Exotic Flowers in Boston
I love just about anything connected to the ocean including the sand, surf and all wildlife crawling about the shores. It’s a place in my life where serenity is naturally cultivated by the sounds, scents and views saturating every inch of canvas making the seaside my number one destination for retreat. I’m assuming I’m not alone and perhaps you feel the same way about your annual summer visits to the beach. Being in New England, unfortunately our time spent there is fleeting due to the fact we only have a few months to enjoy it. I know I can admit to having serious withdrawals once September rolls around since I know it’s not long before the warmth is replaced by the bitter realities of winter. It’s hard to say goodbye to somewhere you love when you know it will be another nine months before it’s time to pull out the umbrella and towels once again…
If you’re like me and have experienced this depressing moment of truth, maybe I can give you a bit of advice on how to resurrect the blissful ocean ambiance until the new season calls upon us? There are a lot of helpful tips including adding scented candles to your home, making sand terrariums, listening to wave recordings, or painting rooms in similar shades of blues and seafoam green. All of these ideas are great suggestions and are bound to help you through the snowy months of the calendar but might I suggest another coping mechanism to get you over the chilly hump?
photo via aboutflowers.com
Flowers make excellent props for setting a similar beach scene within the comfort of your own home and will also provide you with the perfect dose of aromatherapy to boot! Yes, certain species of plants and blooms will give the suggestion to your brain that you can still experience the attributes of the shore while you’re still bundled up inside. Check out this list of sandy shore flowers, which will enhance your mood and senses until you’re back in the ocean swimming again…
Beach Roses American Beach Grass Eastern Showy Aster
Rose Hips Beach Pea Columbine
Hydrangea Black Grass Lavender
Golden Rod Heather Beach Plum
It’s summertime and parents all over New England are looking for fun activities to distract and entertain the kiddies for the next several months. Hopefully encouraging them to play outside, there are so many wonderful things to do to pass the time, many of which you can find hidden in your own backyard. If you have a child who particularly loves gardening, here’s an idea that might be perfect for you! Do you have a bed of flowers and a few old masons jars lying around that need to be repurposed? If you do, here is an excellent craft to teach your children while also bringing the beauty of summertime into your homes.
photo credit via aboutflowers.com
Kid-Friendly Directions for Making Arrangements
Cutting Shears Masons Jars
(Your child will need to be supervised during this activity.)
- Take the cutting shears and snip off shoots that are bright in color of differentiating lengths. Depending on the child’s age, you may want him or her to do their own cuttings so you’ll want to remind them of the plants they are allowed to snip and the ones they are not. Excellent species to use for this type of arrangement are catmint, hydrangea, nasturtiums, campanula, yarrow, sunflowers, sedum, butterfly bush and lavender.
- Fill the masons jar with warm, temperate water (not cold) and set aside.
- Once you have your floral clippings ready, place one at a time in the vase, fluctuating between colors and lengths to design an attractive an interesting piece. Be sure to turn the jar as you add stems to avoid off balanced bouquets and clumping. Try to only touch a flower once as well because the more times the petals are disturbed, the greater chance of bruising or breakage.
- Once you have filled the vase, bring the piece inside and place on your table. If you have more spare containers and an overflowing garden bed, create several others and gift to loved ones and neighbors.
The summer is coming to an end and hopefully you’ve enjoyed several fun filled days enjoying the warm activities that this time of year blesses New England with. My favorite destination spot are the beaches on the north shore that never disappoint with their crystal clear waters and beautiful rocky landscape. One feature that I particularly love is the stunning blooms that grace the seashore with tranquil color and sweetened fragrance. Being a gardener myself, I have often tried to replicate this “beachy” scene within my own backyard, trying to use the same if not similar varieties accustomed to the ocean habitat. Truthfully, it’s not easy because if you’re like me who lives inland with forestry surrounding their home, it can be difficult to succeed within our compromised growing conditions. For one thing, our soil does not drain as well as sand so it’s imperative to find plants that can adapt to both potting environments. The second factor is the lack of salt in the atmosphere, which beach flowers typically thrive on. The third issue can be a lack in sunshine or direct light if your beds are hidden underneath branches or enlarged shrubbery. Although this seems like a depressing abundance of obstacles, I assure you that there are some species of flowers that will do A-okay if you can tweak your gardening regime just a bit. After some trial and error, I’ve found this list of successful bloomers that will bring the ocean essence to your backyard no matter where you live.
Photo credit Lisa Greene via Flower Factor
Hydrangea is one of those flowers that are always associated with the beach, particularly in shades of blue. Like many of their seafaring friends, they adore the sodium (NaCl), which makes them bloom happily well into the fall season. If you’ve visited Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll no this to be true hydrangeas can also be planted in other areas, too. As long as the soil is soft and well watered, this bushy flower can flourish in yards or as part of a summer garden. Hydrangeas also prefer a little bit of shaded area so for those of us whose backyards are overgrown with trees, that’s really no problem for this variety to survive within.
photo credit - Lizzie Borchers via Flower Factor
Beach Grass is a fairly prevalent shrub that grows along our coastline with little to no maintenance necessary. I have planted several of these bushes on my property and with the exception of watering them during dry spells; they really require little effort on my part. One tip to make them grow larger each year is to cut them at the base when October arrives to ensure a healthy return the next spring.
I love these little beauties because they represent a “wildflower” appeal that can be grown not only close to the seashore but also in meadows, forests and almost anywhere else you can think of. If you have raised beds, then the soil will stay a bit warmer which they’ll thank you for during the colder winter months of the year.
You’re headed for a beach vacation and you’re making a list of must haves to fully enjoy the getaway. Beach pails check! Sunscreen, check! Towels and hats check, check! T-shirts, shorts, underwear, flip flops, check, check, check, check! Now it comes down to the most important thing you must remember for the seashore, bathing suits of course! Now we know you’ve been working hard all year to whittle down that waistline and eat healthy so now it's time to show off your hard work! After all, you know you’ll be taking your annual family photo so you’ll want to look your best. Well, as luck would have it, stores are carrying fabulous new lines of swimwear that are flattering for every shape you’ve been gifted with. Here are a few hints on how to choose the perfect suit right for you and another couple of tips on where to find them.
photo credit: athleta.com
Body Type: Short and Curvy with a Well Endowed Bust Line
The possibilities are endless for you if this is the shape you possess because manufacturers are realizing that most women have real curves. Thick straps with bra inserts or underwire are a great option and bottoms with low lengths over hips provide a nice silhouette for voluptuous lines. If your are looking for a bikini, try a crisscross design and if a one piece it was you desire, try solid colors with a thicker fabric for extra support.
Body Type: Tall and Lean with a Petite Bust Line
If this is your category, you’re going to want to flock to the string bikini department and look for tops with large patterns or ruffles. Extra fabric designs that extenuate your bust will give a larger illusion. Full piece suits should have a high cut hip line as well as thinner straps over the shoulders. Stay away from strapless though since these are designed more for fuller chest body types.
Body Type: Medium Build with Broad Shoulders
There are women with this body who are frustrated with trying to find the right suit but actually, you have the opportunity to browse some pretty cool and contemporary designs! For one pieces, search for solid with patterns up the side of the rib cage that will draw attention away from the shoulder area and create more of an hourglass appeal. You can also get pretty funky with straps and neck lines by doing crops, triangular or square shaped cut outs. Athletic prototypes are just what you need to show off the strength of your body!
Top Swimsuit Sites
Athleta.com JCrew.com Venus.com Malliamills.com Victoriassecret.com
One of the most glorious aspects of summer are the beautiful blooms that reflect the very essence of the season. Varieties tend to be fragrant, bright and silk textured making them high in demand for Boston party planners busy scheduling New England weddings and soirees. Centerpieces for these events often set the theme so it is of the utmost importance that the right texture, color and scent be utilized correctly. Height and width of these pieces are also detrimental in pulling off the perfect summer look and consist in a wide array including low and dense designs to high and wispy. Depending on the client, designers can materialize millions of different creations using the plants customary to the northeast region during this steamy fragment of the year. From the Cape to the Vineyard, tourists and natives will be impressed by the efforts of some of Bean Town’s most stylish florists. Here are some of my summer favorites that have graced the tables of fancy and not so fancy New England partygoers!
Sunflowers should be your number one consideration if you’re looking to put together something for August whether it is a casual gathering for barbecue or tea or formal cocktail party or matrimonial affair. For one thing, they come in a variety of shades including brilliant yellow and sexy red. You can even find some that have tones of greens where you can mix and match the different types to make a stunning yet natural allure. Glass bubble bowls are just right to set off the cheery heads that wont distract with complicated shades and styles. Hosts will also love the added bonus of affordability. Remember, summer is about being easy going and fuss free so let your wallets take a vacation too!
Grandma’s Garden Roses
There is a short amount of time that we can enjoy New England’s native growth so take advantage of what we have to offer during the months of July and August. My grandmother took extreme pride in her rose gardens, which only got more and more breath taking as the years rolled on. Ask your florist for tea roses that not only reflect a sweet and dainty appeal, they also have an aroma that is sure to be a people pleaser. There is no shortage of color selection either where you can pick deep shades of pink and red or soft tints of cream and baby yellow. Another bonus of garden roses is that you don’t have to intermix them with several varieties of different flowers. They are great on their own cut either low or high in large bunches.
Lavender grows like weeds around the Boston area during the summertime and we are lucky because it is a fabulous plant to use either cut or in planters. If you are having a luncheon for example, take a few sprigs and stick them inside the napkins for a nice added touch. Boutonnières are another great way to show off this flowering herb and look lovely when paired with ivy geranium or nasturtiums (which by the way is another summer stunner). Lavender can also be put in a vase by itself if they are arranged in large clumps with varying species. Explore the English, French and ivy varieties that are available to you!
Summer days are winding down but we still have a few precious weeks to fill before our kids are back on the busses and headed to school. The end of August can sometimes be challenging for parents to find activities that are both affordable and entertaining for their children. After all, we want them to have fond memories of summer 2015 so it’s our job to figure out a plan before its too late! Fortunately, we live in a wonderful city chalk full of things to do and New England in general has a plethora of hidden haunts perfect for family fun. Don’t let the dog days get you down with boredom and pick one of these great places to visit before autumn arrives!
7 Main Street / Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)
If you haven’t been here yet-now’s your chance to rip down the rapids of Deerfield River in canoes, kayaks and rafts! If the fast track isn’t your taste, rest assured that they also offer zip lining and biking through gorgeous trails. The breathtaking view of cascading mountains and edge of your seat excitement will make this a favorite summer time spot for years to come.
Quassy Amusement Park
2132 Middlebury Road (Route 64)
Massachusetts has many amusement parks that are filled with wild rides but if you’re looking for something a little quieter, you might want to check out Quassy Amusement Park of Middlebury Connecticut. This charming festival of fun is rated on the low-key side with traditional rides that are suitable of younger children or those with sensory issues. Carousels and a Ferris Wheels are some of the attractions as well as a full list of delicious carnival foods.
Along with our lobster and clam chowder, New England is also famous for its stunning coastal waters. From the Cape to New Hampshire, each state has a long list of pristine beaches to visit. One of our favorites is Ogunquit Maine where dunes line silk strewn sandy shores. Bring your appetite too because this area also offers a multitude of seafood eateries that are top notch and live up to their reputation for serving fabulous cuisine.
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!
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!
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 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 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.