Gorgeous white wedding at Stillwell House

LOVE this wedding!   The wedding floral by Atelier de LaFleur included gorgeous dahlias, scabiosa, white anemones, garden roses and the bride's signature flora "Jasmine".  Photography by Elyse Hall.

Gorgeous Botanical Wedding

LaFleur's wedding designer Brittany Pena created gorgeous florals for a recent wedding at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  Brittany accessorized the couple with beautiful plants and flowers including- peonies, air plants, succulents and aloes.  Photos by Patrick Grimes  10257403_10203627350621468_1292742561484440366_o 10298508_10203627376742121_715974096769523737_o 10286927_10203627380422213_8420113169596462591_o

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Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening is on the rise. You can call them what you like...living walls, eco-walls, green walls or even wall art.  Such walls may be indoors or outside, freestanding or attached and come in a great variety of sizes. LaFleur Plantscapes can design and install a wall that's right for you.

Succulent Wall

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Air Plant Wall

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Wall Art

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Dirtt Interior Plant Walls

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The Backup Plan

Tucson averages 11 inches of rain per year translating to about 48 days of measurable precipitation.  Many clients choose Tucson because they know the odds are in their favor. Gorgeous mountains, beautiful desert flora, warm temperatures and sun!  Well we know better...don't we... How does LaFleur Plantscapes make their New York bride feel like she's in the warm, sunny desert on a rainy day?  We rally the team and execute the back up plan, bringing in over 100 tropical plants and cacti to create a mobile greenhouse inside of a clear tent.

Warm and cozy.

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Meghan-Mike-454  Meghan-Mike-377  Meghan-Mike-147

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Sergio Photographer- http://www.sergiophotographer.com

 

Caring for Living Arrangements

Since wedding season in the desert is upon us, I have received many emails and messages on Facebook and twitter asking me how to care for a living bouquet or table arrangement from the event.

When planting succulents from your arrangements, remove the tape and wire from around the plant and moisten the existing roots with tepid water. Bury the roots in a desert mix soil; it should be a desert mix because this potting medium has a higher sand content for better drainage and is ph balanced to mimic desert conditions. If you need to, trim off the bottom few leaves to make a bare stalk. If you don't have a stalk or root ball to work with, the leaves can be planted instead. Bury about half of the leaf, cut side down. Most succulent plants and shrubs will form roots on the joints in their stalks.

Water every 2-3 days so the soil is moist (like a squeezed sponge). After one month, scale watering back to once a month. The leaves will probably shrivel a bit as the plant forms roots - so don't worry. This is normal. The plant is living off the stored energy in its leaves. You may lose a few leaves, which is also normal. Do not use this as an excuse to over water!

Save all your broken parts and leaves. When I am repotting, I always save all my leftover bits and pieces. Tuck them into the soil to leave a little green sticking out. Most parts will take root and grow into an extra plant. After a month, you can place the newly potted arrangement outside with part shade. Once the plant is acclimated to the outdoors, you can move in full sun.

Happy gardening! Contact me at La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora for more information on the care of desert dwelling plants.

Ask a Horticulturist: How do I get rid of Fungus Gnats in My Houseplants?

Q: I was recently inspired by some work you did for the office I work in, and decided to create my own succulent arrangement at home. Within a few weeks, my arrangement started attracting these little fruit fly type gnats.  What are they? How do I get rid of them without using a chemical spray? A: I'm so happy you were inspired to get your hands in the dirt! I get asked this all the time: I love houseplants, but how do I prevent the gnats that come with them? The short answer is, you can't. I'm sorry, but for as long as there are house plants there will be fungus gnats that come with them. And that's what they are, by the way. Not fruit flies, but fungus gnats. Fungus gnat larvae lives in planting medium just below the surface. As the larvae matures into a fungus gnat it pushes it's way up through the surface of the soil and begins flying around your home.

As I said, you cannot prevent the larvae from occurring in planting medium. You can however, prevent the fungus gnats from leaving the earth and flying around your home. The easiest, eco-friendliest way to do this is to sprinkle the surface of the soil your houseplants are planted in with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a soft powder that is made from crumbled rock. What makes diatomaceous earth so effective is the structure of the individual grains. Since they are microscopic crumbled rock, they are very sharp around the edges. As the larvae pushes through the surface of the soil, it shreds the little guys before they have a chance to leave the plant.

If even this method seems to harsh, you can simply choose to ignore it. It won't go away, but the gnats are not harmful to you, pets or plants. They are just obnoxious.

Do you have a plant question or horticulture issue you'd like to chat about? Contact me for free advice about your gardening needs. La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora is committed to providingTucsonwith the greenest plant care for home, office, and events.

A Jade Plant Brings Life to Indoor Gardens

I am often asked what is my favorite houseplant to use when creating indoor plantscapes and gardens for clients. While there are many plants that I love to work with, and do very well in indoor plantscaping, one of my favorite house plants is the Jade Plant. Sometimes called a "money tree," the Jade Plant is a deep green succulent that loves full sun and low water content in its soil. With proper care, a Jade Plant can reach heights of four feet, developing a woody, almost shrub-like, base. The Jade Plant hails from South Africa; so it is an ideal houseplant for our climate in Tucson. It is one of those plants that brings interest to an arrangement or can carry a look off all by itself. It's low-care, hearty disposition make this plant perfect for offices or for those who travel often. Jade Plants are easily found at local nurseries or any store that has a home and garden section. I encourage you to create some space for a Jade Plant in your home. You will enjoy its beauty and the priceless optimism it brings into any room. La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora specializes in creating environmentally friendly, low-maintenance indoor plantscaping for your home or office. Contact me today for a free consultation. Let me show you what the beauty of plants can do for you!

Civano Soil Enrichment Compost Makes Tucson Gardens and Businesses Green

Since the inception of La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora, we have enjoyed an enriching relationship with many like minded vendors in our community - Civano Nursery being among the first vendors we partnered up with. I always like to take a moment to highlight the good work my friends are doing in our community to make Tucson a little greener and more sustainable. Civano Nursery has developed and implemented an exciting program for reducing yard wast from area businesses and turning it into a green product that will benefit, not only the businesses that provide the yard waste, but consumers who are looking to use earth-friendly compost and mulch in their gardens. Civano's Soil Enrichment Compost takes green waste from tree trimmings aerates it, waters it, and tends it to remove excess salts to create a natural mulch that doubles as a slow release fertilizer in your garden. This compost feeds the soil, protects garden space from weeds, and keeps you from having to water as much because moisture is held in the substrate of soil better with the layer of compost on top. This locally produced mulch is also reducing Civano's carbon footprint because mulch and compost doesn't have to be trucked from other nurseries out of state. How is that for eco-friendly! I highly recommend this product, and am excited to use it in my own plantscaping projects. I hope you will consider Civano Nursery for your gardening needs too!

La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora would love to help you create the eco-friendly outdoor space of your dreams. Contact me today for a free consultation and to discuss how to incorporate local, green materials into your garden.

Ask a Horticulturist: Help me! Mint Has Taken Over My Garden!

Q: Please help! I planted mint in my garden bed two years ago and it totally took over. I have spent months (literally) trying to dig out all the runners that keep popping up, but to no avail. What should I do to get rid of the mint? A: My heart goes out to you. Mint is a particularly tenacious herb that doesn't respect personal space in the garden. Some of the advice you might hear includes, "Spray weed killer everywhere!" or "spray all plants that pop up with really soapy water," and even "pour lighter fluid on it and let it burn!" I don't recommend any of these techniques, especially the last one. Weed killer and soapy water only kill the top part of the plant, leaving the roots in tact and capable of putting out "runners." Runners are the new little plants that pop up all over your yard even though you've only planted one plant. Controlled burns are a really bad idea in the desert. Our climate and landscape is too dry to safely facilitate a controlled burn, even with water and sand on hand; so just don't do it. The best and only real way to get rid of the mint is to dig, dig, and dig some more. Make sure you are digging deeply enough to get the entire root out and not just breaking off the top. Mulching an area after you have pulled all the mint will help control new growth. The best advice when dealing with mint: Always plant it in a pot!

La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora would love to help you design a user-friendly garden to enjoy year round. Contact me today for a free consultation.

Special Container Packages Good Through March 1, 2012!

It has been a dream of mine to settle in Tucson since first driving through the desert as a college student in search of pristine views and eco-conscious living more than fifteen years ago. When the opportunity presented itself to make the move, I jumped at the chance and haven't regretted the decision for a moment. I find the desert to be a welcome place. A place that inspires me to be both my personal and professional best. I have room here to chase my dreams and make them my reality. I have found a supportive community ready to embrace the ideas of La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora; and for that, I am eternally grateful.To thank you for welcoming LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora to Tucson, I am offering a 20 percent discount for any design work or events booked before March 1, 2012 and scheduled to occur before June 1, 2013. I am also offering existing container plantings with a seasonal rotation of desert flora starting as low as $40 a container! Contact us today for special promotional pricing starting as low as $200 on outdoor patio container packages, rooftop gardens, courtyard and entrance plantscapes.

To take advantage of this special offer, contact LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora at 520.548.1338. You can also learn more by visiting our website, www.lafleurplantscapes.com I look forward to working with you!

Nature's Sacred Function

"The Juniper or Red Cedar is preeminently a rock tree, occupying the baldest domes and pavements in the upper silver fir and alpine zones, at a height from 7000 to 9500 feet....Barring accidents, for all I can see they would live forever; even when overthrown by avalanches, they refuse to lie at rest, lean stubbornly on their big branches as if anxious to rise, and while a single root holds to the rock, put forth fresh leaves with a grim, never-say-die expression." -- John Muir (from Meditations of John Muir: Nature's Temple complied by Chris Highland). Few naturalists have had the deep understanding of and connection with nature like John Muir. He spoke of nature evangelically, with passion and zeal. He believed nature could mend the human mind and spirit simply by engaging it. Among his musings on nature Muir records a great affinity for trees. He sees them almost like people; bringing character and strength to the landscape like a group of dedicated field workers. They refuse to let the land succumb to erosion. It is their sacred purpose to hold the mountains together until their last root fails.

This time of year is inspiring as the climate warms and the sun grows stronger, we too, like John Muir can derive strength from seeing nature work at it's divine purpose. Planting native trees like Desert Willow or Arizona Ash provide much needed habitat, shade, and protection from erosion. I think adding trees to the landscape give a sense of hope - like Muir reminds me. Trees, once established, relentlessly provide life on a landscape. And seeing nature thrive in the bareness of even a desert is inspiring.

La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora can provide you with a complimentary consultation to help you determine what native varieties of trees would work best to shade and enhance your home. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.

January Plant of the Month: Devil's Claw

If you are an avid hiker like myself, you have certainly come across Devil's Claw at some point or other on your treks around the desert. Devil's Claw (Proboscidea) is a flowering plant of the Martyniaceae family, although you're probably more familiar with it in it's dried form. This robust plant is native of the southwestern United States and is particularly prolific in Arizona. Native tribes of the southwestern United States have been cultivating Devil's Claw for many years. The long, stem-like fruit of the Devil's Claw has been used in basket weaving by these native cultures since cultivation began.

But Devil's Claw is a multi-faceted plant. When most people think of Devil's Claw, they think of the mature, dried fruit of the plant that is woody and incorporated in baskets, wreaths or other sculpture. But this same fruit that makes for such durable structure is a desert delicacy when still in it's green stage. The steamed fruit is reminiscent of okra, packed with protein rich seeds. It's this multi-dimensional quality that has endeared it to desert dwellers for as long as there have been desert dwellers.

Thinking about Devil's Claw in a more modern context, I would like to recommend it's use as a landscaping ornamental. It is an annual, but has developed is particularly adept at re-seeding itself. Not to mention, it is absolutely gorgeous in it's flowering state. The blooms are reminiscent of a trumpet flower in the most delicate shades of tropical pink. This hearty desert plant requires little water or attention. It's adapted to thrive in our ecosystem. Native Seeds/SEARCH offers seven different varieties of Devil's Claw for landscaping or vegetable gardening.

Think this beautiful plant would make a welcome addition to your garden? Contact me for a complimentary consultation to see how we can include more native plants into your outdoor space. La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora is committed to providing Tucson with the best in sustainable plantscaping.

The New Year Brings a Fresh Start for Plants

Happy New Year! At the beginning of every new year, I (like many others) resolve to change something or other in my life only to forget about it within a few short months. Fortunately, I have one resolution that I carry out year after year which always yields amazing results. It's not a fad or a diet; it only requires a little time; and the results will bring you much happiness for the rest of the year. I'm talking about pruning! The winter is a great time to prune trees, shrubs, and perennials. Plants are dormant now, and can tolerate losing some of their dead weight without interrupting their growth or blooming cycle. Pruning rejuvenates the garden by removing old growth that drains energy from the plant, thus allowing that energy to be put into new growth or bolstering smaller growth. Prune foliage back to the basal growth of the plant to encourage lush, new foliage in the garden. Plants that have a tendency to grow tall from the stem should be cut back, but no more than one third of it's total height. When pruning a tree, remove branches that are weak or have a V-shape. Next, remove shoots growing up from the tree's base. These little shoots will only compete for water and nutrition in the coming warmer months and prohibit stronger growth. And always maintain living branches on the top two-thirds of the trees' height to ensure good health for the tree.

Do you have a difficult tree or shrub in your garden that you aren't sure how to tackle? I'd love to help you with it! Leave me a post in the comments section or contact me for a complimentary consultation. La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora is committed to creating eco-conscious designs for the desert home. Let us help you transform your garden into the outdoor living space of your dreams!

Winter Reflections for the Garden

I love being a gardener in the winter. Not only are there an array of winter plants to cultivate and tend, but the winter season traditionally brings a slower pace to garden life. December is a particularly great time to begin planning for spring. If you haven't started shopping for seeds, now is the best time to jump on line or visit your local nursery, like Civano Nursery or Harlow Gardens, to see what seeds they've started stocking. I like to take a piece of graph paper, rough sketch the layout of my garden, then insert new life in areas where annuals have ended their life cycle or where some color and shade is welcome. Prepare for the busier planting and harvesting seasons quickly approaching by amending soil with manure, compost, and other organic matter. In fact, while you're at the nursery looking at seeds, I recommend investing in a few bags of organic matter to add to your soil now. You will want your beds to be nutrient rich and ready for spring planting; adding amendment now is a great way to rejuvenate your soil and take a little of the heavy work off your list come spring. Clean and oil your gardening tools. If you have a green house or outdoor growing box, make sure they are cleaned and in good repair. And lastly, don't forget to dream about your beautiful garden space in full bloom. This is the best inspiration for shorter days and chilly nights.

LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora offers a complimentary consultation to help you achieve the garden of your dreams. Contact me today for a complete listing of the services we offer. I look forward to helping you make your green dreams a reality.

Native Plant of the Month: Amaranth

Growing in the desert is a challenging yet rewarding experience for those gardeners willing to undertake the task. Today's post focuses on one of the many wonderful plants native to our region of the world. While it may not be the first thing you think of when planning your spring garden, I encourage you to give it a try. Learning to appreciate and cultivate native plants is one of the most important things we can do for our delicate desert ecosystem. Amaranth is a truly ancient plant that has been cultivated by the Aztecs, Incas, and indigenous populations all over the southwestern U.S., Mexico, South America, and Asia for centuries. This hearty plant tolerates arid, hot climates very well - in fact thrives in them so well that once it flowers, it will continue to bloom until it is stopped by frost. Amaranth is usually grown as a cereal grain. It is high in protein, rich in vitamins A and C, and has been shown in studies to promote hearth health as well as oatmeal. It is a naturally gluten-free grain giving those with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) another option for making breads, pasta, deserts, etc. without compromising nutrition or flavor. It's easy to harvest and comes in over sixty varieties to try.

But if growing edibles isn't your thing, amaranth is a wonderful ornamental choice for your garden too. Amaranth is a particular favorite of hummingbirds; plant one of the many red, scarlet, or yellow hued varieties to draw hummingbirds to your home. Blonde, violet and purple hued amaranth add pops of color and foliage to your landscaping during hot summer months that are usually next to impossible to coax blooms from.

Sow amaranth seeds directly in well-drained soil once temperatures are consistently between 60 - 90 degrees F. Germination should happen is as little as three to four days. Amaranth wants full sun and little attention, making it a southwest gardeners dream come true! Many local nurseries and seed banks carry amaranth seeds. Support your local grower and a local plant by giving amaranth a try.

Have you grown amaranth? What was your experience? Leave a post in the comments section or contact me. I'd love to give you a complimentary consultation to help you incorporate native plants into your garden space. Check out La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora for more information.

The Party

I recently styled an event for one of Tucson's most worthy non-profits- The Boys and Girls Club. I was asked to create a tropical zen-like atmosphere with interior plants and fresh flora for their annual event which attracts over 1,000 Tucsonans.  My arrangements were the backdrop to beautiful art, community vendors, delicious tastings from FOX restaurants and the very talented Third Eye Blind.

 

xoxo

As the first official blog post for LaFleur Plantscapes I think it's only fitting to give credit to the friends who have contributed to its birth. To J.E. for entertaining my wild fantasies  and for introducing me to S.R.

My sister, who is with out a doubt, the best event planner in the world and all the portland girls who rock...S.M., C.H., M.L.

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