Forget the Apple, Give Your Teacher Flowers!

Forget the Apple, Give Your Teacher Flowers!

The school year is just about to begin, and what better way to start off the year than by getting on your teacher's good side? You can go ahead and bring your teacher a shiny red apple, but chances are, most of the other students will as well. Set yourself apart from the rest of the class by giving your teacher something he or she  can cherish ‚Äčlong after snack time is over. Flowers can be the ideal addition to a teacher's desk or window, so make his or her year by giving this creative gift.

What Flowers to Give your Teacher

If you are in school, it is more than likely that a large bouquet of calla lilies is a little bit out of a student's price range. Start off your decision making by finding a flower that will be sturdy enough to last a long while.

Flowers that are in season tend to be healthier and more robust, so picking one from a seasonal group will improve its chances of long-term survival. Flowers that tend to survive for the longest amount of time in water include roses, orchids, carnations, chrysanthemums, lilies, gladiolas and alstromerias. Most of these are available year round, so choose a bouquet that you think your teacher will adore, like this My Little Chickadee collection. When choosing a bouquet, you want to be sure that the colors are bright and cheery, and avoid a bunch that seems fit for Valentine's Day. 

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Teacher Bouquet
Teleflora's My Chickadee Bouquet $34.95

For flowers that will last even longer, choose to gift a potted plant. Offer to do watering duties for your teacher to show how much you appreciate him or her. Some great potted plants that are sure to please include the Teleflora Sugar Maples bunch. This collection is perfectly suitable gesture to welcome fall. Try to choose a pot that is small enough to fit on your teacher's desk without taking up to much space. For example, bamboo requires little care and always looks great. Send the Teleflora Good Luck Bamboo to make a strong impression with your new teacher.

Trick Out Your Pot

Take your potted plant gift one step further by adding a few DIY touches before the first day of school. Make a little popsicle stick sign to place in the pot. To do so, just color a piece of cardstock like a matching flower and write a note that shows your appreciation. A cute little phrase could be, "Thank you for helping me bloom!" .You can also take a paint brush to the pot itself and let your creative hands fly. If your teacher happens to teach math, paint a few equation problems on the side. If your teacher's subject is science, paint a test tube and microscope onto the side.

Pick one of these ideas and you will be set for a great start to the upcoming school year. Flowers are no guarantee of getting straight A's, but they couldn't hurt. 

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.

Wedding Tip: Picking Flowers for a September Wedding

Wedding Tip: Picking Flowers for a September Wedding

September may be the first month of fall, but that doesn't mean that summer's bright colors have gone. September's blooms are full, hardy and gorgeous additions for any wedding, and each flower comes in such a variety of colors that a seasonal floral bouquet can match any color-scheme. For brides purchasing flowers for their September wedding, keep in mind that you will want to make selections that are both locally and seasonally in bloom. The reason being that the florist will likely have an abundance of this genus, whose local blooms should be brighter and last long through the wedding night.

What Blooms Where:

East Coast
During September, the East Coast will be profuse with amaryllis, bittersweet, crab apple, hydrangea, ornamental berries, rose, sugar maple and sunflower. 

September brides hosting a slightly informal affair would do well to choose sunflowers as their floral focal point. These bright blooms make a statement with a sharp contrast from dark centers to bold petals. These flowers don't only come in the traditional yellow, but they can also be found in lemon, deep gold, orange, russet and brown. If you are a bride expecting to see these large stalks throughout your tent, then look no further, but for the other brides who may be hesitant, be aware that this flower comes in a variety of sizes. Sunflowers are also an ideal wedding bloom because they symbolize adoration and loyalty, perfect for this special day.

Midwest
At the beginning of fall, the dahlia, rose, scabiosa, rose hip, ornamental berries, crab apple and autumn foliage are at their peak.

The dahlia is immediately recognizable for its bright and plentiful blooms. These flowers are striking if nothing else, and you can make a statement with them in white, yellow, orange, pink, red or purple. The history of the Dahlia is mired in thievery and intrigue, so it is no wonder that the flower carries the meaning, forever mine.  

West Coast
The flowers you will find in bloom on the West Coast at this time include the chrysanthemum, cosmos, coreopsis, Gerber daisy, hydrangea, lisianthius, pomegranate, rose and rose hip.

The cosmos is ideal for a romantic wedding. It is much like a daisy, but with a delicate touch. Not only are the blooms gentle in appearance, the foliage also has an airy effect. Even the modern wedding bride would do well to choose a minimalist arrangement with these flowers. You can find cosmos in varying colors from white, pale pink, dark pink to chocolate.

South
In this part of America in September you can find blooms of bittersweet, galax, hydrangea, ornamental berries, rose, salvia, sassafras and sumac.

Hydrangeas are a very common flower, and can be found in almost any color imaginable, including rare colors like green, burgundy and blue. Even when dried, these blooms can be dyed to match any wedding color-scheme. The reason this flower is great for weddings in particular is that it represents devotion. What better way to decorate your wedding than with the symbolic touch of a hydrangea?

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.

Tomato Vines Going Crazy? Pruning Tips for Tomato Newbies

Tomato Vines Going Crazy? Pruning Tips for Tomato Newbies

For new and old tomato growers alike, picking the abundant fruits in the backyard is a pleasure, until thwarted by the tangle of vegetable branches that seem to never stop growing. This New World native has multiple cooking uses, so it's no wonder the vine happens to be America's favorite garden vegetable. Letting the plant take over your garden bed can feel inevitable, but your tomatoes do not have to shade out your flowering annuals. Keep a cohesive and gorgeously maintained garden with these pruning know-hows:

Why it is Important to Prune

Pruning can start as early as the day you plant your tomatoes. Managing your plant's growth both vertically and laterally can seriously impact its future health and fruit abundance. Tomatoes are a hardy crop with excitingly rapid growth. For the first month of the plant's life it sends all of its energy to creating new leaves, causing it to double in size almost every 12 to 15 days. Because of this rapid growth it is wise to stake or cage your plants very early on in the year. It is possible that plants will grow too large to cage, or their weight can make staking difficult and dangerous for the stem. Choose to stake early to prevent these latter problems. For those of you who have not had the chance to stake your plants, do not worry, some clever pruning can eliminate a few of these problems.

The tomato will continue to produce energy through photosynthesis during the sunniest months, and once these production levels exceed what is needed for leaf growth, this excess energy will be sent off to stems for flower and fruit production. If the main stem, or even fruit bearing stems, are unsupported at the time fruit begins to grow, they can fall to the ground. Not only will the fruit fall, but if a gardener is not watchful, his or her plant can grow to exceed a four foot by four foot area. It is at this moment that the gardener realizes the nearby flowers are in danger of losing necessary sunlight, forcing them to transplant. Once again, pruning can help to ward of these timely tasks.

How to Prune

Gardeners may be used to pruning their bushes or deadheading their daffodils, but when it comes to vegetable and fruit plants, pruning can feel daunting. The excitement from seeing the exponential growth can be a deterrent for pruning, but calculated snips will benefit both the plant and its yield. Just remember that leaves of a properly pruned plant will dry and fall off more quickly, leaving less opportunity for disease to spread, and more opportunity for photosynthesis to occur.

As your plant grows, it will develop side shoots (suckers) in the axils (crotches) between the leaves and stems. These suckers can draw a significant amount of sugar from the stem, leaving less for fruit production. Any suckers that are below the first flower cluster can also cause your main stem to weaken. Trim off all suckers that grow beneath the first flower cluster. Do so by taking the base of the sucker between your thumb and forefinger and bending it back and forth. This should cause this new growth to fall off. If the side shoot has hardened or is leathery, you may have to use scissors. Keep the cut small to prevent a large sore from forming which can be susceptible to disease. For suckers that grow above the first flower cluster, you will want to use the Missouri pruning technique. Do this by clipping off just the end of the shoot, leaving at least one or two leaves that can provide some sun protection to lower fruit.

Pruning tomato plant
Photo credit: aces.edu

Try and keep each plant's main branch count to about four or five. When it is younger, allow one main branch to grow on each side of the plant to improve both balance and sun exposure.

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.

The Dos and Don’ts of Sending Flowers To a Girl

The Dos and Don'ts of Sending Flowers To a Girl

For a lot of guys, sending a girl flowers can bring on a lot of pressure and confusion. With so many arrangements and options to choose from, it can be hard to decipher what exactly is the best bouquet to send. To simplify the process, follow the tips below:

When to Send

It is important to take into consideration when it is the right time to send flowers. The truth is, you can send flowers all the time. Flowers often have the largest impact if sent in the spur of the moment. Your girl will cherish them all the more because a spontaneous bouquet shows she is on your mind. Though the flowers don't need to be sent for any specific occasion, it is always good to mark down the major holidays when she may be expecting a blooming bouquet at work. These go-to holidays are Valentine's Day, her birthday, your anniversary (of your first date and your marriage if applicable) and the winter holidays.

Beachside Bliss Bouquet
Shop for Beachside Bliss Bouquet

Sending flowers is a great gesture at nearly any moment, but there are two definite times when you should not send a girl flowers. The first is to make an impression. If you don't know the girl that well she may see this gesture as extravagant and insincere. Ladies like to receive flowers that come with a loving note. Also, do not send a girl flowers during or after a break up. If you want to make things right, you should bring the flowers yourself.

The Note

Remember to always send a card with your flowers. A small, affectionate note will make your gift all the more special. Take your time when trying to decide what to write. The key things to keep in mind are that you should make it personal, and write it from the heart. Shakespeare sonnets are beautiful, but your girl wants to hear from you.

The don'ts of note writing are simple - avoid any cliché phrases and check for grammar - you want to make a good impression.

What to Send

Roses are a classic choice, they symbolize love and passion. These are good to send on a more formal occasion. When roses are in season, from early spring till fall, they come in more varieties and colors, and florists will have a higher quality and quantity available.

Choose to go one step farther and send her a bouquet that will touch her heart. Try and find out what her favorite flower is - if she has not mentioned one you can always ask one of her close friends. Sending her a bouquet of her favorite flowers will show you pay close attention. If you are not able to find out what her favorite flowers are, opt for a bouquet of her favorite color. Choosing by color offers you a larger variety of in-season blooms, which will last longer and look nicer upon arrival. If her favorite color happens to be blue, you may be limited in choice. Blue is a rare color for natural blooms, so look for gladiolas, delphiniums or hydrangeas. These look good mixed with white flowers, or in a blue vase like the Beautiful in Blue bouquet.


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Beautiful Blue Bouquet

The classic number of individual flowers to order is 12, but luckily, ordering online simplifies the process with pre-arranged bouquets.

If you want to give your girl something she can cherish for a long time, send her a potted plant like the Happy Hydrangea. Do not send a potted plant to her office, it can make for a cumbersome trip home. Do choose to send a pot if your girlfriend happens to like gardening, this way she can add the blooms to her backyard.

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Happy Hydrangea Plant

Last but not least, make sure you have her full name, address and phone number when ordering. The last thing you want is to send the flowers to the wrong address.

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July’s Organic Gardening Tip: Why You Should Plant Garlic Bulbs

July's Organic Gardening Tip: Why You Should Plant Garlic Bulbs

Looking to make the most out of your garden? Flower beds might give your lawn a great aesthetic, but odds are you won't be using most of them in the kitchen. Garlic, on the other hand, is  easy to grow at home and can become a flavor component of almost any meal. Garlic is a relatively simple plant to care for, even for those without a green thumb. More importantly, garlic works as a natural pest repellent, helping to keep your flowers free of unwanted bugs. So why not plant this versatile vegetable today?

planting garlic cloves
Photo credit:quaysidepub.com

Planting Garlic

The main challenge of growing garlic is that it takes some patience. It is recommended to plant garlic four to six weeks before the ground freezes, around October or November. The garlic bulbs won't be ready for harvesting until next summer. Make a note of where you plant your garlic to make sure not to try and put other plants in the same place come springtime.

Garlic should be planted in raised beds if possible, as too much stagnant water can cause the roots to rot. Make sure the garlic in an area that gets full sunlight as it will not prosper in shade. Loamy, slightly acidic soil is best for this vegetable.

Any avid cook is well familiar with garlic cloves. The cloves are sections (of what?) that can be pulled off the bulb and be planted to form a new garlic bulb. Garlic bulbs from the grocery store, in regards to sprouting, will likely not be as successful as those ordered from a seed company. Take the garlic bulb and separate the cloves several days before planting them, but do not remove the skin as you would if you were cooking with them. Bury the garlic two inches below the ground and spread each clove several inches apart. In the spring, shoots should stem up from the ground.

Gardeners in colder regions should mulch the area where garlic is planted before winter to prevent the bulbs from dying in the cold temperatures. In the springtime when green is sprouting, remove the mulch to give the garlic full sunlight.

By June, your garlic should sprout flowery stalks called scapes. Remove these stalks to encourage the bulbs to grow. Scapes can be used for a variety of culinary purposes.

Two Basic Types of Garlic

  • Hardneck: This type of garlic is grown mostly in the northeast. Hardneck garlic has larger cloves and a stiff stalk, making it great for culinary use. However, hardneck garlic does not have a long shelf life when compared to softneck garlic, which is why many gardeners choose to grow both varieties.
  • Softneck: Garlic with this designation has more cloves per bulb and a softer stalk. It has a long shelf life, which is why softneck garlic is the variety most found in grocery outlets.

Pest Repellent

Garlic is a great organic pest repellent for your garden. The bulbs themselves will keep undesirable insects away from your flowers while they grow, but it can also be used once it is harvested. Mince several cloves of garlic and mix them with a couple teaspoons of mineral oil. Then strain out the garlic and add the oil to water and mix with a splash of dish soap to create a natural bug repellant. The compounds found in garlic repel many flower-killing insects, such as aphids and beetles. The soap and oil encourage the mixture to stick to your plants, but don't apply it on a hot, sunny day, because the hot oil could be harmful to your flowers.

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Weeds vs. Flowers: What’s the Difference?

Weeds vs. Flowers: What's the Difference?

For the novice gardener, the difference between a weed and a flower might be nothing more than whether or not the plant is wanted in the garden. With that basic distinction, many plants that are actually defined as weeds find their place in gardens because they have a flowery appearance. On the other hand, many weeds torment flower beds and removing them is an annoying chore for many a gardener. From a more scientific perspective, however, weeds aren't all that bad. Here is a basic guide to identifying these plants in your home garden:

Weeds

Weeds often spread quickly, but do not cause a threat to native plants in the area. Therefore, weeds are not necessarily invasive plants. Even though some weedy plants won't necessarily disrupt your flower bed, they can take away from the aesthetic you're trying to present. Weedy plants can be divided into three main categories: broadleaf weeds, lawn weeds and grass-like weeds. Common weeds include crabgrass, poison ivy and prickly lettuce.

Invasive plants

Invasive plants, all of which are weeds, are the real headache for gardeners. An invasive species can quickly spread, dominate the landscape and harm native species of plants in the area. Invasive plants are particularly hard to kill because they can grow rapidly, produce many seeds, disperse seeds over a wide geographical area, have a lack of natural predators and germinate quickly, according to the Chicago Tribune. These plants can be a challenge for the average gardener, causing the continual need to clean up flower beds. Invasive plants can be nearly impossible to contain. Examples of invasive species include buckthorn, honeysuckle and hogweed.

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds
"Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds."

Flowers

Flowers are, of course, desirable in your garden. Also known as the bloom or blossom of a plant, flowers are the reproductive center of the overall organism. A garden is a celebrated center for flowers, but remember that some weeds flower as well. Dandelions and sowthistles are two of the most common types of these weeds. For some, these weedy flowers might not make a difference to the overall appearance of the garden, but they can take resources away from your other plants. Eliminating all weeds from your lawn and garden is the best way to make sure your desired plant life stays healthy. Wildflowers are also at times mistaken for weeds. Accounts of the rarity of wildflowers varies, so research the native flowers in your lawn or garden to make sure it is not endangered in the area before killing it. Endangered flowers are often listed by state.

Weed Prevention

Weeds are often a sign that something is wrong in the soil, such as over-acidity or uneven watering. Use the weeds in your garden to identify any problems in the soil that can easily be fixed. Your lawn or garden might just need to be fertilized. However, enriching the soil can be challenging. If needed, herbicides can be found in any neighborhood garden center, but be careful when spraying weeds to isolate the area. Herbicides can have a harmful effect on other plants in your garden. To avoid hurting your flowers, there's always the old fashioned method of weeding by hand. Digging out weeds by the roots will ensure the undesired plant does not return. When removing weeds by hand remember to wear gloves, as many of these plants are poisonous or can cause an itch.

The best method for preventing weeds is maintaining a dense and healthy lawn. Make sure to properly take care of your soil to keep away these pesky plants.

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.