Tag Archives: flowers

Bringing Your Garden To Life

What sets a beautiful, manmade landscape apart from a natural field? Often times it’s the hours of gardening, strategic placement of flowers, and unknowingly, counter-productive methods of groundskeeping.

Such a predicament has left professional horticulturists like Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher scratching their heads, searching for a compromise to the problem – how can one intertwine beauty and fruitful landscaping practices?

As Thomas Christopher outlines in the preface of his new book, Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change, he believes that gardeners should be able to construct intentional scenes of art, cultivated in a way that allows the greenery to evolve naturally and in an environmentally-positive way.

When Christopher, author of Essential Perennials and The New American Landscape, met Larry Weaner, professional gardener of 30 years and founder of the New Directions in the American Landscape conference, he immediately recognized a complementary spark.

Weaner had been creating natural landscapes for years, distinguished on a national scale for his intertwining of art and environmental science.

61J0jcnLj-LTogether, Christopher and Weaner joined forces to create Garden Revolution, a collaboratively-authored book of designs, influences, applications and pictures released in May 2016. The book depicts the story of Weaner’s hybrid landscaping work, while simultaneously illustrating Christopher’s dream to cultivate a garden that gives back.

The book is broken down into four core sections: “The Learning Process,” “Design,” “In the Field” and “Postscript.” Vivid photographs of the men’s work enliven each section of the book, all incased within the subtle green flower-print of the hard-back binding.

The book, published by Timber Press, currently retails at $39.95 and is available for purchase here. However, you can enter to WIN a copy of your own on our Facebook page!

Written by Emily McCaul

Gardening Without Breaking the Bank

Ladies, it’s just about time to break out those watering cans! Summer is just around the corner and we know what that means… fresh vegetables and flowers straight from the garden! We wanted to help you make the most out of your gardens this year while still being able to stay within your budget. Also, we have a few ideas to keep you out of those annoying hardware stores buying gallons of chemical-filled products for your garden, and instead spending more time enjoying your garden by making your own products at home!
First, did you know that you can actually regrow some vegetables like lettuce, celery, onions, tomatoes, carrots, and even potatoes from the scraps left in your own refrigerator? This is a huge time and money saver because you’re regrowing from something you have already purchased and you’re starting from a base instead of a seed! So, stop throwing them away and find a planting pot, fast! For flowers, you and your neighbors can share and propagate cuttings from your larger flower bushes/plants in order to save one another money.  Plus, this way everyone has beautiful flower beds while building stronger relationships with their neighbor! Another super easy way to save money is to, instead of waiting until the middle of the day when it’s the hottest to water your flowers or vegetables, do it first thing in the morning or after the sun has started to go down. This saves money because you end up using less water because plants will need more water in the middle of the day to prevent becoming wilted. However, if you water them in the morning or the evening, then they already have all the water they will need to make it through the day! While this may seem like a difficult time of the day to squeeze another task into your morning/evening routine, spending quality time in your garden during the most peaceful times of the day is good for the soul. You might even find that it puts you in a better mood for your day by just spending a few extra minutes in your garden each morning/evening.
gardening1Making your own organic sprays or fertilizers in order to avoid spraying your flowers or vegetables with potentially harmful chemicals is a great alternative! Even better is that making your own organic sprays prevents you from going into those overwhelming home improvement stores trying to sell you unnecessary things in order to have a successful garden. If you are active on Pinterest you can find tons of recipes for both organic pesticide sprays and fertilizers here. Our favorite organic pesticide spray to use on vegetables and flowers is from LavenderandLime.com and contains only the best ingredients to keep pests and chemicals out of your garden! For more ideas on how to have a successful garden and how you can get an early start, pick up our March issue out now!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Welcome Spring!

As the ground awakens from the wintertime slumber, tulip and daffodil stems push through the soil about to burst open with colorful fresh blooms.  Bright yellow forsythia bushes and cherry blossom branches begin to pop open profusely with small breathtaking delicate flowers. The scent of sweet hyacinths and greening new grass alert our senses that spring has arrived.  In the early morning hours, we listen to chirping robins singing their joyful songs as they gather twigs to build their nests. Bunnies can be seen here and there as they hop across the fresh new lawn.
What says “Spring” better than flowers?  Whether you are hosting a luncheon or Sunday family dinner, a lovely springtime arrangement of your favorite floral can take center stage on your dining room table.  For an easy, breezy centerpiece, embrace your spontaneous spirit and head to the floral department of your local grocery store or favorite greenhouse.  Most merchants will showcase potted tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, primrose, moss, ivy and many types of ferns that you can place in a basket for a stunning and simple centerpiece.
Spring Table-top Arrangement-www.lizbushong.comTo create a springtime centerpiece for your table, gather some of the season’s best blooming potted bulbs, primrose, and ferns. Place three to five potted blooms at different levels inside a plastic lined basket at various heights. There is no need to remove the plants from the pot. Cover and tuck moss over the potted flowers and between spaces inside the basket. A good mix of flowers would include two to three colors with different textures and heights. Leafy green ivy and low-packed ground cover with reindeer moss will add to the fullness of the arrangement. For a bit of whimsy, add a small bird sitting on a faucet with a dripping water crystal. An empty bird nest would also be a great touch to this spring arrangement.
After the flowers are spent, you can plant the bulbs in your garden for next spring. A note about tulips, you can plant Gladiolas and Dahlias this spring for flowering this summer. In September, plant tulip and daffodils for next spring. Spring bulbs should be planted in the fall or early winter because they require a long period of cool temperatures in order for them to flower.  In the fall, it is important to get the bulbs in the ground before the ground freezes. They need time to develop strong roots. You could also plant bulbs in individual containers as the merchants do forcing the bulbs to grow.
JJ posing with arrangement- www.lizbushong.comMy sweet bunny JJ was excited about spring too! He is an adorable New Zealand white bunny with red eyes. JJ allowed me to take a few photos of him checking out the floral arrangement while I was putting it together. He looked out the window, chewed a few willow branches, smelled the flowers by standing on his hind feet, and finally lay down beside the finished arrangement.
With spring’s earliest blooms, you can celebrate everyday dining with ambiance that is fresh and vibrant. Royal blue, bright yellow, and shades of green create a beautiful springtime palette. Evoke this palette with white and cobalt blue square plates and accessories. Yellow tightly rolled napkins look like flowers blooming as they stand in water glasses. For a take home favor, a small cobalt blue vase with a single rose sits pretty at each place setting. To continue the color scheme of cobalt, yellow and white, the Lemon Almond mini tart greets each individual guest at their place setting for an after dinner dessert. The crust is made with ground almonds and filled with a tangy lemon curd-type filling then baked to perfection. When serving this dessert, add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and lemon zest.
Invite springtime into your home with this creative and fanciful setting that boasts this season’s vibrant scents and colors. You don’t have to be a green thumb to enjoy the beauty of the season. Bring the outdoors in with a beautiful potted arrangement. Like a breath of fresh air, after the morning dew, breathe in the cool breeze of this new season with a living arrangement that will linger in memories.

Lemon Almont Tart-white ruffled plate -wwwlizbushong.comLemon Almond Tart|www.lizbushong.com

1 unbaked almond crust recipe-chilled 1 hour
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons   all purpose flour
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
3 large eggs
½ cup butter, melted, no substitutes
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
Garnish:  lemon zest, mint or parsley leaf, assorted berries

Almond Tart Crust Recipe
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter, softened, no substitutes
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate
In food processor, process almonds until ground. Add flour, sugar and butter, process until crumbly. Add egg and juice, process until dough forms a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, chill one hour.
Prepare Almond Crust, press pastry into lightly greased 4-4” tart pans with removable bottoms. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and lemon juice. Beat to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beat after each addition.  Add melted butter and mix to blend. Pour into Almond Crust shells. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.
To Serve: Remove sides and bottom of tart pan,  top cooled tart with fresh whipped cream, fruit, or mint leaves.
Yield:  4-4” tarts

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

On Paint Nite and Bonding

As you grow older, it is very common for the child-parent dynamic to transform and it can be a rocky, uphill battle on the way. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great relationship with my mom, but I’ve got to tell you, there have been more struggles after going away to college.

Before I left home, I was taking classes at Virginia Western and I could feel a sense of friction between us. After nineteen years, I was ready to throw the household rules out of the window and start living my own life. My first semester away at school was great and we talked on a regular basis, and then I came home for an extended Christmas break, and that’s when the struggle I had felt before reared its ugly head, again. It’s my way against hers, and after being away and creating my own lifestyle, it has created a mess of differences. So basically, the things I despised at home didn’t come with me to college, and to my mom’s dismay, didn’t come home with me either. At the time, it seemed as though these little differences mattered, but now I can see it meant so little.

I’ve grown up with parents that act just like that, parents; but I’ve been lucky enough to be able to talk with them as if they’re my friends too. Whatever feelings either side felt could be expressed openly, and I know that not all relationships work in a bi-directional way. Maintaining relationships through the different phases of life is ever changing, and I may be young, but I can tell it’ll be a lifelong feat but one that is certainly worthwhile.

IMG_2580Something I have made the mistake of not doing is making the time to bond with my mom. You may be physically present, but if you are somewhere else in your head, then it doesn’t count! To start the summer off right, we decided to shake things up a little bit, so we bought tickets for Paint Nite, and it was a great experience!

IMG_2545Neither my mom nor I have experience with painting, so it put us on common ground. At arrival we stopped by the mini-bar and grabbed a couple of margaritas, and then we grabbed our smocks and got to work! It was fun helping each other achieve the look we wanted for our own piece of art, since we really had no idea what we were doing!

With graduation quickly approaching in December, and my foot halfway out of the door, now I’m regretting those missed opportunities. There are many things to do around the Roanoke Valley, such as Paint Nite, so take the time to make memories with your family. Our masterpieces we made at Paint Nite will always be a good laugh!

Visit Paint Nite’s website to choose from a variety of pieces that you can create at many locations in Roanoke.

Written by Lani Maddox

 

Holiday Thinking of You Gift

1800flowersGift cards, hot chocolate kits, and sampler packages oh my! Nothing says last minute thought like one of these lovely, but abstract, options. Have the holidays snuck up on you this year? Maybe you forgot a friend or coworker in the haste of planning and attending festivities. It happens. But leave the boxed sausage sampler sitting on the shelf, and send them aA beautiful holiday flower arrangement from 1-800-Flowers.com instead. They have several unique styles for Christmas, including this adorable flower puppy, “Santa Paws!”

The best part about your purchase from 1-800-Flowers is that they have partnerships with local florists and flower growers. Their bouquets are delivered fresh (and on time!) in an artful presentation, arranged by professional florists.

Visit www.1-800-FLOWERS.com to pick out the arrangement that is perfect for your loved one, friend, or coworker. And pick up the December issue of Bella Magazine for more fun holiday ideas!