Summertime is here, in full force! That's how we do it here in KC: one minute it's 60 degrees, the next it's 100. Keeping up with that kind of heat (and drought, no less) can be super challenging in your yard. But we know the secrets to keeping your garden looking fabulous this time of year. Follow along with us over the next couple months as we explore the possibilities in our SEXY SUMMER GARDEN SERIES!
Here's a peak!
First up, check out these amazing bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) blooming like crazy at Pearly Gates Organic Soapery & Homestead in Kansas City, MO. She has her hedge located on the north side.
This phenomenal grouping is at my neighbor's house along the north side of their garden, loving the shade. They are rocking a more pink/purple tint. Hydrangeas do require protection from the hot afternoon sun. They are also a thirsty plant and need consistent moisture to keep those big blooms and leaf hydrated and inflated. Keeping them on the east and north side of your home, helps the soil stay cooler and more moist.
One of the COOLEST things about these types of hydrangeas are their ability to change the color of their bloom. BLUE flowers happen when a lot of aluminum is present in the soil. In order for the plant to absorb the aluminum, the pH must be low, preferable about 5.2 to 5.5. That's a challenge in these parts because our soil it typically filled with limestone, which raises the pH of the to 6.0 to 6.4. In order to change your hydrangeas and keep them change consistently follow these steps.
1. Add aluminum sulfate to the root zone. 1 tbsp of it per gallon of water per plant regularly during the growing season. Water in well to avoid root burn.
2.Test your soil pH and keep it in the low 5's. You can do this with coffee grounds, acidic compost and other organic matter.
3. Fertilize with a product low in phosphorus and high in potassium like a 25-5-30. The last number is the potassium percentage, the middle number is the phosphorus and the first number is the nitrogen.
There are some products out there that area specially package for just this purpose. But generic versions would be just a good and cost effective.
Changing the hydrangeas to blue can be a lot of work. I know quit a few people who have had good luck with growing them in raised beds and pots because of they were able to thoroughly amend the soil before planting.
Summertime gardening can be fun! Stay tuned to learn more about which summer blooming shrubs and perennials we love here at FineLine Design. We'll also offer some tips and tricks to help you and your landscape survive the heat.
Stay cool my friends!
A couple weekends ago we participated in a bridal open house with our friends, Alan & Angela Berry of Berry Acres in Odessa, Mo just 20 minutes east of downtown KC on I-70. This is one of our favorite wedding venues to work in. They are GREAT people with a REALLY GREAT space for your event.
I wanted to show off some of the really fun arrangements and wedding style concepts we put together for the event. Linens and colors were provided by Bailey, the event coordinator at Berry Acres. She such a fun and organized lady! Here are the first four tablescapes that I'm featuring today. Enjoy!
Ivory cloth with Burgundy napkins
Taupe cloth with Brown napkins
Navy cloth with Sage napkins
Silver cloth with Navy napkins
That's just a taste of the fun. Stay tuned for the rest of the arrangements later this week!!
Last night (when I should have been falling asleep!!!!) I was really inspired by an Instagram post from Katie Davis of @ponderosa_and_thyme. 5 days ago she started a personal project called the #thedailyforage.
She is challenging herself to create an arrangement every day - for 30 days - with ONLY forage material. Best of all, she’s documenting it on her Instagram page so we can follow along. She’s also hoping to inspire other plant enthusiasts to join her in this quest of “found foliage and flowers”.
I’ll admit it, with all the hustle and bustle of running a small business, it’s hard to find time to create for myself (because I don’t get paid to do that, duh!). I spend A LOT of time making other people’s spaces beautiful. . . . and not so much time on my place. Since the death of my grandpa, earlier this week, I’ve been reminded how short life is and how fleeting our moments are here. I can't believe how much I miss him! So thankful for a trip home this weekend to see my family before he passed. Precious memories are something death can never steal from me. Cancer may have taken his body but his soul belonged to Jesus and I'm comforted by my wholehearted belief that I'll see him again.
I know I want to continue to do what I am passionate about, which is planning beautiful landscapes, cultivating healthy plants, and harvesting them to design beautiful floral arrangements for everyone to enjoy. I just need to find a way to may sure my soul stays cultivated as well. There are lots of dreams in my heart and ideas in my head. I can’t wait to put them into action.
So, that brings me back to #thedailyforage. It’s raining outside so I can’t start this morning. Don’t be sad!! I am going to show you something that I put together last week so you can see what’s blooming near me. I'll also include the "recipe", in case there's something you like and want to start growing.
3- Euonymus 'Manhatten' branches
5- Ninebark 'Summerwine' branches
2- Light Blue German Iris (variety unknown)
5- Clematis 'Jackmanii'
3- Bright Pink Peonies (variety unknown)
5- Double Knockout Roses
3- Spiderwort 'Concorde Grape'
5- Catmint 'Walker's Low'
1- Siberian Iris 'Caesar's Brother'
Please follow me on Instagram @finelinekc to see all the lovely things coming out of my garden this season. It's going to be a great year! Blessings!
This morning, I had to pull off the road in the middle of a rain shower to snap a few pictures of this lovely and fleeting beauty: the Bridal Wreath Spirea.
I already hear some of my fellow plant nerds groaning about my use of the dreaded term "spirea" and "lovely" in the same sentence. Well, hear me out friends (especially Sarah Gregory if she's reading this), this isn't about you and your preconceived bias about how much spirea suck as a landscape plant. This is about their use in my floral arrangements, so work with me, ok?!
**Side-note, they DO kinda suck when not placed properly in the landscape or taken care of well, see photo below. Sad, very sad.
Spirea come in MANY shapes and sizes and colors, as well as varying levels of "goodness". I'm not saying all spirea are created equal, nor should you plant 50 in your yard this weekend. But I am saying some suck less than others and I do like seeing this beauty in full bloom for about 1 week every year.
Isn't she pretty???? With her pillowy, soft, white florets cascading down the arching branches? I adore her, I need one in my garden so I don't have to steal cuttings from her at the church in my neighborhood. Don't judge me. . . . Jesus knows I have a problem with floral thievery.
You can read more about this shrub online from the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder site but here are the basic stats:
Latin name: Spiraea x vanhouttei
Hardiness zones: 3-8
Mature size: 5-8 ft tall and 7-10 ft wide (wow!)
Spring blooming in full sun, drought tolerant
These branches make a wonderful soft and graceful, yet structural addition to a florist's wedding bouquets and centerpieces this time of year.
SEE!!!!!?? Weren't those lovely!? I challenge you to open your mind to all the possibilities of the plants in your landscape. Every one is special and can serve a purpose if you let yourself step out of the box. Enjoy!
Do have a hard time keeping those pesky bunnies out of your yard? In honor of Easter, I'm discussing my least favorite animal in my yard:
THE COMMON RABBIT
Sure they're cute and cuddly but MAN can they eat!
THE COMMON RABBIT
I've never had a rabbit problem before but the past 2 years those furry little devils have been AWFUL. They are already devouring my garden despite the fact that I have 2 very prey-driven pit bulls. As you can imagine, my dogs generally discourage animals from hanging around our place for too long.
Maybe Pretty Girl (left) and Bo are slacking off in their old age? They're both turning 8.
The damage is especial harsh in my beautiful, shady front yard filled with tulips, hosta, hydrangea and turtle head. The rabbit nibbling mangles the foliage and those jerks take big bites out of the tulip flowers. Wish they'd eat more dandelions!
I recently found out that my sweet, little, old neighbor across the street has a family of bunnies living under her shed this season . . . and she's feeding them. WHAT?? Aiding and abetting the enemy? Say it ain't so!
The honest truth is I love all animals and don't wish anyone harm. But I'm not at all afraid to try out every humane option to keep these critters out of my yard. Today, I want to show you what I'm using.
This 1 gallon jug of granular repellent is under $30 from Grass Pad in Lees Summit, MO. So far, this is the best stuff I've tried. It's easy to apply, long lasting, even through a little bit of rain. It works great to keep the critters away from the foliage on low growing perennials. It says it's safe for kids and pets. I've been testing it on pansies at an HOA entry monument in a heavily wooded area. So far no damage.
There is no way these amazing pink memorial tulips for Big Ugly would last with out this stuff.
And here is a pictures of some hosta in my front yard. One is treated and one was left natural. Bet you can guess which is which, right?
To sum up, this stuff rocks. All though it would be hard to treat a large garden or property with this, the expense is totally work it to save a few your favorite plants each year. Enjoy!
Last October, I was incredibly privileged to work with two of the most generous and creative ladies I've ever met. Katy Anderson, interior designer at Contract Furnishings, and Carolyn Schwartz, owner of Ultrapom Event Rental, are the epitome of classy, Kansas City ladies.
I am so thankful they thought to bring me in on this CRAZY project called Dining by Design for DIFFA, which stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. Designers from across the city come together to create a magical dining experience for patrons, while raising money to find a cure for aids and help those fighting the disease.
Katy developed an amazing, albeit insane, concept for a woodland garden party inside a big, concrete downtown auditorium. Did I mention it's indoors???
All the while, Carolyn searched through her STUNNING rental collections to find us some awesome vintage taupe linens, tons of brass candlesticks and FABULOUS table settings that included gold utensils. I was blown away!
We also wanted a sunset vibe and Carolyn jumped at the challenge of creating the perfect element for us.
And guess what? I brought the PLANTS & FLOWERS! I'm so grateful to Kat Nurseries for "renting" me six 20ft tall birch trees. This dream would never have become a reality without their donation to the cause.
Speaking of donations, there was no way that little ole me could have gotten those 1,000 lbs trees inside the auditorium without a skid steer and some serious man muscle. I don't know what I would have done without Sean Baxter and Scott Tolson from Lawn & Landscape Solutions of Olathe, KS.
Big THANK YOU, guys!
Those guys sacrificed 2 entire days to help me unload and drive these birch trees through the streets of downtown KC. They've always thought I was a crazy plant lady. . . well. . . . now they know for sure.
This night came together so perfectly. A true expression of what a group of like minded people can do when they come together for such a deserving cause. I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out. Take a look!
Several times a year, I am blessed to work with the wonderful folks at Berry Acres, on their Bridal Open Houses. These events, sponsored by Perfect Wedding Guide Kansas City, are an opportunity for the public to tour this amazing event space, located only 25 minutes east of downtown Kansas City on I-70, in Odessa, MO. This quiet, relaxing 20 acre country setting offers a unique opportunity to choose from multiple indoor or outdoor ceremony settings while accommodating 50 to 550 guests, year round.
The owners Alan and Angela Berry have 30 years of diverse experience and passion for weddings, including consistently being rated one of KC's top wedding DJ's. Their mission is to deliver brides and their guests a memorable, full service wedding experience at an exceptional value.
I LOVE open houses like this where I get to showcase my floral creations on a unique platform. This past weekend, I crafted 8 different centerpieces based on the linens set up by Bailey, the Event Sales Manager at Berry Acres. She always gives us the neatest color combinations to work with. It's a blast!!
It's HERE!!!!! Today is the first day in our new office. I can't believe it. For those of you who didn't know, we have been finishing the basement of my house for the past year and it's finally complete. 400 sq ft of freshly painted walls, distressed wood-looking floors and best of all . . . . . SPACE. Yes, you heard me right. SPACE to spread out and grow as a company.
We now have 2 separate areas for landscape designers with drafting tables and new office furniture from Ikea. (I'm addicted to that place!! Thank goodness it's a 30 minute drive or I'd be there all the time.)
I'm in love with my beautiful second bathroom with a gorgeous tile shower, quartz counter top, reclaimed barn wood wall. What a huge value add.
I'm even thrilled to have a printing/copying area with room to store our scanner, printer, paper and supplies. Plus, a closet for seasonal clothes and jackets. Seems like such a LUXURY in this tiny ranch.
There is still 400 SF of basement still unfinished which will conveniently serve as my workshop for the wedding floral side of FineLine Design. Organizing that is still on the TO DO list of my life. Ugh.
I want to say THANK YOU to anyone who helped in our project (AND a big shout out to YouTube for teaching me construction skills in 30 minutes or less). Also, wanted to say sorry to all my friends with whom I've been MIA due to endless weekends sucked up by construction projects and a general lack of funds.
To see the progress START to FINISH check out the slideshow below and prepare to be amazed by my handiness and Chris' extremely hard work. I'm so incredibly proud of this project guys.
Looking forward to HUGE & AWESOME things in 2016. Don't forget to follow along with me
Are you ready for a little something different to add to your holiday décor? How about something more flashy and modern this year? Something unexpected? I’ve recently fallen in love with the shiny finish and clean lines of geometric terrariums.
Our collection of glassware was acquired from Hobby Lobby. Prices range from $16.99 to $39.99. TIP ALERT: there is always a “40% off one item” coupon available online or on the Hobby Lobby Stores app.
Many of my supplies came from Hobby Lobby like Reindeer Moss ($5.99) and Powder Snow ($5.99).
My client provided us the little Bambi toys, which she ordered online, and the mini bottle-brush Christmas trees from Target ($24.99).
I easily traced the bottom of the terrariums onto the cardboard of the leftover boxes and cut out the bases for my creations. With hot glue and a little patience, I was able to assemble all the scenes, using one tree and several reindeer for each one.
After tucking the arrangements into my terrariums, I lightly packed small pieces of the reindeer moss around the trees and legs of the reindeer, making sure it looks a bit lumpy and random but not covering the whole reindeer.
Once, I was completely satisfied with coverage of the cardboard, I used a small Dixie cup to scoop and sprinkle the snow sporadically over the entire setup, filling in any remaining holes.
A few of the terrariums weren’t large enough to hold trees, so I used them to hold small votives in tiny glass jars. The moss around the candle ties them in with the others.
I arranged these gorgeous trinkets along with many other lovely items around my clients’ main living spaces. Using a large selection of vases, ornaments, and candlesticks in brass and mercury glass combined with boxwood wreaths and garland, the whole house came together is very merry fashion.
I really hope this How-to post and pictures of my work inspire you to look at the items you have differently. With a little imagination, you can add some holiday glamour to all areas of your home. If you like my ideas, PLEASE share. Blessings!
I consider it an honor to a part of someone's wedding. Knowing that a bride likes my style and trusts me to play a huge role in her special day means so much to me as a wedding florist.
This September wedding between Nick and Ruby was no exception. The weather was perfect, 70 and sunny. The setting, The Inn of Crescent Lake, was stately with its gorgeous brick manor yet casual enough for an fall outdoor event on the front lawn.
The Bride chose a pallet of soft pastels in a loose garden bouquet which complimented her fair complexion and soft styling perfectly. Please enjoy a few of my favorite floral photos from that special September day.
If you or someone you know get engaged this holiday season, please send them my way. I'd love the chance to get together to chat about their event.