Bouquet Inspiration: The Forest Floor

By Ellen Sparks, April 16th, 2014, Chicago, flowers

At Sprout Home, we feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with all types of  floral clients. It is truly a pleasure to create arrangements with a specific person in mind, and to help couples bring to life the unique visions they have for their wedding. Inspiration comes from everywhere you can think of. I have wired plastic dinosaurs into a “Lisa Frank” inspired bouquet, and have designed wedding flowers for a couple who described their wedding as “Casa Blanca meets Mad Max…” (Lots of black, white, driftwood and skeletal branches). We do get our fair share of traditional, white bouquet orders – but, more often than not, people come to us because they’re looking for something a bit different.

Wrap Text around ImageA couple of years ago, a bride came in looking for a non-floral bouquet. She spent much of her childhood wandering around the woods on her family’s property and, now that she was getting married, she wanted the bouquet she carried down the aisle to reflect her favorite memories. Thus, her inspiration was “the forest floor.”  Ummm, rad much? I just found the photos we snapped before delivering the bouquet, and I wanted to share.  I was really happy with the end result, and so was the bride. Hopefully this will inspire some of you to think beyond the traditional.

In order to mimic the look of a forest Wrap Text around Imagefloor, I used a variety of ferns, woody eucalyptus pods, beech twigs, dianthus and delicate bupleurum for the base of this bouquet. Then I wired in various succulents along with moss, lichen, dried fungus and dried zebra pods. The bride was also very fond of bleeding hearts (Dicentra) but they were unavailable at the time, so I substituted a couple stems of lily of the valley to get the same effect.

 

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Brooklyn Botanical Garden Wedding

By Natasha, April 4th, 2014, Brooklyn, floral design, wedding

Thanks to Style Me Pretty for featuring some of our floral arrangements from Cody and Joe’s wedding that took place in the Palm House of Brooklyn’s Botanical Garden. Our exotic floral arrangements consist of not only hand picked floral splendor, but stems of edible fig and black berry accents that compliment the rich ruby and fuscia tones of peonies, dahlias, anemones, jasmine, and roses. The lovely bride, Cody, is also wearing one of our carefully hand crafted floral necklaces.

Also, check out their guest seating assignment seed packets! What a neat and creative idea to give the gift of growing your very own flora to friends and family.

You can see more photo’s from the wedding here. All photographs featured were done by  Ava Weddings Fine Art Photography. 

 

 

Natural Remedies for Your Garden

By sommersprout, April 4th, 2014, Natural Remedy

 

There are many natural remedies for what ails your garden. Some are proven to work, and some are like a placebo that you have to will to work. Here is one that has worked for me. No crystal energy involved- I’ll save that for the next post.

I’m not a fan of pesticides and decided that I would only be using natural methods to cultivate my indoor and outdoor gardens. I noticed that my indoor Meyer Lemon tree had a few shiny, sticky spots on the leaves. This is a good indication that a pest is moving in, and for me, it was Scale. At this point, I had already conquered mealy bugs and aphids, so I was ready for the Scale challenge. I removed as many as I could by scraping them off the leaves and stems. They like to hide in the crevasses of a plant, so you might need a monocle to discover the small ones. Next, I mixed a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with water and a few drops of lavender and oregano essential oils in a spray bottle. This helps to kill the smaller bugs that have not developed a tough armor yet. I inspected the tree every other day. It seems like a lot of work, but it’s a must if you want to save a special plant.

Some plants are more susceptible to Scale than others, but the best thing you can do is keep your plants happy is the first place. For example, my philodendron could care less when I decide to fertilize it but the lemon tree requires more frequent fertilization. It also loves full sun and humidity, and it doesn’t like to be over watered. Once I started paying more attention to these needs, I saw new growth and less scale. Sometimes plants can be like pets, some need more attention than you might think but the rewards of having a more needy plant can really pay off. I harvested 9 lemons from my tiny little lemon tree, and a year later, it’s showing off fragrant blossoms once again.

Spring Forward with Sprout

By Natasha, March 28th, 2014, Brooklyn

This sweet seed and pot set up was photographed by some lovely women of Moomah Magazine, in our Williamsburg location.

Can you believe it’s finally spring and the equinox was already a week ago? Neither can we! I guess folks can now say with a bit of well deserved and nearly missed optimism “Hey honey, spring is in the air.” because baby, it is. It sure was a seriously rough winter and here at Sprout, our newly constructed plant racks in the  backyard are beginning to fill up with blooming annuals, savory herbs, hearty perennials, and incredible evergreens for all of your outdoor gardening dreams. Even our seed rack is starting to spin on a daily basis, and people can’t get enough of our floral, herb, and vegetable seed selection. The time is NOW, my friends, to start collecting seeds for the backyard, windowsill, or even fire escape garden you’ve been dreaming so long of.

We even had the pleasure of being mentioned online by Moomah Magazine, for seed growing inspiration and dynamic gardening books that we carry in our store. Take a look for yourself, and see some more images and a nice little write up.

 http://moomah.com/themagazine/seed-selling-fundraiser

Bring Spring Indoors by Forcing Branches

By Ellen Sparks, March 26th, 2014, Chicago, flowers

Winter is finally over! (Sort of…) Even if the cold hasn’t quite let up, we’re beginning to see signs of spring in the form of leaf and flower buds. Early spring is the best time to prune your fruiting trees and shrubs to ready them for the growing season. This year, instead of throwing out (or composting, please) your cut branches, why not bring them inside to enjoy longer?

When flowering branches are cut at budding stages, blooms may open early indoors and last for quite a while. As long as the plant has had a proper cooling period and dormancy (through winter) the warm temperatures of the indoors will force flower buds to open earlier than they normally would outside on the plant. After the flowers drop, many branches will continue to grow leaves for quite a while (see the leafing almond branches pictured below). Some branches, such as willow, might even grow roots and may be planted in the ground after forcing inside.

Good examples of branches to force inside include: Apple, Cherry, Almond, Plum, Dogwood, Curly Willow, Fantail Willow, Forsythia, Pear, Quince, Magnolia

Almond branches growing leaves two weeks after flowers have dropped.

In order to prepare branches for forcing:

- Choose fresh branches which show signs of budding.

- Cut a couple of inches off the ends and shave off a bit of bark with a knife. You may also cut up into the end of each branch to allow for better water uptake , but be careful!

- Place branches in a vase full of lukewarm water.

- Place the vase near a window where the branches will receive at least some diffused, natural light.

- Re-cut branches, and refresh the water every couple of days (UNLESS the branches are rooting in the water. In this case, you will not want to cut off the roots, but simply refresh the old water).

Give it a try this season, and let us know how it goes!

 

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