Friday, August 12, 2016

Will you be enjoying Rose Quartz & Serenity this Year?

One of the 1st things I always noticed when we would arrive from NJ to sunny Naples was the color of the grass and the bright vivid flowers.  In November, up North, the grass had gone the color of wheat and aside from leftover pumpkins, there was not much color.  We are so lucky to have year round color here.

Some may take color for granted, but the Pantone company certainly does not.  They forecast a color snapshot of what they see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

For the first time Pantone introduced two shades, Rose Quartz and Serenity as the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure.  Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.   These colors are in our lives in SW Florida in the many sky blues, not to mention all of the colors of the sunrise & sunsets. 

Never one to miss a trend, botanistix has you covered.   In reality, these are excellent colors in flowers as well as nature, which is why botanistix jumped on the bandwagon.  Soft muted shades of rose and blue are a lovely change from last years Marsala which was a bit drab.

Its so interesting that these tranquil colors were choses in 2016 an election year, which so far has been anything but tranquil.  Perhaps the theory is “if you  think it, it will become reality.”  I am all for that!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tending to my Botanical Garden

Each year before the rainy season and after friends have given me their unwanted orchids,  I spend a back braking day, repotting and disassembling orchids from their pots and putting them on selected trees. The medium breaks down so quickly in our temperatures and rain and I prefer the bark to the  moss, so that is what I use to repot.   I also find fresh medium holds my botanistix stakes better if things are nice and tight inside the pot.  Its a long day (5 hours) but next season, the plants will reward me with beautiful blooms.

I take a good look at what bloomed on which tree and I look for telltale signs that this type of orchid was not happy on a certain tree.  For instance, last year during this process I had separated a large cattleya and attached them to different trees only to be disappointed that not one bloomed in the year.  They were in too much shade!  I lost a whole year on that mistake.   This year, they are on a tree that gets sun and its right outside of our bedroom, so I expect to be enjoying colorful cattleyas next blooming cycle.  I love to open the shutters in the morning to see my orchid blooms smiling at me!

WhenI started this process 9 years ago, I included bromeliads on the trees.  I like the look of the 2 together but I really do not add anymore now.  I pay attention to when the  mother plant needs to be removed, then the pups take over.

Our rainy season really has not begun yet. Collin came through last week and gave us some needed rain but now we are back to very dry conditions.  I attached my new orchids lower on the trees so they will get the water from the irrigation until God takes over watering.

This year I decided to try attaching 3 orchids to a potted tree we have at the front door entrance.  Its covered so I will have to water them. I will be so excited when they bloom since the front door is glass.  How pretty from inside. When I have the Botanistix Open House in Nov, I may have spikes!

I am so happy its done and yes I have big expectations for next season!  Here is a visual for you.

Ready to go onto the trees

As you can see, the pantyhose color is navy- so stylish! I cover my handiwork with moss.

Cattleyas in the sunny tree this time.

This will be my test.  Its at the front door and I will have to water them!

This was the view from the side yard this Spring.   Orchid Alley!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

                                                    WHATS YOUR VIEW?

Its a simple but often overlooked element of a room’s design, the view.  Of course if you have a built in view like a body of water or mountains, all the better. Most of us need to create our views.

Whether you are newly home from your winter in Florida or you are a Naples full timer, this is the time to make what you see from your windows something special for you.  I have tried over the past few years to make my window views something that attracts me as I walk by.  In our bedroom when I wake up and open the shutters, the first thing I see are my orchids and bromeliads growing on the palms and the blue sky vine growing on the wall behind them. Its taken years to get the vine all the way over on the wall, but its beautiful now.  Patience, its a virtue!  

Outside of the kitchen window I have added colorful orchids and interesting bromeliads that attract my attention to the dual palm tree.  Each summer I add to the trees knowing that the view will be even better next year.  Its very much like when perennials are in the ground for several years, they really come to life.  The garden eventually becomes the photo you had in your mind originally.

When I am at the kitchen sink, I want to be able to look at something interesting which takes the focus off the not so interesting chore of the dishes.  Outside I have 3 large planters with eye catching color combinations to attract my eyes and all of a sudden, the dishes are done! 

Recently, I hung an unused chandelier on the tree outside of my dining room. When I entertain I use small battery operated candelabra lights and everything glistens.  I also keep glass ornaments on the tree.  When the lights are on, the reflection on the glass makes me do a double take.  Its all about keeping it 
interesting, if only for ourselves.

If your front  door is glass like ours, the view needs to be considered from both sides.  I chose a tall heavily textured pot planted with a tree, flowers and glass Botanistix stakes. The look is welcoming from the outside and pretty for us from the foyer.

In our study, we have a very tall window that gives great natural light.   The bougainvillea planted just outside is very tall on one side of the window and it washes the fuchsia color on the interior wall.  Something as simple as this color splash is just so beautiful.


Our hot and rainy summer means everything grows at an alarming rate which makes it a great time to plant.  Its the perfect time to plan for next season’s views.  


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Whats really under the flower arrangements

Happy New Year!

I love flowers and I am assuming most of you do as well!  My foyer table always has a seasonal arrangement.  Sometimes its orchids with succulents, flowers or other plants.  I am obsessed with great containers, which for me makes or breaks the look.  How to make all the different sized pots work in a large container is the trick, right?  

Homes are staged, mannequins are staged (with pins) and so should our containers holding multi sized pots.  I  always have risers.  I use tops of detergent bottles, plastic food containers, you name it, beneath mine you never know what I will have.  Its crucial for height variation.  My second bugaboo is keeping the pots in the center straight, (vertical.)  I use packaging whether cardboard or hard kraft paper.  I am ok with the side pots having a slant to them because it looks more natural.  If you are using fresh flowers dropped in here & there,  the florist vials are great to just tuck in wherever you want them.  Just do not forget to check them every other day for a refill. 

 Christmas is great because it gives us a license to be very sparkly!  Those bulbs can hide a lot of your props.  In the top photo I have an orchid pot squeezed in the crystal vase with Stargazer Lilies in floral vials.  Below you can see I used large gold flower bulbs to hide my props then I used fresh off the tree moss.  How lucky we are here in SW Florida,  our moss is so beautiful and alive, nothing like the packaged moss.  I recently learned moss is part of the bromeliad family, which loves our tropical environment.

Finally,  I like to raise the container off the tabletop.  I especially love cake stands for this.

Its all about keeping it interesting for us, after all, we are the ones who will be walking by everyday, right?  Soon I will be incorporating my Valentines Day decor into something fun, then Easter & Spring as I am sure you will be too.    Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Maximize your Lighting

Well Its that time of year when even those of us who are are not lighting experts will be dragging out the christmas lights to join in the neighborhood tradition.   I recently hung an unused chandelier in my orchid tree to give some interest when we are dining at the  dining room table.  The low lights really set off the chandelier and the  green apples that hang from it.  Then I decided to hang some glass 12" vertical 'things' under the tree as well.  They were that strange purchase from years ago.  You know the kind where you tell yourself I 'll figure something to do with them 'in the future.'  Well, I found something to do with them and with low lighting,  I am getting some nice reflection out the them.  Its  exactly what I was looking for...and everything is better when the orchids and flowers are blooming on the tree.  The Phalenopsis plants are putting off their shoots and very soon there will be nice color in the tree to go along with the sparkle of everything else!  With lighting and some props, a simple view can be greatly enhanced.

Now I really do need to get to the Christmas lights.  How about you?  Do you still decorate your outdoors?  We do, but not to the degree we used to, thankfully!

Have a great holiday season.  Whatever it is you celebrate, we celebrate along with you!
Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mystery of Orchids Revealed!

Not only is Costco a leader in orchid sales here in the SW Florida area, I would say they are among the 1st to really hit on a remedy to what kills orchids faster than anything.  We are talking about overwatering!

The buzz is that the Costco orchids now come with a mini 'cup' of sorts, which is the perfect amount of water the plant needs to thrive for a week.  Excuse me,  I thought it couldn't get any easier than
"put 3 ice cubes on the plant once/week."  Apparently, there needed  to be an (another) easier way.   I water all of my orchids once every 2 weeks unless when I put my finger in the pot, it comes out wet.  Sometimes, moss will still be wet after 2 weeks.  That is why when I replant I use bark not moss.  Its much more predictable.

Speaking of replanting, I have been at it recently.  Many people are intimidated by separating the plants and repotting.  In my experiences, orchids are very forgiving.  I cut out all of the thin wiry roots and make room for the roots that are plump & supple. Also important in the process, I soak the bark for a day before I replant the orchid.  It retains water so much better.  If you don't presoak, the first few waterings just run through the medium and you will need to water more frequently.  I also wet the  roots just to plump them up a bit before they go into the new pot.  I usually repot in plastic pots since I like to bring blooming orchids inside and put them in arrangements in large pots.  Some people will only use terra-cotta since it dries out so well.  Both pots have performed well for me but I do not want the bulk of the terra-cotta. Pot size is also important.  It is frustrating when I have moved the orchid up a pot size (perhaps too early) and it takes longer for the bloom cycle to begin.  I suppose the roots are getting comfy in their new digs.   Lastly, hold off on the temptation to fertilize right a way for the same reason, the roots are just finding their way. Let them relax at least until the next watering. If your orchids have just bloomed, its an ideal time to repot.

That is my process.  To those of you who toss the plant once the blooms are gone, (who are surprisingly many) its a little more work, but sometimes its nice to get your hands dirty!

So hats off to Costco.  Quite possibly, now EVERYONE can manage to make their orchids live and thrive!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Making the Most of your Views

   Summer is flying by, its Aug this weekend!  Hopefully, your flower beds are at their peaks.  Did you do all that you wanted to do in the garden this season?  I have tried very hard over the past few years to make my window views something that attract me as I walk by.  When I wake up and open the shutters, the first thing I see are my orchids and bromeliads growing on my palm trees.  All winter I see the beautiful blooms.  Each summer I add to the trees knowing that next winter, I will be rewarded with more blooms.  I  have consciously tried to make the large planters outside my kitchen attract my  eye so that when I am doing dishes, I have something else to focus on.   The same is true for our front door, which is mostly glass.

   Recently, I hung an unused chandelier on my tree outside my dining room.  When I entertain I use the small battery operated candelabra  lights and everything glistens.  I also keep glass ornaments on that tree.  When the lights are on,  the reflection on the glass makes me do a double take.  Its all about keeping it interesting, if only for ourselves.

    Consider this a small reminder before your season is over.  What can you do with the remaining months to make next summer's views even more special?    Each season you can be a little closer.

   Our gardens are always a work in progress like us, right?