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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Can You Add Thyme to Flower Arrangements

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 21, 2018

“Summer in New England?  Yes, fresh herbs please!”


If you are from around the local area, one thing New Englanders take full advantage of during the summer months is the availability of delicious herbs.  Since the warm summer months are quickly fleeting, most of us waste no time at all stocking up on our favorite planted spices to use in cooking our favorite dishes.  Interestingly enough-florists are also interested in the fresh crop of aromatic foliage that Boston is cultivating right at this moment. What could flower enthusiasts possibly want from a bunch of sage, basil or rosemary you ask?   Well, let’s take a look at some of this month’s most popular creations! Specifically, those using one of my favorites within their arrangements; the ever-fragrant thyme…

thyme

Thyme is one of the most underrated gifts from the garden. Maybe because the petals are small or because it resembles more of a bush than a cut stem but whatever the reason- if you haven’t had a proper introduction to this misread gem, you might want to pay attention…

The overall appearance of the herb is a slender stem with tiny petals sprouting from the top to the base of the plant.  Although the actual plant is very small compared to its cousins averaging around five to six inches per sprig, thyme is still one of the most pleasantly, aromatic herbs in existence.  This characteristic is probably the heart of the thyme’s adoration because the smell closely resembles a country scent that is not overpowering but noticeable right away. For those who hate to have their homes filled up with strong perfumes given off by roses or lilies, thyme might be just what you’re looking for to add a pleasing aroma without becoming overbearing.

If we are talking about appearance, this herb is a commodity within flower arranging because its subtle appearance adds sweet texture and gentle curves to any centerpiece of bouquet.  Brides in particular are starting to take notice of the appealing assets thyme can offer to their special day which includes boutonnieres, hair pieces, centerpieces and of course-her wedding bouquet.  

For those of you who would like to put that crop growing out in the backyard to good use, try clipping off a handful of thyme and arrange with small blooms such as sweet pea, ranunculus, garden roses or peonies.  Place the arranged bouquet in a tiny vessel resembling teacups or antique thimble holders to display a “summery” feel for your home.

 

Tags: herbs, thyme, Vegetable Garden, Garden

Veggie Beautiful Florals

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 10, 2018


Eating your vegetables is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet but did you also know they can be useful to a florist as well?  Seldom, do we associate adding our legumes to other areas of concern other than our dinner plates but new trends suggest this is about to change…. Word on the street is that some of our city’s top floral designers are trying something new this summer by looking beyond the cooler and into the garden beds.  If you think about it- the style makes sense since veggies grow in a multitude of stunning shapes and colors. Beyond these important properties which either “make” or “break” a flower in terms of being a highly demanded species or not, many vegetable plants and fruit also hold a desirable scent. Mixed with the right species, this aroma can be quite pleasant with providing end users with a unique aromatherapy experience.  With all of these wonderful benefits for using veggies in contemporary to farmhouse floral compositions, it’s no wonder why this idea is catching on like wildfire across floral communities. While some varieties work better than others, here are a few suggestions of vegetables that are fun to try out next time you arrange a fresh bouquet for your home.

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Tags: kale, Flower Arrangements, Vegetable Garden

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.  

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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.

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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: Gardens, Gardening, Vegetable Garden

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.

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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: New England, Spring, Gardening, Vegetable Garden

Seedling Discovery - Grow Something

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Pre-spring preparations can be well underway and you don’t need to be outside to do it.  Certain seedlings can be grown right inside your home as long as you choose the right varieties and materials to support your green thumb efforts.  If you have kids, they’ll love this project since it will give them something to look forward to when the boredom of being locked inside gets the best of them.  


Follow these easy set up directions and begin sprouting your spring garden while the snow is still spread across the ground!

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When To Start:

This is a tricky question because the answer varies depending on the type of plant you’re wishing to grow.  For vegetables that take a really long time to mature such as peppers and tomatoes, you might want to begin at the middle to end of March.  For flowers such as morning glories that need less time to foster, try planting them in starter soil at the end of May to early June.  A good tip is to be sure to read the back of the seed packets for further information that will help you make the right timing decision.


What You’ll Need:

The best part of this project is that you need very few materials, which is both cost effective and convenient.  Grab these items at your local Home Depot or for those who are wise, dig them out of your potting shed to reuse from last year.


  1. A bag of soil
  2. Pots or starter seedling kits
  3. Seed packets
  4. Water
  5. A sunny window

How to Start:

  1. Place a seed in an inch and a half of dirt and make sure it is well covered with soil.
  2. Sprinkle the container with a small amount of water and be sure not to flood the pot.  They are only seedlings so it is very easy to over water and drown them out.
  3. Put the seedling next to a sunny window that allows ample light for growth potential.  Be sure that there is also enough heat and avoid areas with chilly drafts.  

Tags: Seeds, Garden, Gardening, Vegetable Garden

What Grows in the United States During Winter

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Dec 28, 2016

Have you ever wondered while we’re stuck here freezing, what other warmer parts of the country are growing?  I have!  Although I realize that our ground in Boston remains frozen for about five months out of the year (and that’s being generous) other areas are still flourishing with an abundance of plant life.  While it’s true that we all experience the change of the four seasons, certain places have less drastic temperature changes.  Because of this, growers can rely on a more temperate weather patterns to harvest thousands and thousands of delicious produce and flowers that are eventually shipped all over the country.  Have you ever read the labels in the check out aisle while grocery shopping?  You may have noticed that we are getting food from all over the place such as tomatoes, bananas and oranges.  Now isn’t that amazing?  Check out what some of our warmer states are cultivating during the coldest months of the year!

 

Northern California:  Although this area produces very different fruits and vegetables compared to its southern counterpart, Northern California still generates a considerable harvest during the colder season with an emphasis on nuts.

Avocados, Oranges, Almonds, Figs, Walnuts, Persimmons, Asian Pears, Limes, Lemons. 

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photo credit via shockinglydelicious.com

Southern California: This warmer side to California allows an even larger scale to be cultivated in January, February and March. 

Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Cauliflower, Carrots, Cilantro, Fennel, Grapefruit, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lemons, Lettuce, Mandarins, Oranges, Parsley, Radishes, Spinach and Strawberries. 

 

Florida:  This state has the ideal growing conditions to produce all sorts of yummy foods throughout the year, particularly citrus fruits, which are difficult during the wintertime.  

Avocado, Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Carambola, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapefruit, Guava, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Orange, Papaya, Passion fruit, Peanuts, Potato, Radish, Squash, Strawberry, Sweet Corn, Tangerine and Tomatoes. 

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Photo credit via http://immigrantsandiego.org/

Washington: This state has a hardy harvest all the way through December and into the New Year although they too experience snow and storms

Carrots, Kale, Bok Choy, Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Sunchokes, Pumpkins, Yellow Squash, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Onions, Parsnips, Turnips and Pea Vines.

 

Minnesota:  This frosty state might not come to mind when thinking about warmer climates but they still know how to grow healthy fruit and vegetables throughout the calendar year!

Tags: Vegetable Garden, Farms, Growing, winter

Growing Vegetables in New England

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jun 23, 2016

Our favorite blogger Suzie Canale takes us for a walk through her garden in Westwood. While being outside in the garden is great exercise and makes you feel better, the harvest from your vegetable garden makes it all worthwhile.

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Get an uo close look at healthy and energizing broccoli and cauliflower plants in the garden.

Tags: Suzie Canale, Vegetable Garden, Gardening, Outdoor Living

A Walk in Suzie's Herb Garden

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Jun 20, 2016

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Our favorite blogger, Suzie Canale is an avid gardener. At her home in Westwood, Massachusetts Suzie has many raised beds featuring perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables. She even has her own greenhouse. Suzie's blog posts often feature garden tips appropriate for experts and beginners.

Take a walk with her in this garden video.

 

Tags: Gardening, Suzie Canale, Westwood, herbs, Vegetable Garden, Perennials, Gardens

Is it Time to Plant Yet ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, May 24, 2016

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


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

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

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


Now Later

        

      Snap Peas                       Geraniums

Sun Flower Seeds           Lantana

        Sedum         Cucumbers

        Lavender         Tomatoes

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

Fruits and Vegetables for Cooler Summer Plantings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, May 13, 2016

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

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photo credit: www.westwoodgardensnursery.com

Strawberries

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

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photo credit: yearroundharvest.com

Snap Peas

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

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nothing like harvesting your own potatoes

Potatoes

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



Tags: Gardening, #EXFL, Vegetable Garden, Garden

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