Monthly Archives: June 2015

  • Proper care for your Hydrangea Plants

    This complex flower has become very popular as a cut flower as well as a garden plant.  It is easy to see why.  The colors are great, they last along time, can easily be dried, and they are the perfect flower to use either in a vase by themselves or a filler with others.  They are blooming profusely in area gardens through the summer.  Experienced gardeners know that the color of the blossoms can be altered by changing the ph of the soil.  The more acidic the soil the more blue; the more alkaline the more pink with cream in the middle for neutral ph soil.  Even without any additives, the flower colors change as it matures.  When left on the plant, the blooms change to very muted tones touched with grey.  But what about the proper care for your hydrangea plants? They can be cut and brought indoors at any point.  It is important to always use a clean vase, take off any foliage that would be below the water line and add a food like Floralife.   The ideal system is to change the water every two or three days.


    Purple and Blue hydrangea Purple and Blue Hydrangea

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

    The flowers will dry naturally by just hanging them upside down in a dry area like the basement or garage.  Even those that are put in water will dry and after removing all the leaves can be kept in a dry vase or even laid out for decoration in areas like a mantle for months.


    Purple Lace-cap hydrangea Lace-Cap Hydrangea

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

    Hydrangeas are a great flower to use in a vase as a base.  After putting enough stems in the vase to have the flowers cover the opening of the vase, other thin stemmed flowers like roses or zinnias can be placed between the florets.  Dried hydrangeas can be glued on wreaths or pieces of cloth for a decorative accessory.


    Snow Queen Hydrangea bush Snow Queen Hydrangea

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

    For those who either don’t have garden hydrangeas to cut, or prefer to leave the flowers on the plants to beautify the outdoors of their homes, hydrangeas are in plentiful supply in flower shops and markets.  When making a purchase, be sure you are buying from someone you trust.  Select only those stems where the flowers are perky and firm.  There should not be any dry edges and the stems should be firm and healthy looking.  Hydrangeas look great with lilies and roses.  For a smaller bouquet, add spray roses or alstromeria through the center of the flower.  The wonderful thing about hydrangeas and really all flowers is that you can’t make a mistake.  The beauty is there and all you need to do is combine them with anything else that you like.

    Pink Hydrangea Bush Pink Hydrangea Bush

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

  • Living Flower Arrangements that you can enjoy all Summer long

    Flower arrangements are combinations of flowers and foliage arranged in a manner that pleases the senses.  With the introduction of many new varieties of summer flowering plants, patio pots and hanging baskets are more popular than ever.  When potted together in large containers, the colorful combinations can be enjoyed all summer long with a minimum amount of care.  These are truly living flower arrangements.


    Assorted outdoor blooming plants in patio pot Outdoor Patio Pot

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

    Small containers of old standards such as impatiens and begonias are still available, but they are rapidly losing the popularity race against the superior new varieties, planted in larger pots.    Prior to the new introductions, gardeners were limited to old stand-bys such as geraniums, vinca, and seed grown bedding plants.  A few years ago plant breeders began introducing new vegetative varieties that are produced from cuttings instead of seed.  Firms like Yoder Brothers, and Ecke released whole collections of plants, such as The Flower Fields.  The wide variety of colors, shapes, and textures available in these collections took hold, and they are now widely available.

    Oversized English Garden Blooming Planter English Barrel Garden Planter

    Image courtesy 0f ( Flickr )

    Serious plant lovers have learned that the extra soil in the larger containers holds much more water than 8” or 10” pots.  More water available to the plants means less care is required, and the plants last longer.   A large pot purchased in May or June will now thrive all summer long, and still be flowering beautifully in September.   Choosing a quality supplier ensures that the plants have been properly grown and cared for before you bought them, and are off to a healthy start.  Plants that have been neglected at the store may be damaged to the point that they will never reach their potential, and often only last a week or two after they are brought home.


    Large outdoor planter suitable for full sun conditions Large Outdoor Blooming Planter

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

    The larger containers allow many of the top performing varieties to be planted together in the English Garden style.  Color combinations can be shades of peach, yellow, and orange; or purple, pink, lavender, and red.  .  The varieties are extremely versatile, and perform well in conditions that range from light shade to full sun..  Extremely windy locations should be avoided, but the plants will recover well from the occasional strong thunderstorm. Only basic care is required to keep your pots colorful.  Water daily, feed with common water soluble fertilizer according to the directions, and remove any straggly shoots or dead flowers.

    Outdoor planter with orange and yellow blooming plants Deluxe Patio Planter

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

    By choosing quality plants from a reputable supplier, and giving them basic, simple care, you will be rewarded with beautiful living flower arrangements for your home that last all summer long.

    Outdoor planter of tulips and pansies Outdoor Tulip Planter

    Image courtesy of ( Flickr )

  • 6 Best Ways to Express Sympathy

    Expressing your feelings when hearing of the loss of a loved one or friend is important not only to the family of the deceased but also to yourself.  We remember all the experiences we have shared and realize that there will be no more chances to be together.  Do some of these suggestions for them and for yourself.

    White Rose White Rose ( Flickr )

    In most cases today the family thinks of others and requests donations to a charity.  Although this is a very acceptable way to express your feelings, you should also connect on a more personal level.


    1. Send a hand written note (NOT AN EMAIL) to whomever in the family is closest to you. This is especially true when you don’t know the decedent.  Relate a positive memory that will endure with you.  Send this as soon as you hear.  Although it is best to send close to the date of loss, even if a long time is past before you have heard, send one then.
    2. In the case of a close friend who has lost a family member, make a favorite dish and deliver it personally.  This should only be done in the first couple of days after the death.
    3. Send a donation to the suggested charity if the cause is something you support.  Keep in mind that this is in no way a substitute for personal contact. 
    4. Attend the viewing and/or funeral, both if you were close to the family. 
    5. Send flowers to the service.  Even if a “Please Omit” suggestion was in the death notice, remember that this is a suggestion.  There is no substitute for the physical show of support that flowers give at a service.  Everyone has experienced the cold look of a service where no flowers were present.  Often times, no thought is given to this by the family and funeral directors make the suggestion.  Services are much easier for them when there are no flowers.
    6. Send flowers to your friend.  The proper time to do this is after the service.  It is also the time when the gesture will be most meaningful.  Include a message with words like, “We are thinking of you”, “We share your sorrow”, or “Our thoughts and prayers are with you”.  Avoid using phrases that are closely associated with the funeral service such as “Deepest Sympathy.”


    The purpose of your gestures is to let them know they are not alone.

  • What Gardening, fishing, and playing golf have in common

    What Gardening, fishing, and playing golf have in common.....It has been said that a lot of golfers are also avid fishermen.  What connects those two activities is very similar to gardening. We bet you never noticed just how much these activities have in common. We didn't either until we came across this gem...

    Fishing in Golf Attire


    Image courtesy of (Flickr)

    • It is solitary.
    • The results are entirely up to you.
    • Much of the enjoyment comes from the “doing”.
    • It is only done when the weather cooperates.
    • Mother Nature plays a part in your success.
    • It can be done by all skill levels, all ages and all economic levels.
    • Watching how others do their things is appealing.
    • It can be very costly or done for very little money.
    Golfer teeing off


    Image courtesy of (Flickr)

    The efforts of gardening can be most appreciated by simple results such as the single rose that blooms in the spring. This is right up there with catching the “big one” or having a career round. While you can certainly garden, play golf, or fish as a group, it is not necessary to the act or the outcome and often can be just as enjoyable all by one's self.

    Garden plants along walkway


    Image courtesy of (Flickr)

4 Item(s)

Flowers to get you out of the doghouse

Dried Flower Wreaths

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