Sunday, November 22, 2009

Groove is in the Plant

Thursday marks the beginning of my absolute favorite time of year. From Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, I am giddy with excitement, and who can blame me when you have four holidays, a birthday, and countless parties to attend. Over the years I have become one of those people who requires a birthday party/soiree/gala, and preferably with a theme. I've gone small and intimate with wine & cheese gatherings or Ugly Holiday Sweater parties; I've gone big with black tie shindigs at M1-5. However I am now realizing there was always something missing at each party - plants and flowers.

At a second look, "plants" have been present at most of my parties. When I was an RA, a Holiday celebration hosted for my floor had a "Christmas tree" that my residents cut from the top of a pine tree in the campus golf course (sorry Cornell). M1-5 had spray-painted gold and silver tree branches mixed with evergreens decorating the bar. However, these decorations didn't fit in with the band's lead singer, who was dressed in red leather pants and a Native American headdress (he was channeling the Village People and David Bowie, and no, he wasn't there on our request). Last year's Ugly Holiday Sweater party had dried eucalyptus branches in a vase that was broken by my friend Tyler - he leaned against what he "thought" was a wall. Obviously my plant & party track record isn't too high or successful.

Friends and professors of mine in the industry have also had poor plant & party experiences. A professor once hosted a Holiday dinner party and tried giving poinsettias as party favors. However, when getting ready to leave, each guest gave a different excuese for not taking their plant home. Come on, people! It's pretty, color-coordinates your Holiday decorations at home, and lest we forget, IT'S FREE!

So where is the disconnect? Why have I failed at successfully integrating plants into my own parties? Why do guests make lame excuses for not accepting a free plant as a parting gift? Is this a generational or age-level issue, i.e. am I concerned more about serving the best seasonal cocktails and looking my best than decorating or gifting with flowers? Or do I bypass the plants for the booze because there is arguably more of an 'instant" and "longer lasting" gratification with Manhattans? One thing is for sure - I have decided to pledge a more conscious effort at incorporating flowers and plants into my activities this Holiday season. So if you're attending a party of mine, or I'm visiting your apartment during Thanksgiving weekend for Big Red Hockey, expect Ice Punch the poinsettia instead of Ice Punch the spiked drink.

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Let's Dance - David Bowie

Friday, November 6, 2009

Where Have I BEEN?!!!

My gosh! It has been nearly a MONTH since I last posted! Where have I been?! Actually I have been quite the busy bee, relocating, starting a career in the industry that I love, and visiting plenty of garden centers. One thing that's been on my mind lately (besides finding storage places in my apartment for all my clothes) is...


I know, I know, me and the rest of the Targets, Borders, Walmarts, and garden centers of the world. It appears Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year - I think a friend of mine even saw Xmas type products out on the shelves around October 16th. People, it wasn't even Halloween yet! Needless to say, with November nearly in full swing, getting ready for the Holiday Season is where it's at.

So, this weekend I will most likely post about Holiday 2009 trends and fun, easy, and inexpensive ways we all can decorate our homes and lives with plants for the holidays. Stay tuned!

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Furr - Blitzen Trapper

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mmm, Mmm, Mulch

Every day I look at the calender and it amazes me that it's October - almost MID-October at that! Fall has definitely settled in, bringing its sweaters and puffy vests, mulled cider, and cold rains. If you've had a garden in your backyard like many of my friends and family, you very well have harvested your last vegetable within the last couple weeks. For many of you, this garden was your first, and you may be wondering "what do I do now?" My friend Crystal asked me that same question a while back, telling me that many "new" gardeners might not know what to do with their green patch at the end of the season. Here are some helpful suggestions.

Rake It Up!
If you planted vegetables, there's a lot of plant matter left on the ground. I suggest taking a couple rakes and hoes and remove the plant material from the garden and put it into compost. If you live in an urban area and your backyard space is limited such that you cannot have a compost pile, bag up the debris and shove it to the curb. If you happen to live in the "country," burning the pile is an option, although adding the plant matter to your compost pile is a better option, environmentally. Be sure to check your local village/city's website for appropriate inofmration about public removal of plant wast, burning laws, and composting suggestions. Getting your garden CLEAN will help prevent plant pathogens from entering the soil from the decay of dead plants. This will help keep your next year's crop healthy!

Put Your Back Into It
Renting or borrowing a router-tiller to give your garden a good mixing is a good fall activity. This will help incorporate any leftover fertilizer and plant metter into the soil, building your garden's soil oranic matter and nutrient levels - higher levels of organic matter and nutrients leads of course to happier, healthier plants! Doing so in the fall is better than the spring, when snow thaws and rains can lead to runoff of these valuable resources if left on the soil surface. But before you do bring in the machinery, be sure too...

Mulch It Up!
Mulch (either plant- or animal-based) is a great organic matter builder for any soil, and is a staple for many conventional and organic farmers. Mulch helps build soil fertility by adding nutrient resources, improving soil structure (giving roots room to breate), and brings in "good" microbes that help breakdown matter into forms usable by plants. Adding mulch in the fall will help build your garden's fertility over winter, locking in broken-down nutrients when the upper layers of soil freeze, and later preventing "plant food" from being washed away in the spring.

All of your hard work this fall will bring rewards next summer to your garden. Plus, a long day of hard work makes chick soup taste all the greater in the fall!

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the garden: Night By Night - Chromeo (a shout-out to Pixel - I'll miss your Wild Zeros!)

Monday, September 28, 2009

OMG! Apple Fest 2009! Part 2!

After a busy weekend of braving APPLE FEST 2009 and apartment hunting in PA (that's one of our stops shown), I finally got the chance to read the Newsweek article I posted last week - I hope you all had the chance to read it too. I posted the article because of its relevance with current trends in society to "go green." I unfortunately think too many people are "going green" because it's the "hip" thing to do, not because it can mean better environmental stewardship or lifestyle. I believe James E. McWilliams in the interview is getting at the same idea.

McWilliams makes some good points about becoming a localvore and the organic food movement, especially when talking about food miles and food waste. It makes sense to me that one has to take into consideration not only the distance a food travels to its end selling point, but also the energy, natural resource, and financial inputs necessary to produce a particular product. However, if I am able to support a small farm, regardless of whether it is under conventional or organic management, by purchasing their products at a farmers market in my town, I will because I know I am doing my part to help my local economy. McWilliams' cry for wasted food is a common problem for American families, but two simple solutions are buy less (which comes after one learns to cook appropriate proportions for one's family size) and start composting (a topic I hope to write about SOON since it's fairly easy, even for city dwellers!).

Throughout my undergrad and graduate years of schooling, I have found that conventional and organic farming are both right and wrong, good and bad - there both are double edged swords that come with benefits and downsides. My personal view and goal of my thesis has been to take the best of both systems to create a holistic approach to farming and in the end gardening. So when I read McWilliams' statements on GMOs and pest control in organics, I gave both a sigh of relief and banged my head against the wall (in my case the desk at my office). My reactions went as follows:

Interviewer: ... You also acknowledge that there are unknown health risks in consuming GM foods, but that we shouldn't stop growing them. Do you really think it's worth the risk?
Me: WHAT?! ARE WE SERIOUSLY STILL IN 2003?! [bangs head on desk] Where do I even begin explaining that GM crops are pretty much in everything that contains high fructose corn syrup...
McWilliams: 90% of the corn in the country is GM, and it's not just going to animals, it's going to high-fructose corn syrup. ...There are possible [health] concernes with all kinds of seeds that are conventionally bred as well... I've talked to too many plant biologists who said this is a technology that if used properly can serve very real environmental and humanitarian needs.

Interviewer: ... Factory farming is bad... Consequently, many people have turned to grass-fed beef.
McWilliams: Many grass-fed cows are eating grass that's been fertilized or irrigated.
Me: Well, yes and no. My great uncles have an organic beef cattle farm that is naturally fertilized with manure and rain-watered (as is everyother type of beef cattle farm). True, there are some places that do use supplemental fertilizers and irrigation, but I will vouch for the people who don't, including a number of cattle farms I have personally visited in Veracruz, MX where farmers rotate their herds through grid sections of their land every few days so the grass growths through a natural process of growth and feeding sessions.

Overall I agree with McWilliams on the point that the public should be cautious of "fundamentalist ideals" when it comes to both eating locally and organics, a problem some Ithacans currently face. My suggestion to everyone is get educated. Talk to the people behind the table/counter at the farmers market and get to know their establishment - how do they produce their food? What measures are they using on their farm to improve their environment or keep it at status quo? What lifestyle changes can you yourself make to save on waste, drive less, eat food you know was produced with the best practices in mind, whether its conventional or organic? By learning, talking with the people who produce your food, and making connections with local establishments, you will truly become a localvore.

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Merrymaking at My Place - Calvin Harris
Photo Credit: 60 N 2nd St., Easton, PA taken by DPW 2009

... And now I'll get down from my soap box and down to the ground to plant those mums in the morning!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

OMG! Apple Fest 2009!

I've had the hardest time thinking about a gardening/agriculture related topic to talk about this week - perhaps it's because my mind was more focused on teaching a lecture on weed reproduction strategies to a class of undergrads or writing a methods section for my thesis. All the rage on my Facebook newsfeed from Cornell friends however has been about APPLE FEST 2009, quite possibly one of the best events Ithaca has to offer. Remembering that APPLE FEST 2009 (note: all references to APPLE FEST 2009 will be in caps to represent my excitement for the event - it's that good!) is this weekend, I got to thinking about farmers markets and local foods, and subsequently "localvores" and other recently invented words that seem to be "greenwashing" our lifestyles these days. That's when I stumbled upon a Newsweek article my friend Mike posted.

Mike prefaced the posting with "Finally, someone is talking sense about local and organic farming. Though, unlike the author, I still eat meat on occasion." I am going to read the article and give a personal review and discussion here. I suggest you all do the same and meet me back here to discuss local food consumption and farmers markets
this weekend. Plus, I might share some photos from APPLE FEST 2009!

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Quiet Dog - Mos Def

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coffees of Latte Land

Although coffee is not necessarily a garden topic (although if you're living in the south or California, a coffee bush can be used as a nice ornamental in your yard), I find it's a fitting topic for this week's posting as it will coincide with my last days at the cafe I've worked for the last two and a half years. Plus it's a food group for all us Xers and Yers hailing a cab to work or locking ourselves in a university library. So this week let's turn on the brewer, stamp those espresso shots, and share a little coffee chat.

During my years as a barista filled with Bean Fridays, a number of our customers expressed confusion about organic vs. fair trade coffees, and rightfully so. Despite living in Ithaca, a city where the phrases "organic" and "fair trade" are part of the 2nd grade spelling lists, I myself didn't know the difference until I was educated by the Best. To break it down, not all certifications are created equal:

Organic Certified = coffee grown and harvest on a farm that is managed organically (ie: all managerial practices, inputs, and harvesting processes involve the use of products that are carbon-based or non-detrimental to the environment). Generally, if the coffee bag has an organic label shown, the farm has to have gone through rigorous certification processes to meet standards set forth by the USDA or another country's agriculture department.

Fair Trade Certified = coffee grown and harvested from farms that meet labor and trade standards to ensure fair wages and compensation for the workers and farms. Fair Trade coffee DOES NOT have to be organic but it MUST NOT include GMO coffee varieties and CANNOT be sprayed with pesticides that are deemed as noxious or banned one country or another.

With both stamps of goodness comes a price, and both are most likely a higher price than Folgers. Some may argue that this price raise is unfair or unjustified, but in my mind the extra $2.50 I pay for my bag of Fair Trade 6th Avenue Bistro is 100% worth it when it goes back to the farm to ensure better wages for workers of a back-breaking job. For the struggling grad student and unemployed graduate, to drink non-certified coffee is perfectly fine - you shouldn't feel less important than Tom sitting at the table next to yours with his organic French roast. If drinking coffee that has one or the other certification is important to you, do some research and shopping. Many big chain coffee shops (think that cafe with all the green, and the other from the same city with all the red) ensure that all their coffee blends are certified Fair Trade. Some farmers markets or coops have organic coffees that are pretty close in price to their non-organic cousins. Never underestimate the use of coffee punch cards, coupons, or other forms of rewards for bulk purchases. Bottom line, we're a thrifty group of generations and with a little effort you're bound to find a coffee that meets your budget, taste, and lifestyle choices.

It's the end of an era for me at the cafe, but my love for a dark roasted coffee and a well made cappuccino will always remain a part of my life for years to come. Cheers to you, Baristas of Latte Land!

Rock on and plant on,

Song for the Garden: Silver Moon - Blitzen Trapper
Song for the Cafe: Sleepytime in the Western World - Blitzen Trapper
(I imagine they're playing it throughout Terrain this season, and if not, they should!)
Photo from Wiki Commons

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meet Me at the Fair

This past weekend I got a message from my friend Mike asking “Were you a judge in the flower competition at the [New York] State Fair? Some of the judges’ comments sounded like they were written by you:

‘Crowded arrangement on candle sticks distracts from centerpiece.’

‘Purple flowers do not work with theme of ‘Going Green’.’

‘Stem lengths reflect dimension amazingly; Rock on!’ ”

Mike’s message made me laugh for several reasons, one being the fact that each statement was very similar to my vernacular, but also because they reminded me of the hyper-critical comments I had received on my junior floral designs for the State Fair back in the late 90’s. Twice I had entered designs, one for the container competition and another for the centerpiece challenge the next year. I can distinctively remember the centerpiece competition, as the theme was “Dance the Night Away” and being in my 12th year of dance classes I was certain I could come up with a design that would blow the judges off their feet (pun oh so intended).

Being the NYS Fair, there are rules and regulations a designer must follow when putting together their design. Generally a theme is given, with a description that is everything but forthcoming, and one must incorporate a background to display your design. For “Dance the Night Away” used star gazer lilies (star gazer… night… get it?) as my main flowers with lily-of-the-valley and some greens as fillers, all of which were placed into a pair of old pointe shoes (dance shoes… dance… get it?) filled with Oasis. It was ingenious! Who would ever put flowers into pointe shoes? Certainly not Salvatore Capezio or Hans Christian Anderson’s Karen.

The day of judging I can remember seeing women in their 50s and 60s setting up their designs that were full dining rooms, all matching the floral pieces they displayed. Seeing the exotic flowers, colors, and interesting pairings excited me as I thought “I wish I could be those ladies.” The judges’ comments for my design were just as a mixed bag as Mike’s relayed comments; some enjoyed the use of star gazers and others found my pointe shoes to be “distracting from the overall design and theme.” After that day I always felt the judges were confined by rules and vague theme descriptions rather than being open to creativity, and traded my days of NYS Fair floral competitions for days assistant teaching dance sessions to younger summer classes. Every year I go to OFA in Columbus, OH however, I relive my short days as a young floral designer with the design competitions and smile when I see comment cards that read “Excellent portrayal of the theme; uses of Oasis wire adds depth and whimsy. Rock on!”

Plant on and rock on,


Song for the Garden: Daylight - Matt & Kim

Photo Credits: SEW 2008 - "Joey" in container at OFA 2008

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Too Sexy for this Lawn

Cornell and Ithaca kids have arrived in town and that means Fall 2009 is just around the corner. As August closes it's a great time to update your fall wardrobe, not only for graduate school or the office but also for the garden. As requested by Kevin, I have pulled together a short list of must-haves for Fall 2009.

Lumberjacks Unite
Seen throughout the GAP, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters, and even Target, plaid seems to be making a comeback. What once was associated with lumberjacks and 90s grunge bands is now hip and chic. Search the GAP and Target for your ATM deals; browse Urban Outfitters (BDG Breezy Button-Up Shirt seen here) for Gold Card glam.

DIY Denim
Across the covers of Nylon and Ready Made, denim is staking its claim - and appropriately so, as denim is perfect for fall activities in the garden and at the bar. When the temperature drops, bust out your last season jeans to flaunt in the garden - your knees will appreciate the coverage when you kneel to harvest bulbs. Also, it's a smart fashion choice when working with hedge trimmers when cutting back trees and shrubs, and from shovels when dividing your hostas. Check out Ready Made for a DYI work shirt, patchwork jeans, and romper. You'll look great and save money too.

Green Garden Accessories
Fall calls for cleaning up the garden after a beautiful summer and preparing for next year. You are destined to get down and dirty with your plants, tearing out annuals, dividing perennials, and trimming back trees and shrubs. Why not do it all stylishly?! Today's Garden Center recently released its list of Top Products for 2010, in which Angela's Garden is featured for it's garden accessories. There is a plethora of gloves, hats, aprons, and bags to choose from, and Angela plays off the ever-so-popular Vera Bradley print theme. Angela also has a line of "green" accessories, which are made from organic fabrics and nontoxic dyes.

West County Gloves is also one of my favorite recent finds. Finally, empty Evian and Poland Spring bottles are going to good use, in the form of gardening gloves! The gloves come in a number of different styles, including ones for kiddies. Check out the website to learn more and get your own pair; I'm getting mine in pink.

That's it for now - I'm off to find the perfect pair of wellies.

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Tenderoni - Chromeo

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stay Tuned...

Hello friends!

It has been an incredibly busy week here for the plant geek/fashionista - thesis writing, loan exit interviews, explosions at the cafe, weeding and lawn mowing, the list goes on! As a result, I will not have a formal post this week. However! I will have TWO postings next week: one on garden fashion for fall (thanks for the request, Kevin!), and another on either top garden magazines or what to plant for fall (Crystal is dieing to know what to do with her weedy garden patch before frost).

Until then, plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Hurry Up and Wait - Stereophonics

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Give Me My Plantkinz!

Through conversations with friends and old residents during House Dinners, I have learned that a number of my friends don't have plants because they claim to have black thumbs. Just last week my friend and cafe supervisor Heidi mentioned she feels she lacks knowledge about growing "real" plants and is a much better "virtual farmer" with Facebook's Farm Town application. Well Heidi, growing real plants just got a thousand times easier with! (created by the global African Violet grower Optimara) is like Webkinz for plants. Like Webkinz, MyViolet plants come with their own online authorization code when purchased at big box stores as well as a number of local garden centers. Once you have created your online account, you can register your plant by giving it a name, selecting its variety (the Stephanie is a personal fave), and uploading a personal photo of your new pet plant. Dr. Optimara is by your side every step of the way, giving you health tips and assisting you with regularly updating your violet's "health chart." Although you don't get MyViolet points or cash to update your plant's "room" or "dinner menu" as with Webkinz, I think it's pretty cool that you can share the growth and progress of your violet with other budding plant lovers on the MyViolet blog. It's quite possibly the next best way for "plant" people to interact together online next to Farm Town - and hey! you're growing a real plant!

Although some people may claim African Violets are "grandma plants" or old fashioned (I personally have always associated violets with my grandfather's kitchen), Optimara is clearly bringing the plant into the 21st century with this website. Not only is the company making violets "cool again" through the use of online technology, it is also making it easier for new generations to keep house plants through online education and social interaction. takes away the stress and worry of killing a plant, and in my book less stress is always a good thing. So for everyone out there who is a little afraid about killing their house plant, fear not! is there to help you learn, grow, and become a better gardener.

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Technologic - Daft Punk

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blame it on the System

A week ago I had a short conversation with a NYS apple grower at a cocktail party. He is a relative of a friend of mine and as a member of the Silent Generation he has a wealth of knowledge and experience in agriculture. As I explained my masters thesis project and outlook on agriculture – that organic AND conventional farming have both benefits and drawbacks, and to farm efficiently and environmentally agriculture should take the best practices from both systems to create a more “holistic" one– the grower expressed his disdain for organic certification. He claimed that the certification and process of organic farming under the current definitions and regulations is flawed and has a number of practices that can have notably detrimental effects on the environment. Some organic pesticides are known to be toxic to fish, a problem for local watersheds if runoff occurs during large rainstorms or spring snow thaw. Others such as Pyrethrum are toxic to beneficial insects. However, organic farming promotes practices such as no till and the use of cover crops to control for weeds and build soil health.

My relatives have a beef cattle farm in southern New Hampshire, and even though it’s not certified, the farm has been “organically” operated for nearly 100 years. The angus beef cattle are all free range and grass fed year-round. My uncles have decided not to go through the organic certification because of their age (one is in his 70s, the other in his 80s). However, can one argue that the farm is NOT organic simply due to the lack of certification, even if the practices used day to day on the farm could be considered as “organic”?

In closing the heated discussion with the apple grower, he asked what my future brings after the thesis – a job in the floriculture industry. He laughed at my answer, and said “well until next time, while you’re having fun with your flowers, I’ll concentrate my time and efforts on what really matters – making food.”

Ok class, flowers versus food. Discuss.

Plant on and rock on,


Song for the Garden: Ramalama (bang bang) - Roisin Murphy (it's SYTYCD Finale time, people!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Going to the Chapel Part II

The wedding weekend is over and so ends all of the floriculture events for the summer. I have gotten back into writing the masters thesis (finally!) and therefore will most probably only be posting once a week (sorry friends!). For all of the faithful and occasional readers out there, I will likely be posting on Sundays so you can wake up to a new beautiful plant post on Monday mornings!

As I've already told a few friends, I stupidly never took out my own camera during the entire wedding weekend, so photos from the events will trickle in slowly as I steal photos from Nick's camera, the wedding party, and the newly weds after they return from the Maldives. I will leave you all with this first photo from Kay Wallace, the Maid of Awesomeness. You can see the wildflower bouquets from Pods & Poppies, and I will upload photos of my bouquet soon!

As always, if you have a topic you are eager to learn more about, please send your suggestions and questions my way!

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Thriller - Michael Jackson (a little shout-out to the newly weds!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses for FREE!

Hello friends!

For those of you who live in Central New York, the flower research and demonstration station for Cornell University in Ithaca NY is having a Flower Open House THIS WEEKEND!

The Department of Horticulture's Ornamental and Turfgrass Research Fields at Bluegrass Lane features more than 1000 varieties of annual and perennial plants and flowers. Many of the varieties are new to the market or still in testing so you are bound to find something unique and exciting!

Everyone is welcome from 10am to 2pm both Saturday AND Sunday, and it's FREE! It's a great place to bring your camera, friends, kids, and a picnic to share among the annual flower beds. Please, no pets.

Bluegrass Lane is located off of Warren Road in Ithaca near the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, northeast of campus. See the map for directions.

For a preview, visit the Bluegrass Lane trials website lined here and in my previous post on Japanese Beetles.

Rock on and plant on,

Song for the Garden: Vacationing People - Foreign Born

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Going to the Chapel...

My best friend's wedding is this weekend and I have the privilege of being one of her maids of honor - Raeanne is going to be her "maid of awesomeness" since she lives with Brianna and honestly has been a MUCH better maid of honor than I have. Being a plant geek, Brianna (the bride to be) put me in charge of finding a florist and organizing all the flowers for the big day.

Brianna is a lover of all things purple and is a free spirit - she's similar to Phoebe from Friends but isn't as spacey. Knowing she would probably not want a generic FTD/1-800 Flowers bouquet, I researched a number of local florists who could put their creativity to good use. We decided to go with Pods & Poppies, a small local organic wild flower farm owned by Susan Poppenger in Skaneateles, NY. Susan is a true steward of the earth, making sure that all of her wild flowers are organically growth and tended, and believes that the best flower is a natural one, rather than a chemical-heavy rose.

This morning Brianna and I ventured out to Pods & Poppies to meet with Susan to wander the gardens and choose the flowers for Saturday. All of us had a rough start to the morning - Brianna and I had coffee cups in hand and Susan had literally just woken up - but once we stepped into the garden behind the barn, we all perked up with the sight of the blooming hydrangea, saliva, liatris, and dozens of other wild flowers. Even though Brianna knows very little about flowers, she immediately started picking up purples and greens that matched exactly the colors she was thinking. Susan also started picking flowers that were a bit outside of Brianna's comfort zone, but when placed with her favorites Brianna started to identify with Susan's creative thinking and before we knew it a beautiful bouquet started to take form.

Susan didn't put anything formal together this morning, but Brianna left much more confident with the idea of what her bouquet will look like come the big day. I left feeling much more awake and grateful for sharing this flower-learning experience with my best friend. Brianna is sure that the bouquets will come out beautifully and she is glad all the flowers will be 100% natural and smell wonderfully without the worry of added chemicals or perfumes.

Finding the perfect wedding flower for you can be a challenge, especially with seasonality, color, and availability. However, finding a florist that matches your personality, lifestyle, and creativity can be easier than expected. Whether you're looking for a florist that has it all or one that is more specific in its products like Pods & Poppies, you are bound to find a florist that matched your interest generally in your local area or readily online. Check out for shops in your area and for great wedding ideas, including floral designs, colors, and seasonal flowers.

Pictures from Brianna & Will's Big Day to follow!

Rock on and plant on,

Song for the Garden: Going to the Chapel - The Dixie Cups

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oh, No! There Goes Tokyo!

Japanese Beetles – I HATE them! Utterly LOATHE them! As a summer intern years back at the Cornell Flower Trial Gardens our test geraniums would be devoured almost instantaneously. We’d always spray n’ pray (honestly not the most environmentally responsible approach) and normally it would do the trick if Uncle Bill had upped the pesticide’s concentration enough.

This summer at my parent’s house the choke cherry and weeping cherry trees have been eaten alive this summer by Japanese Beetles. At my boyfriend’s house his parents have nearly been eaten alive themselves. After some research for a pesticide-free control method, both Mumsie and Song decided to purchase Bag-A-Bug from the local Big Box Store. Within minutes of setting up the bags downwind from the infested plants, Japanese Beetles began piling in – the scent from the pheromone-infused hanger called out like a search light outside a frat house does to freshmen. The beetles rushed in to join the orgy and then die after they realized they could not leave the way they came in. Needless to say, the infested plants are much happier now that they are beetle-free, and Mumsie and Song are glad they used the pesticide-free bug bags at their houses to keep their families and dogs healthy and happy.

Although both Mumsie and Song purchased their Bug Bags at a Big Box Store, these and similar all-natural pest control products can easily be found at your local nursery and family garden center.

Rock on and plant on,


Song for the Garden: Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Future Plant Topics

Hello friends!

Over the past few weeks while attending two floriculture conferences I brainstormed some different possible topics for the blog. Here are some topics I'm currently working on:

Apartment/small space gardening
At-home vegetable gardens
How to host a garden party
Party gifts - wine or flowers...?
"I'm killing my plant! What do I do?" - healthy and easy plant-keeping practices
Low budget/recession garden tips and solutions
Golf courses - man's best friend or ecological foe?
Local gardens - where and how to find them

If you have any other ideas, send them my way!

Well I'm off to pick up ice for a garden party I'm hosting with my mom tonight. I'll leave you with a plant photo:

Here is a pic from the 2009 Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens this past March. Check out more at

Rock on and plant on,


Hello friends!

Welcome to Generation X/Y Gardener, a blog written to educate, engage, and encourage “young” people about plants and gardening. As a graduate student finishing my degree and looking to re-enter the floriculture industry, I have realized there is a lack of interest and participation by my friends and contemporaries in plants and gardening. Some say it’s due to the economy or lack of spare time, while others feel a pressure of appearing cliché or worry about a lack of knowledge. All cases may be true – we live in an increasingly busy and stressful world. Some may argue that personal interaction and appreciation for “cliché” traditions have fallen by the wayside to text messages and “virtual gifts”. However, I believe that plants can be incorporated into our current lifestyles easily by brightening an office space or replacing a bottle of wine as a house warming gift. Some industry leaders claim our generation has never had an interest in plants and would rather spend a sunny day inside with our video games and PCs instead of outside. I beg to differ, as we are the children of an era which brought forth the Clean Water and Air Acts, recycling, Green Peace, extreme sports, and Kermit the Frog.

The goal for this blog is to bring forth interesting, innovative, timely, and sustainable topics and ways to incorporate plants and gardening into the Gen X/Y lifestyle each week. I encourage everyone to post questions, comments, and concerns he or she might have about plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, and anything that’s green to create an open dialog. In turn I hope that this blog will help increase awareness and enthusiasm, and get young people talking about plants.

Rock on and plant on,