Google's Zeitgeist Conference 2015

IMG_07641 The design team at Atelier de LaFleur cannot begin to express our appreciation for contributing floral and plant design’s to Google’s Zeitgeist Conference for the third year in a row! This year's event was located at the extravagant and gorgeous Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia, one of the top hotels in the scottsdale area! With the inclusion of thousands of bare-rooted cacti and succulents in glass, a grand air plant wall and hundreds of native Sonoran desert plants throughout the venue, it was an event of design magnitude. Thank you to Sparks for your impeccable aesthetic and support, we are beyond honored!

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Handcrafted Artisan Wedding

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We recently collaborated with some of Tucson's finest to create a beautiful "kinfolk" inspired wedding shoot.  Photographer Elizabeth McDonnell invited us to her family's ranch in Patagonia, AZ to design and style the decor and floral for this heart warming project.  Be sure to view our time lapse production at the end of the blog! Atelier de LaFleur specializes in event production, wedding planning, decor styling and exquisite floral.

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Flowers/Styling/ Design: Atelier de LaFleur

http://lafleurevents.com_staging

Lead Photographer: Elizabeth McDonnell Photography

http://elizabethmcdonnellphotography.com

Second Photographer/ second shooter: Kelsey Shirley Photography

http://kelseyshirleyphotography.com

Fresh organic vegetables/ herbs/ produce: Sleeping Frog Farm

http://sleepingfrogfarms.com

 Clothing styling/ wardrobe/ Brides custom made dress/ Jewelry: Avenue Boutique

http://shopavenueboutique.com

Hair styling & make up: Studio 110

http://www.studio110tucson.com

Cake: Sugar Song Cakes http://www.sugarsongcakes.com/

Stationary/ Menu/ Invites/ Place cards: DeFilippis Designs https://www.facebook.com/defilippisdesigns

 Handmade Local Whiskey: Whiskey Del Bac

http://hamiltondistillers.com

Handcrafted Local Beer: Dragoon Brewery 

http://www.dragoonbrewing.com

Local Bread: Time Market

https://www.facebook.com/TimeMarketTucson

Local Wine: Arizona Stronghold & Pillsbury wine company 

Purchased at Time Market

https://www.facebook.com/TimeMarketTucson

Handcrafted Olive Oil: Queen Creek Olive Mill

http://www.queencreekolivemill.com

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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Corporate Plantscaping

LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora is not your average florist...did you know that we service some of your favorite spots all over Tucson?  That's right, we have a handful of our designs in restaurants, retail, corporate business, and landscaping firms.  We offer fresh flowers and living plants all rotated either weekly, or monthly.

Some of our past and present customers include;

Barre 3 Side Car Falora Maynard's Market + Kitchen Hotel Congress Saint House Rum Bar 47 Scott Agustin Kitchen Mast Food For Ascension Tap & Bottle Santa Rita Landscaping Rick Joy Architects Latitude Aerospace Engineering Baker + Hesseldenz

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Plants reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace, our clients have discovered that adding living plants or fresh flora is essential to creating and maintaining a healthy and profitable environment.  Not only have plants shown to enhance worker productivity by 12% and reduce busy office noise, plant-filled rooms contain 50% to 60% fewer airborne molds and bacteria!

To learn more about our business to business program, or to set up a consultation, email us at info@lafleurplantscapes.com

Celebrate Trees this Arbor Day!

The last Friday of every April is a special day set aside for communities to celebrate the beauty and importance of trees in our community. We know it as Arbor Day. This year, Arbor day falls on April 27th, which just so happens to coincide with many wonderful community projects going on around Tucson to help make it a little greener - and that makes me very happy!

Arizona's state tree is the Palo Verde. This hearty desert dweller loves arid conditions and can thrive and bloom in the driest, hottest parts of the country. The most commonly planted species of Palo Verde around Tucson are Blue Palo Verde and Yellow Palo Verde. Blue can reach heights of up to 30 feet, while it's cousin Yellow stays closer to ground at about 20 feet. Both species are leafless, but sport a bright green color. In lieu of leaves, which require a lot of energy and water to produce, photosynthesis occurs in the Palo Verde trees' bark and limbs which explains why these trees look like an unripe banana. Palo Verde trees can be easily acquired at any local nursery or ordered through the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Once you get your Arbor Day trees planted, take a picture of it and email it to me. I would love to see how you helped make our community a little greener, and show off the great work you've done on this blog. Tucson Clean & Beautiful is just one of the many organizations planning tree planting events around Tucson. if you're looking for ideas.

La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora is committed to making Tucson greener one sustainable arrangement at a time.

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!

March Plant of the Month: Native Grasses

Ah, we do love green lawns don't we? It seems that those of us who have transplanted from colder climates can shake off all the old winter habits pretty quickly; we adapt to bright sunshine and water conservation; we even begin to develop an affection for cacti. But we cannot seem to leave grassy lawns up north where they belong...or do they? There are many wonderful ornamental grasses that are native, and therefore non-invasive, to our desert region. Among these native grasses are varieties like Blue and Sideoats Grama, Indian Ricegrass, and Plains Bristlegrass, just to name a few. These grasses won't act or look like grasses grown in northern climate. You may be familiar with lush lawns grown from Bluegrass and Fescue; great grasses, but totally inappropriate for our climate. So is there a way to blend our love of a green lawn while still caring for our delicate ecosystem? Yes, I think there is. With a little imagination, native grasses can be incorporated into your garden space to create a green, rich space you can enjoy all year round. Instead of growing a traditional rectangular or square lawn of grass, consider blending ornamental native grasses with patches of succulent ground cover and decorative rock. The effect will bring some comfort of home and enhance the beauty of our desert all at the same time.

La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora would love to help you learn how to incorporate native grasses and other native plants into your garden space. Contact me today for a free consultation. I look forward to helping you create the plantscape of your dreams.

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.

Sweet Dreams, Valentine

I recently ran across an article that talked about a popular Valentine's Day tradition from eighteenth centuryEngland. Single young women would put bay leaves under their pillows at night, believing they would dream of their true love. This is just the kind of folklore I love. It also inspired me to think of another great way to express love with plants and flora this Valentine's Day. Combing things like bay leaves (laurel) or rosemary (traditional English symbol of fidelity) with traditional Valentine's Day flowers like roses brings a twist of tradition and fun superstition to the holiday. I personally prefer creating arrangements with flowers, plants, and herbs that are full of meaning. I like to attach a card to the arrangement explaining what each plant is and what it represents. It gives so much meaning to the gift. Tell your sweetheart she is the woman of your dreams with a bouquet of bay leaves and roses. Promise your unswerving devotion with a bunch of fresh rosemary. An arrangement of hyacinth tells him you will love him for as long as time endures. How beautiful that we can express the most beautiful of emotions with some of the most beautiful creations in nature.

La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora will create a memorable, meaningful Valentine's Day arrangement for your true love. Contact me today to order your custom designed arrangement in time for Valentine's Day.

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!

Recycle Your Christmas Tree!

Once the Christmas festivities are over for the year, what do you do with your real Christmas tree? For those who invested in a living tree, now is a great time to select a place in the garden to plant your tree or topiary. Our winters here are so mild that there will be plenty of time for the tree to establish itself before spring is upon us. If you purchased a fresh cut tree for your celebration, you have options to reuse your tree to help your garden for the rest of the year. The City of Tucson sponsors a TreeCycle for the first several weeks following Christmas. During this period, you can drop your Christmas tree off at any one of the designated locations around Tucson to have it turned into mulch which the city will use to help control erosion and in other environmental projects. The service is absolutely free. Just make sure to have all lights, ornaments, and tinsel removed from the tree before dropping it off. Click here to get more information on this recycling effort.

After the holidays are over, what are some other ways you recycle your tree and other decorations? I'd love to hear about it! Leave me a post in the comments section or contact me. LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora can offer a complimentary consultation to help you decide how to incorporate sustainable plants to enhance your garden space.

Birds in the Garden: Naughty or Nice?

As a gardener rather than a birder, I admit it's hard for me to think of birds as feathered friends rather than feathered foes. When considering birds in my garden space, I usually spend most of the time devising ways to keep them away from newly planted seeds and young seedlings instead of finding ways to encourage their presence in my garden space. But let's face it: Birds are here to stay. Is there any way my garden and the birds can co-habitate peacefully? According to a recent article in January/February 2012 issue Hobby Farm Home magazine, growers can create "bird friendly" spaces in their gardens that provide sustenance for our pollinator friends, and deter them from tender new growth planted for us. The article suggested trying to intentionally create a "bird seed garden," with an emphasis on plants and flowers that attract birds like sunflowers, cereal grains, and even hops. Intentionally growing a bird-friendly space away from your other growing endeavors will help deter the birds from seeking food from your flower beds and vegetable patches; not to mention, reduce your carbon footprint. How? Well, if a bird can acquire nutrition through seeds, grains, and even insects from your garden, less commercial seed will have to be purchased. The less seed refined and trucked to stores, means less green house emissions for our environment.

I know inviting birds into our gardens is a new concept to those of us with a green thumb. But this season of giving coupled with the fallow ground puts me in a generous mood. Gardens are therapeutic because they are places of respite and refreshment. I think our feathered friends could benefit from this too.

Have you found birds to be friends in your garden? I'd love to hear about it! Leave me a post or contact me today. LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora offers a complimentary consultation to help you achieve the garden of your dreams. Check out my website for a complete listing of the services we offer.

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.