Today is a beloved Sprouter’s birthday, so we made her a crown!
Who wouldn’t want to be crowned King or Queen for a day, if the crown were made of flowers?! Let’s be real…bouquets will always be lovely to give and receive, but we think it would be WAY rad-er to give your flower-child friend a living accessory to wear on his or her next birthday!
This crown features Jasmine, Amnesia Roses, Blackberries and Majolica Spray Roses
Other fabulous opportunities to give or wear flower crowns include:
- Tea parties (With macaroons and petit fours, of course.)
- Weddings (For the bride, bridesmaids, flower girls, etc.)
- Graduations (Crown your graduate!)
- Concerts (Look chic at the opera, the symphony, or at music festivals…obviously…)
- Poetry readings (Flowers look best by espresso and candlelight…)
- Picnics in the park (Checkered blanket, picnic basket, green grass, floral crown…)
- Performances (Crown your dancer, actor, singer and the like!)
We would be delighted to craft a flower crown for your next event, whim, or to cure your winter blues. See more examples of our work HERE, and place an order HERE.
And don’t forget about VALENTINE’S DAY! Pre-Order arrangements for your sweetie HERE!
Photo Credit: Sprout Home
If you’re as avid about indoor gardening as I am, space can quickly become scarce. While larger trees and floor plants are a great aesthetic anchor in the home, several of these may be the limit. Admittedly, I’m writing with branches and foliage hanging over my head …
Fortunately, you can add to your collection with the charm and interest of miniature plants, so why have one when you can have ten?
Rex begonias are a favorite among every gardener, and they can be easily kept even by the novice grower. Rex begonias include a wide range of begonias in their history, but one common denominator in the mix links them all together. Grown specifically for their foliage, the diversity is endless – from spiraling leaves, to arresting color combinations. Leaf types extend from the expected green to nearly black, with surprising shades in-between, ruffled, serrated, you name it. Flowers are typically graceful, but not nearly as flashy. Among such diversity is found those miniature Rex’s, those that may be kept in a flower pot only a few inches in diameter, with the same range of color and texture found in tiny leaves. A long standing favorite is ‘Fiji,’ which features tiny, glossy green leaves with a little ruffle to the end. They are held up like saucers on the stem. Only a few inches tall, a mature plant needs little more than 4” or so of space in a shallow container. Outdoors, Rex’s will fair well in a relatively shaded location, indoors, an east-facing windowsill will provide enough light intensity for lush, full growth habits. Rhizomatus growth can be pinched back during peak growth, again to encourage fullness instead of an angular habit. Light, well draining soil and a shallow container keep these small wonders healthy. Rex’s need to avoid only a handful of things: extreme heat or cold, and soggy soil. In northern climates, windows and windowsills will often be a little chilly, so don’t be surprised to see growth slow almost to a halt. Hold back on watering at this time, as over-watering is easy to do during this rest period. By standard, allow the soil to dry considerably before thoroughly watering again. Vegetative propagation has a high success rate if done during the growing season. Refresh soil annually. And, yes, they look stunning in terrariums.
Next up, for those with a little more patience, are the orchids. With tens of thousands of orchids in the world, I have to hold myself back from a full-on orchid lecture. Instead I’ll focus on a small favorite, the Tolumnia orchids. Once affiliated with their larger brethren (the Oncidium orchids), Tolumnia have recently been separated on their own. Home cultivation is simple and rewarding as these tiny orchids are relatively quick growers. With leaves often less than six inches tall, sprays of colorful and sometimes fragrant flowers are held within the leaves to 10-12” above. A mature plant can flower as young as two years of age. Full maturity can be reached in a pot only a few inches in diameter. Once full-grown, a plant should be divided and replanted every other year. Often, Tolumnia will flower in spring or early summer, but from my personal experience, I can say that indoor-grown orchids will sometimes create their own schedule and flower at unexpected times. A new season of vegetative growth is needed before flowers are set, however, and it is light intensity that holds this key. A shy-bloomer, as far as orchids are concerned, typically needs more sunlight. Native to islands in the Caribbean, Tolumnia are exposed to high humidity, frequent rains and ample light. Their exposure, however, means their roots will dry out quickly, and this must be adhered to when grown in the home. Often, you’ll find me walking around the shop, extending my hand to offer a shadow to explain light levels, and I’m going to do it again … a somewhat defined shadow will find the best indoor location for this little orchid. Planted snugly, with a standard orchid mix, in clay pots, you can expect to soak the roots about once every 7-10 days, maintaining humidity on the leaves, avoid water accumulating at the base of the leaves. Feeding about once a month is standard. Propagate by division.
To round out this mini introduction, Orostachys will be at home in the sunniest of windows, and can be treated much like any other succulent. These are relatively new to me, first found in a mixed flat of succulents. These are a biennial of the eastern hemisphere, with most species found in China. While mature plants will flower and expire, offsets will provide future generations. With limited cold tolerance, I’ve manage for a few years now to allow a small patch of them to grow in the garden, but I don’t depend on their winter tolerance and will always bring a chunk into the house for the winter. Given their growth habit the nickname “hen’s and chicks” is often applied by some (not me). Plants are very short, with flowers often only a few inches tall.
Explore and enjoy, I hope this has opened a tiny window for everyone’s garden growth…
We’re super excited for holidays here at Sprout Home – and throwing ourselves full force into the season like a snowsuit-padded child into a snow bank!
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching next week, we’re prepared with evergreens for winter decor, potted herbs for cooking and hostess gifts and then some… But let’s back up a moment:
Looking back, we’re also full of thanks. I took a poll around the Chicago store: Jess is thankful for illustrations (not Dilbert or Garfield the cat) but medical details and bits&pieces of insects, while Ellen is thankful for Begonias paired with vintage pottery…
One thing we all agree on: We had a fantastic summer and extend our thanks to everyone from customers who pick our brains every day to couples who shared their wedding days with Sprout Home. And, a big thanks to all of our landscape clients who let us push the conventions of gardening in order to design beautiful and engaging gardens for them!
So thank you again, all of you, we’re looking forward to a fun holiday season — so…stop in or look through our online catalog. New products and plants are coming in almost daily, and we’re prepared, for walk-in and pre-booked holiday arrangements and plant-potting. We also welcome recipe sharing — desserts especially. See you soon!
Please note both stores will observe our regular retail hours, but are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Like a regrettable one night stand, the relationship we have with our gardens can go from good to bad unexpectedly. You looked SO good last summer (night) and now, by the harsh light of winter (day) oh, the horror! What did I do? How could this all turn out to be so…unimpressive?
You toiled all spring, your garden was boomin’ all summer long and now where is the winter affirmation of all the hard work? To be brutally honest, anyone can make a garden look fab in July. Every perennial and annual wants to strut its flowery, colorful stuff in the middle of summer. Side note: whether or not it feels easy is for another blog post. Here in Chicago, or any place your snot turns into a frost-sicle on your upper lip, gardens need to be designed to look soul-nourishingly beautiful even on the most miserable winter day.
When your lilies, coleus and poppies have all left you in the cold (presumably planning your big move to Hawaii) take heart in knowing there are other options. Evergreen shrubs come to mind – boxwoods, junipers, hollies- but that’s too easy. Not to say they aren’t great. I do think, for the most part, landscapes should have some kind of evergreen shrub structure supporting its design. But let’s talk about some of the less obvious plants which can help carry you through, visually and mentally, to spring.
Evergreen / Semi-Evergreen Perennials Liriope spicata, Carex ‘Ice Dance’, Epimedium (pictured bottom left), Pachysandra terminalis, Hedera helix (pictured top right) are some of my personal favorites for providing winter color. Hedera helix is notable since it can be a groundcover providing a carpet of green, or a vine- creating a green wall year round.
Seed heads / Pods / Structure Some plants can be stunning in winter simply because of their dried structure. The dark spiked seed heads on Echinacea (pictured top left) stay on all winter providing food for hungry creatures and visual texture for us. Grasses (bottom right) are another great structural plant. When the snow and ice piles on top of these plants they turn into mini Gaudi-esque masterpieces. Some of my favorite grasses for cold climates are Panicum virgatum ‘heavy metal’ and Eragrostis spectabilis (purple love grass) and Sporobolus heterolepsis ‘tara’. Baptisia and Asclepis tuberosa are excellent choices for seed pods that persist through the cold.
(image credits: echinacea- flickr user ms.tea ; Hedera helix – flickr user Jason Sturner 72 ; Epimedium- flickr user wallygrom ; grasses- flickr user normanack)
We have about 50 amazing terrariums that we just put out. They make great gifts for you last minute gift givers!!