Archive for January, 2016

Still have Poinsettias Scattered?

January 27, 2016

So the holidays are over and you still have your Poinsettias scattered even the the Clauses’ have returned to the Pole. So what to do you ask. After a crazy holiday season we can understand why you would toss them along with the tree and tinsel BUT, we encourage you to keep them, enjoy them for years to come. Here are a few tips and tricks in accomplishing that goal.

Poinsettias are easy to maintain, but it takes some effort to make them bloom a second time. To grow them after the holidays, all you need to do is treat them similar to other houseplants: Give them bright light, allow them to slightly dry between waterings, and feed them with a liquid houseplant fertilizer according to label directions. That’s the easy part. The bracts (those are the leaves that look like flower petals) will eventually fade and fall off the plant. At that point, cut back the stems to just below the flowers and let them continue to grow. Getting the plants to rebloom is the hard part. It’s likely that you won’t be able to bring all 10 plants into flower again, simply because of space limitations. In spring, once nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50*F, place your poinsettias outside where they’ll receive bright, indirect light. They will grow but will remain completely green all summer. Prune back the plants by one-half to one-third in midsummer, and repot them in the same pot, or in one that’s slightly larger if the plant has grown significantly. Use a commercial potting soil. Feed the plants with a standard houseplant fertilizer during this time of new growth. Bring the pots indoors before nighttime temperatures fall below 50*F. From September 21 through the end of October, the plants need 14-15 hours of uninterrupted darkness daily, and nighttime temperatures around 65*F. This is the secret to triggering new flowers to form and for the bracts to change color. This means that every day at about 5 p.m. you’ll need to cover the plants. Uncover them between 7 and 8 the following morning.  www.insideplants.net

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Grow Plants Indoors

January 19, 2016

There are many reasons to grow plants indoors — they clean the air, soften and infuse our décor with nature, and reduce the amount of stress we feel. There are a stunning array of leaf colors and textures to brighten spirits even on the shortest, dreariest winter days. But that’s not all: Pick carefully and they also provide scent — from rich and flowery to warm and spicy. Read on to discover some of our favorite fragrant indoor plants.

The gardenia is an extremely popular choice when growing aromatic houseplants. Gardenias have an intense, sweet aroma with dark green, glossy leaves and stunning white flowers. This beauty can be a bit difficult to grow indoors due to its high humidity, bright light and warm daytime temperature requirements with cool nights of 55-60 F.  Additionally, this fragrant houseplant can grow quite large, up to 6 to 8 feet tall. Caring for this aromatic plant indoors may not be the best choice for those who will not pamper it.

Scented geraniums are also a popular option for fragrant indoor plants. Caring for this aromatic plant indoors is a bit simpler than the gardenia. Geraniums have a wide range of scents from lemon, peppermint, chocolate, orange, lavender, rose and even pineapple. The fragrance of scented geraniums comes not from the blooms, but from the foliage and as a result is fairly weak. Scented geraniums need well-draining soil and cool temps of between 55-68 F.  Allow the plant to dry between watering and fertilize once a month during the winter months. Then, move the plant outside as temps warm to blossom.

Easier ones however are:
Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) or pink jasmine is a member of the olive family and is an evergreen vine that grows outside in warm climates. It needs high humidity, warm temps and full sunlight. This jasmine has dark green leaves with tiny white flower clusters that pink up as they mature with a sweet aroma.

 Hoya carnosa or wax plant is another vine with leathery leaves. It is not as picky regarding humidity and temperature but does require bright light. The wax plant can be trained on a trellis or up a wire the better to display its white to pink star-shaped blooms. This is one houseplant that blooms most abundantly when it is root bound and should be allowed to dry between watering.  www.insideplants.net

Put a Little Green in your Life

January 12, 2016

If you are looking to bring in the new year with a little luck, look no further than putting a little green in your life.

Bamboo
Bamboo is known for attracting joy and wealth. It offers protection and luck, can break hexes and grants wishes! Bamboo is said to help increase mental flexibility, aid in spiritual growth, help people to develop artistic talents, and encourages good health. If you’re depressed, bamboo is a great plant to have in your home, as it can help you to feel less stuck.

Basil
Basil brings love, passion, wealth, luck and beauty to your home, and we could all use a little of that! If you grow your own basil and use it to flavour your food, it’s said that you’ll awaken passion in anyone who eats it. Ooh la la! Basil is known for being an antidepressant, antiseptic and antibacterial, too.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle brings money into your home and offers protection. Some people believe that crushing the flowers and placing them next to your forehead can boost psychic powers. The smell of honeysuckle sharpens your intuition, too. In addition to smelling absolutely incredible, honeysuckle also has a delicious edible nectar.

Jasmine
Jasmine attracts love and money into your home, and encourages prophetic dreams! Jasmine oil is known for being one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs, so this is a fantastic plant for single babes or anyone wanting to keep the romance alive! Jasmine flowers are often worn by high priestesses. Incredibly, jasmine flowers open at night, which, to my mind, makes them even cooler.

Lemon
As well as being bright and happy, lemons are a fantastic thing to have around the house! They symbolise purification and friendship, and it’s said that if you wear diluted lemon oil during the full moon, it will help you attune with its energies. Plus, how great would it be to have your own lemons for making drinks and salad dressings?!

Orchid
Orchids represent love: they attract love, soothe the soul, and deepen friendships. The ancient Greeks associated orchids with fertility and virility, which makes them a great gift for new parents!  www.insideplants.net

New Years and the Traditions it carries with it

January 6, 2016

So we are going to go off topic for this weeks blog. No design secrets. No benefits posts. Not even a how to on anything. Shocking, right?

Instead, we are going to talk about New Years and the traditions it carries with it.

Just as the parties the holidays begin to dwindle, preparations are started for the celebration of New Year. It is a time when even the least-likely party-goer will ready himself for a night of booze, singing, and food. This list looks at the most common and interesting traditions of New Year from around the world. Enjoy, heck even partake!!

First-footing is an ancient European New Year’s custom that continues into the present in many areas. The first person to enter a home after midnight on the first day of the year should be a male, preferably with dark hair. Blondes may have been associated with Vikings – visitors who never brought good luck. The first-footer should carry a gift, such as a coin for prosperity, bread for food, salt for flavor, or whiskey to represent good cheer. The first-footer can be a resident of the house, but must not be inside during the hour leading up to midnight. No fair stepping outside and coming back in again!

There is an Irish tradition of predicting the political future of the country by checking which way the wind blows at midnight on New Year’s Eve. If the wind is from the west, there is a chance that good fortune will reign that year. If the wind is from the east, however, the British will prevail. Mistletoe was handed out to ward off bad luck, and single women put a sprig of mistletoe under their pillows in hopes of catching a dream about their future husbands. Another tradition peculiar to Ireland is pounding on the doors and windows of the house with bread. This practice was to chase out evil spirits and ensure bread for the upcoming year.

Madeira, a Portugese island, holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most lavish New Year’s party. In 2007, 8,000 fireworks per minute made up the display in Funchal, the capital city, for a total of 600,000 fireworks. Visitors from around the world fill the tiny harbor, where the dazzle is reflected. In 2009, the government is spending 12,000,000 Euros to ensure the most spectacular celebration anywhere in the world. Other famous fireworks displays take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney harbor, and, of course, New York City, were visitors watch the descent of the giant six-foot crystal ball marking the last moments of the old year.

For African Americans, New Year’s Day has a special significance, and is often called Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves from bondage, was read in Boston. Today, many African-American families hold “watch services” on January 1. Traditional foods include black-eyed peas, collard greens, ham hocks, and macaroni and cheese. The uniquely African-American celebration, Kwanzaa, continues over seven days starting December 26, so the New Year’s celebration is often part of Kwanzaa’s way of reconnecting people with their African roots. Kwanzaa began in the United States in the 1960s, and is not celebrated in Africa.

Here’s the biggest kicker to all of this and the bonus at the end of the page if you ask me. Ever wonder what the words actually were to “Auld Lang Syne”? It has been called the most familiar song to which nobody knows the words. But this year, you will!

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.
We two have run around the hills
And pulled the daisies fine.
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
Since the days of auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream
From morn till the sun was down.
But seas between us two have roared
Since days of auld lang syne.
So here’s a hand my trusty friend.
Give us a hand of thine.
We’ll take a good-will drink again
For auld lang syne.
www.insideplants.net


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