Mistletoe: The Poisonous Plant We Love To Hang At Christmas

For centuries, people have been hanging mistletoe as an expression of love and romance. Unfortunately though, the relationship is one-sided, as the plant doesn’t return the same feelings. Why?  Because mistletoe contains a Christmas cocktail of toxins that when ingested can be harmful to humans and pets. I’d advise keeping it out of reach if you’re planning to make it part of your holiday décor. Continue reading

5 Top Christmas Tree Types: A Guide To Finding Your Perfect Match

Every year is different when it comes to Christmas. But in my home, there is one thing that remains constant. When I shop for a tree, I always head straight for the Fraser firs. These are the trees I grew up with, and their fragrance reminds me of my childhood. And as we all know, memory is a key component in any holiday décor. Continue reading

The Story Of The Cornucopia: It’s All Greek To Me

Thanksgiving décor for my mother was a white linen tablecloth and fine crystal, but as a child I longed for something more. So as soon as I had my own household, I added the cornucopia. The sight of all those colorful fruits spilling from a basket filled my spirit with holiday joy. In my mind, the horn-shaped vessel seemed to embody the very essence of the harvest season.

That being said, I later discovered that the origins of the cornucopia had nothing to do with a basket, nor was it meant to contain fruit. It all started with a goat named Amalthea. Continue reading

Why Carnations Are The Official Mother’s Day Flower

For those of you who think Mother’s Day was created by Hallmark, the real story is much more poignant. It all sprang from a daughter’s love for her mother, the trials of war and a gift of 500 white carnations. Continue reading

10 Great Christmas Tree Ideas From Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens

OK, so maybe you won’t be copying the tropical tree above. But in December, Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens is teeming with Christmas tree ideas.  And the displays are nothing short of spectacular. Continue reading

New Hybrids Promise To Rock Your Poinsettia World

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New hybrids are changing the poinsettia world

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day, the day Americans honor the plant that has become a symbol of the holiday season. And while not everyone’s a fan, it’s hard not to marvel at the species’ growing popularity. Continue reading

Great Pumpkin! It’s A Fruit, Not A Vegetable

For those of you who thought pumpkin was a vegetable, think again. It’s a fruit.  And for me, that’s a game changer when it comes to baking pies for Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Ten Great Ideas For Decorating With Gourds

If you’re like me, every October, when those big boxes of gourds land at the grocery, your mind whirls with possibilities. The cute little shapes seem to embody the essence of fall. The problem is, once you get them home, the gourds seem somehow lacking. Sure, you can toss them in a bowl. But, if you really want to get creative, decorating with gourds requires a few added ingredients. Continue reading

Valentines Day 2018: How To Really Say It With Flowers

This winter, I’ve been passing the time rereading a few French classics. It’s been a great way to while away the hours, especially since many of the books focus on life in the garden. Such is the case with Honoré de Balzac’s 1835 novel, Le Lys dans la Vallée (The Lily of the Valley). It’s a great story of French love and society and how a pair of frustrated lovers establish a secret correspondence by flowers. Continue reading

Longwood Gardens’ 10 Best Christmas Trees of 2017

Orchid Tree/A Longwood Christmas

The Orchid Tree at Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens

OK, so maybe you won’t be copying the orchid tree above, but this time of year Longwood Gardens is teeming with ideas, especially when it comes to Christmas trees.  Located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (an easy two-hour drive from Washington, DC), Longwood is resplendent this December as it pays homage to France. And the eye-popping horticultural displays are nothing short of ooh-la-la. Continue reading