly pretty, yellow, wild flower that commonly grows in bulk across fields and cliffs closely situated near the sea.  Also called, Brassisca Nigra, this flower is a customary meal for butterflies and their offspring, the caterpillar.  Butterflies use the plant stem and leaves to lay their eggs until they’re ready for hatching.  Once the ova matures, a caterpillar is born and is conveniently brought into the world laying right next to it’s primary food supply, the Black Mustard plant.  Caterpillars have long been the enemy of this species because they have historically, wiped out entire crops just by munching up and down the leaf stock.  


Now here’s where things get interesting…


Once the plant has detected a caterpillar egg, it releases a chemical through its pods, which signals its ally, the wasp.  Nearby wasps will instantly pick up on the SOS signal and locate the Black Mustard plant that is in distress.  The stinging insect then assesses the stem and leaves until they’ve found the butterfly’s eggs and then proceeds to destroy the contents.


Now this is where things get even more interesting…


Instead of leaving the remains, the wasp in turn uses the material for her own eggs!  Carefully, the new eggs are deposited inside the caterpillar shell and will successfully provide the needed home for the baby wasps.   Although the mustard plant and the wasp are an unlikely pairing for friendship, together they have managed to protect and nourish one another in their natural habitats.


Isn’t nature something!  

 

Tags: Gardening, Plant Care, Plants

Flowers that Thrive on Heat Waves

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jul 29, 2015

 

New England has its fair share of blizzards but lucky for us, we also get to experience the warmer side of the weather spectrum during July and August.  Although temperatures in the metro Boston area commonly subside within the mid to low eighty’s, we can sometimes experience the occasional heat wave.  Since most of us are more accustomed to the chillier days of the year, a day of ninety-degree weather can sometimes make us a bit uncomfortable and dare I say-anticipating January and February once again.  But did you know that our flower and vegetable beds crave the heat causing seedlings and fruit to germinate at a healthy rate.  With the necessary watering, gardens can boom to three times the expected size during a season of muggy humidity.  Still not sold on the importance of steamy July and August months?  Take a look at these varieties that will make you thank Mother Nature for an extra fiery summer in New England!



Amaranthus


This is a fantastic flower to grow during the blazing New England summer months because it is both draught and heat resistant.  They are best started by seed indoors and then can be transplanted to a regular garden once the fear of a frost has passed.  When they’re ready, make sure you place them in a full-sun location since they’ll only grow taller and bigger with this type of environment.


Cosmos


Cosmos are the #1 first choice for my garden because even if I’m having a lousy growing season, I can always depend on cosmos to be spectacular!  Having the capability to re-seed itself, they can grow extremely tall so staking the stems may be necessary.  Be sure not to over water and allow full sunshine to increase bud productivity.


Lantana


Lantana is the answer to your prayers if you have a place in your yard that has difficulty providing the right outer elements for successful growing.  Craving little moisture, this fuss free plant is a knockout in the scorching temperatures and comes in a wide variety of stunning colors.  Another bonus of this plant is that critters such as rabbits despise the scent so you will find it beneficial to place the flower around your vegetable crops.


Tags: Gardening, Plants, Summer, July, August

Best Flowers for Window Boxes #gardening

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, May 20, 2015

It’s finally springtime in New England and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been spending whatever extra time you have cleaning up the backyard, raking forgotten leaves from the fall and re-soiling the raised beds for summer plantings.  Sweeping up the decks and fixating patio furniture is also on the to-do list along with pulling out the pots and urns that will need to be filled.  One important warm weather task that you won’t want to forget is the designing of this year’s window boxes!  These spiffy little gardening accessories are perfect for any home including apartments and condominiums so you’ll want to stock up at your local garden center or hardware store.  Although window boxes are constructed with a wide variety of materials including vinyl, plastic and ceramic, in my experience the best are usually made with wood such as pine or cedar.  You’ll find that they compliment most outdoor paint, brick and tile as well as protect your plants better than other compounds.  Most containers can be securely fastened to window ledges or just placed on railings that have a wide width.  If you are not using screws to connect directly to the outside wall, be sure to place the boxes on the ground when wind or storms are present to prevent breakage. 

 window boxes

                                                photo credit:Flower Factor via Flickr

Once you have everything set up the way you like, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to plant.  Depending on your taste for color and texture, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are lots and lots of beautiful flowers to choose from that thrive in this type of growing environment.  If you’re looking for an early blossom that can withstand colder temperatures common to April and the beginning of May, the pansy is just what you’re looking for.  These cheery early bloomers come in almost every shade including red, yellow, purple and orange.  Installments can either be one tint or interchanged with one another forming a sensational rainbow spectrum.  If you want to wait it out a bit for the thermometer to raise a smidge, your options increase greatly.  Nurseries typically try to wait out the impulse buyers and will temporarily hold off filling their racks with product that they know can’t live outdoors through the night.  So in the case, patience is a virtue.  Right around mid to late May, greenhouses are ready to show you their goodies that are properly habitable for the New England summer season.  Be on the lookout for geraniums in red, white and pink, which make fabulous window box treatments.  Easy to maintain and a plant that thrives on the heat, they create quite a commotion with their extra large heads and intoxicating smell.  Another breed that is sure to impress are fragrant herbs such as rosemary and lavender.  They are virtually impossible to kill, are often priced reasonably for the frugal customer and compliment outdoor dining events with their delicious scents. 

 window box flowers

                                                photo credit: Flower Factor via Flickr

Enjoy the rest of the spring clean up session and get ready for the stunning gardens you’ll be able to plant within your window boxes!

Tags: Gardening, Gardening in Boston, Plants, outdoors, Outdoor Living

Easter Lilies - a Fusion of Beauty and Tradition

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Mar 26, 2015

Easter Lilies

 

Easter will be celebrated in many different ways within the city of Boston this April.  Depending on a person’s depiction of the holiday, various methods and tools will be used such as decorating eggs, displaying Easter baskets, hunting for hidden chocolate treats, attending religious services or maybe even hosting a feast of a pineapple glazed ham.  Sure, it’s pretty likely that our children will be anticipating a visit from the big white bunny but what else do we use in our preparations during this time of year?  One custom that is popular in many homes this holiday is the Easter lily plant, which has it’s own fascinating explanation as to why its demand is so high.  I’ll bet you’ll be as surprised as I was to learn the different correlations that this bulbed beauty has tied to Easter and what makes this one of the highest produced greenhouse products next to the poinsettia, azalea and mum. 

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First of all, the physical attribute of the Easter lily is reason enough to seek this as a centerpiece or gift.  The plant yields long tube-like heads that resemble a trumpet shape that stretches either flat out, down or slightly up.  Leaves are also sleek, growing in a deep green with a silky texture that runs straight across the plant from its base to the head.  Easter lilies were historically imported from Japan but began to decline during the 1940’s when cultivators from California and Oregon began improving growing systems in their greenhouses.  As technology developed, the bulb quickly became one of the U.S.’s highest demanded bulbs to remain shipped throughout the states and then exported across the globe.  The bulb is systematically planted in pots during the fall and forced to grow during the winter so that they would be ready for a March or April crop.  Because they could be harvested on domestic soil, the Easter lily has remained both easily supplied and economically reasonable in price.  These two factors encouraged people to buy the seasonal flower and use it annually during their celebrations. 

 EASTERLILYINBOSTON

Other reasons that make the Easter lily popular is the meaning of the name, which means purity, birth and renewal-all thematic concepts of the Easter holiday.  Religious scripture believes that these particular lilies grew from the droplets of sweat that Jesus made during his last hours.  Flowers sprung to life from the perspiration symbolizing the rebirth of Christ, making the lily one of the highest regarded flowers in the Bible.  Catholic artwork emphasizes this connection with several paintings including one of the Virgin Mary surrounded by white lilies while pregnant and also featured at her tomb.   If you are planning on attending a service at your church, you can bet you’ll see several specimens of Easter Lilies both lining the aisles and perhaps even planted in a cross formation. 

 

If you haven’t bought an Easter lily for your celebration plans, visit your local florist to find a healthy selection of potted plants or even cut flowers that make excellent centerpieces.  Those lacking a green thumb will also love that these are pretty hard to kill, as they need only a little water to keep moist and a sunny space to sit. 

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA 

Tags: Easter Flowers, Easter Traditions, Holiday Decor, Holidays, Plants

Perfect Plants For Valentines Day

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Feb 03, 2015

Roses may seem to be the major player on Valentine’s Day but the truth is, not everyone likes roses.  I know there are other flowers to choose from such as lilies, tulips, hydrangea and other beautiful blossoms that florists carry for the holiday but in some circumstances, there are women who just don’t enjoy cut flowers as a gift.  It may be the maintenance of changing murky water or the disappointment when petals drop and die too soon but whatever the case, that bouquet just might not impress your lady.  Does this mean nix the call to your florist altogether?  Of course not!  You’ll need their help more than ever in choosing just the right Valentine’s Day presentation that is sure to get her heart pumping.  One suggestion that I know they’ll give is the option of plants instead of flowers.  If you think about it, this is a great idea since there is a variety to pick from with breeds ranging from color, scent, expense, life expectancy and caring instructions.  I’ve broken down a few types of plants to match particular women’s personalities.  Does your sweetheart match any of these?

 orchids in boston

Busy but Grateful

Look, she appreciates the gesture and all but this girl simply does not have the time to take care of a needy plant.   Honestly, you love this all business attitude of hers and like her independent personality so why send her a different message in the flowers you give her for Valentines Day?  Try ordering a white Phalaenopsis plant, which is both classy and easily taken care of on its own with the exception of occasional watering.  Another great option is a bamboo creation that is both eye pleasing and fuss free.   It will look great in her apartment and also remind her that you support her individuality and determination.

 hydrangea plant

Sweet and Sentimental

You have a few choices if you’re lucky to be gifting a woman who’s not necessarily into cut flowers but adores the romantic act of a sweet and sentimental present.  It’s likely that she feels this way because she hates to see living things die so be mindful of long lasting selections.  Leaning towards flowering plants such as spray roses, hydrangea or heather is just the right fit for this type.  The presentation is warm and loving while still respecting her taste.   Great color choices for this category are pink, red and blush, which perfectly match this theme of romantic and beautiful flowering plants. 

 valentines plants

Edgy and Modern

This girl is a challenge because she likes to promote her contemporary yet edgy appeal, the characteristics that got you to fall for her in the first place.  Its not that she’ll kill anything quickly or be saddened if a bouquet dies too fast, it’s more likely that she wants to think she’s beyond the traditional Valentine’s Day greenery.  Try asking for planters of Bromeliad, Calla Lilies or Cyclamens.  They make a stunning presentation and she’ll love your boldness made by this modern move!

suzie_canale_westwood Suzie & Rick Canale, Westwood, MA

Suzie loves plants and repots herbs and orchids during the winter.

 

 

Tags: Hydrangeas, Orchids, Orchid Plants, Valentines Day, Cyclamen, Plants

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