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Flower Blog - Floral Ideas and Arrangements

Tuesday December 22nd 2015

Every Flower Is A Gift, But What Is The Meaning Behind It?

Photo via http://ow.ly/Wfa4j

A gift of flowers is always a welcome surprise, especially around Christmastime. A few days ago, I received a beautiful bouquet of chrysanthemums from my best friend. The gift was all the more special to me because chrysanthemums symbolize friendship and good cheer, so my best friend chose a gathering of flowers that really touched my heart. Did you know that most flowers have a special meaning attached to them? Consider some meaningful flowers that would make a great gift for a friend or loved one around the holiday season.

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Wednesday December 16th 2015

How To Choose The Best Christmas Tree To Rock Around

Photo via http://ow.ly/VZ7ls

One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is drive out to a local tree farm with friends and choose my Christmas tree. I love seeing all of the families walking through the fields to find a lovely tree for their home. As a kid, my family always chose a Scotch pine. I've continued that tradition, and I always seem to find one that fits perfectly into my living room. This week, I thought I'd take a look at the different types of Christmas trees as well as how to care for them. Enjoy!

Posted by Ava Rose in Holiday Flowers
Tuesday December 8th 2015

December's Birthflower: The Festive Poinsettia

Photo via http://ow.ly/VD3rp

When poinsettias start to appear in windows all around my neighborhood, I know that the holiday season is in full gear. A bright red poinsettia wrapped in gold or silver ribbon is a must-have for people who love to decorate their homes and businesses in December. So I thought I'd use this week's post to take a more in-depth look at this distinctive plant that seems to be just about everywhere this time of year. Enjoy!

Posted by Ava Rose in Anniversary Flowers
Monday November 30th 2015

Green Up Your Cubicle With These Artificial-Light Loving Plants

Photo via http://ow.ly/VrWGs

As winter approaches, many people begin to miss the colorful flowers and plants that disappear with the cold weather. Some people even deal with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Fortunately, there are many low-maintenance plants you can add to your office space to give the atmosphere a much-needed dose of cheer. For this week's post, I'm highlighting a gathering of appealing plants that need very little sunlight and water. Some of them even help with indoor air quality. Enjoy!

Posted by Ava Rose in Anniversary Flowers
Monday November 23rd 2015

11 Fall Superfoods You Should Be Eating

Photo via http://ow.ly/UZcJn

Chances are good that you've been hearing a lot about fall superfoods lately. These are seasonal foods packed with vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy. Each fall, I choose three or four superfoods and try them in new recipes. This year, I've been experimenting with recipes featuring sweet potatoes. So far, I've made a creamy sweet potato soup, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato and apple muffins. I love combining this vegetable with other ingredients and spices. Plus, it is nice to know that I'm eating something that is especially good for me. This week, I thought I'd make a list of superfoods and highlight the benefits of each one.

11 Fall Superfoods You Should Be Eating

1.) Pears: The fiber in pears helps maintain the health of your skin as well as your heart. Plus, the vitamin C in pears is an antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system. To give your pear slices an extra kick, try dipping them in apple butter.

2.) Apples: Whether it's a Gala, Golden Delicious, or Granny Smith, apples provide you with four grams of fiber per serving. Plus, apples contain antioxidants that protect you against seasonal allergies and colds. Most importantly, they taste great in a salad or a delicious pie or dipped right into the peanut butter jar.

3.) Brussels Sprouts: This superfood is loaded with protein. A single serving of Brussels sprouts provides you with the vitamin C and K you need for the day. A dish of sautéed Brussels sprouts can be a tasty side dish at lunch or dinner.

4.) Winter Squash: The potassium in this superfood helps to prevent high blood pressure. Also, the magnesium in squash can reduce a person's risk of gallstones. Is there anything more soothing than a bowl of hot butternut squash soup on a blustery winter's day?

5.) Sweet Potatoes: These delicious potatoes contain several vitamins, including B6, D, and C. The iron in this superfood helps with the development of blood cells and strengthens the immune system. Aside from being good for you, this superfood fits nicely into many dishes for the holidays.

6.) Pomegranates: The pomegranate is a familiar sight on any list of superfoods. These fruits contain antioxidants that help fight cancer and boost the immune system. Also, pomegranates lower cholesterol and can reduce your blood pressure. Pomegranates add flavor to smoothies and plain yogurt. I think pomegranates are a colorful addition to any meal, don't you?

7.) Kiwi: Pick up a kiwi at your local grocery store and you see a cute little fruit with a fuzzy peel. But these tiny fruits are packed with fiber as well as vitamins C and E. Kiwi also has a high level of potassium, which helps us to maintain our electrolyte levels. If you want to experience a new take on kiwi, try making chocolate-covered kiwi pops.

8.) Cauliflower: This unique vegetable is a superfood that contains antioxidants that can help prevent certain types of cancer. It's also high in fiber and water, which helps with digestion. People who consume cauliflower sometimes sleep better due to the choline in this superfood. Have you ever tried curried cauliflower as an alternative to French fries? Yum!

9.) Tangerines: Peeling a tangerine and eating it is an easy way to get your vitamin C. These delectable fruits also provide you with vitamin A that boosts your vision and helps with healthy cell development. Fiber is another important ingredient in tangerines. Eating fiber helps with digestion and can lower cholesterol levels. Tangerines are great on salads and are perfect when mixed with plain yogurt.

10.) Parsnips: If you can't quite picture a parsnip, it looks like a carrot but is light tan or white in color. It's also sweeter than a carrot. The fiber in this superfood can reduce your cholesterol and help to maintain consistent blood sugar levels. Parsnips also have a high level of folic acid, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

11.) Grapefruit: This traditional breakfast-time favorite definitely qualifies as a superfood. Of course, grapefruits provide you with plenty of vitamin C for your immune system, but they can also lower levels of bad cholesterol and improve skin health. Red and pink grapefruit also have lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Grapefruit is tasty on its own or sliced up and mixed into a salad.

Photo via http://ow.ly/UZcT4

So make time to try some of these recipes this fall. I hope you end up with one or two new fall favorites!

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Thursday November 12th 2015

Who Knew Gourds Were So Great!

Photo via http://ow.ly/UzUTy

Pumpkins take up most of the spotlight at this time of year, but what about gourds? They come in so many different shapes, sizes, and textures. I found a striped spoon gourd at the local farmers' market the other day that's now the star of the centerpiece on my dining room table! I thought I'd use this week's post to take a closer look at this inimitable fruit. By the way, the first thing I learned about gourds is that they're a fruit, not a vegetable. Enjoy!

The History of Gourds

Gourds have been around for thousands of years. Native Americans were among the first people to make them into birdhouses that supplied shelter for purple martins and other small birds. Early on, many cultures throughout the world used gourds to make practical items such as bowls, eating utensils, and cups. Some early civilizations used gourds to make musical instruments. Gourds were prized as both practical and decorative items just as they are today.

A dried gourd used for a birdhouse, photo via http://ow.ly/UzWqO

Where Do Gourds Grow?

Gourds are annuals that flourish in warmer temperatures. These fruits thrive in an area with well-drained soil that receives lots of sunlight. Gourds are low-maintenance plants, but they do need water during times when rainfall is low. It takes most gourds at least 100 days to mature. For example, it takes at least 110 days for the luffa gourd to mature.

Reasons Why People Grow Gourds

People grow gourds for a variety of reasons. Often, they are used as decorations during autumn. Along with my centerpiece, I have a gourd lamp given to me by a close friend. Gourds can also be the basis of a fun craft. The hard shell of a gourd makes most of these fruits inedible. However, young luffa gourds that are still green can be cooked and eaten.

Photo via http://ow.ly/UzYeB

Gourds of All Types and Shapes

Ornamental and hard-shell gourds are just two of the types available. Some gourds get their name from their distinctive shape, such as the pear gourd, the orange gourd, and the spoon gourd. The unique crown of thorns gourd features ten points around its circumference. Striped, bicolor, and flat gourds are other popular favorites. There are even gourds with warts on them for owners who like a piece of fruit with some texture.

Award-Winning Gourds

Did you know that there are competitions that celebrate gourds? Some competitions focus on the size or shape of a gourd. These fruits can be trained as they grow, resulting in a variety of unique shapes. Some award-winning gourds have twists, curlicues, or several layers. Other competitions award prizes to people who've transformed a gourd into a work of art. I admire the patience and creativity it takes to grow a one-of-a-kind gourd.

What Can I Make Out of a Gourd?

One idea for a beautiful gourd is to turn it into a birdhouse. The process requires you to clean the gourd and drill a hole in it to clean out its seeds. You can paint your gourd birdhouse a solid color or embellish it with some interesting design work. Another idea is to make a set of bowls out of a few gourds. You can use them for salad, candy, or even popcorn on movie night at home. Other craft ideas for gourds include jewelry, Christmas ornaments, lamps, decorative vases, and water pitchers.

An owl pendant made out of a gourd, photo via http://ow.ly/UzXdq

Gourds are easy to appreciate no matter what form they take! So be on the lookout for unique gourds this fall.

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Friday November 6th 2015

November's Birthflower: The Colorful Chrysanthemum

Photo via http://ow.ly/UkNi9

If you have a birthday coming up sometime this month, don't be surprised if a friend gives you a gathering of colorful chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemum, or "mum," is the official birth flower of November! These flowers are a familiar sight on front porches and in window boxes all over the country at this time of year. Personally, I like to put a large pot of decorative mums on my front steps every autumn. They never fail to light up my day. So I thought I'd use my post this week to celebrate the chrysanthemum. Enjoy!

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Wednesday October 28th 2015

How To Keep Your Houseplants Clean And Extend Their Lifespan

Photo via http://ow.ly/UfSkv

I'm the first one to admire a unique houseplant with colorful leaves or flowers. I love to see the striking pink blossoms of a Christmas cactus, and I can never resist touching the soft leaves of a purple passion plant. But houseplants do a lot more than bring beauty into our homes. For one, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. Also, houseplants absorb airborne bacteria that reduce the quality of the air we breathe. Plus, a flourishing plant in a home or office can go a long way toward lifting a person's mood. Considering all of the wonderful things that houseplants do for us, I believe we owe them the best possible care. Along with giving them adequate water and sunlight, houseplants need to be kept clean. Today, I thought I'd share some simple ways to clean houseplants so you can enjoy them in your home for years to come.

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Tuesday October 20th 2015

9 Surprising Facts You May Not Know About Pumpkins

As I walked my dog Basil through my neighborhood a few days ago, I couldn't help but notice all of the pumpkins perched on porches and window sills. I love to see the scary, funny, sad faces of pumpkins staring down at me. I even saw a pumpkin carved to look like a frightened cat. Seeing all of those pumpkins in my neighborhood made me want to know more about them; Here are nine facts I found that you may not know about pumpkins. Enjoy!

Posted by Ava Rose in General
Tuesday October 13th 2015

Marigolds: The Magnificent Birth Flower Of October

Photo via http://ow.ly/TljCE

Marigolds are the official flower of October! I can't think of a better bloom to represent a month full of startling colors. These flowers are not interested in being subtle. They display brilliant color and have a fragrance that can't be ignored. Growing marigolds is an easy way to add another dose of cheerful color to your window box, porch, balcony, or garden. This week, we take a closer look at the lovely flower of October.

Posted by Ava Rose in General