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Want Flowers In Your Garden All Year Long? Try These Tips.

You don’t have to grow an organic garden exactly like a professional to fully enjoy it. You can grow a garden your way, so long as it employs the basics of organic gardening that can actually help your plants grow. Try looking at the tips below. They can give you some more helpful advice.

If you need the extra ammunition to rage war on weeds, consider planting your plants closer together even if it means planting them closer than what is recommended. Dense plantings will ensure that no seeds from unwanted weeds will sprout and grow in your beautiful landscape design. If weeds begin to sprout near the edge of the foliage, consider adding heavy mulch to drown out the pesky weeds.

If you like to plant roses, before you buy any variety, ask yourself what characteristics you would like from your roses. Different varieties have different characteristics, such as fragrance, heartiness, and size, to name a few. The traits that you want the most from a rose bush will influence your decision on what variety to plant.

Add some earthworms into your garden soil. Earthworms are great in tunneling and loosening up the soil, giving the roots of your plants plenty of air space. They help make soil that is rich in nutrients by breaking down dead plant materials. Earthworms are a much better solution for your garden than commercial fertilizers.

Keep your fragile shrubs protected from the winter weather. When these tender shrubs are kept in pots, cold weather can be very damaging. Tie the tops together, and loosely cover the wigwam with a blanket or sheet. Using fabric, rather than plastic, allows air circulation and prevents rotting from moisture build up.

Make sure you read the labels on any weedkillers or pesticides that you use in your garden. Follow the directions closely. Using too much of a chemical can be dangerous to your health and the health of your garden. Failing to read the label might also mean that you get the wrong chemical for the problem that you’re having, polluting the ground around your garden for no reason.

If your gardening boots and gloves are beginning to develop an odor, try using orange slices! Simply place a orange slice in the boot or glove and leave it there overnight. Oranges are ideal for eliminating the unpleasant smells often picked up in a garden. If you don’t have an orange, other citrus fruits like lemons or limes, will work as well.

It is important to remember to apply sunscreen to the back of your neck as well as your ears when you are gardening. Many people focus on their face, hands and arms when they are applying sun block before going outside to do their gardening. Your ears and the back of your neck will get a lot of sun exposure, so it is important to protect them too.

You can gain time by renewing your beds with this method: slice under the turf and turn it over. Cover it with wood chips and wait a few weeks. You can then use this bed to plant your perennial plants. The ground you have turned over should be made richer by the turf that is under it.

Use plants that work together. Some plants take nutrients away from the soil while others fixate those same-lost nutrients. Traditionally, vegetables are planted with a crop rotation because of the ability of certain crops to replenish the natural nitrogen in the ground. However, you may be able to take advantage of this knowledge by pairing up “companion plants”.

When watering it’s important to make sure that the water reaches all the way to the bottom of the soil. Roots that are grown closer to the surface are more likely to get damaged, and in turn produce plants that are less hardy and more susceptible to damage. By pouring water only on the top layer, the roots are forced to grow upwards and become shallower.

Consider building raised beds. If you build your own raised beds, you can choose the perfect size for your garden, and you can fill it with a type of soil that is suitable for what you intend to grow. Since there will be little soil compaction, there will be more oxygen in the soil, and water drainage will be much better. The soil in a raised bed warms up much earlier in the spring, increasing the growing season.

When maintaining an organic garden, be sure to always wind up your hoses. Dragging and storing a hose that is not wound up can take a lot of time away from you. Try using stationary or portable hose reels to wind up your hoses and to save you some time.

So, as you can see, organic gardening is more than just professional organic gardening. It really can be a relaxing hobby or activity if you want it to be. You should feel a bit better and ready to start growing a better organic garden using your newly-found knowledge of this type of gardening.

For Great Advice On Planting Flowers, Try These Great Tips!

You need to have some knowledge of what to look for and expect from an organic garden. You need to know what resources are available to you and who can provide you answers as to what you need for your organic garden. The tips below can help you with how to start.

A trick to help measure in the garden is to take one of the long handled garden tools like a shovel and mark on its handle using a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, mark out the feet and inches on its handle and when specific distance is required in planing, have a handy measuring device is close at hand.

Find the crops that grow well in your local climate and the soil in your garden. If you try to force a plant that doesn’t like your weather, you’ll end up putting out a lot of work for very little result. What grows well one year will probably grow well next year too, so plant it again.

Choose plants and flowers that complement the colors of your home. Flowers that are pink or fuchsia, may go very well with your burgundy shudders. Tying in the colors of plants and flowers that you choose to harmonize with your house, will save you a lot of time at the garden center by simplifying your plant choices.

When deciding to take up gardening, it is important to study and know your geographical area. Some vegetation simply can’t survive a northern winter. Contrarily, some plants can’t survive a Texas summer. As such, it is important to know where you are and what the plants that you intend on growing can handle.

Start a compost bin, and enjoy nutrient-rich fertilizer that you can use for your vegetable plants, herbs, flowers and more. Food scraps and peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, newspaper, paperboard, yard waste and other organic matter are perfect additions to your compost bin. Keep a small bucket or bag in your freezer as an odor-free way to collect kitchen waste, and empty the container into the outdoor bin when it is full.

Recycle your old pantyhose for garden use! Pantyhose make exceptional garden ties as they are very malleable, very strong and yet extremely soft, so they won’t saw into the plants you are tying up. Best of all, since you are recycling, this solution is another great way to save money.

Make a profit off of the garden by selling micro crops. There is a huge demand for micro crops from restaurants and organic markets who are willing to pay a premium for these fresh vegetables. Specialty mushrooms, baby corn, rare herbs and other micro crops are in very high demand, and can earn a gardener upwards of fifty dollars a pound or more.

Test your soil before purchasing fertilizer. Fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants, such as phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen. However, fertilizers can be very expensive. By testing your garden soil to see which nutrients it is lacking, you can avoid spending extra money on a complex fertilizer, and instead purchase a fertilizer containing only the nutrients that your soil requires.

If you have room, consider putting in a raised bed in your garden. A raised bed prevents soil compaction from people stepping on the soil. Raised beds also provide better drainage for your plants, allowing roots to breathe better. Another advantage is that you can control the soil quality better in a raised bed.

To keep animals from digging up and destroying your bulbs, wrap the bulbs in a thin layer of steel wool. This won’t prevent the bulbs from growing in any way, but will scare away any animal that’s begun digging it up. You can purchase steel wool from any home improvement store.

Plant for fall color. A lot of gardeners see fall as the time to wind things down in the garden, but with some plants the opposite is true. Certain trees and shrubs really ‘come alive’ in the fall, offering vivid displays of color through their foliage. Trees and shrubs for fall color include maple, cornus, gingko, dogwood, sumac and viburnum.

To make the most of your garden, it is important to irrigate the land properly and conservatively. While some might be tended to nourish their gardens with too much water, this is not only a waste of water, but is not helpful for your plants. Ensure you water your plants moderately for the healthiest garden possible.

As you have seen in the above tips, there is a lot of knowledge you can acquire before starting to grow your own organic garden and it’s this knowledge that can help it grow successfully. Do what you must to find out what you need and what you need to do to have a successful organic garden.

For Great Advice On Planting Flowers, Try These Great Tips!

Contrary to popular belief, growing an organic garden doesn’t mean you’re one step away from joining a commune or living off the land. It just means you want healthier food, bereft of the harsh chemicals that are used by mass-producing farms. Here are some tips to ensure that your garden will always grow.

When planting next season’s vegetable garden, it is important to rotate some of the crops. For example, potatoes and tomatoes should be planted in a different spot because they are both prone to the same diseases. Keep your vegetable garden healthy and thriving by learning which crops need rotating and why.

Pick your fruits and vegetables first thing in the morning. A morning harvest will ensure that your produce is holding the maximum amount of moisture. Also, if you pick in the morning, this will give you a chance to eat those items that day, when they are their peak of freshness.

Use both well-matured compost and mulch in your garden. Compost will naturally help plants grow faster, taller, and healthier, and increase the yield of your vegetables. Mulch helps prevent the growth of weeds. Mulch also shades the ground around the roots of your plants, protecting them from heat and conserving water.

Make use of an old golf bag to carry your tools such as spades and rakes around your garden. You will save a lot of time and effort (and you’ll have an excuse for a new golf bag!). The bag will keep them all together, so no more lost tools either. Many golf bags even have a stand, in this case you won’t have to worry about it tipping over and causing an accident.

Don’t grow food no one will eat. Just because you can grow something, doesn’t mean you should. If your kids don’t like spinach now, fresh spinach from the garden isn’t going to change that and much will go to waste. Consider what you and your family like to eat and then determine your garden accordingly.

When deciding to take up gardening, it is important to study and know your geographical area. Some vegetation simply can’t survive a northern winter. Contrarily, some plants can’t survive a Texas summer. As such, it is important to know where you are and what the plants that you intend on growing can handle.

Invest in a electronic PH tester. Avoid liquid PH kits (the color coded ones) as they tend to be less accurate. It is very easy for first time users to botch readings. Also, do not use soil PH test kits as they are unreliable and are not intended for home use.

Turn a quiet corner of your garden into a romantic arbor. By using a store bought arbor or simply constructing one yourself out of a few rustic poles, you can create an arbor. Use a selection of old fashioned, heavily scented flowers to create an intimate atmosphere. Honeysuckle, climbing roses, jasmine and sweet peas are ideal. By adding seating, you can sit and enjoy the scent on a summer evening.

Water new plants daily or every other day. When you first start plants in new soil, you need to tend to them very carefully. Plants experience a shock when they are in a new environment. Making sure they have enough water will go far in giving them the best chance to thrive in your garden.

Experiment with different shades of green. Many people think that if they don’t have a lot of flowers, they don’t have enough color in their garden. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A garden is filled with many different shades of green, and it can be argued that it is the most important color in the garden, as it provides the backdrop. Mix warm shades of green with cool shades. Use variegated plants as much as possible. Concentrate on shape and texture, as well as color.

When starting to seed you can use empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls rather than buying expensive trays from the store. The tubes can be cut into smaller pieces and placed directly into the ground because they are biodegradable and will just disintegrate over time. This is a simple way to insure no damage is done to the root system as well.

Calculate how much water your plants truly need. Thinner plants generally need more water; they contain larger surface area with less capacity to store water. Plants with large, thick waxy leaves are often more suited for water-starved environments. Over-watering may also cause problems with the plant due to microbial growth on their roots.

Yes, there is a stigma that comes with the word “organic,” but that’s because most people fail to realize that the word organic, basically means natural. In fact, growing organic is as natural as you can possibly get. So make sure to use these gardening tips when you’re ready to grow organic food.

Want Flowers In Your Garden All Year Long? Try These Tips.

Gardening is a fun way to add to the visual attraction of your home. You can use the terrific suggestions given here to start improving your garden or begin a new one today. Your garden is certain to bring you great satisfaction as you watch it grow and bloom into an attractive decoration.

Although railroad ties may look very nice in your garden, the chemicals in them, are thought to be hazardous and toxic to the health of the garden, so consider alternatives. Natural wood is easy to find and will add a beautiful touch to your garden.

For garden plants that crave and need a lot of water, use five gallon buckets to keep those thirsty fruits and vegetables happy. Simply drill or punch several 1/8″ to 1/4″ holes into the bottom of a five gallon bucket, fill with water and set near the parched plant. Gravity allows for a slow and steady watering of those plants and if you live in an area where you get frequent rain, you will be capturing plenty of rain water to keep those buckets fairly full all season long.

If you want your garden to blossom with flowers throughout the spring and summer, plant some bulbs in it. Bulbs are hardy, easy to grow into flowers, and will blossom for several years. Plant bulbs that will bloom at various intervals to ensure beautiful flowers are growing in your garden all year long.

Used tea and coffee grounds make good soil enrichers. Both coffee and tea grounds are great additions when you need to raise the acidity of your soil. If your soil is pH balanced, adding the tea and coffee is good, as flowers such as rhododendrons and azaleas, and fruits such as blueberry, appreciate soil that is on the acidic side. You can work the grounds into the soil before you plant your garden, or sprinkle a little around existing plants once a week or so.

Small pebbles and stones make excellent plant markers. To keep track of your plants while simultaneously adding a touch of natural beauty to your garden, collect some pebbles and stones. Find stones with a fairly smooth surface, and use a permanent marker or a little paint to place your plant names on them. This is a much prettier and more natural solution than the traditional plastic tags that clutter up most gardens.

To make sure your garden looks great from season to season, plan ahead. Make sure your garden includes both annuals, biennials, and perennials so that you can always count on something blooming. Before you plant any flower, think about what you want for your garden in the next year or two.

Salt deposits can form unsightly marks on your clay pots. To easily remove the deposits mix water, rubbing alcohol and white vinegar in equal parts and spray onto the pots. Scrub with a plastic pad or brush and allow the pot to dry completely. Once the pot is dry, you are ready to plant.

To cut down on the time you spend pruning and pulling weeds, make sure that all the tools you use are sharpened and cleaned. A dull or dirty tool will make basic gardening tasks much more challenging, and can significantly increase the work you have to put into your garden. Caring for your tools regularly is more than worth the effort it takes.

If you want to make plant markers from objects you have around the home, try using old window blinds. Cutting up your old blinds will let you make markers that are almost identical to the ones you’d buy at a store. They’re very durable, and should easily be able to survive bad weather.

So you have finally decided you want to plant a garden. One of the first things you will want to do is to find out if you have good or bad soil. The only sure way you will know this is to have the soil tested. Many nurseries will test your soil for a nominal fee. Soil with poor health will produce yellow, sickly-looking plants. By having your soil tested, you will know if your soil needs nutrients added or if you need to make adjustments to the pH of the soil.

Plant fruits and vegetables that you know you like. If you have children, having them help in the garden will make them want to eat the food that they grow. You will be able to save money on your fresh produce as well as know that your family is eating the best produce around.

If you begin employing these ideas into your home garden, you will be sure to have a beautiful garden for years to come. Everyone who sees your fabulous garden is certain to appreciate the time and energy you put into creating an appealing visual display. You can create the garden you have always desired.

15 Favorites: How to Forage for Wedding Flowers

In my family, foraging for DIY wedding flowers has become a tradition. It started when my mom had the idea to grow potted centerpieces for her big day. Great idea, but when the flowers arrived nothing was in bloom—hardly the “explosive fiesta of colors” my mother was after.

To save the day, Aunt Sheila and I headed to the local grocery store and bought as many sunflowers and dahlias as we could. Then, to give the arrangements more texture and a bit of local flavor, we headed into the woods to gather feathery goldenrod and stems of purple pokeberries. The results were bright, bold, and utterly unique. The cost of 14 centerpieces? A mere $ 100. But the best part was how much fun we had.

Today the foraged look is so popular that even the best professional floral designers are cultivating it. With outside-the-box greens such as grasses and vines or local and seasonal elements (fruit and berries), they conjure expressive, wild arrangements, evocative of both time and place. 

To make your own foraged (or semi-foraged) wedding bouquet or centerpiece is easier than you think. Just follow some of these lessons from the experts.

Keep It Simple

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, ferns and roses, by Oh My Hand via FLy Away Bride

Above: Oh My Hand conjured a simply stunning bouquet with generous bunches of maidenhair ferns, roses, and a single vine. Photograph by We Are Wildwood via Fly Away Bride.

In this piece I will present a number of ways to create individual botanicals. But before you get carried away, I must stress one overriding principle. Edit, edit, edit. The reason professional florists are so adept at creating wild and woolly arrangements that don’t seem overgrown is because they set limits. It might be that they use a lot of texture, but a single shade, or maybe they create jewel-toned abundance with almost no greenery.

When in doubt as to the direction you want to take, it’s okay to gather many things. But after you get to the arranging table, cull.

Start With What’s In…

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, lilacs by Leaf anf Honey via Magnolia Rouge

Above: New Zealand-based designers at Natalia from Leaf and Honey, created a cascading homage to spring with seasonal lilacs and wisteria, as well as with a bit of grass and vine. Photograph by Greta Kenyon via Magnolia Rouge.

In season, that is. If lilacs are your thing but your wedding is in the fall, consider a centerpiece of crab apples instead. Winter weddings? Evergreens, pinecones, privet, or winter berries are lovely.

Of course, you don’t have to forage your whole bouquet. Specimens from the local florist or garden paired with wild greens mean you can still use your favorite blooms to wild effect.

And remember: don’t stress. Even if you carry nothing more than a single apple branch or a dewy bunch of ferns down the aisle, it will make a statement.

Tara-Douglas-wedding#11-hand-gardenista

Above: Brooklyn floral designer Tara Douglas grew her own bulbs for her Missouri wedding (See Tara Getting married: DIY Wedding Flowers…and the Big Day.) To these she added foraged elements from her grandmother’s farm, including dogwood and may apple (the big leaves).

…And Add An Element Of Surprise

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, dill and grass by The Blue Carrot via The Natural Wedding Co

Above: From Cornwall, England, Susanne of The Blue Carrot employed wild flowering dill, grasses, and lamb’s ear to create a surprisingly textured bouquet.

Be adventurous. Foraging for wedding florals is not just picking wild flowers. There’s a whole range of design elements outside your door. Consider the gnarled branch, the pine cone, feather, the reed, bunch of grass—even a piece of moss. If it fits the theme, it’s a go. Leafy branches, evergreens, vines, and berries, as we shall see, are great too. But remember, just one element of surprise. Too many will take your bouquet from unusual to unruly.

Below are some favorite surprising elements.

Splendor in the Grass

Gardenista, Expert Advice Foraged Wedding Florals, photo by Birgit Hart via Magnolia Rouge

Above: In this stunning arrangement, designer Petra Müller Blumen employed simple, wild grasses to dramatic effect. Note how the arrangement responds to the blustery Bavarian setting. Photograph by Birgit Hart via Magnolia Rouge.

Dutch garden designer Piet Oudulf has more than demonstrated the expressive splendor of grass. Abundant grasses are also easy and affecting in a foraged bouquet. They add texture and movement as well as a soft, airy quality that is perfect for weddings.

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Weddings Florals, phragmites by Sarah Windward via Ruffled

Above: Sarah Winward of Honey of a Thousand Flowers is a master of employing simple, foraged greens to create a dramatic effect. Here, by pairing feathery phragmites and other grasses with a simple ribbon, she created a soft complement to the bride’s dress. Photograph by Jessica Peterson via Ruffled.

Merry Berries

Foraged Wedding Florals of Gardenista, Cozy Portland Wedding by Emily G. Photography via Ruffled Blog

Above: A bouquet from a Portland wedding employs several of the principles we’ve been talking about here, including the use of an unexpected element (succulents), as well as berries. Photograph by Emily G Photography via Ruffled Blog.

Berries, like the purple privet and juniper shown here, are a wonderful way to add texture and a sense of place to your arrangement. Other favorites include raspberries (thorns removed); winter berry; honeysuckle (like privet, its shades range from bright green to aubergine); bittersweet (embrace an old enemy); rose hips, poke berries—even bay berries.

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, Honey-of-a-Thousand-Flowers

Above: Sarah Winward used both apples and raspberries in this bouquet. Photograph by Jessica Peterson.

Branch Out

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, snowberries, by Sarah Winward

Above: Designer Sarah Winward was so taken with some snowberries she discovered one fall day that she designed a whole floral scheme around them (see A Whisper and a Breath). Here, she paired the berry branches with roses and Queen Anne’s Lace.

Whether you use an abundance of saplings to create a forested feel or unloose your inner-ikebana with just one, solitary stick, branches really can make a statement at a wedding. Lash long cuttings together to create a wedding arbor. Lay them flat to create a centerpiece that runs the length of the table. Or add them to a bouquet to give it a dramatic, fresh-from-the-forest feel. 

glass bottle on tabletop-erin boyle for gardenista

Above: Erin Boyle used foraged apple branches and Queen Anne’s Lace from a nearby field to form a sweet, simple centerpiece.

The Flavor of Fruit

Louesa-Roebuck-quince-and thyme-flower-display

Above: Bay Area floral designer Louesa Roebuck is a champion of the foraged arrangement (see Louesa Roebuck’s Wild (and Edible) Bouquets). Here she uses no flowers at all, instead employing branches laden with wild apples, grapevines, and thyme to give her composition color and texture. 

Nothing says seasonal like fruit still on the branches. For outdoor weddings, they’re also perfect for weighing down anything that might blow away.

Savor the Moment

Gardenista, Foraged Edding Florals herbweddingbouquet Wedding Chicks

Above: Designer Cynthia Meza-Jaquez created an entire herbed themed wedding for the Wedding Chicks, including this rustic bouquet with wild flowers, apples and sage. Photograph by Johnny Jaquez.

Herbs from the garden not only add a savory element to your arrangement, they also have symbolic meaning. Rosemary represents remembrance, fidelity, and love. Sage: wisdom, virtue, and long life. Thyme stands for courage, while parsley symbolizes joy. Other favorites include lavender, dill, mustard flowers, mint, basiel, and feverfew.

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, herb bouquet by Asako Hana

Above: Designer Asako Hana used mint and dill to add texture and a savory smell to this monochromatic arrangement. Photograph by Meg Smith via Snippet and Ink

Vine and Dine

Gardenista, Expert Advice, Foraged Wedding Florals, Tuscany tabletop by Sposiamovi

Above: Tuscan wedding planners SposiamoVi conjured the region’s bounty with a simple centerpiece of grapevines, olive branches, and lemons. Photograph by Lisa Poggi via Ruffled.

My Aunt Sheila’s October wedding featured long tables laid together in a U-shape. For an easy, autumnal centerpiece that ran the entire length, we used winding, yellowing vines and purple honeysuckle berries, all foraged from the groom’s ancestral home by the sea. The takeaway: vines are just about the easiest, most versatile, and most economical wedding decoration there is. Not only can you lay them across the table, you also can drape them as easy garlands, encircle them to make a bridal wreath, even wind them around the cake. 

wedding-cake-with-garland Sarah Winward

Above: What could be more simple than Sarah Winward’s vine-entwined cake?

Want more easy and foraged DIYs? See:

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DIY: How to Make a Vase of Cut Flowers Last a Week

A good garden is always in flux, introducing new colors, and textures throughout the season. The same can be said for the best bouquets. But while we celebrate the vicissitudes of nature, we tend to think of the cut floral arrangement as static. Frustration ensues as some flowers fade before the rest, or if overeager specimens that continue to grow after being snipped disturb the structure of our composition. Cut flowers never seem to last long enough.

But like plants in the garden, a bouquet is a living thing. It evolves as blooms open, follow the light, and die every day. So why fight Mother Nature? After you learn to embrace this evolutionary nature of a floral arrangement, you may learn to delight in its changeability.

Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

Day 1

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-flowers-Gardenista

Above: My choices: fresh spring blooms from Winston Flowers included lilacs, ranunculus, narcissus, and leggy French tulips.

How to Make a Bouquet Last, weet peas grape hyacinths, Gardenista

Above: I also chose grape hyacinths and sweet peas for their more demure stature.

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-stage-1-Gardenista

Above: Freshly arranged, my bouquet added a much-needed touch of spring to the Halloween Hall decor that I never took down!

Rather than reduce the dramatic heights of my larger blooms to bring them into scale with the petite flowers, I created a tiered vignette with sweet peas and grape hyacinths in a smaller vase up front.

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-stage-1-3-Gardenista

Above: I dubbed this version of my arrangement “Bodacious Spring,” and used pink ranunculus, lavender lilacs, and sherbet frosted narcissus to create a look that was both breezy and lush.

Day 2

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-stage-1-4-Gardenista

Above: Still fresh and opening up a bit.

Because this experiment required me to embrace change, I decided not to (ahem) stem the growth of my tulips by piercing the base of the bloom with a needle. After one day, my swooping tulips gave my previously vertical arrangement a more horizontal aspect. Groovy.

Day 3

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-stage-3-Gardenista

Above: Calamity: one of my ranunculus blossoms broke. In addition, one narcissus had already faded and the tulips had run completely amok.

I tried to “fluff up” the taller arrangement by cutting down the tulip stems, but it still looked weak. The old frustration started to creep in.

Then I remembered: “Wait, I’m supposed to be embracing change here, not fighting it.” And so, taking a deep breath, I grabbed a pair of scissors and headed outside to see if my yard had anything to offer. A single just-budding azalea branch later, I was enjoying the second phase of my bouquet, which I called “Victorian Romance.”

Day 5

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-stage-4-Gardenista

Above: After the lilacs, narcissus, and sweet peas all wilted, it was finally time to remove them from the arrangement and merge my two bouquets into a smaller arrangement. With this change, I decided to also try a new location. This compact composition seemed more suited for the bedside table than in my lofty hallway. You’ll also note that I saved the broken ranunculus, which looked charming in a small teacup.

Day 7

Evolution-of-a-bouquet-stage-4-Gardenista

Above: Eking the last life out of my arrangement, I cut the tulips even shorter. At this point my blooming azaleas added not only structural support, but also a potent shock of color as the buds opened. Interestingly, this was my favorite version of the arrangement, and I never would have discovered it, had I not embraced the evolutionary process.

For some other unruly arrangements that embrace change, see:

Want more fresh florals that keep on giving? Over at Remodelista, Christine explores some Wallpaper for Spring and Meredith reveals our favorite architects’ choices for Paint and Palettes: Schemes for Spring.

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Shopper’s Diary: Flowers From Miss Pickering

In the heart of Middle England is Stamford, an outrageously pretty town. Miss Pickering’s flower business is just off the High Street, in a low-ceilinged shop, serviced by a single window. It is heavenly without being twee and the business is far from provincial.

Photography by Miss Pickering except where noted.

Miss Pickering's Flowers, Stamford, England. Gardenista

Above: Miss Pickering, a name not to be quibbled with, was at school in Stamford. She saw the world via London, Italy, France, and Spain before deciding to move back here. In London’s Notting Hill, she got a job with legendary florist Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart, taking phone orders. Miss P. left seven years ago, the same week as Vic Brotherson of Scarlet and Violet, another Wild at Heart alumna (see Shopper’s Diary: Scarlet & Violet).

Miss Pickering's flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: With a concrete floor and low light, Miss Pickering’s shop is a perfect stopping-off point in the journey of a cut flower. Fortunately the low-level lighting is flattering as well as practical. The shop building itself was built in 1463.

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: Miss Pickering began to write a blog when she moved to Stamford from London, partly for the sake of her sanity. It was quickly picked up and is a wonderful read, not only for the afianced.

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: Having sent an experimental bouquet to the editor of Country Living when her shop opened, Miss P. has been in demand ever since.

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, UK. Gardenista

Above: Miss P.’s wedding flower business thrives on personal recommendations. Her brides have a good idea of Miss Pickering’s style through the blog and through her posts on Instagram. They put their trust in her and may be persuaded to be more adventurous than they realized they could be, hitherto: “We’re here to make something for someone else’s day.”

Miss Pickering flowers, the Hound. Gardenista  

Above: The only permanent member of staff is the Hound. Miss Pickering likes to do everything herself, which is difficult to conceptualize: her weddings are not small and they are all over the country, though often in London or for London-based people. The Hound has his own blog.

Miss Pickerin's flowers, Stamford, England. Gardenista

Above: A wedding takes about a week to prep, from conditioning the flowers to figuring out the mechanics of building a floral arch for the church. Miss P. studied biophysics at university. She approaches each wedding with a healthy mix of emotions: “I’m excited and terrified in equal proportion.” 

Miss Pickering flowers, Stamford, England. Gardenista

Above: Being located in the middle of the country has its advantages for getting to bigger projects; the shop in Stamford is also open from Tuesday to Saturday for bunches of flowers. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.

Miss Pickering books on shelf ; Gardenista

Above: Miss Pickering flowers is at 7 St. Paul’s Street, Stamford PE9 2BE.

For more cut flowers that have a distinctly English style, see Wildflowers Delivered to Your Door. Getting married? See DIY: Secrets of Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers. How to keep your cut flowers from drooping? See DIY: How to Make a Vase of Flowers Last a Week.

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Shopper’s Diary: The Little Shop of Flowers in Tokyo

Hidden in a quiet Tokyo alley near the Meiji Shrine’s subway station, The Little Shop of Flowers feels a world away from the teeming crowds of the nearby Harajuku and Shibuya districts.

Florist Iki Yukari, whose background includes a stint in public relations for Band of Outsiders in Tokyo, sells handmade gifts in addition to floral arrangements.

Photography by Aya Brackett.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: The Little Shop of Flowers is tucked away in a courtyard, next door to Eatrip restaurant.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Yukari also blogs at Letters from The Little Shop of Flowers.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Handmade gifts include ceramics, dried floral arrangements, and glassware made by local artisans.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Denim aprons designed by San Francisco-based designer Matt Dick of Small Trade Co. are for sale, along with locally made goods from Japanese artisans.  

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Tip for successful floral arrangements: an off-balanced shape will look more pleasing (and natural) than a perfectly symmetrical bouquet.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Deep red dahlias, pink peonies, striped grasses, and nicotiana are favorite flowers.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Hung from the rafters in bunches, dried flowers are used to make permanent arrangements—wreaths, crowns, and posies.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: The Little Flower Shop connects to Eatrip restaurant, owned by Yukari’s friend Yuri Nomura, who learned to cook in London before working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: The restaurant’s terrace is shaded by a billowing canopy, made of simple bolts of cloth.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Yukari collaborates with Nomura to create the restaurant’s floral arrangements.

The Little Shop of Flowers Harajuku Tokyo ; Gardenista

Above: Friends and collaborators.

Eatrip Restaurant Tokyo Harajuku ; Gardenista

Above: The entrance to Eatrip restaurant is shaded and green.

For more of our favorite spots in Japan, see:

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Fioraio Bianchi Caffè: Food and Flowers from Milan’s Poet Florist

There is only one restaurant inside a flower shop in Milan—or maybe the flower shop is inside the restaurant? This much is known about Fioraio Bianchi Caffè: order the fresh pasta with clams (and rocket pesto) for lunch, and then you may buy a bouquet if you like. Probably you will want to, because the flowers are courtesy of the city’s most famous “poet florist,” 89-year-old Raimondo Bianchi.

It’s open for lunch and dinner, and all the flowers are for sale. Or go down to the basement workshop to order a custom floral arrangement between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm.

Photography via Fioraio Bianchi Caffè except where noted.

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Above: The story of Fioraio Bianchi Caffè begins in 1945, after the war, when 19-year-old Raimondo Bianchi became an apprentice florist in Milan to help his family make ends meet. A decade later, he opened his own flower-and-coffee shop at Via Montebello 7. As the Brera neighborhood became tonier, rents rose and by 2004, after nearly 60 years in the business, a change was necessary.

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Above: By 2005, the coffee shop had evolved into a restaurant under the guidance of owner Massimo Villardita, and the atmosphere remains “a very special place where the flowers will still surprise with their scents, their forms, their shades,” Bianchi said.

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Above: Bianchi’s arrangements are evidence, as the writer Gloria Wells has said, that he “is by nature contemplative, and not by chance has over the decades earned the title of ‘florist poet’.”

Fiorario Bianchi Caffe bar counter Milan ; Gardenista

Above: Photograph via Trip Advisor.

Billed as a bistro, the restaurant serves a full lunch and dinner menu. French music plays in the background.

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Above: Photograph via Daniel Farò.

(You also can order a cup of coffee at the counter in the morning.)

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Above: Says Bianchi: “A flower is a tribute. The antithesis of consumerism is ephemeral, but can take away the sadness.”

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Above: Photograph via The Asmonti Chronicles.

The floral arrangements change with the seasons; Bianchi sources flowers from local farms.

Fioraio Bianchi Caffe Milan ; Gardenista

Above: Orchids are for sale (L) or go downstairs (R) to place a custom order.

Fioraio Bianchi Caffe Milan florists workshop ; Gardenista

Above: Photograph via Graffidigusto.

In the basement is Bianchi’s workshop.

Raimondo Bianchi Florist Milan ; Gardenista

Above: Photograph via Slowtown.

“I have always worked from morning to night with the rhythm of a clock because I think that being able to build something with consistency is important,” says florist Raimondo Bianchi.

Traveling to Milan? See more of our favorite spots:

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