Tag Archives: arrangements

Catching Up In The New Year

It’s been a while since the last blog post, so this will be a catch up entry to give you an idea of what’s been going on the last couple of months. January and February are usually pretty quiet, and, to be honest, we’re glad of it. Aside from a big shipment of garden planters and statuary, it’s a time for planning and rejuvenating.

The garden is quiet too, though early blooming shrubs and perennials are beginning to put on their show, and cutting stems of forsythia, quince, and spiraea for early bloom indoors help stave off the winter doldrums.

 

 

 

 

In December Ben got the ‘Better Late than Never’ garden across the street cleaned up and ready for winter. Angie laid fresh pinestraw in the paths in January, and now we’re seeing  larkspur and bachelor buttons appearing..self sown seedlings from last winter’s plants. I sowed lots of poppies a few weeks ago in hopes that they’ll be abundant this year too. We shall see.

Our spring/summer seeds from Botanical Interests have already come in, though we’re still eyeing the winter options of lettuce and other cool season veggies and flowers. Jamie sowed a colander full of spinach seeds and is going to try them inside. It’s fun to experiment, and seeds are a small investment to make.

It’s a good thing the spring seeds arrived when they did. Yesterday a woman came in looking for zinnias, sunflowers and more summer bloomers, so we let her look through the boxes that weren’t unpacked yet. She mentioned last year she’d been disappointed, coming in too late to get any and was so happy this year to have first pick.

It’s hard to believe Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. We’ve got our orders in for the most beautiful blooming plants we can find. Orchids, hydrangeas, cyclamen, calla lilies, azaleas, and more – all plants, not cut flowers, so they’ll last longer.

In fact, every picture I post on our Instagram account of our planted arrangements has the hashtag #plantsnotcut. I love cut flowers as much as the next person, but it’s nice to have a gift that lasts a bit longer.

 

The cats of the shop, Tacca, Liam, Ozzie and Spooky, like the late winter quiet too, though they probably get the most visitors coming in looking just for them. There were at least 7 children in the other day squealing with delight and so happy to follow Tacca and Liam around. Spooky and Ozzie are too shy (Or smart?) to make friends, content to watch from a safe distance.

 

 

The cork bark planter inspiration continues. A couple weeks ago we planted three for a party with blooming blue anemones, ranunculus, and pansies. They really were striking, and since they’re planted to last will  only get better as they grow.

 

 

The pussy willow branches are abundant now. I’m not sure what stage they are when cut, I only know they’re perfect when they arrive here. I still remember my Dad cutting way back the huge pussy willow shrub in our back yard in Wisconsin and all the beautiful stems that it produced.

Those pussy willow branches were one of our earliest harbingers of spring in the dead of late winter – the catkins shining in the sunlight on days the drip,drip,drip of melting snow filled the air and puddles materialized on every flat surface.

 

 

Here in the south we use them as accents in orchid arrangements and with other spring flowers. Their fleeting availability makes them all the more special.

In the winter the nursery area out front can be very deceiving, and, if you take just a few more steps and enter the greenhouse, you’ll see all sorts of colorful blooming flowers and houseplants.

We stay busy maintaining the many plants, creating beautiful container gardens and arrangements for parties, and taking pictures of everything for our Facebook and Instagram social media accounts. Our goal this year is to create more video content to better communicate  the joys of what we do. 

Here’s looking ahead to spring, but ’til then enjoy these late winter days and appreciate the beauty of this quiet season.

And, if you need a beautiful respite from the world’s cares,  stop in and stroll through the greenhouse, either here or somewhere near you. It’s bound to make you smile.

By Kris Blevons

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Living’s ‘Grumpy Gardener’ Noticed This Orchid Arrangement

Orchid ArrangementWe try to have as many orchids and other plants as possible to fill customer’s containers for parties and special events. The amount of design work we do is certainly a far cry from our start 25 years ago when we didn’t even offer orchids for sale!

This orchid arrangement, in a customer’s beautiful footed container,  was spotted by Steve Bender, Southern Living’s ‘Grumpy Gardener’. He then “stole” it and featured it on his blog with our permission  ( here’s his post ).  But happily, it’s here too!

another in a dough bowl...

another in a dough bowl…

 

For anyone who may not know, we create arrangements like this on a daily basis for folks bringing in their containers or using ours.

 

driftwood pieces with orchids and houseplants

driftwood pieces with orchids and houseplants

If you have something at home you’d like filled with living plants,  (It doesn’t have to be orchids, it could be other foliage and flowers.) simply bring your container in, or choose one of ours.  Give us some idea of where it will be placed,  and if you’ll be using it for a party or need something  long lasting.

 

Finally, give us some guidelines on color preferences if you have any, and then simply leave it for us to create something beautiful for you.

The orchid arrangement he featured had some beautiful, large air plants in it.  For more information on air plants, look HERE.

 

During the holiday season and spring  we ask at least a week’s notice (or more) so we can do the best job possible – this also allows us time to gather the plants needed for your arrangement.

Need a Valentine? We Can Help!

Mixed Planting with Téte a Téte NarcissusJust a quick post to point out the many beautiful flowers in the greenhouse. Our baskets and containers  are one of a kind…special creations custom made for each order.

Orchid Arrangements

 

 

 

 

If you have a basket, bowl, or other container you’d like us to fill with beautiful plants, just bring it in and we’ll take it from there, or choose one of ours.  Valentine’s Day is this Saturday, so get your order in soon!Orchid Arrangement

 

 

Some of the many blooming plants we have in now, or will be getting in this week, include cyclamen, campanula, primroses, rieger begonias, narcissus, violets,  orchids, hydrangeas, hyacinths, freesias, azaleas, and more. Stop in to browse or give us a call to place an order for pick up or delivery.

 

Miniature Gardens As Centerpieces…

tiny cloche...

tiny cloche…

In a few short weeks Mountain Brook’s  Little Garden Club, a charter member of the Garden Club of America, will host a regional zone meeting and flower show. It will take place April, 2014, and a lot of folks are involved in planning this important event. Members of GCA clubs will be attending from the surrounding states, so there will be a lot of visitors!

Miniature Garden

 

 

 

 

Miniature Garden

I’ll be assisting with a number of others in the “passing” of the horticultural exhibits – clearing them for entry into the flower show to be judged. I was very flattered to be asked and happy to help with this event, which has been two years in the planning.

Miniature GardenWhat does all this have to do with miniature gardens, you ask? Well, these tiny gardens have been very  popular the past number of years, and the garden club organizers decided it would be a fun thing to have on some of the tables for one of their meetings. And they turned to Oak Street Garden Shop for help.

The containers we chose are metal, and they will be wrapped with aspidistra leaves to make a “Ribbon of Green”, the theme of this year’s meeting.

These pictures show how some turned out. The miniature gardens are designed to continue living as a true garden, so plant material is chosen accordingly, with only minor exceptions.

imageBecause these take a great deal of time to make, I finally gave up on waiting for new miniature garden accessories I’d ordered since my deadline to have them completed was looming…but I still had plenty of fun things to play with. If you’ve ever made one of these gardens in miniature, you’re well aware how detailed and time consuming they are.

For some of the centerpieces I chose succulents, including haworthias and sedums, which work well for tiny plantings. Pilea ‘Aquamarine’ is a low grower with a great color; it just needs clipping regularly to keep it from overrunning its neighbors.

Miniature GardenTiny pots of ordinary houseplants also work in these gardens. Little parlor palms, ferns, polka dot plants and baby podocarpus make good companions, and selaginella is a pretty groundcover.

It’s nice to have different sizes of pebbles to create paths and larger stones to create “boulders”. Can you see the turtle sitting on one?

There’s still more tweaking to do (Just like a real garden that is never “done”!), and one more not even started yet…but that story is for another post. If you’re in the Birmingham area, stop in and take a look. They’re even more fun in person!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Pretty Plantings…A Dough Bowl, Glazed Pots and More

Pinkie filled this dough bowl with pansies, diascia, sweet allysum, lettuce and more...

Pinkie filled this dough bowl with pansies, diascia, sweet allysum, lettuce and more…

Look at all the different flowers Jamie used here...and not any of them cut!

Look at all the different flowers Jamie used here…and not any of them cut!

This time of year is a transition period in the nursery and the greenhouse, and, quite honestly, we’re ready for the change of seasons.

What goes into pretty plantings for parties and gifts is changing too. We’re nearing the end of the late winter primroses, forced bulbs, and pansies and looking forward to all the spring flowers to work with next.

Lauren put this pretty planter together...

Lauren put this pretty planter together…

 

 

Before we move on, though,  I wanted to bring you some of the things we’ve been doing – from a dough bowl filled with flowers and herbs to glazed pots with pretty blooms, a simple green  pot with beautiful foliage, and one made with lichen branches wired together to create a container. There’s always something to create, and what fun it is!

I loved this begonia in this pot...

I loved this begonia in this pot…

 

 

None of the flowers we use are cut. We work with live plants, so the longevity is much better than a fresh flower arrangement, and, as an added bonus, many of the plants can be used outside, either in containers or in the ground when it’s time to take the whole thing apart.  Think lettuce, herbs and forced bulbs planted in the garden!

 

 

This container fashioned out of lichen branches has a woodsy feel...

This container fashioned out of lichen branches has a woodsy feel…

A planting that will continue to grow, either in the house or on a bright porch once the weather warms, is this green glazed bowl, filled with a rhizomatous begonia, an aluminum plant and some selaginella. It would be a pretty addition for Saint Patrick’s Day!

 

 

 

And here are the lichen branches I wired and glued together to make a container. When the primrose is played out, another plant can easily be slipped into its spot with the frosted selaginella and creeping jenny…or an entirely new planting could be created! We have quite a few of these lichen branches that Jamie found and that we’re playing with. If you’d like us to incorporate something like this into one of your planters, let us know.

spring blooms...

spring blooms…

 

 

 

Finally, here’s a teal pot, filled completely with pretty blooms. Soon these flowers won’t be available,  but by then we’ll be ready to move on to a new season and more creative possibilities.  For now, though, it’s enough to have spring in a pretty bowl – and who wouldn’t like that?

 

Interesting Late Winter Arrangements…

Cork Bark Planter with Spring Bulbs and Lichen BranchesBark Planter with Spring BulbsNow that January is behind us, we can look forward to spring, knowing it is right around the corner. Until then, we’ve been satisfying our planting urges using late winter offerings from growers. We are determined to come up with something interesting on long winter days in the greenhouse!

Jamie found some wonderful lichen covered branches; they’re beautiful to work with. She positioned them on one of our cork pieces and planted around them, creating a visual feast of winter flowers – cyclamen, primroses, muscari, osteospermum and teté a teté narcissus – for a customer. The bright flowers of this piece and the addition of some ceramic mushrooms make it memorable!Lichen Branch Planter

I wired one large lichen covered branch that had an interesting shape to one a bit smaller, using bark wire.  I  then lined the opening that was created with waterproof foil and sheet moss. In this “container” I planted a simple fittonia and air plant arrangement. The size and shape make this one a nice coffee table piece…and it would be very easy to care for too.

Cork Bark Planter - Aeonium, Mustard & ThymeCork Bark Planter - Aeonium, Mustard & ThymeMany of the succulent aeoniums fare better here during the winter months. They seem to dislike our excessive summer humidity (Don’t we all?), and the Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ seemed just right to work into some sort of arrangement. I loved how they looked paired with this frilly dark purple leaf ornamental mustard. If I could just work it into a container that could be moved in and out easily if temperatures dropped below freezing…

I chose a cork bark piece that complimented  the aeoniums and mustard. With the addition of some creeping thyme and a couple of pots of species crocus bulbs just beginning to come up, I think it turned out pretty well!

Lichen branches and rex begonias...

Lichen branches and rex begonias…

 

 

 

 

We have more of these lichen covered branches available, if you’d like to use some for an arrangement of your own, or we can  put one together for you.

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fall…More Arrangement Inspiration

Fall Bittersweet Arrangement in BasketAutumn inspires us! The past month we’ve been designing with thoughts of fall…a copper container, a beautiful basket, a heavy stone trough, and even something as simple as a wooden box made wonderful starting pieces for a few of them.

It’s funny how something can sit and not be noticed until a design brings it to life. Jamie did just that with this large basket. It and another like it have been in the greenhouse for awhile now. They’ve held bags of moss or been propped up waiting for someone to notice them. Well, her design certainly does it justice! It’s been the showstopper of the season with her use of bittersweet, giant star pod and Indian corn.

 

 

 

 

Fall ArrangementThis wooden box arrangement was done for a garden club – the customer brought in the antlers! This one was a fun change of pace. Those antlers didn’t want to stay put, and the box was a tad rickety…it reminds us that each day may bring different and interesting challenges!

 

Fall Gourd Arrangement

 

Soon the gourds will be gone for the season…but I’ll remember this arrangement as one of my favorites from this fall. I enjoy the lines of the gourds and the interplay of form here.

 

 

 

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

 

Arrangements – Happiness On A Rainy Day In The Greenhouse

 

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, on a rainy day, with extra baskets on our hands and plenty of pretty plants at our disposal, these arrangements were the happy result. Rainy days in the greenhouse are the best. When the wind blows and the poly whips across the roof like the sails on a ship, and then the rain starts…there’s nothing like it. That’s when it feels good to work in a greenhouse, the rain rat-tatting on the roof, sometimes so loud it’s hard to hear the phone ring…

image

 

 

But of course there is still work to be done – plants to be tended, orders to be filled, and customers braving the rain to be taken care of. But, between work, there is, shall we say, creative play…

imageAnd there are such pretty things to play with! This time of year, with spring in the air but not quite yet here – this is the time of hydrangeas, calla lilies and sweet alyssum –  the soft colors of Easter mingling and overlapping with the brightness of other, more exuberant blooms of gerbera daisies, ranunculus and the first of the geraniums. So much to work with! So we begin to gather flowers and foliage and perhaps  a few herbs to add their scent, color and texture to the mix.

imageThis post isn’t going to be about design rules, because quite frankly, we sometimes break them. (Maybe we’re just rebels at heart!) No, this is about what feels and looks right to you. And, perhaps it’s more about not being afraid of making a “mistake” – with arrangements, container plantings or your own garden.image

 

So, here are some of our gifts to you, a few creations on a rainy day in March…while the rain rat-tatts on the roof and the poly whips like the sails on a ship…

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Easter Flowers – Lilies and More!

The ultimate Easter flower...

The ultimate Easter flower…

We love the colors, blooms and scents of the Easter holiday…from pure white Easter lilies to the soft purples and pinks of hydrangeas, and the fragrance of stephanotis…this season speaks of new beginnings..

With the upcoming holiday and family and friends gathering for Easter, we have the plants, flowers and arrangements for your table or gifts for loved ones at this special time.

Easter lilies are the traditional Easter plant – enjoy their blooms and scent, and if you have a spot in the garden, plant your lily as soon as danger of frost is past. (Easter is late this year, but please wait until at least the end of April to early May to plant your lily outside.)

hydrangeas in the colors of Easter...

hydrangeas in the colors of Easter…

We also have beautiful hydrangeas…while these are considered florist hydrangeas, for you folks that want to try planting them out in your landscape find a spot with filtered sun, rich soil and a bit of protection. Keep them well watered their first summer in the ground.

The fragrant stephanotis wreaths are beautiful annual vines…they will bloom now and sporadically through the summer – they’re very nice in planters with other blooming summer annuals. They aren’t winter hardy though, so if you’d like to keep them be sure to bring them in for the winter.

Pastel pink orchids float above campanula, violets and selaginella in this Easter arrangement

Pastel pink orchids float above campanula, violets and selaginella in this Easter arrangement

Of course we also have long lasting and elegant orchids – let us arrange a grouping in one of your containers or ours. In addition to gorgeous orchids we also offer kalanchoes, violets, freesia, campanula, calla lilies and more!image

We always have the most beautiful orchids!

We always have the most beautiful orchids!

If you’d rather have an Easter arrangement or basket made up of plants that you can use later in your garden and seasonal planters, we have that as well! Just let us know and we’ll offer appropriate suggestions for you.

From all of us, we hope all of you have a wonderful Easter !

Garden Up! These Vertical Gardens Are Easy To Make!

These vertical gardens are fun to make!

These vertical gardens are fun to make!

Vertical gardening is hot! We have been searching for a user friendly vertical garden system for our customers to try, and think we may have found it!

These are sturdy frames with a coco liner insert. The liner has openings cut so insertion of plants is easy peasy…there are nine openings along the front and three on each side and, of course, the top is plantable as well. You can even put more than one together to make a larger vertical garden. We have the frames available for you to purchase and plants like those shown here if you’d like to give it a try! (Or, buy the frame now and save it for planting in the spring.)   We’re going to try a succulent version next – we’ll keep you posted!