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Exotic Flowers in Boston


Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jun 01, 2017

I don’t know what it is about poppies but they have always remained one of my favorite bloomers from my gardens ever since I was a child.  I supposed we all become a bit enchanted with them after our first viewing of “The Wizard of Oz” but for some reason, this variety stayed long with me after Dorothy returned to Kansas.  The beauty of color and shape coupled with its dramatic personality in any arrangement or centerpiece makes me a loyal fan of this New England perennial.  


Even though the poppy is a short lived blossom during the early spring months of the calendar, I assure you the investment of including a specimen within your collection is well worth the price.  For starters, no matter what you have growing nearby, onlookers attention will consistently be brought to this particular species due to its silky petals contrasting with the poppy’s typical dark center.  Even before the variety opens, you’ll notice the cool casing that protects the head before its ready to appear which is edged with a funky green moss.  I honestly take just as much pride showcasing the bud since it creates an interesting texture compared to other flowers.  

Once the poppy blooms and is ready to return for hibernation, the petals fall off leaving and even better presentation behind called “hens and chickens”.  These flowers are almost always light green in shade and hard on the outer shell.  Sometimes they have nodules surrounding the base but almost always there is a circular pattern much like a star at the top.  You can either leave them be in the garden or take them inside to be used in a cut flower arrangement.  Just remember before the fall arrives to break open the pod and spread the seeds around for a fresh new crop next season!

Fun Facts About Poppies

  1. Poppies are so important to Canada that they are put on the backs of currency.

  1. Poppies are associated with World War I as a symbol of remembrance and          bloodshed.  

  1. Opium is a derivative of the flower, which can cause hallucinations.

Tags: Flanders Field, Perennials, Poppies, Wizard of Oz

New England’s Cutting Garden Flower Menu

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, May 26, 2017

If you like to garden, you already know there are several different types to grow, which are made to match our individual style and taste.  Based on your needs, preferences and land availability, there are a variety of selections to fill a space with vegetables/flowers, perennials, annuals, succulents, cacti or possibly a Zen garden.  If you’re a fan of putting fresh flowers in your home, you may even consider planting a “cutting garden” to suit your hobby!  I have been building this type of blooming patch for years and can tell you first hand there’s nothing like growing your own flowers for personal centerpiece arrangements.


So what exactly is a “cutting garden”?  A “cutting garden” is a flowerbed that contains specific species that transfer well from soil to water.  They can be left to grow in the earth or cut to provide the owner with their beauty inside the home. Another property that allows a bloom to become a strong candidate for this type of garden is if the flower grows quickly since you’ll want to plant varieties that can replenish themselves instead of dying out.  A cutting garden isn’t very pretty when it becomes a graveyard of sliced foliage and stems so we need to make sure the plant has a decent rejuvenation system.  


What kinds of flowers do the best in cutting gardens?  The good news is, you have a ton of options available so if you only want pink and blue flowers or wildflowers or blooms with large heads, it’s safe to say you’ll find them.  You can map out your plot anyway you’d like to but there are proven winners you should keep in mind if you’re new to this whole idea.  Fantastic examples suitable for the summer include sunflowers, october weed, delphinium, zinnias, gladiolas, ageratum, sweet pea, alliums, peonies, bachelor buttons, butterfly bush, hollyhocks, lupine, salvia, liatris, black-eyed susans and nasturtiums.  For an earlier spring garden, my advice would be to plant tulips, lily of the valley, hyacinth and fritillaries.  

Happy Gardening!

Tags: Entertaining with Flowers, Perennials, Garden, DIY

My Favorite Perennials

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, May 22, 2017

There’s a lot to love about summer.  The warm weather, beaches, swimming in the ocean and eating out on the back deck may be what comes to mind for you, when thinking about the arrival of the new season.  For me, it’s the time when I can enjoy the fruits of my gardening labors as last year’s blooms resurface once again.  It’s an exciting experience to watch the return of beautiful plants and flowers replenish my raised beds, almost always promising to grow bigger and stronger than the year before.  Since New England encountered a winter of heavy snow, which kept the ground moist during the chillier months, it’s a pretty good sign this summer’s offering will be impressive.  So what are my most favorite perennials I’m most anticipating within May and June?  Here are my top picks and information on how to grow them.


Oriental poppies are one of those species that looks impressive no matter where you plant them.  They arrive early in late April when the feathery foliage begins to unfurl and the stem begins to sprout.  You’re going to have to wait for the temps to warm a bit before you see the silky petals make an appearance but when they do, it’s sure to be quite an inspiring presentation.

Hollyhocks are also one of those varieties I can’t get enough of, and even though I’ve planted more than a few, I can’t help adding additions each and every year.  The puffy blooms are stunning in mixed beds and fun to watch spike to heights sometimes towering over five feet tall!  Hollyhocks love nutritious soil and full sunlight, so be sure to plant them in open areas and remember to feed them occasionally.  


When I was in the wholesale biz, my favorite import was always some variety of hybrid delphiniums.  The majestic stocks of blue, sapphire, white, pink, peach and mauve made such an impact on flower displays, I had to stuff my garden with several plantings.  Similar to the hollyhock in appearance, delphinium also prefers lots of light and performs exceptionally well in crowded beds.  Be on the lookout though for bees since they are also a favorite of the stinging insect.

Tags: Gardening, Perennials, Garden, Poppies, Hollyhock, Delphinium

A Walk in Suzie's Herb Garden

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Jun 20, 2016


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

Gardening Calendar for August

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 31, 2015


Tags: Garden Calendar, Summer, Perennials, Tomatoes, August

Remembering Your Pets In the Garden

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jul 27, 2015

I’ve always loved animals since I was young and never had a home that I didn’t share with a furry critter or two.  Cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, gerbils, frogs and whatever else you might venture to tame hold a special place in our hearts as we grow to love and care for them.  They are our friends, companions and most of all, part of our families.  That’s why its so hard when one of our pets leave us for the big animal kingdom in the sky leaving us to search for the perfect memorial gesture to say goodbye.   Grieving for their loss is often particularly sensitive to children who may be experiencing this sad feeling for the first time so its important to recognize the pet’s passing in a way that allows them to adjust and express how their feeling.

Last fall, we went through the loss of our fourteen year old Siamese cat named Ricky.  Being a particularly vocal and affectionate member of the household, his passing was hard for everyone, including my sons.   We thought about what we could do to remember the adorable feline and came up with an idea that not only would represent his spirit but also signify that he would always be a part of family.

Planting a tree is a wonderful way to honor a pet’s death and encourages children to understand what they’re feeling on the inside is normal and all part of the circle of life.  Often, if difficult emotions aren’t recognized, it’s possible for kids to reject the notion of getting a new pet because of their fear of feeling the mourning all over again.  Erecting a token in their memory allows kids to release their grief in a healthy way while encouraging the thought that the animal will always remain in their hearts.  

We decided that the best variety to plant for Ricky was a Japanese Weeping Willow Tree.  The leaves change a variety of colors during the year and flower with pretty blossoms in the springtime.  Everyday while walking up our sidewalk to the font door, we are reminded of how wonderful our kitty was and smile knowing that his spirit is still alive in our home.  


Tags: Gardening, Pets, Perennials, Trees, Shrubs

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