Fall Gardens

Fall is right around the corner.  Get ready for changing leaves, pumpkins galore, and gardening fun.  Robin will take us on a trip with some of her best vegetable gardening tips and fun facts:

{1} Break on through to the other side: There is a wondrous, dark side to gardening…root plants and tubers! Below my blooming Zinnias, Sunflowers and out of control tomatoes are colorful treasures all tucked away in the darkness. In Rochester, we can grow root plants like radishes, turnips, onions and garlic. roots_2553617c

{2} Sleep with one eye open: Potatoes win for easiest tuber. Even the kids like harvesting the potatoes. Every flipped pitchfork reveals a surprise quantity and assorted sizes of these veggies.

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{3} Ground control to major Tom: In 1995 the potato was the first veggie grown in space!

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{4} Just beet it, beet it!: On to my favorite, the beet. The ruffly foliage is streaked with raspberry veins and serves as a great garnish,salad green or cooked down like spinach. In our modern varieties they are usually round, happy little power houses of vitamins and minerals. Ruby red, but can be yellow, white or striped, the beet has been used medicinally since before they “walked like an Egyptian”.

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{5} Care for some carrots?: Pooh’s friend, Rabbit, showed he had a brain and not “fluff” when guarding his carrots with such anxiety. Carrots are easy to plant and require little care. They are very rewarding and put the watered down, store bought carrots to shame. They have a sometimes sweet to bitter, full taste and you can harvest at your own leisure depending on size you want. The larger the carrot the more bitter. Carrots are also easy to store for use later in the season.

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{6} Can you dig it: With a rototiller or good shovel, the soil can be turned enough to make harvesting your underground treasures much easier and allows for easy hand weeding to avoid damaging the roots and tubers. There are many varieties of roots not even mentioned so find what works for your home.digging-vegetable-garden

Robin wants to remind you that gardening is your thing…do whatcha wanna do!

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Summer Wedding Trends

The latest wedding trends are saying bye-bye to that rustic, vintage themed wedding, and welcoming back a traditional, elegant style.  Think beautiful garden, romantic elegance, or just a simply stunning white wedding. Here is a breakdown of the upcoming trends:

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{1} Think Pink: Soft pinks such as nudes, blushes, and peaches are a hit this summer.  Using florals to incorporate these soft pinks is a perfect way to stay on trend.

d73473eb1b6987c0c355a40ad69d947d {2} Flower Garland: What better a way to spicy up a table top, bar, or backdrop than adding a flower garland?  Make a statement with lush blooms and garden like greens.  The best part is, it’s easy to incorporate florals of any color palette!

b7e2acdc7d56da796557680d48d14c1d{3} Floral Head Wreaths: Replace the veil with a floral head wreath for a summery touch to any wedding! Go big and bold with large blooms and rich colors, or keep it simple with a dainty wreath of babies breath.

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{4} Lush Blooms: Now trending: peonies, hydrangeas, and garden roses. Nothing says romantic garden better than these lush blooms.  The hottest bouquets of the season are featuring these gorgeous flowers.

b1af51bf691fb640f1c78cf5c3eacba0{5} Details Details Details.  With the rise of Pinterest details at any wedding is key.  Consider using florals to add that extra touch.  Those often overlooked places are perfect opportunities for wow factor moments.  Think large floral urns at the reception entrance, or a single floral bloom on top of a place setting.

Bring Spring In

It’s no secret, we’re all sick of this cold weather.  And even though we can’t enjoy outdoor flowers just yet, you can bring spring inside.  Here are some of our favorite plants to bring indoors:

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{1} Tulips: A perennial, bulb plant with around 75 wild species.  You can find one in almost any color and many have varying petal types.
247f443f70d207f81033dd65d0da6820{2} Crocus: These flowering plants in the iris family and native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra.

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{3} Hyacinths: A small bulb flowering plant with dense clusters of blooms.  Hyacinths are highly fragrant with blooms that look like miniature starfishes.

7e24b54f4632f5e17483a2eabe60f35a{4} Daffodils: These hardy, spring-flowering bulbs are beautiful for indoors and outdoors.  Each flower has a central bell surrounded by six petals.  Flower color varies from white through yellow to deep orange.

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{5} Azalea: A flowering shrub with blooms often lasting several weeks. Shade tolerant, they are great for enjoying indoors.  With blooms of white, shades of pink, purple, and even red, the plants are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to complement any garden or home.

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{6} Easter Lily: These stem rooting lilies can growing up to 3 feet high.  Each plant bears multiple trumpet shaped, outward facing flowers.  The white blooms are well known for their white color and fragrance.

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Facts

Shamrock plants are a huge hit in the store this time of year.  Customers are looking to bring spring into the home, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this holiday staple.  So before you grab a plant for yourself, we wanted to share some fun facts about these green beauties:

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{1} There is actually no such thing as a Shamrock plant.  Shamrocks are clovers and are often identified as the White Clover or Trifolium Repens.  It’s also known as Oxalis.

{2} Shamrock’s have three leaves, but one out of about every 10,000 has four leaves.  This is why four-leaf clovers are considered “lucky”.

{3} St. Patrick used the shamrock to identify the Holy Trinity, but many see the leaves representing hope, faith, and love.  If there is a fourth leaf, it’s for luck.

{4} The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamróg or seamair óg, meaning “little clover”.

{5} Irish couples will include shamrocks in their wedding flowers, like bouquets and boutonniere’s, for good luck.

Fall In Love With Gardening

In upstate NY we are beginning to baton down the hatches and scurrying with the squirrels in preparation for winter.  Most of our gardens have diminished to woody overgrown bean plants, snail infested tomatoes, and dots of fleshy hubbard squash waiting for harvest.  But with the right planning you could marry aesthetics and practicality to make a smooth fall garden transition into winter.

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Right now in bloom you may have intense purple or red salvia, mums on the cusp of blooming, or attention stealing kale.  These are all easy to grow and bring the garden from summer to fall with great color selections.  So just weave some of your fall plantings right in between the magic of the pre-existing plantings.  For example, try sneaking in more ornamental daffodils and tulips or useful bulbs of garlic.  They all need the cold winter resting period and reward your patience in the following seasons with color, fragrance and food!  If you are a gambler than there is always a betting chance that a crop of lettuce or radishes can be squeezed out before the frost if they are planted late August or early September.  The summer sun has already warmed the soil so roots grow twice as fast in the fall than spring!

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Color and texture are the real fall favorites in our region.  Mums are a staple in our climate.  We depend on their resilience to pests and drought and love their consistent, dependable manor.  So if you want to spice up an oldy but goody, try contrasting colors around the mums or something more posh like an assembly of secondary colors.  I just love autumn peach, lavender, and fresh green.  Add an assortment of gourds or squash for an inexpensive ornamental flair to punctuate your gardens or window boxes.  The best part of this time of year is that anything goes.  Dried components mixed with fresh, herbs with ornamental, and annual with perennial.  Think outside of the box and figure in some great transitional plants and mediums to help keep your Autumn spirits soaring.

A Gift of Compassion. The Memorial Garden.

I have discovered that my hoarding of plants, seeds, and garden tricks has again served me well.  For years, trading clumps of our favorite plants or sharing bulbs in late fall brings gardeners together and even recruits new dirt diggers to the club.  It is the original “pay it forward” to help out a neighbor or friend by enhancing their collection.

Our long lived perennials fill in and establish themselves while our veggies and annuals give us a short lived thrill of color and bounty.  These cycles mirror our own life cycles.  Some people are blessed enough to see many seasons, but others fade all too quickly from our lives.

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Comforting those who have lost a loved one is always difficult.  The cliche spoken comforts often fall on numb ears.  By nature we want to comfort others and sometimes words just will not do.  That is how a group of us at work came to design our first memorial garden.

When a member of our work place family lost her daughter, we could only begin to imagine her sorrow and looked for opportunities to help in meaningful ways.  The memorial garden was born out of inspiration to create a space that would continue to grow and bring comfort in the darkest of times.

With her permission and location suggestion, we designed a memory garden in honor of her beautiful daughter.  Each of us contributed something special; labor, monetary donations, mulch, specimens from our own gardens and of course, love and prayers.  Throughout the year there are donations of more plants and some maintenance added to the garden.

photoPersonally, it’s the only time weeding isn’t so laborious.  (Misery is relative.)  I can’t always articulate my deep sorrows and joys to my friend.  However, when she pulls into her driveway after hours of pretending her heart isn’t broken, still trying to bring joy to her other children, she is greeted by our labors of love.  I then feel like our feelings are obvious.

After a death in the family, the guests eventually go home, the cards stop, and you are left alone to start trying to weave yourself back into a different life, searching for tiny slivers of happiness.  A memory garden reminds the living that they are loved and that life goes on with or without us.  A burst of color or fragrance on the air is the most simple of pleasures but one that they deserve.  In the memory garden, every passing season brings a little bit more color and little bit more hope for a peaceful heart.

This blog was written by Robin Copey, and inspired by Karen and Christal Jackson.

Robin’s Garden

We’re excited to have one of our own designers, Robin, as a guest blogger this week. She will be sharing information on one of her many passions, gardening:

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My yard in Spring is like an out of control, multicolored soiree. The flora and fauna go from stark to lush in 2 days of sunshine. There are old friends arriving, new guests from who knows where, no shows and the inevitable unwanted guests usually in creeping weed form. The house and multitude of chores inside must wait until October now, for the real party has begun outside.

In all this chaos we must remember not to rush out of the gate prematurely and that there may be better times to plant or prune certain species. There is no blanket rule for your pruning duties. So don’t get Edward Scissor Hands on your shrubs without researching your specific variety and it’s tailored needs.  For example, some hydrangea varieties are best to be pruned when you can decipher new and old growth by swelling buds in Spring.  The buds of some plants have set themselves in fall and by pruning at the wrong time you will cut off any potential flowers. Our cold, windy winters prove to be too much for some deeply pruned and hallow Hydrangea stems. A light prune just to shape the plant is always safest until you know for sure.

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Be careful raking too early, “your roots are showing” isn’t just something of a coiffure slam, but your actual lawn has tender shallow roots in the early spring. By raking too soon you will rip and damage that manicured lawn you are striving for and eventually killing with kindness. If you unsightly stalks or clumps of leaves, just pick them up by hand until we have more consecutively warm days and the grass has started flourishing.

Some other fun spring tidbits that will help you out is to be patient. You may have received a beautiful bulb garden basket this past Easter or even for Mother’s day. The best treatment for the bulbs after they have bloomed is to trim the dead flower stem off and allow the foliage to run its course and eventually wilt. After wilted, place the container in a cool, dark, dry place for the summer. In late fall after temperatures drop, is the perfect time to place them in the ground with a little fertilizer/ bone meal (follow the instructions about depth. (Not too shallow!)  The bulbs should pop up in the spring and be back on their “normal” schedule.

Last but not least, I will single out my favorite spring flower. The true sign of new beginnings, the flower of Wales and the most resilient of the bulbs, the Daffodil. Ever since Narcissus drowned in that pool of water after being so taken with his own beautiful reflection, the plant has had many myths surrounding it. Animals instinctively know not to eat the poisonous plant. The sap has sharp crystals of calcium oxalate that may irritate your skin and are poisonous. However, it is fine to place Daffodils in a vase of mixed flowers as long as the water is changed daily. There is nothing better than to see a few simple stems of their happy yellow faces peeking out from your favorite vase.

Tick-tock, Spring time is fleeting in Rochester, Ny so go out and enjoy the fresh, new pallet of your space and the pride in last year’s good planning.

Mother’s Day: Then And Now

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Mother’s Day in the United States originates back to the Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870 by Julia Ward Howe.  The document was written from this feminist as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country.  Despite her efforts, and many women after her, Mother’s Day was not made an official national holiday until 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.

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Today we show this “love and reverence” by creating handmade cards, making breakfast in bed, and often sending beautiful floral and plant gifts.  In fact, Mother’s Day continues to be one of the biggest days for flower sales, greeting card sales, and long-distance telephone calls.  So whether the Mother in your life is near or far, flowers continue to be the one special way to say thank you for everything you do on Mother’s Day.

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A great feature of Mother’s Day is the time of year we celebrate it.  The beginning of May is right about the time when the weather is really transitioning and the beautiful outdoors seem to come alive.  This being said, a decorative planter filled with outdoor plants is the perfect for garden enthusiasts, or someone who just wants a little outdoor color on their porch or deck.  A mixture of annuals and perennials will put a smile on any Mother’s face.  And when the weather is gardening ready, the special mother in your life can plant your lovely gift.

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