3 Ways to Treat Aphids without Pesticides

Oh, goodness. Aphids. What a pain. I don’t know about where you live, but here in the PNW, they are a real pest to my flowers. The very first summer in our new house, I put roses, lupines, and foxglove into the yard to create a beautiful English cottage garden vibe. And within a few weeks, I brushed up against some of the flowers and went inside. I looked down at my pants, and there were little bugs crawling on the fabric. It was disgusting. I brushed them off outside and took a closer look at the flowers. They were totally smothered by aphids, especially the lupines. Of course, I panicked! My gorgeous flowers were being eaten alive!  

I have since become a bit of a self-taught expert at getting rid of aphids. They invade my garden every year, and I now have a solid plan to treat my plants. Once I see those early signs, I start treating them before the aphids get too out of control. The best part is that I never use pesticides, which I don’t want around...

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Lacy, Lovely Hydrangeas

hydrangea hydrangeas Jul 06, 2020

I grew up in the desert, and as well as my family could grow certain perennials there, hydrangeas were not one of them. 

Hydrangeas require a ton of water (notice the Latin root "hydra" in its name), and they like a lot of sunlight. But they don't like temperatures over 85 degrees. Which unfortunately for my childhood, was every day of summer.

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest the first thing that stood out to me were the large hydrangea bushes that flourish in this climate. Hydrangeas are one of the few flowers that bloom in a natural shade of blue, and it's a very vibrant blue, too! That color pops right out at you from household gardens as you drive by, so unique to the natural environment.

Hydrangeas are native to both North and South America, as well as South and East Asia. They didn't make their way to Europe until the 18th century, where, no surprise, they quickly gained popularity.

A collage of small four-petalled blooms mound together to create that lacy cloud of...

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3 Surprising Greens to Arrange With

foliage garden greenery greens Jun 29, 2020

If you’re like me, you are loving all of the flowers blooming around town these days. I’m having so much fun cutting blooms from my garden and arranging them for my table. Just as important, though, is the greenery used as a base to showcase the flashier flowers. Your yard is probably bursting with greens right now, and they can be used just as effectively as flowers. 

When it comes to picking out greens, you might get a little nervous about sticking just anything into your vase. That’s understandable since some greens will wimp out on you in a day or less, or might not play well with other plants in your arrangement. I have three go to greens in my garden that are common, easy to grow, live long in a vase, and look fantastic. 

Let’s get cracking! 

  1. Raspberry foliage. I live in Washington state, which is half overrun with the raspberry’s cousin, the blackberry. Prickly berries just love it here! I love the raspberries in my...
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How to Care for Spent Tulip Bulbs

Temperatures are rising, bringing visions of hydrangeas and daisies and all sorts of lovely summer blooms. Your mind has probably moved on from tulips, but if you have any tulip bulbs in your yard like me, they still need some TLC, even after their flowers are long gone. Here’s what you need to know about caring for those spent tulip bulbs. 

Deadheading 

When the tulip petals fade and fall, we tend to forget about the tulips in our gardens. If you do notice their sad state, you might wonder what to do with them. The best practice is to snip off the faded flower and leave as much foliage as possible. It’s very important not to take too much green off. The bulb isn’t dormant yet at this stage. It’s still soaking up sun through the leaves. If you cut it to the ground while it’s still green, you risk starving the bulb and possibly killing it. That means no flashy spring colors next year. So, leave the greens and let them add some nice texture and...

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Floral Arranging with Your Kids

My three children have been around flowers and florist tools their entire lives. It’s normal to them to have big buckets of blooms and stacks of vases suddenly taking up space in our house before one of my events. They’ve watched Mommy cut and arrange all sorts of things. If you’ve ever been around a young kid, you know how much they love to mimic and do things themselves. My kids love to get their hands on flowers and start putting them in vases, just like they’ve seen me do. And I love it! I’m more than happy to nurture their interest in something I love. 

After being cooped up all spring, involving your kids with floral arranging can be a great change of pace. You can cut flowers from your garden together, choose what you’d like to put together, and try something new and exciting!  

Of course, floral arranging comes with hazards that can be a little scary with kids. There’s a lot of water that can be spilled....

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3 Tips for Cutting Flowers Out of Your Garden

My garden is bursting with color! Flowers are in full swing right now all across town. I love taking walks to see what’s blooming in my neighbors’ yards. Hopefully you’re enjoying your garden, and to help with that, here are some tips to help your cut homegrown flowers live long and happy lives inside.  

  1. Keep a bucket of water next to you. As you’re moving around your garden snipping blooms, haul a bucket of clean water around with you. It may seem like a hassle to lug that around, but every second counts for a freshly cut flower. That first cut is rather traumatic, and the faster that flower can get into water, the better it will deal with that stress. This translate into a longer, happier life once it moves inside your house to sit on your table.   
  2. Use a clean vase and clean water. We wrote in-depth about this recently in another blog post, 5 Steps to Triple the Life of Your Flowers. The quick version is this: water...
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What’s Blooming in My Garden Right Now

 

The days are lengthening, giving us lots of light for evening strolls and bike rides. Bees are humming through my garden beds and rhododendrons, and I’ve pulled out my sandals. Spring is blending into summer. This is especially apparent when I look at what’s blooming in my yard right now. 

Tall spikes of lupine and foxglove are reaching taller each day, as well as fluffy dutch iris. 

 

Fluffy Jupiter’s beard is filling out, and the fragrant roses are opening up their blooms.

My peonies are starting to pop, and I just can’t wait for their big, flashy flowers. 

I recently planted wildflower seeds, and I’m already seeing poppies, daisies and bachelor's button sprouting.  

Summer blooms are here! We’ve got weeks and weeks of beautiful flowers to look forward to, and I can’t wait to see what blooms next in my garden. 

What's blooming and your garden, and what are you most excited to see this summer?

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5 Steps to Triple the Life of Your Vase Flowers

Do you know that moment when you look at your vase of flowers and they’re so disgusting that you don’t even want to touch the stems to throw them away? They’re slimy, moldy, and smelly, and you’ve tried to ignore them as long as possible but now you want your vase back, so they have to go.  

Raise your hand if this has ever been you.  

I’m reaching my hand up high.  

Guys, I’m a florist and this sometimes still happens to me; though instead of the clear-glass vase on the dining room table, it’s floral buckets with the few stems of leftovers I didn’t use in last weekend’s wedding.   

But I have a fix for you! One that will not only keep them from even getting that gross, but it’ll also help you to keep them alive much, much longer.  

 

Step 1: Only Put Your New Flowers in a Clean Vase 

This one is super simple, and maybe you’re already doing...

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How to Choose Long-Lasting Grocery Store Flowers

 

Long before becoming a florist, I loved making floral arrangements for my friends and family. It was a relaxing hobby and a fun way to show love to those I cared about. I loved personalizing mixed bouquets with my friends’ favorite flowers and colors! Most of time, I picked up my flowers at the grocery store during regular shopping trips, probably like you’ve done. It’s convenient, and the displays are often very eye-catching. What I didn’t know back then, though, was how to choose the healthiest flowers from the many options at my store. That meant that my arrangements wilted too soon, which is not what you want when giving a heartfelt gift. 

Luckily, it isn’t difficult to pick out healthy flowers with just a little knowledge. You can make the same decisions a pro would make with these tips: 

  1. Check the stems. Flowers have evolved their flashy, colorful blooms in order to attract the attention of pollinators like humming birds and bees, and...
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A Virtual Mother’s Day Arrangement

 

Much of my love for flowers came from my mom. She was the flower gardener at our house. Every year she planned the flower beds, got tulip bulbs into the ground in fall, and was always on top of keeping things weeded and tidy and beautiful. As I grew older, I started helping out with the design and upkeep of her amazing flower beds. I loved working out in the yard with her!  

As you can probably guess, those memories make Mother’s Day floral arrangements very near and dear to my heart. My mom lives in a different state, though, and I’m unable to create something myself that can be delivered to her. I’ve ordered bouquets from florists in her area, which is still wonderful, but I’ve always wanted to make something with my own hands that had that extra special, personalized touch from her daughter.  

So, in the spirit of Mother’s Day, and knowing that you may also be physically cut-off from those you love right now, I decided to make...

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