Category Archives: Gifts

Made In Alabama, Lisa Bunting Howard Pots and Vases Are Handmade Beauty!

Lisa Bunting Howard PotsLast year we began carrying Birmingham native Lisa Bunting Howard’s beautiful handmade pots. Pictured here are some we’ve had in the past, though no two are alike and we fly through each shipment quickly.

 

 

 

 

With the publishing of this post we’re pleased to say Lisa has delivered another group of pots and even some small bud vases. We think any one of them would make a beautiful gift for someone special or to mark an occasion.

Anything of this quality and made with such attention to detail is definitely worth waiting for. We are happy to take your name and give you a call when more arrive if you come in between shipments.

Hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

Ginger Clark’s “We Bees Working” Local Honey Is HERE!

We are thrilled to announce that we are exclusively offering Mountain Brook resident gardener, bee keeper, and friend Ginger Clark’s “We Bees Working” honey at Oak Street Garden Shop and Local Market.

Stop in and try some next time you’re in the neighborhood. Her honey is tasty and the packaging is beautiful as well, so either size make the perfect gift too. We’ll also offer honeycomb as it is available.

 

Beautiful Lightweight Fountains Perfect For Your Garden, Patio, and Landscape – Come Take A Look!

Lightweight Stone FountainsThe first shipment of these beautiful fountains sold quickly even though we’d increased our order from the year before.

Usually I let these things go, not wanting to push my luck, but a couple of people asked if we could get more of them, so I wrote up an even bigger order and sent it in.

Light Weight Stone Fountain

In a customer’s Florida garden…

 

Unfortunately for us, they must be popular all over the country because there was a back-up in production and they weren’t scheduled to be shipped until the end of July, well past the busiest part of our season.

Their popularity is well deserved. The stone color is so realistic most people who saw the first grouping  asked how heavy they were. And, while the water adds weight,they are not difficult to move when empty. The LED light can be used for a very nice effect both day and night, and the sound is pleasant too.

The new shipment arrived this week. Perhaps one might be just right for a special anniversary or birthday gift? At any rate, we’re happy to have them in stock to beautify the greenhouse and nursery too. If you’re in the market for a pretty fountain, stop in and take a look!

 

The Holidays…Making Memories

Every so often the wonderful opportunity we’ve been granted to be a brief part of our customers’ lives and help create memories for their little ones becomes clear. This moment of clarity usually happens on hectic holiday afternoons when the light is waning and the greenhouse is at its most beautiful.

On those crazy, busy days we catch glimpses between our work tasks of young families with little ones gazing at the animated Santa Claus display we put up each year. Smiling, we watch the children pet the garden shop cats sleeping there (It was their favorite spot this year!) as parents or grandparents take pictures.

 

Perhaps its because I’m getting older and my childhood memories seem more distant that appreciating this opportunity occurs to me more often. This year a family with a tiny boy in tow told me he remembered our Santa from the year before. Creating memories begins very, very young…

Memories are made in other ways too, with special decorations brought out and lovingly placed, delicate heirlooms carefully unwrapped for another season, and the “best tree ever” standing proud and tall, its lights and sparkly ornaments twinkling in darkened rooms.

A few weeks ago a favorite project reappeared, a family holiday tradition that we’ve been fortunate to have become a part of. Every year this particular family bought a new tiny elf for the children and, as their children grew older and had families of their own, for grandchildren. These elves would be brought out each season, and it wasn’t Christmas without them.

One year the owner of the elf tradition spotted a garden tray filled with tiny poinsettias, cut greens and mosses, a beautiful miniature garden that she decided would be the perfect setting for her collection of family elves. She loved it so much she brought it back the following Christmas to be “reworked” for a new season.

I look forward to seeing her each year now and enjoy creating a new garden for her elves. She told me this year her grandchildren asked her where it was.

 

It’s coming, she told them. The pictures here give you some idea of what they are enjoying this year – a river, a pond with a tire swing, and lots of places for her elves to perch.

I hope another happy memory is about to be made, this one on December 25th, when a pretty miniature garden is presented to the 11 year old girl who said it’s all she really wants for Christmas.

As I finished putting the last bits of moss in and repositioned the tiny hummingbird feeder, my mind wandered as I imagined being the young girl seeing this little garden for the first time on Christmas morning.

Smiling to myself, I stood there studying each little piece, trying to see it through her eyes.

Sometimes the memories we make are our own…

By Kris Blevons

 

New Statuary for Spring 2017

When the big crates of statuary arrive, it’s a sure thing spring is just around the corner. Here’s a look at a few of the pieces that came in recently. Whimsical animals, and pretty planters that struck our fancy and we hope will tickle yours too.

They’re even better in person!

Continue reading

New Year’s Day…A Look Back And Wishes For The New Year

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a quiet, rainy morning as I write this,  too chilly to make my usual morning walk around the garden. The time the shop is closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a welcome respite from the previous month’s hectic pace. It’s such a relief to be still and have no demands, if only briefly.

design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

Miniature Garden...design Molly Hand

Miniature Garden…design Molly Hand

design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

I’m looking forward to the new year, and soon I’ll be writing of primroses and spring flowers…the ones that our growers magically produce for greenhouses much earlier than in nature – blooming daffodils, tulips, crocus and more.

design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

design Molly Hand

design Molly Hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sleigh...design Kris Blevons

sleigh…design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

design Kris Blevons

Today, though, I’m thinking of the holidays just past, when winter white azaleas, calla lilies, hydrangeas,  paperwhites, larger than life blooms of amaryllis in every color, jewel-toned cyclamen, traditional poinsettias, and all the most wonderful orchids on dazzling display turned the greenhouse into a wonderland.

design Jamie Cross

design Jamie Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope these pictures bring a smile at the start of this new year. The artful combination of plants, branches, textural mosses  (and other happy discoveries),  are our resolution for the coming year. Here’s to beauty and creativity in 2016!

A holiday terrarium...design Kris Blevons

A holiday terrarium…design Kris Blevons

While these designs are mostly mine,  Jamie’s, and Molly’s,  I’d be remiss not to mention that many more were created by Pinkie, Danielle, and Angie – worthy of a future post!

By Kris Blevons

image

 

 

 

Taking Time When It’s Needed Most…

Greenhouse - OrchidsThere are those rare instances when you feel like you’ve actually made an impact, however small, in someone’s life, and recently, near the end of a long, crazy, tiring day something happened that made me feel really good.

I asked a couple I saw looking at some plants in the shop if they needed help. They said no, that they were from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and just walking through, adding everything was so beautiful and there was simply nothing like it where they were from.Greenhouse - December 2015

I asked them what brought them to Birmingham. The woman pulled her sweater aside and I caught a glimpse of a medical drainage bag.

Greenhouse - December 2015

 

 

 

I’ve had a double mastectomy at UAB, she said, and we’ve been staying at an apartment here. We’re really hoping to be home for Christmas. I said I was glad they’d found our little shop and that I hoped they enjoyed looking around.

We chatted for a moment, then they asked where the cats were (They’d read the piece on the front door that Pinkie had written about Tacca and Liam.), saying they really missed their cats and dog and couldn’t wait to get back home to them.Liam and Tacca - December 2015

I showed them where the cats were sleeping in the Santa Claus display in the cushy “snow”, and they laughed at that as they were petting them. Her husband pulled out his phone to snap a shot of his wife with the cats, so  I asked if they’d like both their pictures taken with them. “Oh, that would be wonderful,” she said, “Thank you for taking the time.”

Greenhouse - December 2015It’s funny. The day up to that point had been absolute, continuous bedlam, and we’d all been running in circles with hardly a breather in between. But it felt as though time slowed down as I walked around and talked with them. As they turned to go, they both grabbed my hands saying thank you, and bless you. I wished them the best and said, if they ever needed just to walk through, to come any time, that plants heal too.Greenhouse - December 2015

A chance encounter with two lovely people looking for healing may well be my best gift of the season; I can’t imagine any others that could even come close.

By Kris Blevons

Haven’t Been In Lately? Here’s What We’ve Been Up To…

Red tulips, a pretty pink hydrangea, a rex begonia and greenery...

Red tulips, a pretty pink hydrangea, a rex begonia and greenery…

Cyclamen, Callas and Daffodils are a cheery mix...

Cyclamen, Callas and Daffodils are a cheery mix…

This arrangement was to celebrate the birth of a baby girl...

This arrangement was to celebrate the birth of a baby girl…

February is full of bright colors...primroses, hyacinths and tête á tête narcissus...

February is full of bright colors…primroses, hyacinths and tête á tête narcissus…

A pretty arrangement for Valentine's Day. This would be pretty for any occasion this time of year though...this one showcases a calla and a beautiful pink hydrangea...

A pretty arrangement for Valentine’s Day. This would be pretty for any occasion this time of year though…this one showcases a calla and a beautiful pink hydrangea…

A customer's container became home to a bird's nest Fern and agave...

A customer’s container became home to a bird’s nest Fern and agave…

Outside the greenhouse can look a little drab this time of year, but, if  you’ve just passed us by, have you ever missed out!

Primroses in the greenhouse...

Primroses in the greenhouse…

 

 

The greenhouse has been packed full with blooming beauties and with Valentine’s Day just past, we’ve been putting together the prettiest arrangements for gifts and filling containers with all sorts of plants for centerpieces too.

This cork bark planter is filled with succulents, spring bulbs, candytuft and primroses...

This cork bark planter is filled with succulents, spring bulbs, candytuft and primroses…

Succulent pots at the front door…

 

At the entrance...

In bloom at the entrance to the greenhouse…

Echeverias blooming in a tiny pot…

Here’s a sampling of what the greenhouse has looked like.

Tacca is getting more adventurous, between getting pets from everyone...

Tacca is getting more adventurous, between getting pets from everyone…

A sweet pot filled with a Rieger begonia, ferns and ivy...

A sweet pot filled with a Rieger begonia, Fern and Ivy…

 

 

 

White and yellow Phalaenopsis orchid arrangement with azaleas and succulents....

White and yellow Phalaenopsis orchid arrangement with azaleas and succulents….

Next time you’re driving by, take a moment out of your busy day to stop and smell the flowers!

Cattleya orchids and air plants in the afternoon light...

Cattleya orchids and air plants in the afternoon light…

A calla lily azalea, campanula and fern in shades of purple, lavender, white and green...

A calla lily azalea, campanula and fern in shades of purple, lavender, white and green…

Hydrangeas, azaleas and purple campanula

Hydrangeas, azaleas and purple campanula

Wire Hearts for Valentine's Day...

Wire Hearts for Valentine’s Day…

More Holiday Inspiration – Arrangements, Flowers and Greens – Part 2

Redtwig dogwood stems echo the red of this striking bowl...

Redtwig dogwood stems echo the red of this striking bowl, filled with rieger begonias, amaryllis and ferns…

Simply hydrangeas...

Simply hydrangeas…

 

 

 

Holiday Arrangement - Close-Up- Lady Slipper Orchi, Air Plants

Lady slipper orchid…

The greenhouse is literally overflowing with so many flowers we’ve had to move most of them onto the tables outside.

 

 

 

Holiday Arrangement

Traditional red poinsettias…

Holiday Arrangement -  Shooting Star Hydrangea,Amaryllis, Curly Willow

With curly willow, cinnamon sticks and cut greens…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of these holiday flowers – hydrangeas, amaryllis, paperwhites, azaleas, stephanotis, flowering jasmine, and cyclamen – prefer the cool temperatures.  It works out well, unless temperatures drop below freezing; then the nursery carts are loaded up and they’re moved back into the warmth of the greenhouse.

Phalaenopsis orchid in mercury glass with cut greens and berries...

Jamie added cut greens and berries to this phalaenopsis orchid in a Mercury glass container…

Orchids and air plants...

Orchids and air plants…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Arrangement - Amaryllis, Shooting Star Hydrangea, Fantail Willow

Amaryllis, hydrangea, jasmine…

 

Holiday Orchid Arrangement with Phalaenopsis Orchids and Jasmine

A gift of orchids and jasmine…

There it’s a riot of color, with orchids seemingly in every nook and cranny, trays of ferns and other foliage plants in abundance, and of course, poinsettias too.  It’s a crazy, slightly chaotic time of the year!

 

 

 

 

The two weeks prior to Christmas find us focused on projects big and small in the design area, and there’s not much time for anything else.

A tiny pot with cut greens...

A tiny pot with cut greens…

 

 

 

We’ll put plants in just about anything, including porcelain and glazed bowls, mercury glass containers, pots of every size and shape, jardinieres, wooden boxes, dough bowls, silver pieces and everything else imaginable. You can too!

 

 

 

Holiday Inspiration – Arrangements, Flowers and Greens – Part 1

A trio of miniature orchids...

A trio of miniature orchids Jamie put together…

Stephanotis Wreath

Stephanotis Wreath

Amaryllis in a very large bowl...

Amaryllis in a very large bowl…

 

 

 

 

The last few weeks have flown by in a colorful blur of customers, Christmas trees, and deliveries of beautiful plants and flowers. Phalaenopsis Orchid Arrangement with Curly Willow

 

 

Holiday Arrangement

Miniature poinsettias, cut greens and a lemon cypress in a low tray Jamie designed…

Now Christmas is almost here, though soon enough a new year will be upon us, filled with possibility and fresh beginnings.

 

Lady Slipper Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Arrangement with Paperwhites, Air Plants, Cut Greens and Curly Willow

Paperwhites, cut greens and curly willow…

To celebrate, here is the first post of a few of our arrangements of flowers and cut greens from the past few weeks, our gift to you this holiday season.

Holiday Greenery...

Pinkie’s cut greens and berries…

The End Of The Season…Fall Arrangements

A reindeer moss wreath, with burlap and pods...

A reindeer moss wreath, with burlap and pods…

A copper planter for a table. Jamie's colorful fall design of chartreuse, orange and white...

A copper planter for a table. Jamie’s colorful fall design of chartreuse, orange and white…

Autumn  passes far too quickly. As usual, when a season is nearing the end, I find myself wishing I’d made the time to take more pictures of the many arrangements that we’ve created the past few weeks. Jamie, Molly, and I looked through those we had and here are a few of them – a simple goodbye to the autumn season for another year as we set our sights ahead to the holidays.

A vignette Jamie created with an orchid, sedum, tiny pumpkins and more...

A vignette Jamie created with an orchid, sedum, tiny pumpkins and more…

Pinkie used little white pumpkins, succulents, and bittersweet in a dough bowl...

Pinkie used little white pumpkins, succulents, and bittersweet in this dough bowl…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This simple tray became home to a gourd, mushrooms and moss, with Heuchera and autumn Fern adding more rich color...

My simple tray became home to a gourd, mushrooms and moss, with Heuchera and Autumn Fern adding more rich color…

A dough bowl Jamie designed...

A dough bowl Jamie designed…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall is a favorite time, as the materials we work with are so interesting and organic. There’s none of the shiny, glittery, in-your-face glitz that will be here, oh, so soon enough, with the approach of Christmas. No, this time of year is quieter, as we embrace the down-to-earth beauty of mushrooms, soft green moss, natural branches, dark wiry angelvine, pods of all kinds, and interesting gourds. I enjoy the combinations that result, melded at times with the muted tones of burlap and raffia.

Molly's spirited fall arrangement with bright yellow Oncidium orchids...

Molly’s spirited fall arrangement with bright yellow Oncidium orchids…

I really enjoyed creating this "woodsy" piece...

I really enjoyed creating this “woodsy” piece…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall flowers in pretty pots for a fall luncheon...

For a fall luncheon..

Oncidium Orchid 'Twinkle' Arrangement With Okra Pods and Pinecones

Oncidium ‘Twinkle’ in a sweet combination of Jamie’s. Okra pods and pinecones add even more texture…

My simple lady slipper orchid arrangement, watched over by pretty Tacca, our garden shop kitty…

 

 

Dená carved this pretty blue pumpkin, and daughter, Molly, planted it...

Dená carved this pretty blue pumpkin and daughter, Molly, planted it…

We see such interesting pieces in the fall too. Earthy dough bowls, dark metal planters and copper containers, low wooden trays just perfect for mossy vignettes, a majolica bowl the right size and shape for a woodsy arrangement. Soon enough we’ll be making quite different sorts of combinations through the holidays, with quite different materials. For now though, I’m content to enjoy these last few days of fall.

A colorful fall piece Molly created using houseplants and mini pumpkins...

A final fall piece Molly created using houseplants and mini pumpkins…

 

Succulent Wreaths For The Holidays

Succulent wreaths might not be what one thinks of first as a component of holiday decorating, but these pretty echeveria wreaths just might change your mind. The best thing about these wreaths is that there is room for the little echeverias to grow, and this also makes them easier to take care of through the winter months.

Echeveria WreathsThe wreaths are just about 10″ in diameter and can just as easily be laid flat on a table and made part of a holiday tablescape as hung. Though they’re beautiful just as they are, adding other elements is easy to do. The one shown here was “dressed up” with small loops of a pretty, sheer ribbon, tiny pine cones, and small tufts of real cotton.

The echeverias in these wreaths have been planted in a sphagnum moss wreath form and will continue to grow with the proper care. Give them as much direct light as possible, and, when the wreaths feel very light when lifted, it’s time to water. Place them in a shallow pan filled with a few inches of water and leave them in it for at least 30 minutes or until the form feels heavy, indicating it’s saturated.  Do not water again until it feels very light once more. Remember, succulents prefer to be on the dry side.

Loops of ribbon and tiny pinecones embellish this echeveria wreath...

Loops of ribbon and tiny pinecones embellish this echeveria wreath…

These sweet wreaths are in limited supply, so, if you’re interested in trying one, now is the time to stop in and take a look. On their own or “dressed up”, what a lovely, unexpected,  and long lasting addition to your holiday decor!

Amaryllis – Beauty In A Bulb

Amaryllis, unquestionably, are one of the most dramatic and elegant of flowers. That bold, beautiful blooms of all colors and sizes can emerge from such a drab, unassuming brown bulb is amazing. They are truly a wonder of nature!

Decorative moss and pebbles dress up this amaryllis bulb...

Decorative moss and pebbles dress up this amaryllis bulb…

Amaryllis in the greenhouse...

Amaryllis in the greenhouse…

Our final shipment of amaryllis bulbs arrived the other day and now is the perfect time to pot them up for the holidays. It’s so easy to do too.  My  friend, Nancy Wallace of Wallace Gardens  in Atlanta,  swears by soaking the bulb in Haven Brand Manure Tea, an odorless tea that we have in stock now, for an even better display.

In a shallow saucer filled with about an inch of this concentrated tea, soak the roots of the bulbs for no more than 20 minutes, then plant. From her picture I featured in the above link, she’s on the right track. I’ll be soaking mine this year!

Amaryllis arrangement...

Amaryllis arrangement…

So, you want to purchase an amaryllis bulb (or more than one) for yourself or as gifts for friends? First, you need to know that the size of the bulb corresponds to the size and amount of blooms. Their sizes range from “miniature” amaryllis bulbs to jumbo amaryllis and there are midsize bulbs as well.

Large blooms of this amaryllis offer a contrast to the fragrant jasmine...

Large blooms of this amaryllis offer a contrast to the fragrant jasmine…

Beware of gift boxes and bags already prepackaged. I’ve stopped carrying them because, inevitably, the bulb begins to grow in the box prior to purchase. Believe me, there’s nothing sadder than an amaryllis, stem bent toward the light, growing sideways out of a box. It’s just not right!

Potting them up is quite simple. First, soak your amaryllis bulb as described above so the roots rehydrate. Next, find a pot that is no more than an inch or so wider than the bulb and fill it with good quality potting soil (We use Fafard.) about half way up the pot. Next, position the bulb on the soil, pushing the roots firmly in place. The “shoulder”, or widest portion of the bulb, should be above the soil. Fill in around the bulb, push down gently, and water with some of the remaining manure tea.

Amaryllis Arrangement

The hardest part is the wait for the bud to begin to emerge. It may take just a few days in a warm, sunny room, but it can just as easily take longer. Amaryllis don’t always cooperate with our timetables. Take a look at this “Holiday Flowers” post from last year and you’ll see what I mean. When you do see new growth starting to emerge, begin to water just so the soil stays slightly moist and watch the magic happen! You can also “dress up” the top of the soil with decorative moss or pebbles. Amaryllis

In bloom amaryllis can get quite tall  and will usually benefit from some type of staking. In addition to simple bamboo stakes,  stems of red and yellow twig dogwood, birch, curly willow, or branches from your landscape can be used. Insert the staking material at the edge of the bulb and tie it with raffia or ribbon.

Amaryllis, budded, with ferns, and stems of pussywillow...

Amaryllis, budded, with ferns, and stems of pussywillow…

The pictures here show what we’ve done in the past using amaryllis. They make wonderful presents during the holiday season and simply watching the bloom stalk grow taller and the enormous buds begin to open is a gift in itself!

In addition to bulbs that are available for you to plant, we also will be receiving many amaryllis already potted up from our growers. So, if you’re in the Birmingham area, there’s  no excuse not to have one of these holiday favorites!

 

 

 

New Fall Shipments Have Arrived – Pretty Pots For The Holidays or Any Time

We see endless possibilities for these pretty pots...

We see endless possibilities for these pretty pots…

Small urns…

Pots - fall 2014

Pretty pots and cachepots...

Mercury glass and cachepots…

How beautiful would these be as part of a holiday centerpiece?

How beautiful would these be as part of a holiday centerpiece?

Perfect for the holidays...

Perfect for the holidays…

October is a favorite month of ours for many reasons. The garden is changing over from summer flowers to the pretty pansies and more that will shine next spring, and all of the beautiful gourds and pumpkins make their appearance.  In the greenhouse, we know it’s October because we begin to get boxes upon boxes of fall and holiday inventory that Jamie found at market. She, Molly, Pinkie and Angie have been busy unpacking, pricing, moving, and displaying all the pretty new items – perfect to put holiday flowers in for arrangements and holiday center pieces. Let’s take a look…

The shelves are full!

The shelves are full!

 

 

Just the right size…

Pots - Fall 2014

Green and white always appeals...

Green and white always appeals…

Myrtle Topiaries…Back In Stock!

Myrtle topiaries in pretty pots...

Myrtle topiaries in pretty pots…

Finally, after many years absence, we have myrtle topiaries back in stock!  Many moons ago we had a small specialty grower in Georgia who supplied us with these pretty plants. When she retired, we turned to another supplier in North Carolina, who, inexplicably (To us, anyway!), stopped carrying them a number of years ago. We’ve been searching for a good wholesale supplier ever since and are so happy to have finally found a source once more . These are available in 5″ and 6″ pots – hopefully there will be other sizes in the future.

Myrtle, myrtus communis,  was an integral part of Roman gardens and is widespread in Mediterranean regions where it is cultivated as a large ornamental shrub.  The topiaries we carry are a dwarf myrtle, Myrtus communis ‘Compacta’,  and are happiest grown outside in containers  through the summer in a sunny to partly sunny spot. Kept watered regularly, the long, hot summers will bring on small flower buds that open to white blooms. With fall and cooler temperatures, it’s best to trim it for the winter and place it indoors in a bright room.  The glossy and pleasantly aromatic leaves are a beautiful shade of green, and the entire plant takes to shaping very well – simply trim it when it becomes shaggy.

myrtle has glossy, aromatic leaves...

myrtle has glossy, aromatic leaves…

Myrtle Topiary Care

Give them plenty of light – they prefer to be in sun in their native habitat, so a dark room won’t give them the light they need. If you know you don’t have enough light where you really want them (on a mantle in a dark room) you may need to swap them out periodically, placing them in a sunny spot to grow well, then moving them back and forth.

Water! It’s important not to let them dry out, but be careful they’re not sitting in water too. If  your topiary is root bound, it will need more diligent watering. Repot it in the spring if, when you pull it out of the pot, you see a mass of roots.

During the growing season, March through September, fertilize your topiaries with a 20-20-20 fertilizer every couple of weeks.  An excellent organic feed is Annie Haven’s Compost Tea. We carry it, though  if you’re not in the Birmingham area you can also order it on-line.  When you bring it in for the winter,  cut back feeding to once a month.

When you trim your topiary, it’s best not to shear the tips. Try to cut back a bit into the plant. Remember wherever you cut, two stems will grow, creating a nice full head of foliage.

Note: We get many calls from people from around the country asking us to ship our myrtle topiaries when we have them in stock. Unfortunately we are not set up to ship at this time.

Succulents Planted in Cedar and Hypertufa…

Made out of cedar...

Made out of cedar…

Even an ordinary day can bring pleasant surprises. Every now and then people stop by, peddling items they’ve created, hoping we’ll carry them. We try some,  hoping they’ll be a good fit for our location and things our customers will like.  Some work for us; some don’t.

The other day  a gentleman stopped in with his truck loaded with beautiful hypertufa pots of all sizes and cedar frames planted with hen and chick succulents, sempervivums. Right away  I knew these were right up our alley! If you’re on Pinterest (Oak Street Garden Shop is!), you no doubt have seen succulents of all sorts in many combinations. Whoever the very first person was who came up with this great idea deserves a prize!Cedar Frames with Hen and Chicks

These frames are made of long-lasting cedar,  are lightweight, and are actually designed to stand on a table like a picture. Even set completely flat they could be a beautiful centerpiece. The planting box also has drainage holes so plants won’t get waterlogged.

image

Little cedar boxes wrapped with burlap and planted with sempervivums also caught our eye. Really such a simple idea…and so pretty. We’d like to also get more of the cedar planters with metal fronting; they are fantastic looking!

Cedar and Metal Planter with Hen and Chicks

Rounding out the offerings were different sizes of planted hypertufa pots. The tiny pots with one sempervivum are just the right size for party favors or a “Thinking of you” gift. There were also a selection of larger pots, some wrapped with burlap with the addition of a medallion for added interest.

Fortunately, this gentleman used to work for one of our excellent wholesale plant suppliers in Alabama years ago and has a lot of experience growing quality plants. Taking this knowledge a step further and offering planted  containers was certainly a natural progression. After a move to Georgia and time spent working in garden center retailing, he and his brother are back in Alabama with this new, local business. We wish them the best of luck!

if you’re in the Birmingham area, stop in and  take a look at these pretty plantings from our newest local supplier!

Orchids…Early Fall Arrangements

A lady slipper is framed by angelvine...

A lady slipper is framed by angelvine…

Orchids, succulents, dried pods and foliage are the common theme in these four arrangements. With the heat of summer receding (Thankfully!) and fresh material arriving to work with, it’s a happy time in the greenhouse. So, between new shipments of pots, plants, ribbon and more, these were a few of the pieces we created. Let’s take a look.

Orchid, succulents and dried pods Someone who worked for us many years ago called from North Carolina to order an orchid for her mother’s birthday. She likes succulents too; so a double stemmed phalaenopsis and a lady slipper orchid were paired in a container and succulents nestled at the base. The addition of  angelvine and a touch of brown ribbon complete the design.

The next two small containers both started with an orchid, then succulents, ribbon, and, in the second, Jamie selected just the right white miniature pumpkin and burlap bow…the perfect gift for someone!Fall Orchid Arrangement

No two designs are ever alike for us, though sometimes a customer will see something they particularly like and will request another version of it.  Our least favorite thing is when someone brings in a picture with the request that we copy it, though we’ll always accommodate as best we can.Fall Orchid Arrangement - Customer's Dough Bowl

Happily, this large dough bowl of a longtime customer is one we see fairly regularly and one that we have complete creative license with. This go-round I filled it with orchids and under planted it for fall with Rex begonias, a pretty ivy, and added dark, shiny pods for their color and shape. A touch of chartreuse mood moss picks up the light green veining in the begonia leaf. Some tiny cattails are placed as accents, and my design is done.

Cotton stems, dried sunflower seed heads from the garden, and fern fiddleheads were the starting point for the last piece in a pretty brown and white bowl. . I added an air plant at the base and wound angel vine up through the cotton for even more interest. Some days are so much fun in the greenhouse!

Cotton, sunflower seed heads, fern fiddle heads and an airplantThis is just a sampling of the early fall things we’ve been creating! Since we’re always searching for new ideas and ways to make our arrangements more interesting and  unique, who knows what we’ll come up with next…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medinilla magnifica – Wow!

Medinilla magnifica - Malaysian OrchidA stop you in your tracks plant, this one is very new to everyone, including us. Medilla magnifica’s origin is in the mountains of the Phillipines…and this is just one of 400 species!  It’s an epiphyte in its native land, growing high in trees. What a sight that must be! Evidently the late king Boudewijn of Belgium was enamored of them, as well, growing them in his royal conservatories and using them on Belgian currency.

Here’s the scoop on how to care for your medinilla magnifica if you’d like to try this exotic beauty. This information is directly from the Medinilla magnifica website, since we have limited experience with this plant.

Ideal temperatures and light:

Medinillas prefer temperatures from the mid 60’s to mid 70’s, just like we do, and lots of light! In the winter, from about November to March, they can tolerate direct sun. The rest of the growing season, protect them from direct sun as the leaves can burn. Perhaps moving it outside, where it can enjoy the humidity of summer in a fairly cool spot out of direct sun, would be ideal.

The flowers will last longest when the nights are cool. These flowers are actually a lot of small flowers cupped in bracts and will continue to elongate to as much as 50 cm with a purple anther. Flowering should last as long as 3 months.

Medinilla magnifica & lady slipper orchids

Pretty companions…Medinilla magnifica and
lady slipper orchids…

When it looks like the flowers are spent, cut them off. A new leaf will form where the flowers were. It needs a period of cooling to cause bud formation in these new leaves, so leave it outside through fall as the temperatures drop into the 60’s. When you see buds forming that are at least an inch long,  they can be moved into a warmer spot again for the winter.

Fertilizing, Pruning and Repotting:

Medinillas can be pruned, but always leave at least one pair of leaves on a branch or it wil die. And never remove more than 50% of the leaves.  Repotting is best done in the spring, as a new growing season begins.  When it’s growing new leaves, it can be fertilized with an orchid or houseplant fertilizer every two weeks but don’t fertilize when in bloom.

Watering:

As with many plants, the medinilla magnifica prefers to go quite dry between watering. Their website mentions picking the pot up and watering when the pot feels very light. As is usual when you allow something like this to dry completely, you’ll also want to water it thoroughly when you do water. Then leave it alone again until the pot once again feels light.

The preferred method of watering a medinilla is from the bottom. This is quite easy, really. Simply fill your sink with water, put the pot in it, and let it soak up the water for about 10 minutes (When watering any plant by this method, it’s best never to allow a plant to sit in water over 30 minutes.). When you remove it from the sink, let it drain for a few minutes so there’s no chance it will be sitting in water in a cache pot or saucer.

It’s also recommended to mist your medinilla regularly to raise the humidity around it.

What an interesting plant…something new for you to try or to give as a gift!

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.

 

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