Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cooking with Fresh Produce- Side Dishes

Hi there!

As summer speeds along, you might be noticing the abundance of fresh produce available to you, whether at the farmer's market, your local grocery store, or your own garden! There's no better time than summer to fill up on the freshness of nature's bounty! 

As soon as harvesting begins, our team loves to try fun new ways to enjoy fresh fruits and veggies. We've been having a blast scouring Pinterest for tasty takes on summer side dishes; here are a few recipes that have piqued our interest this summer- we thought you'd enjoy trying them with your own fresh produce! 

(click on the links below each picture to see the recipe!)

Corn and Blueberry Salad

Love to cook with your fresh produce as much as we do?
Follow our From Garden to Table Pinterest board for the latest recipes we discover!

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

4th of July Festivities!

It's almost time to celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Independence Day is a special day for all Americans-- a day to give thanks for the country we live in, to honor the men and women who made its success possible, and to relax and spend quality time with friends and family, enjoying the summer air! 

Whether or not you'll be hosting a get-together, it's always fun to be among the many that decorate for the holiday. There's something so poignant about seeing homes splashed in red, white and blue flowers and wreaths, with the stars and stripes flying boldly overhead... 

If you need some help adding a little all-American outdoor decoration, we've got some fun, easy, ways for you to join your fellow Americans in adding some patriotic pizzazz to your patio, balcony, front porch or landscape!

We've simplified outdoor decorating into 5 fast steps to make your holiday decorating fun and easy! Take a look at what we recommend:

Color is an important component in achieving the overall effect you're looking for. 
The goal is to add bold color accents in a way that defines your theme. 
In this case, your color scheme is red, white and blue, and  a few well-placed, color-coordinated containers and throw pillows can be just the thing you need to make a big impact with little effort!

Good placement is the easiest way to get the most enjoyment out of your decorations!
Strategically placing your festive containers and decorations in areas where guests and passersby will linger ensures that they will be seen and admired! 

Some key areas to decorate are:


Seating areas

Dining Areas


Grouping more than one container together can help add emphasis to your theme. 
It's often better to group a few containers together in a key space than it is to spread them throughout the whole outdoor area as grouping can maximize impact. Try grouping in odd numbers- for instance 3 or 5 containers/objects per space- odd numbers are usually more visually appealing!

The key to pairing objects is keeping it simple! 
Stick your color scheme and the overall effect will be cohesive and colorful!


It's a great idea to decorate your outdoor space with durable, easy-to-move objects. You never know when an impromptu skit or activity will come along for entertainment and you'll want to be able to accommodate the fun!


Adding a few festive accessories throughout the space can quickly polish your decorating! 
Use theme-appropriate accessories that can also be used for play and your enjoyment can be two-fold!

For example, pinwheels are great color additions to containers, and fun toys:

And there you have it!
We hope our quick guide to holiday decorating helps you to have fun dressing your outdoor space for Independence Day!  

Happy Gardening Decorating!

photo sources: Proven Winners and Strange's Garden Center

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Butterfly Gardening! Tips for attracting pollinators

Hey there, fellow gardeners!

As plant lovers, we know how to get excited about new green shoots in the Spring and beautiful blooms in the Summer, and we know that all the wonderful things that happen in the garden wouldn't be possible without our good friends, the pollinators. So let's take a moment to get excited about the hardest-working visitors to our gardens--butterflies, bees, and other insects!

First up, the butterfly.

What a beautiful treat it is to watch these pretty little creatures flit among the blossoms of your garden!

In addition to adding color and fun to your garden, butterflies contribute greatly to the pollination that happens in nature. They typically like to pollinate bright, colorful blooms and they do most of their best work during the day.

Next up is the bee!

Talk about proficiency! Bees are the work horses of the pollinators; from dawn until dusk you can find more than a few bumbling buddies hard at work pollinating plants. There are several different species of bees that serve as pollinators, and together they are responsible for a good portion of the pollination that occurs.

Lastly, let's talk about other insects!

Though butterflies and bees are arguably the most easily recognizable pollinators, there are myriad other insects that play a huge role in pollination! Moths like the Cloudberry Clearwing Moth (pictured above) along with various flies, beetles and wasps are an integral part of the pollination team. Next time you're out in your garden, notice how many of these visitors are poking around!

As stewards of our environment, it's important that we actively encourage the success of the various pollination species in our own green spaces! Without pollinators, our plant culture (both ornamental and crop) would be in big trouble!

So what can you do to help determine the success of pollinators?

An easy (and enjoyable!) approach is to encourage the various members of the pollination team to visit your garden by featuring plants species that attract pollinators. Here are a few beautiful choices that do well in the Mid-Atlantic:

Full Sun

Full sun- part shade

Full Sun-Part Shade

ECHINACEA (Cone Flower)
Full Sun-Part Shade

Full Sun-Part Shade

For more great information on plants that attract butterflies, check out this page by Morton's Arboretum!

Happy [butterfly] Gardening!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Geraniums: the classic American flower!

We're back with another summer annual spotlight! This time, let's talk about geraniums!

If there's one flowering plant that every American recognizes, it's got to be the geranium. For many of us, those pretty poms of color floating atop frilly scented leaves evoke fond memories of summertime on Grandma's porch.

With so many virtues, annual geraniums (Geranium americana) are a timeless flower that everyone can appreciate and work into their own landscape-- grandma knew a good thing when she saw it!

Here are a few of the geranium's great traits:

- They bloom all summer long (just pop off the spent blooms as they die off to keep it re-blooming!)
- The leaves give off a quintessential summer smell!
- They play nicely with others- pair them with all sorts of annuals for fun, colorful containers or beds!
- They thrive in sun or part shade!
- And, most excitingly, look how many colors there are to choose from:

So go on, take a page out of grandma's book and plant a few geraniums in your landscape this year!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Coleus: The most versatile annual ever?

Hi all!

While, in truth, we love all plants over here, we're going to submit the claim that Coleus might be the most versatile annual ever! Why? Well....

                    -It comes in an ever-increasing collection of swoon-worthy color combinations (it's addicting, really)
                    -You can find a cultivar to match any plant combination you dream up (the perfect plant-cessory...)
                    -It thrives in both sun and shade (is that too much to ask for?)
                    -It can handle hot summer weather (a necessity for Richmond summers!)
                    -It's touted for its foliage, but it also flowers (that's like buy one, get one free, right?)
                    -It makes a huge impact in your flower beds or containers (love the big-bang-for-your-buck factor!)
                    -It is so easy to grow! (the beginning gardener's best friend!)
                    -And while in no way relevant to their versatility, coleus cultivars have some of the coolest               
                     names! (who doesn't want to be the one who gets to name plants? or crayon colors...)

With all that said, here's a little eye candy to support our bold claim; you tell us if you agree!

'Alligator Tears'

'Dark Star'

'Dipt in Wine'

'Florida Sun'

'Honey Crisp'

'Inky Fingers'



'Sky Fire'