Groundwork for Your Indoor Oasis

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With the colder temps right around the corner, now is the perfect time to add a lovely house plant to your indoor decor.  Many studies that proven that the addition of plants and flowers in home environments promote comfort and a sense of calm.  Plants can add instant warmth to the most stark and bland rooms. Before you start shopping for the perfect plant to liven up your living room, do a little research.

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On a recent trip to our local library, we found a couple of great reference books we highly recommend. The first one is called “Happy Cactus” by Editor John Pilbeam. This little gem is filled with wonderful photos and snippets of valuable information on cacti and succulents. Succulents are one of our shops best selling plants. We receive weekly calls and requests for more information about these easy-going beauties. This book artfully goes over ideal growing conditions, propagation and general caring for a large variety of succulents and cacti. As soon as we read the book, we knew it would make the perfect addition to our reference library.

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The book “Plant Society” by Jason Chongue is a gorgeous book, filled with elegant photos and comprehensive information on classic and trendy houseplants. Light conditions are a key for any plant to thrive. We found that this book does a great job of presenting that sort of information as well as interior design tips using plant life. From soil recipes and propagating to trouble-shooting and homemade pesticides. This book is a wonderful addition to any modern plant library.

With internet access, finding information has never been easier, but nothing beats flipping through a beautifully art directed book about wonderful live things that make us smile. Whether you order a copy for yourself or check them out at your local library, start your research and add a lively little green wonder to warm up your home.

 

 

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Keep your decor looking sharp… add a cactus!

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If you’re having trouble keeping house plants alive, try a cactus. These desert loving plants appreciate dry air and average room temperatures. One of the most critical requirements is sunlight. Placing your cactus near a south-facing window is an ideal spot. If your cactus is happy and thriving it may surprise you with a bright and colorful bloom. Slow growth and minimal watering makes a cactus the perfect plant for a busy lifestyle.

The following varieties are both artistically delightful and easy to care for…

The Christmas Cactus is wonderful addition to any home. If it’s cared for properly, it’ll bloom twice a year. It’s smooth, segmented leaves multiply fairly quickly for a cactus and is quite hardy even if neglected.

African Milk Tree ( pictured above ) also known as the Cathedral Plant can grow up to four feet indoors. Water this beauty twice a month and it could live for decades.

A Barrel Cactus is among the fiercest varieties. It’s long rigid spines protect its softer interior. Give this plant as much sun as possible and water minimally. If it’s happy it could live for decades. ( pictured below )

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Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

While the cactus plant itself provides an artistic touch to your home decor, the container it’s planted in should be just as unique. At Edwards Florist of Northbrook, we take great pride in finding just the right planter for any decor. Whether you call or stop in, one of our expertly trained sales associates will be able to help you choose just the right container. If you don’t have time to stop by our shop, we’ve found a couple of unique containers on Amazon that are noteworthy and would look perfect with any cactus.

Keep that summer feeling alive with a “cool” succulent garden.

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September is here and it’s hard to believe that our Chicago summer is coming to an end. Here’s some good news, you can still keep that summer feeling alive and growing in your home with some interesting containers and a few loose succulents ( aloes are great too! )

Using unique containers and some creative thinking, your succulent garden will continue to delight and warm your heart throughout those cold winter months. We love to work with succulents at Edwards Florist of Northbrook. Those happy, easy to care for, versatile, little, bloom-like plants look amazing and thrive in just about any container.

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Upcycle a tin can, toy truck or piece of driftwood and turn that simple little object into a spectacular succulent display.  The succulents we sell at Edwards of Northbrook are loose and survive for months on damp moss.  Just find a container that makes you smile, fill the void space with moss and place a succulent on top… instant garden!

Succulents are available year-round. Lately, we’ve been able to get our hands on a few aloes, which give those gardens an arid-cactus look.

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The aloe garden above was designed within a mercury glass chalice. Simple and eclectic this garden would look great in a classic or modern home.

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Give your house plants a face lift by adding some moss and a loose succulent to the base of the plant. Calla lilies and orchids pair well with succulents.

Terrariums are a fantastic way to display succulents. These little eco-systems are a creative way to capture summer “in a bottle” so to speak.  It’s important to remember that you can over-love your succulent garden by watering it too much.  The beauty of these plants is that they need just a little water and lots of indirect light. Both of these requirements are fairly easy to provide in an average home setting. Even though the days are getting short and those sunny temps are dipping, you don’t say goodbye to summer completely.  Create a little delightful succulent garden of your own to brighten up those dark winter days.

Make Dining Delightful

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As a florist, we are accustom to creating gorgeous centerpieces to make those special occasions, even more memorable.  Now take that idea and push it one step further and you have a tablescape. A tablescape goes beyond just a centerpiece. It considers all the elements on the table as artist players arranged to entertain and delight.

 

Pictured above are a couple of summer get-togethers we’ve designed using natural items such as sandblasted manzanita branches, wood slice trays, shells and succulents. We then paired them with classic wooden lanterns, burlap runners and pillar candles to create a lush yet comfortable setting that would set the scene for beautiful memories to share.  We’re always eager to set up a consultation for your event needs, just call our shop and make an appointment.

If you’re having a small party and wish to design a tablescape of your own, here are a few key elements to consider. Start with the base of your table and incorporate linens. Whether you choose to use a tablecloth or table runner ( or both ), this layer of fabric softens the table and gives you a blank canvas to work with.  A simple and clean look would include a white table cloth and a runner in a neutral shade such as tan or grey. Now comes the fun part, adding color through flowers and foliage.

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Fresh cut succulents are a wonderful choice for a tablescape. Succulents are amazing! They look like flowers with their petal-like leaves, yet they’re plants that behave like a hardy cactus. Incorporating fresh cut succulents couldn’t be easier.  Once your event is over, you can use these delightful plants to decorate your home. This fresh cut variety will survive without soil. Just place the succulent on a damp bed of moss and this plant will develop roots that will sustain its survival for approximately a year.  We proudly carry a large variety of succulents in our shop year-round.

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Now that you have a green, flower-like element to liven up your tablescape you’ll need to choose a few objects in which to place your succulents on. Driftwood, wood slices, your favorite ceramic plates or trays, succulents will look stunning on just about anything. So search your home for some interesting objects and get creative.  For instance, lets say you have a piece of driftwood or a hardy ( bug-free ) natural branch, just place it on top of a table runner in the center of your table and begin to build your artistic elements. In the crook of the branch, place a bit of moistened moss and rest a succulent on top. Arrange the succulents in pairs or in threes for a natural look. Next add an element of light. Whether you choose pillar candles or small votives, be sure to scatter these glowing lights around the table to add drama and elegance to your tablescape.

Once the main visual elements have been thoughtfully arranged, it’s time to consider the place settings. Plates, napkins and silverware can add a lot of personality to your table scene. In keeping with the blank canvas mentality, it’s best to choose a simple white plate and add color through napkins and foliage.  Pair your napkin with a handwritten menu and a sprig of rosemary and suddenly the simple place setting is transformed into a magical sight to remember.

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Use these tips for any season, just substitute seasonal foliage and decor items ( pumpkins, ornaments, etc… ) and you will easily dazzle your guests and create beautiful memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Giving the Gift of Light

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With so many gift options out there, candles often get a bad rap. The popular SNL candle skit with Emma Stone makes “light” of candle gifting.  While people may argue that a candle gift is impersonal and thoughtless, we have to disagree. There are plenty of great reasons to give someone the gift of light.

If you have a friend that enjoys meditating or relaxing in the tub, then an herbal scented spa candle would be lovely.  This little gesture will send your friend a message that encourages them to kick back, relax and enjoy a little aromatherapy.

When someone is mourning, a candle can provide comfort. Many religions use candlelight to represent a positive force or eternal spirit. If a spiritual friend or loved one is going through a tough time, the gift of light could be the perfect way to show you care.

How about a romantic gesture? Nothing sets the scene quite like a candle. You know the routine… roses, music, dinner and candlelight. The soft light of a candle makes everyone look amazing and sets the mood for the events to follow.

Not all candles are the same. If you intend on giving a candle gift, make sure it’s a quality candle. Hand-poured, beautiful container, high end ingredients such as essential oils, soy or bees wax are all hallmarks of a quality candle.  We carry a large variety of elegantly scented, hand-poured, soy wax candles in our shop.  For our friends that can’t stop by and personally check out our candle selection, we’ve found a few of our favorites you can purchase on Amazon, try Nest Candles and Antica Farmacista

                                  

It’s always important to remember, a good gift is a thoughtful one. If you have a friend who loves candles, don’t be discouraged by that SNL skit mentality, go for it!  As Edith Wharton so gracefully said ” There are two ways of spreading light, be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Hello Sunshine!

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Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~ Hans Christian Andersen

If you live in the Midwest, you’re keenly aware of how precious summertime really is. These fleeting days of endless sunshine and warm temps have the power to lift our spirits and reenergize our souls. This joyful season of sun is best when it’s shared with family and friends. Whether your celebrating a graduation, special birthday, anniversary or just the fact that it’s Friday and you don’t have to work the next day… getting together with people that make you happy is the essence of “the good life”.

To take ” the good life ” one step further, add delicious food, relaxing music and beautiful flowers.  In my humble opinion, summer is the best time to buy flowers.  Our shop stocks exotic favorites such as orchids and protea as well as local blooms like dahlias and sunflowers. Our floral sources worldwide provide the best looking blooms in the summertime. So if you’re going to send a floral gift, the summer is THE best time to do so. Even a simple series of bud vases that highlights a single stem makes a lovely hostess gift or a special treat for yourself.  You can find a gorgeous example of this on our website called the “Audrey” pictured below.

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If you live outside of the Chicagoland area and can’t get to our shop to buy the “Audrey” vase then we recommend Chive Pooley 2, a super cute modern series of vases that can easily brighten up a room an provoke a smile. These versatile vases can be filled with treasured blooms and foliage from your garden or carefully chosen stems from our shop, either way this vase is sure to delight everyday.

Now that your decor has a simple summer pick-me-up, it’s time to add some great food. Nothing tastes like summer than vine ripened plum tomatoes with fresh basil.  A big serving platter filled with delicious bruschetta is always a great addition to any summer get-together. Super easy to make and always appreciated, here is a tried and true recipe that is sure to be a favorite. Bruschetta recipe link  Serve up your yummy summer snacks on a large natural wooden platter with a rustic, laid back vibe.

Only one thing left to add… some summer tunes.  Find a great playlist to suit your musical taste on Spotify, just look up summer songs/playlist.  Now text/call your favorite people and invite them over this weekend. Hurry, enjoy these summer nights!!

 

 

Happiness Resolution

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Happy 2018!  Every new year brings with it a refreshing feeling of promise and renewal. We think about ways to eat better, live better, be better.  There are countless articles out there with recipes for a happier, healthier life.  Most of them are great reminders of what is truly important and valuable.  Of those countless articles, I’ve compiled a list of ten simple ways to live a happier life.

  1. DO WHAT YOU LOVE… whether its knitting, playing basketball or just spending time with loved ones. The simple act of doing what you love will release joyful endorphins.
  2. BE THANKFUL… appreciate the things you have and count your blessings.  Being grateful for even the simplest of things will bring more joy into your heart.
  3. HELP OTHERS… making a meaningful contribution to someone else’s life brings more satisfaction to your own.
  4. SMILE MORE… its by far the simplest way and least costly way to spread joy. Receiving a smile in return can change a bad day into a good one.
  5. EXERCISE… another great way to release those happy endorphins while reducing stress.
  6. EAT HEALTHY… this is probably one of the most challenging habits to change. The simple act of just removing one unhealthy food option, like sugar, can make a huge impact on your life. Eating better will give you more energy and limit those sluggish feelings.
  7. FORGIVE & FORGET… holding a grudge causes more harm than you think. Do your best to forgive and release that pent-up anger. It’s a life changing strategy for dealing with stress.
  8. DUMP NEGATIVE THINKING… the minute you realize your thoughts are becoming negative, try to replace them with some positive thoughts. Negative thinking is contagious. Do your best to surround yourself with positive people.
  9. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH NATURE… take a walk, sit outside and read, or add flowers to your weekly shopping list. Appreciating nature brings with it a sense of calm. Flowers trigger a primal response that lets us know that these surroundings are fruitful and comforting.
  10. BE YOURSELF… accept who you are and the world will accept you too.

Of course, some of these suggestions are easier said than done, but it doesn’t hurt to try a few.  From a florist’s perspective, one of the best ways to add more happiness to an ordinary day is to include seasonal flowers to your to do list. The simple beauty of a tulip or the comforting fragrance of a rose can do wonders for your mood while reminding us of this wonderful world we share.

Best wishes for 365 days of happiness in 2018!!