Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Patio Pots and Hanging Baskets

Summer is here and so are the beautiful flowering planters and hanging baskets.  These charming container gardens add sparkle to your home.  Place them on a patio, porch, and deck or even tucked among your gardens for a wonderful highlight to your outdoor plantings.  Using structures like garden stands, shepherd hooks, furniture, and tables adds a whimsical touch.
So now that you’ve got your outdoor space ready to enjoy, how do you keep these small container gardens looking good for the whole season?  Four words apply:  location, water, fertilizer and grooming.

When deciding where to put your pot or hanging basket, choose a spot that is suitable for the plants.  The amount of sun or shade available is important.  For instance, begonia and impatience plants prefer locations that have part to full shade.  While geraniums and petunias thrive in full sun.  Knowing this will keep your shade plants from burning and your sun loving plants from getting straggly. 

Remember that these miniature gardens have lots of plants. They are easily affected by the heat, sun or even too much rain.   It is important to keep them moist, but not standing in water.  Check on the soil moisture daily (especially in hot, sunny and windy locations) and water often.  Likewise pour off water that stands in a saucer or the pot.

Fertilize regularly.  Containers of plants are using lots of nutrients.  Use any commercial plant fertilizer, but be sure to follow the directions for potted plants.  These contained soils hold fertilizer longer than ground soils.  Too much fertilizer will burn your plants. 

And finally, remove spent flowers.  This will encourage more blooms and keep your display pretty.

Posted by Mary

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Poinsettias and Pets:

There is an interesting article by Dr. John Eustis of Orchard Veterinary Hospital (in South Burlington VT) appearing in the holiday issue of “4 Legs & a Tail” magazine.

In this article John lists the various risks that the holidays can pose for our four legged friends. Among them is some information on seasonal plant material.

“The first thing most people think of is the poinsettia plant. For over one hundred years this flower has been alleged to be toxic to animals. Surprisingly, it’s not true. Ingestion of poinsettias can cause mild to moderate GI upset and diarrhea, but is not the deadly toxin that most people think it is.”

So enjoy the holiday season … poinsettia plants included!

Posted by Mary

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The End of Summer is a Time of Transitions


The end of summer is a time of transitions. For many, it’s back to school, back to work, a new college or dorm room or a suddenly empty nest. For students and teachers alike the challenges of the new school year await.

All of these life transitions can be new and exciting but at the same time scary, lonely and a bit daunting. After the whirlwind of anticipation and preparations, reality sets in. This is definitely the time for some TLC. No matter the situation, flowers set an atmosphere of kindness, love and stress reduction.

A beautiful flower arrangement on a teacher’s desk get’s everyone in the classroom looking forward to the school year ahead. And flowers are a great antidote for those Monday morning office blues. That strange new dorm room will feel more like home with flowers and plants.

Meanwhile, on the home front, Mom (or Dad) needs a hug too for all her efforts over the summer. And for those with children away from the nest, it is wonderful to know that she is still in their thoughts and hearts.
Posted by Mary

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How Long Should My Flowers Last?

Many folks want to know how long should their flowers last.

Well, that depends. There are a lot of factors to consider to when answering this question.

Some flowers varieties will last longer than others. For instance, mums and carnations are very long lasting (Often a couple of weeks or more.), while spring flowers like daffodils are beautiful for about a week.

Where you buy flowers matters too. Good fresh flowers from your local florist are carefully cared for throughout the process of growing, shipping, storing and selling.

Another consideration is how the flowers are handled after you’ve bought them. By carefully cleaning off any submerged foliage, using flower food, cutting the stems with a sharp knife, and keeping the vase filled with clean water you give your flowers optimum conditions for longevity.

And finally, where you display your flowers makes a difference too. A cool location, out of the sun will prolong vase life.

So with these thoughts in mind … “Keep it cool, keep it clean, keep it out of the sun.” … enjoy these jewels of nature!
Posted by Mary

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winter House Plant Care:

With our outside gardens finished for the year, I have now turned my attentions to the care of my houseplants. In areas where temperatures reach the freezing point, it is time to bring indoors any of those plants that were placed outside. Plants having experienced the ravages of a harsh summer are now ready for some TLC. Prune away any damaged and yellow leaves, along with any straggly branches. It is best to isolate these plants from your strictly indoor plants for a short time to make sure there are no harmful insect hitchhikers on them. If you discover any, go to your garden center and look for products suitable for house plants (and people too!).

With the reduced light and temperatures of the season, most green plants will go into a period of dormancy. There will be little or no growth. So along with these cut backs, be careful to not overwater your plants. The soil may not dry out as quickly as it would in a warm sunny place. Keep the soil lightly moist by checking with your finger tips or a soil moisture meter. In addition, be very sparing with fertilizer. Also, if your house is very low in humidity, you can mist the foliage with water (except African Violets or Gloxinia).

In the placement of house plants, never put a plant on top of a heat source, including radiators, wood stoves and old fashioned TVs. In northern regions, the more light you can provide, the better.

Enjoy the touch of nature that plants bring to the “Great Indoors”!

Posted by Mary

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Making This Simple Arrangement:

At eleven inches in overall height this small arrangement has a big impact. Using just a few flowers in bold colors, this pretty, basic line design is easy to do.
The materials we used are: Pottery dish with frog purchased from Christopher Vaughn Pottery at the Essex Junction Farmers Market, two small sprigs of variegated pittosporum, three yellow daisy mum blooms, one stem purple iris and two sprigs of purple status. .

Start with the pottery dish and place the sprigs of pittosporum at the base to cover the mechanics. Next add the daisy mum blooms, starting with the bottom one and continue upwards, spacing evenly and placing each of the blooms behind the last. Add the iris. And finally, for the finishing touch, add the sprigs of purple status at the base of your design.

Now you are ready to enjoy your arrangement. Remember to add water daily.
Posted by Mary

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Vase of Flowers Adds the Perfect Touch to Alfresco Dining.

There is nothing like eating outside with family and friends. And a vase of flowers really makes an ordinary dinner feel like a special event. It is really easy to put something together.
Look in your cupboard for a container. Think outside the box … Use a goblet, pitcher, or that nice vase you’ve forgotten about. Forage around your yard for unusual greenery and blooms. Don’t forget to consider sticks, pods and berries. Then spice it up with some focal flowers. If you don’t have any, buy a few stems. They can really add pizzazz.
Collect your materials with a sharp knife and immediately place them into a gathering container filled with water.
Now have fun with designing something in your display container. For a table piece, you’ll want to make it “all around” in style so that everyone can enjoy your beautiful work. Keep the overall height below the line of sight of the diners so they can see each other while engaging in conversation. Remember to use slightly warm water with flower preservative (available at the flower shop). Remove all leaves from the stems that will be submerged in water to prevent rot and bacteria from forming and change the water every day or two. The flowers will also last longer if not exposed to direct sun. Now you’re ready to fire up the grill, set the table, and open that bottle of wine that is chilling.
Bon Appetit!
For more tips on arranging flowers take a look at our Flower Arranging 101 post on May 16, 2011.
Posted by Mary