As the season of giving, family gatherings and holiday events approach, I hark back to a simpler time. As a child, I remember the cornfields of central Illinois giving up their bounty and then, lying silently as the cold wind sweeps over the frozen tundra. The trees and shrubs have all settled in for the long winter’s nap.
Houseplants have always played an important part of health and well being. Having green plants around gives us a nice feeling, a connection with nature, a Mother Nature “warm fuzzy,” if you will. We love our plants and in return, they love us back and go beyond the call of duty by cleansing the air we breathe, filtering out toxic fumes, pollutants and bad air.
When I started working in our family greenhouses 30 years ago, my father-in-law, a respected and renowned grower, shared his floral wisdom. The perfect Easter lily, he told me, is one that when you knock on the door to deliver it to a customer, the vibration of the knock opens the first bloom for them to enjoy.
Just because you live in a land-locked state or have a small outdoor area doesn’t mean you can’t sip a fruity drink surrounded by flowering tropical beauties this summer. You can easily transform your outdoor summer space to reflect the ambiance of an island paradise with just a few plants from your local garden center.
When gardeners vacation, they are excited to see flowers and plants they don’t normally see in their own backyards. If you are accustomed to seeing petunias, geraniums and marigolds, when you spot a tropical hibiscus or bougainvillea, you grab your camera and click away.
Nothing says Halloween like our friend the pumpkin. From a decorative Jack-o’-Lanterns to tasty pies. Native to North American this versatile squash is used as food and recreation. For carving, pumpkin-chunkin (world record at over 4,000 ft.), pies, breads, muffins, pancakes and lattes, it sure gets around.
Whenever I think about decking the halls, my mind congers up images of Christmas past. A young Midwestern boy growing up on a farm, raising animals, doing chores and thinking about the yuletide treasures that await.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the name of things do not matter, only what things “are.” There are a few names of flowers that “are” romantic, such as Love-in-a-Mist, Bleeding Heart, Forget-Me-Nots, Love Lies Bleeding, Cupid’s Dart and Heartleaf Bergenia.
With the new and fresh planting season, our thoughts turn to new explosions of color and resurrection. Marching into spring, Mother Nature delights us with bulbs’ noses emerging, buds swelling on branches and the occasional warm breeze. Oh yes, the spring flowers, they’re coming.
If you have a patio, porch, terrace, balcony, deck or veranda, now is the time for some beautiful flowers to add excitement and a personal touch to your outdoor living space. Planting blooms of different colors, textures, heights and widths will enhance your enjoyment while cooking, entertaining or just hanging out.
As my wife and I traveled the highways and byways of the American Southwest during our summer vacation, one thing became apparent: The variety of flowers and plants are as diverse as the changing landscape. The trek took us from Erie, Colo., to Moab, Utah, then on to the Grand Canyon, Arizona, over to Mesa Verde and through Durango, Colo. Roughly a 1,650-mile, five-day journey to explore the great national wonders of America the beautiful
As a U.S. Air Force veteran, artist and flower shop owner, I’ve always known the positive power of flowers. From my youth on the flat farmlands of Illinois to the alpine flora in the great state of Colorado, I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by Mother Nature’s bounty and beauty for most of my life.
Many folks think florists and card companies invented Valentine’s Day. Well, here is the scoop on the day of love: There are many legends on the origin of Valentine’s Day, from saints to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. The most popular one goes all the way back to 270 A.D., when Bishop Valentine performed secret marriage ceremonies. When the Roman Emperor Claudius II discovered this, he sentenced the Bishop to death. While in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and before he was executed on February 14, sent her a note signed, “From Your Valentine.”
As winter recedes across the land, the promise of new life emerges from the soil. The grass takes on a familiar hue, and the smell of spring wafts in the garden. As the growing tips of fall planted bulbs push skyward, their history is deeply rooted in folklore and stories of power and intrigue.
Ah … it’s my favorite time of the year. We all have different tastes, different reasons why one season floats our boat and others we might dread. Spring promises new hope, new growth and the promise of flowers and food. As Mother Nature closes the curtain on ice and cold, she opens the window to cleansing rain, blue skies, milder temperatures and fragrances that bring back memories of our childhoods.
My family has been in the flower business for more than 66 years, now in our fourth generation. We take pride on being good stewards of the land and its resources. Planting, growing and selling plants and flowers that not only beautify, but also benefit the environment and its creatures.
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