Holy Chuppah!

DSC_4174 We recently styled a wedding at the Ritz Carlton and had the privilege of working with photographer Natalie Lindberg.  Well, we couldn't wait one more minute to share some of her photos. She captured our new chuppah design with saguaro skeletons.  Isn't it AMAZING!?!?







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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



Air Plant Wall

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Wall Art


Dirtt Interior Plant Walls



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

Floral Workshop

Last week we hosted a floral design class at the atelier!  Given as a holiday gift by their husbands, these lucky ladies got to get their hands dirty and make some very advanced floral arrangements.  They learned how to use the tools of the trade,  how to cut and handle floral, as well as taping and wiring of succulents. IMG_9558










Interested in taking a floral workshop?  We have a two-week series of classes coming to Atelier de LaFleur in August. This Foundation workshop includes eight design classes, a field trip to a local plant nursery and event styling/designing your own dinner party for 12 guests.The last class of the series is an introduction to tablescaping—a class in which we create two table settings, one minimalist and the other a country style, to teach how to combine flowers and table décor together

.  For more information on the Foundation Workshop, visit our website www.lafleurplantscapes.com and click on 'Atelier'. For questions or to sign up for the workshop email: mica@lafleurplantscapes.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!

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.

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!

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.

Save Water with a Drip Irrigation System

Now that we've moved into the second "wet" season of desert living, it isn't necessary to water plants as much as during warmer, drier months. I always recommend a drip irrigation system to my clients to keep their gardens lush and healthy year round. Drip irrigation means placing tubing around the base of your plants to slowly drip water directly to the root system to maximize the effectiveness of watering without using anymore water than is necessary. Using a drip irrigation system is a fool-proof way to water plants exactly as they need to be each season without wasting the desert's most precious resource. Drip irrigation systems are easy to install and maintain. With a little planning, you can say goodbye to manual watering all together. Here are some additional benefits to using drip irrigation: • Drip irrigation systems can be adapted to the shape of your garden or run in lines to larger container arrangements. • Drip irrigation keeps the cost of watering down by watering more efficiently with less water. • Drip irrigation systems can be set to a timer to water consistently and at the most effective times of day; you can set it and forget it!

Caring for our delicate desert ecosystem is a responsibility we all share as Tucson residents. Installing and using a drip irrigation system is just one of many ways we can all contribute to make a greener community. What other measures have you taken to make your life a little greener? I'd love to hear about it! Leave me a message in the comments section or contact me directly.

LaFleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora specializes in creating sustainable eco-chic gardens both indoors and outdoors - including installing drip irrigation systems. I'd love to give you a complimentary consultation to show you what a little green can do for you.