Sunday, March 22, 2015

Secrets of the Garden: Forsythia

 Forsythia actually has a pretty fascinating story. Forsythia was one of the many plants native to China that were brought back to England in the 1840s by the plant collector, Robert Fortune. Fortune is also credited with having introduced  English gardeners to many plants that became familiar garden favorites on both sides of the Atlantic, including  Viburnums, Weigelias, Wisteria, Peonies, Azaleas and Rhododendrons, Chrysanthemums, Hostas and - of course - Forsythias. Although his work made it possible for us to enjoy Forsythia blooms every spring, this plant was not named for him but for William Forsyth, the gardener of King George lll. 

How to Grow Forsythia:
Fast growing Forsythia bushes are easy to grow. Established plants require little , or no care. Grow Forsythia plants in full sun to partial shade. They will grow well in most soils. Soil should be well drained.
Water plants during extended dry periods as needed. Fertilize plants once a year in early spring. Use a high phosphorous fertilizer to promote bright blooms.
Pruning Forsythia:
Flowers form on prior year's growth, not new growth. So, it's important to prune them immediately after the flowers have bloomed. You can cut back old growth to about about four inches from the ground.
Don't hesitate to be aggressive in pruning these fast growing plants. They will grow back at a fast rate.

Cutting Forsythia for Inside Florals:
Using sharp, clean pruners, give each branch a fresh cut at the base of the stem. An old way to encourage water flow was to smash the stem end with a hammer, but a better method is to make a vertical slit or two up into the end of each stem. This allows water to reach the swelling buds, ensuring big, happy flowers.

Place fresh cut stems immediately into a bucket of warm water with 1 tablespoon of bacteria-banishing bleach and a packet of cut-flower food. Keep branches in a cool spot - 50 to 60 degrees - out of direct sun, and midst frequently. 

Forcing Indoor Blooms:
Forcing Forsythia to bloom indoors is a snap. Simply cut off a few branches, and bring them indoors. Put them in a vase with water. A couple weeks later, the branches will burst into bright cheerful, golden yellow blooms, right in the dead of winter.

When ever we are laying out a clients landscape. We always love to suggest plants that bloom each season. What is better than having your own fresh cutting garden and being able to create lush floral's for your guest. Forsythia is one my favorites to work with. It's so hard when your driving by and your seeing this insanely gorgeous creature speaking, better yet screaming at you to use it. I have to admit before I know it have hijacked the whole neighborhood of every blossom.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let's eat...

 When I decided to start the blog, I never had on my mind to do a cooking part. After a long talk and a lot of nudging from my husband and dear friend, they pleaded with me that I needed to share this part of me. It's true I LOVE to cook. It's kinda my stress reliever. Especially deserts! My husband blames me every time he has to go up another pant size. What can I say, it's cheap therapy for me!! So to kick things off, I decided to share one of my favorite go to meals. But the best part is the casserole is weight watchers and oh so yummy...

                                         Mexican Casserole: 

                     1 can fat free cream mushroom soup

                   1 can fat free cream chicken soup

                   1 can black bean or pinto, drained and rinsed

                   1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies

                   1 1/2 cup instant rice

                   1 pkg taco seasoning

                    cilantro and green onions chopped (optional)

                   6 Chicken Breast (boiled and then shredded)

                   1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

                   Mix everything together in a mixing bowl. Coat a 13x9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour ingredients into dish, sprinkle with cheese on top and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

                                               My favorite Refried Beans.

                          1 Can of refried beans

                          1/3 cup of sour cream

                          1 tbsp of Valentina hot sauce

                          3/4 cup of grated monterey jack cheese

In a small sauce pan combine the refried beans, sour cream, hot sauce over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and when the beans are heated through (don't bring to boiling) remove from heat and pour into a glass pie pan or 9x9 dish.

Top with grated cheese and heat in the oven or microwave until cheese is melted.

       Add some good homemade salsa and guacamole to the mix.

                                     Mexican Punch:
                            (trust me you'll be hooked)

                            2 pkg cherry Kool-aid
                            2 cups of sugar
                            2 quarts of water

                            4 tbs of instant tea

                            1 (12oz) can of pineapple juice

                            Mix, refrigerate and enjoy!

                        Now let's enjoy supper on the patio..

       I hope you enjoy this meal just as much as we do and it                   becomes you're family's favorite just like it is ours.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Let's talk pink...

When most people think of "pink" images, little girls dressed in fluffy tutu's and yummy cotton candy come to mind. But different shades of pink set the tone for different moods.....

This room just looks so cozy and inviting...

Not so sure about going full on pink? Why not try a banding around your chairs. The littlest details can still make huge impact....

The pop of pink silk drapes make such a statement...

There's a lot of layering going on in this bathroom, but yet it's still so calm and so dramatic at the same time. My favorite part is that silhouette floor. Isn't that amazing!

Perfect example of how pink can be so romantic and calming. I have a weakness for pink and gold together. So stunningly gorgeous and can we talk about the night stand. Love!!

I need this room in my life, but with a two yr old boy, this room would look this way all of 5 minutes. I can dream tho and what sweet dreams I would have here...

Pink and gold once again. So elegant...

Something I always love to do whenever I can, is using wallpaper or fabric for the back of bookcases and hutches. Great way to make an impact, but still subtle...

A bright, vivid tone like fuchsia suggest energy and glamour. I couldn't agree more. Isn't this an amazing space? I would be completely inspired every day walking into this space. 

If you're still a little nervous about adding pink into your home in a larger scale, why not start with some lush pillows like these?You can't go wrong. I always tell clients if they want to try something new and they don't want a huge cost, pillows are your best friend and can make such a change. With spring in the air right now, this is the perfect time to make a change and try a little pink in your life. I assure you will love the change!

What's you're thoughts?