VIDEO: Do You Feel Socially Awkward? Here’s How to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself in Social Situations

Are you socially awkward? It seems I am a magnet for any and all kinds of awkward social situations. So much so that I decided to create a post on all of the social traps and how you can avoid them. From forgetting you have met someone before all the way to talking about things…

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See It Here First! Our 30-Image Photo Gallery of the Colorful People and Epic Fun-demonium of the SAF Convention, 2018!

The beautiful people of the floral industry gathered in Palm Springs, California for a week of education, awards, food and fun! SAF is the face and voice of a strong, unified floral industry, supporting 7,000 members of the industry’s top retailers, growers, wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, suppliers, educators, students and allied organizations. Chartered by an act…

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Four Day Wedding Workshop

flirty fleurs florist workshop - spring flowers on display at floral design workshop

I am thrilled to share that this winter I will be holding a 4 Day Wedding Workshop!
I have specialized and delighted in weddings for the past 18 years and am looking forward to sharing what I have learned about flower care and designing with fellow flower lovers.

Get those pens and notebooks ready as together we will cover care & handling of flowers and the ordering process for weddings. Plus, we will discuss the pricing of flowers and weddings – a very important topic that unfortunately so many people shy away from! For the design portion of the workshop we will create bridal bouquets, bridesmaids bouquets, compote styled centerpieces, corsages, boutonnieres, flower halos & combs, a ceremony backdrop, and large ceremony arrangements.
Workshop will take place for 4 Days – January 29 thru February 1, 2019
This is an intensive, hands-on, petite and personal workshop. My goal for attendees is for you to walk out after four days and feel confident in taking on weddings of your own.

alicia schwede floral design instructor - seattle flower school - flirty fleurs

This workshop is designed for both budding and experienced florists who are looking to be inspired and learn. All instruction for designs will be done in a step-by-step fashion.
This workshop will be a limited to 6 participants. The group will be petite and each attendee will receive plenty of individual instruction, plus, with a group so small attendees will have a chance to connect with each other forging new friendships.
All fresh flowers, tools, and vessels are included. Just bring yourself!

“I love teaching, sharing what I’ve learned over the course of 18 years in the flower business. Being surrounded by flower enthusiasts is a wonderful thing and I love watching students work on a design and how their eyes light up when the design is completed. The words I live to hear from students – “this was such a fun day, I can’t wait to do it again!”
– Alicia

flirty fleurs flower design class florist instruction seattle

What is included:

  • 4 Days of Hands-On Instruction
  • All flowers, foliages, and containers used will be provided, yes, you may keep every arrangement you design
  • A gift basket filled with floral industry goodies
  • Lunch Daily
  • Dinner on our final evening together

The Details:
Dates: January 29 thru February 1, 2019
Timeline: 10am to 4pm Daily
Optional visit to flower wholesalers on Wednesday morning at 6am
Location: Floressence Design Studio, 5628 Airport Way S Suite 240, Seattle, WA 98108
Investment: $2,750.00 per person

Registration and payment in full can be placed via Eventbrite – click here
Please reach out to me at if you would like to setup a payment plan for the workshop or if you prefer to pay with a Check.

flirty fleurs floral design workshop - floral design classes in Seattle Washington

What is not included:
• You will be responsible for all travel arrangement to get to the Workshop (including airfare and car rental/train fare/etc.). The studio is an easy Uber ride from all parts of Seattle.
• Accommodations are not included. However, we are happy to recommend nearby accommodations or we suggest checking out AirBnB listings for the Georgetown Neighborhood.
• Evening meals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

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Wedelia: A Pretty Pain in the Neck

I was doing some work for a client this last week. I was training a gardener to build a compost pile so we went biomass gathering around the farm, bringing back piles of rotten fruit, cut grass and green weeds, along with dried grass and leaves so we could make alternating layers of greens and browns.

While gathering rotten piles of brown grass from a recently cleared field, I discovered something annoying.

Inside the rotting grass were pieces of wedelia stems, rooting and green, just waiting to be added to the compost pile where they could infect the gardens forever. I looked around at the area where the grass had been cut and saw lots of the same species growing among the grass.

Wedelia, also known as Singapore daisy, or most properly under the tongue-twisting Latin name Sphagneticola trilobata is a pain-in-the-neck plant often used as an ornamental for its thick growth and pretty yellow flowers.

It’s also known for reproducing rampantly from runners and pieces of the cut vine:

“Wedelia is a mat forming perennial herb with rounded stems. Leaves are fleshy, usually 2 to 4 inches long and 1 to 5 inches wide, with irregularly toothed margins. Flowers are solitary, one inch in diameter and yellow-orange in color. New plants arise from nodes that root at the soil surface. Seed production is low and generally does not reproduce prolifically via seed. However, wedelia is able to escape from gardens to nearby areas via runners and fragmentation.”

I know I tell you to “compost everything,” but there are times when we have to exercise some care lest we introduce an invader into our gardens. I don’t trust that the pile I built is big enough or will get hot enough to cook wedelia pieces and keep them from ending up running through and over the compost pile. I can’t uncover research on feedng wedelia to rabbits, chickens or goats, but if it won’t hurt them, that would be a better way to turn it into something usable for the garden. Another option might be my anaerobic barrel composting method.

Compost everything (if you can!)

If you already have wedelia in your yard and landscape, it does make a good groundcover. I wouldn’t introduce it on purpose, but keeping it in beds and string-trimming the edges does look nice.

To get rid of it, you need to pull up all the vines and remove the stems completely, or it will pop back up quickly and take over again.


*Wedelia image by Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental.

The post Wedelia: A Pretty Pain in the Neck appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

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BackEZ Add-On Handle Giveaway

Win a BackEZ add-on handle and stand up straight for all your chores!

This week (Monday 10/15 – Wednesday 10/17), you have the opportunity to win one of fifteen BackEZ add-on handles! Simply attach BackEZ to any long-handled tool, broom, rake or shovel. This versatile handle changes the angle where your hand and the tool meet, enabling you to take a firm grip without having to make excessive stretching movements. This will help you to reduce lower back pain and hand fatigue while boosting productivity, making household jobs less of a back-breaking chore.  Suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Fits handle diameters: 20mm – 50mm (0.75″-2″).

To enter, please do the following anytime from Monday, 10/15 through midnight Wednesday, 10/17:

  1. Go to the Gardening Know How Facebook page. Find the BackEZ giveaway post pinned at the top of the page. Make a comment underneath this post with your answer to the following question: “Which gardening tool will you attach the BackEZ to?
  2. Share the BackEZ giveaway Facebook post on your timeline.
  3. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See rules for more information.)

Connect with BackEZ:–winter.html

Order a BackEZ on with promotional code CLEANUP01 and receive 15% off your order!  Offer expires 11/20/2018.
























The post BackEZ Add-On Handle Giveaway appeared first on Gardening Know How's Blog.

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Harvesting Herbs, Healing, and How to Make the Perfect Cup of Herbal Tea

There are few things as satisfying as the ritual of harvesting fragrant herbs, then using them to make wonderful herbal tea. Preparing a cup of tea signals your body to focus inward and heal what…

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Hurricane Michael Destroys Crop of a Lifetime

“In Southeast Alabama’s Wiregrass region, known for its fertile soil and productive farms, the 2018 cotton crop was shaping up as perhaps a “once in a lifetime” crop. Then along came Hurricane Michael, ripping through the lower, eastern corner of Alabama on its way from the Florida Panhandle into Georgia on Wednesday.

Across Georgia, agriculture crops, including cotton, suffered similar extensive damage, with some farmers suffering total losses as assessments continued. In Alabama, most counties across the state escaped damage from Michael, but a handful of agricultural counties in the Wiregrass region that rely heavily on cotton, which is more susceptible to the elements than other crops, were not so lucky.

As this fall’s cotton harvest neared, with white fluffs abundantly emerging at record or near-record yields, Michael tore across the Southeast as a storm of a lifetime, one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the United States in the history of record keeping.”


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Adam Frost’s top tips for your garden redesign

I asked garden designer Adam Frost  about garden redesign. Especially if you have a middlesized garden and have recently moved in.

(‘Recently’ in garden terms can be years, as we often do the work on the house first, or life is just too busy to do more than keep the garden under control.)

We met when he spoke at the Painters Forstal Garden Club. Before the talk started, we repaired to the hall’s mini-kitchen to discuss middle-sized gardens amid catering size packs of Rich Tea biscuits.

Adam Frost - the Middlesized Garden interview

Surrounded by Rich Tea biscuits – it was a great treat to meet Adam to chat about garden redesign. He gave the Middlesized Garden some fab tips and he’s also a wonderful speaker (as you might expect). His advice is both inspiring and practical.

Adam Frost, of course, is a well known (and well loved) face on BBC Gardeners World. He has won seven Gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. And recently he started the Adam Frost Garden School in his new home in Lincolnshire.

So I asked him what his advice was to anyone planning a garden redesign for their middle-sized space. ‘Middle-sized’ on this blog is under an acre, but the average garden size in Britain is currently around 50ft long, so that was what we were talking about.

Or watch the video…

If you prefer watching a video, this also has Adam’s tips:

Don’t do anything when planning a garden redesign!

‘Get to know your garden before you do anything,’ says Adam. He himself has recently moved into a new house and garden. Before doing his own garden redesign, he’s followed his own advice:

‘When we moved into our house, I walked the space every evening and every morning, so that I really understood it.’

You might think that a garden designer would prioritise creating a wonderful garden before anything else.

‘But it’s better to understand it first,’ he advises. ‘Find out where the sun comes up, and where it goes down. Where are you drawn to in the garden? Is there anywhere you don’t really like? Why is that? Have you got a good view? Or something you want to hide? Is privacy an issue?’

‘Give it a whole growing season before you make changes. Don’t be in a hurry to slash and burn. You may inadvertently take out something that could have been a godsend.’

If you’ve been in your house for some time before deciding to ‘get the garden sorted’, then you’ve already done that bit. But it’s probably worth writing it all down.

Forget your prejudices

‘Forget any gut reaction you have on things you don’t like.’

This certainly resonates with me. When we first moved in, we were determined to get rid of a large cypress ‘Leylandii’.

After all, no-one ever has a good word for a Leylandii. However we keep this one under control by pruning it every few years. It adds evergreen structure to the garden and blocks an ugly street lamp. If we’d ripped out – and we so nearly did – the glare on our terrace would have been close to unbearable.

And once you have removed a mature tree, it can take years before its replacement can properly fulfill its role.

‘For example,’ says Adam, ‘you might instinctively want to remove a hedge and have a fence, but you’d be taking out a massive wildlife habitat. It’s really worth thinking about, and being sure that you’re doing the right thing.’

Every garden has a micro-climate

Every garden, no matter how middle-sized, has a micro-climate. Adam quotes the experience he had of growing four rows of kale. The kale nearest the garden wall grew more than twice the size of the other kales, because it was close to the warmth of the wall. And each row of kale got smaller and smaller as it got further away from the warmth of the brick.

Equally, you may find some pockets of cold.

Frost on garden privacy

Adam quotes ‘noisy neighbours’ and privacy as issues you may want to address in your garden redesign. To counteract noisy neighbours, he suggests adding a water feature and creating a cosy, secluded spot. You won’t lose all the noise but there’ll more of a sense of privacy.

And when it comes to privacy from over-looking windows, he cautions against planting trees against the fence at the bottom of the garden. ‘It could take 10-15 years before a tree is big enough to block a sight-line,’ he says. ‘But you can achieve an intimate, private feeling by planting smaller trees or shrubs round the terrace where you sit.’

A garden needs layers

‘Good gardens have the right amount of layers,’ he says. He believes that a good garden in the UK ‘reflects an English woodland. A woodland naturally has four layers.’

‘First you have your mature trees – your oaks and beeches. Then there are the smaller, younger trees.’

After that you’ll see the equivalent of shrubs – in some woodland you’ll see rhododendrons or hawthorn, growing sideways to make the most of the light. Then there are ferns and bracken – the equivalent of the herbaceous border.

And finally you get the lowest level – the snowdrops, bluebells, anemones and more. This is your bulb layer.’

I can see what he means. Think about a garden you’ve seen that doesn’t have any mature trees – just shrubs and herbaceous plants. It doesn’t feel right, does it?

It’s all about the soil

When Adam started to speak to us all in the hall, he asked how many of us had tested our soil. Only about half a dozen hands went up. There were about 100 people in the room.

I’m sorry to confess that I was not one of those who had tested their soil. He explained that it was essential. When he moved into his own new garden, he tested the soil in dozens of places, and even though he thought he could tell what it was like just by what was growing there, he still had quite a few surprises.

Experts have been telling me to test my soil for years. so I went online to research best soil testing kits. Going by the number of reviews and stars on Amazon, and also by checking soil testing kit reviews, I bought three soil testing kits.

They are the Moon City 3-in-1 soil tester and The Soil Test Kit with the Soil PH Test Kit . I will report back on them soon.

NB: links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I may get a small fee if you buy through them, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay.

Plan your foliage before your flowers

If you have a gap, Adam suggests you forget about the colour of the flowers. Think about the leaf shape. ‘Put a plant with a different leaf form in the gap.’

This is a fascinating exercise. I have an empty space in the middle of a border. It is so difficult to avoid thinking about flower colour – it’s almost like trying to write left-handed if you’re right-handed.

But I am repeating ‘different leaf shape’ over and over again as a mantra.

Plan your planting by starting with the foliage

Leaf contrast – I absolutely love this combination, and with the exception of the Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’, it is all about foliage. It was, however, a lucky accident – I didn’t plan it that way.

Plant for wildlife

‘We’ve lost 97% of our wildflower meadows in the last 10 years,’ says Adam. If you’re planning a garden redesign, then design in the wildlife, because our gardens can help fill that gap. And planting for wildlife doesn’t have to mean having a wildflower meadow.

Meadow planting for wildlife

A patch of meadow planting at our local Stonebridge Pond Allotments.

There are two posts that may be helpful here: what makes a good wildlife garden and how to plant a mini-wildflower meadow.

Or if you prefer video – here is how to plant a mini wildflower meadow and more tips in a tour of the wildlife-friendly Abbey Physic garden in from bare earth to wildlife sanctuary.

Repeat shapes and colours

In the talk to the Painters Forstal Gardening Club, Adam showed us how important repetition is. He advised us against planting a clump of one thing followed by a clump of another.

Instead he showed us how effective it is to repeat several groups of plants along a border.

He also advises simplifying borders by repeating the same colours along it. While doing your garden redesign, think about how you plant, not just what you plant.

Think about what word fits your garden redesign

Adam suggests summing up your garden with a word. It could be ‘calm’ or ‘romantic’. ‘Then,’ he says, ‘assess something you want to buy against that word. Tell yourself that if it’s not ‘romantic’ or ‘calm’, then it’s not coming home.’


‘Don’t chase the dream that it’s got to be perfect all summer,’ says Adam. ‘Enjoy the moments, find your own way, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.’

Adam’s talk to the Painter’s Forstal Gardening Club was enormously enjoyable and helpful, too. You can find out more about his garden design service, garden school and availability for talks on

Catch up with the BBC Gardeners World here.

And do join us on the Middlesized Garden every Sunday morning (leave your email in the box) or the Middlesized Garden YouTube channel every Saturday. Thank you!

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Garden redesign - top tips from garden designer Adam Frost

The post Adam Frost’s top tips for your garden redesign appeared first on The Middle-Sized Garden.

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The History of the Color Red: From Ancient Paintings to Louboutin Shoes

Red is not only one of the primary colors, it’s also one of the first colors used by artists – dating back to prehistory. Ranging from orange tinges to deep wine hues, throughout history the color red has held special significance for cultures around the world. The warm color is most commonly associated with love…

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DO NOT MISS THIS PHOTO GALLERY – Floral Artistry at Its Finest!

FLEURS DE VILLES COMBINES THE LOVE OF FLOWERS, LOCAL DESIGN TALENT, AND BESPOKE, UTTERLY UNIQUE DISPLAYS, FOR EXPERIENTIAL EVENTS LIKE NONE OTHER. Fleurs de Villes – flowers of the cities. Connecting with each city they launch in, they work with top local florists, designers, growers and nurseries, to showcase that city’s world-class talent and create…

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