All Posts By Carol Caggiano

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How to Say Thank You this Summer

by Carol Caggiano on July 28, 2016 at 10:02 am

Make Any Day SpecialThere is something about summer that causes our social lives to “bloom.” Maybe it’s that we are outside more to connect with neighbors and those around us, or possibly that we have some time off from work, school or other commitments, which then gives us the opportunity to travel, visit friends and family, or maybe they come to visit us. Picnics and barbeques are the norm, and the “living is easy” and fun.

Summer also represents the space between adventures. The end of the school year starts summer and the beginning of a new school year ends it. Work often slows down during the summer months giving everyone a little break before things ramp up in the fall. Camp, vacation and other special activities pop up during this season, which is no wonder why we all look forward to it so much.

No matter what our plans are for summer, there are always people that make this time of year special and remarkable. Your favorite teacher or coach, a graduate, a host or hostess, all play a part in our summer experience. Or what about those great neighbors or friends that take care of our pets, water our plants, bring in the mail, watch our kids or any number of tasks that make it possible for us to do what we do? Read More

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Welcoming Summer Guests with Flowers

by Carol Caggiano on June 20, 2016 at 5:41 am

Sunflowers and Eryngium - Photo Courtesy Carol Caggiano, AIFD, PFCIEntertaining is one of my favorite past times. I love having guests over, and there is just something special about inviting them in the summertime. Summer entertaining can be relaxing and casual, really leaving time for conversation and “catching up” on all of our busy lives. Cooking on the grill and eating outdoors is perfect for a memorable summer afternoon or evening.

Flowers are important to me and I use them to welcome my summertime guests just as I do throughout the rest of the year. However, in summer I can often combine the seasonal blooms I purchase from my local florist with accents from my garden.

Just this week, I picked up some petite sunflowers and eryngium (blue thistle) to create a centerpiece for the dinner I was preparing to have on my porch with my neighbors. I added fresh mint from my garden.

Not only did it look great, its fragrance was spectacular and combined perfectly with the aroma of steak and veggies. Rosemary is another garden favorite that combines well with seasonal blooms and also lends not only texture but a very nice scent to the bouquet as well. Read More

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Everything is Coming Up Roses

by Carol Caggiano on May 31, 2016 at 7:49 am

Keira Roses - David Austin RosesThis month everything is rosy… literally! As roses are at their peak of bloom in June it seems only fitting for it to be National Rose Month. The rose is beloved year round, yet it seems appropriate to give it some extra attention in June. So loved is the rose by Americans, that President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the rose as our National Flower in 1986.

“Roses are red…violets are blue” is a quote familiar to all of us, yet until 1800 all cultivated roses in Europe were shades of white or pink. The beloved red rose first came from China the beginning of the 19th century. Unusual green roses arrived a few decades later. A Frenchman by the name of Joseph Pernet-Ducher is credited with the discovery of the yellow rose around 1900, and we have had yellow and orange roses ever since. Intensive cultivation has revealed all of the remaining colors, except blue or black. Black is considered less than an attractive rose color, but the pursuit of the blue rose has been likened to the “Holy Grail.” Many have tried but none have truly succeeded. Progress has been made, and the quest continues. Read More

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As summer is fast approaching, one of our first and most enjoyable thoughts is about vacation. Where to go, when to go and for how long are all part of the plan in progress. As I think of places I have been, some of my favorites include beautiful gardens that I have experienced along the way.

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia

Sometimes the garden itself was part of the reason for the choice of location, as it was when I visited Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. I had seen so many stunning photos of this magnificent place and couldn’t wait to see it in person. I was certainly not disappointed! I don’t think I have ever experienced a more beautiful, well-planned collection of flowers and plants.

Over 100 years ago Jennie Butchart transformed an exhausted limestone quarry into one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. She had tons and tons of topsoil brought in by horse and cart to line the abandoned quarry. That was just the beginning. Over the years, the gardens grew to include the Sunken Garden, the Italian Garden, the Japanese Garden and the Concert lawn just to name a few of the popular areas of the gardens. They even open the gardens at night for guests to enjoy spectacular lighting effects that give the gardens a totally unique perspective. A visit to Butchart Gardens was truly an unforgettable experience. Read More

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Sensational Succulents

by Carol Caggiano on April 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

SucculentsJust like color, home decor and fashion, flowers and plants follow style trends, too. Garden roses, peonies and hydrangeas are just a few of the varieties that have hit the top of the trend charts in the past few years. One of the more unusual and most interesting plant materials that are now extremely popular are succulents.

This diverse group of plants has juicy leaves, stems or roots. They are the perfect plant for the forgetful gardener as they require little care and need to be watered infrequently. Most are easy to grow because they evolved with unique water storage tissues that allow them to survive in environments that are too arid for most plants. Unlike many other plants, succulents like the dry humidity and warm conditions found in most homes. Indoors or outdoors, while they like direct light, they can adapt to lower light conditions. Read More