How to Dry Flowers

How to Dry Flowers

Recently, I found myself with a beautiful arrangement of flowers I just could not bring myself to throw away. They were beautiful, but also sentimental. I’ve pressed flowers before, but to be honest, I have no idea where those ended up. So this time, I decided to try drying the flowers out, so I could continue to use them as a bouquet for decoration. Now that I’ve seen how simple it is to do this, I will probably have my entire house decorated with dried florals before long!

  1. Remove leaves from the flower stems.
  2. Gather your flowers into smaller bunches.
  3. Tie twine or wrap rubber bands around your bunches. You do not want to have this so tight it will leave a mark on the flower, but if you use twine, keep in mind that your flowers will shrink as they dry. If you use twine, leave a length of the string to tie the bunch up to hang. If you use rubber bands, attach twine or string to the rubber band to tie the bunch up to hang.
  4. Tie the flowers up to hang in a dry place. I hung mine in my laundry closet (pictured below), but you could use a pantry, a closet, etc.
  5. Let the flowers hang for three to four weeks. You should be able to tell by touch when they have dried out.
  6. Spray your dried flowers generously with hair spray to avoid breakage.
  7. Arrange to your liking. Note: When arranging, you will make a mess. Be prepared!

Voila! Super simple and a great way to decorate for fall. Also, opening my laundry closet and seeing these guys was a nice perk.

Hope you enjoy your dried florals and perhaps the memories that accompany them for years to come.

xoxo,

Katie

Designer Bouquets at Grocery Store Prices

Designer Bouquets at Grocery Store Prices

Happy Wednesday y’all! Congrats on making it halfway to the weekend. I’m super excited to share this blog today (do I say that every week?!) because if I’m being honest, my dream job would have something to do with flowers. Just ask my husband… I ask him once a week if we can start a flower farm.

So today I’m sharing my “recipe” to create a designer style bouquet. It’s pretty simple and fool-proof! I was originally inspired by Erin at Floret Flowers, but she has quite a few more resources than I do. This method is adapted to accommodate those of us without hundreds of acres of blooms to choose from. I bought all my flowers from Kroger, and I was very impressed by their assortment of not just focal flowers like lilies, but also greenery and “filler” flowers. I know that Costco is well-known for their flower assortment, too, but you should be able to follow this method for any grocery store.

Part 2. I am updating this post in February 2021 after my most recent bouquet creation! this second time around I spent exactly $20 at Publix and made a bouquet that would likely go for $40+ at boutique places. I used orange Catawba flowers as my focal flowers, baby’s breath as my filler, stock flowers for my layers, and spray roses and mini carnations for my fillers.

Aug 2020
Feb 2021

Types of Flowers to Buy

1. Greenery/Layers

I bought one bunch of fern sprays, but Kroger had eucalyptus bunches and a few other choices.

If you don’t have greenery as an option at your grocery store, you could choose a taller kind of flower to give your bouquet dimension. In the peachy bouquet above, I used stock flowers which are reminiscent of snapdragons.

2. Airy Flowers

I bought one bunch of purple “filler” flowers, which included Statice, Caspia, and Lavender. I was very impressed that Kroger carried this, but a good option that I always see at Publix is Baby’s Breath.

These airy flowers take up space in your bouquet, but also add some dainty, smaller blooms and more texture to your look.

3. Secondary Flowers

I bought one bunch of white Euro Pompons, but you could get pretty creative at this step. Other flowers that I’ve seen in grocery stores that would work well here are Daisies, Chrysanthemums (my FAVE), or Carnations. If you want to make a larger bouquet, you could also buy two different types of flowers.

The key here is to get disc like flowers that are smaller than your focal flowers and larger than your airy flowers.

For the peachy bouquet above, I actually grabbed two different types. I used spray roses and mini carnations.

4. Focal Flowers

I bought one bunch of white Lilies (three stems with three blooms each), but many other flowers would work here, such as Sunflowers, Roses, and Hydrangeas. This flower should be larger than your secondary flowers.

Arranging

1. Start with your focal flower. This will likely have multiple blooms on one stem. If you are using something like a sunflower, that only has one bloom per stem, use 2-3 stems.

2. Fill in the gaps between blooms with your airy flowers. Extend these stems up to 4 inches above your focal flower. I used 2-3 stems for each bouquet.

3. Insert 2-3 stems of secondary flowers around the perimeter of your bouquet. You may also fill in any obvious gaps with a stem. These should be at the same level as your focal flower.

4. When adding greenery, you can do one of two things depending on what look you want to achieve:

For a completely circular bouquet (good for centerpieces), add 3-4 stems of greenery around the perimeter of your bouquet.

For a bouquet with a flat side (good for displaying against a wall or holding), add 3-4 stems of greenery to one side of your bouquet. If you use Lilies, they will likely be facing a certain direction. Add your greenery to the side they are not facing.

If you are not using greenery but instead a taller flower, add it into your perimeter as you would the above flowers.

5. Repeat the above steps until you are out of flowers.

6. Once you have completed your bouquet, make small tweaks such as raising your focal flowers so they really stand out, and adjusting any crazy sprays from the airy flowers.

7. Cut the stems to your desired level and add a rubber band. Wrap 2-3 in of the stems with twine for extra support. Add water and flower food to a vase and display your bouquet.

8. Change water as necessary.

Aug 2020

Quick side note: for a more refined, less boho look, try removing the leaves from your flower stems.

I spent just under $25 for the flowers listed above. Considering I got three bouquets out of this, I probably saved at least another $25, if not more.

You can mix up the kinds of flowers you buy and try different combinations, but if you follow the above “recipe” you should be able to get a designer look every time! With the flowers I purchased, I ended up with three smaller sized bouquets. You could easily adjust to make two medium sized bouquets, or one very large bouquet. The same method applies! I really don’t think I will purchase another bouquet again. Not only does this save a ton of money, you can customize each bouquet and add your own personal touch. It’s a win-win!

xoxo,

Katie

My Patio Plants

My Patio Plants

If you are interested in growing plants on your patio, this is the post for you! Today, I’m going to round-up all the plants I’ve been growing (both successfully and unsuccessfully) out on my patio to give you a better idea about what plants may work for your small garden space!

Vegetables & Herbs

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Jalapenos
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Thyme

Potatoes, carrots, and onions are a root vegetable. I bought specific grow bags to easily access the vegetables to harvest. https://www.amazon.com/Thickened-Growing-Planting-Container-Vegetable/dp/B083QZLMFM/ref=sr_1_13?_encoding=UTF8&c=ts&dchild=1&keywords=Plant+Grow+Bags&qid=1594853420&sr=8-13&ts_id=348069701 Otherwise, you will be digging up your containers, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Overall, growing these root vegetables isn’t necessarily hard on a small balcony given the right conditions. Something to note – I put compost in my potato bag and they did not like it. Potatoes grow way too tall if given too many nutrients.

Lettuce is something everyone who is starting off should try. It is hardy and easy to grow. Be sure to water often, as greens don’t love the heat!

The peppers do not like my patio, but that is mainly due to the lack of sunlight. If your patio is well lit and you have a larger container, peppers will likely do well.

Lastly, similar to lettuce, herbs are also relatively easy to grow in any size space. Check out my last blog on Mason Jar Herbs for a cute way to grow these guys. Otherwise, my only note would be that I tried to grow my first round from seed and oregano and rosemary grew incredibly slowly. Make sure to harvest or they will go to seed!

Flowers

  • Hydrangea
  • Delphinium
  • Poppy
  • Impatiens
  • Foxglove
  • Marigolds
  • Columbine
  • English Daisies
  • Alyssum
  • Snapdragons

Let me just start by saying I love flowers. It is completely my dream one day to have my own flower farm. If I could only grow one thing for the rest of my life, it would absolutely be some kind of flower, probably a hydrangea. All that said, small patios aren’t exactly the best place to grow flowers, in my opinion. We don’t really use our patio (outside of housing my plants) because it’s pretty buggy and someone in a neighboring apartment smokes on theirs, so it constantly smells like cigarettes. So if we had flowers out there, they wouldn’t be enjoyed as they should. Additionally, if you grow flowers from seed, it will take a long long time for them to bloom. Then once they bloom, it’s all over. A lot of flowers are perennials, meaning they come back every year. That is, of course, if they are planted in the ground. Planting potted flowers on a balcony that does not get a lot of use does a disservice to the flower. However, that is the conclusion I came to only after trying to grow several different flowers (most from seed). If you are set on having flowers on your balcony, your best bet is to buy baby plants. And of the above, I’d recommend all but hydrangeas. While they are one my favorites, they aren’t meant for small spaces.

If you are unsure about growing your plants, the best way to get started is simply that, just start. You will learn as you grow (hehe). You will likely have plants that die or don’t produce, but you will also have plants that surprise you!

Happy gardening,

Katie

Mason Jar Herbs

Mason Jar Herbs

Have you ever thought of growing some plants of your own but don’t know where to start? The answer is right here. Herbs are resilient and very low maintenance. This garden project is a great ease into gardening and adds a cute touch to any patio or counter space.

Materials

Mason Jars

I got a 12 pack of 1 quart jars from Target, but at this time of year they are everywhere. I’d suggest the quart size as it’s just right for a small plant. Unfortunately, I think this size is only sold in 12 packs, but if you save some of those jars, in a couple weeks I’ll show you how to make jelly. You could also use a different type of small container, but I love using Mason Jars because you can see water level and root activity through them. Takes a lot of the guess work out of it!

Herbs

At this time of year, I’d suggest starting with a baby plant instead of seed. Unless you’re growing cilantro… Cilantro grows like a weed (heh). But seriously, if you do start from seed, be prepared to not be able to harvest your herbs for months. You can buy baby plants from Lowe’s or Home Depot or your local nursery. I bought rosemary, oregano, and basil.

Small Pebbles

You need pebbles for drainage in your Mason Jar. I literally picked up a couple handfuls of pebbles outside to use. You don’t need to buy the vase fillers or anything.

Dirt (Optional)

You may or may not need extra dirt. The container my oregano came in was pretty big, so I was able to use the leftover dirt to fill the other two Mason Jars. You always have the option to fill the Mason Jar up with more rocks, too, if your jar isn’t full after you’ve inserted the plant and you don’t want to go buy soil. If you decide to use seed, you will absolutely need to buy soil.

Twine

This is not a necessity and is simply for decoration.

Instructions

Gather all your materials. In your Mason Jars, fill about a quarter of the way with pebbles. Add about an inch or two of extra dirt above the pebbles. Gently remove the plants from their containers and loosen the roots if they are taught. Insert the plants into their Mason Jar, and add dirt around the plants if needed (you want your jar to be packed full of dirt). Insert the plant tab that is stuck in the dirt in the container you bought the herb in to your jar. Water your plant. Cut twine about 2 feet long. Wrap around the neck of your jar and tie in a bow.

Upkeep

Water your herbs moderately everyday. Keep your herbs in full to part sun, depending on the specific herb. If you have a spot in your kitchen that gets good light, you can keep your herbs indoors. The sunlight needs should be listed on the plant tab. Prune your plant regularly by trimming your plant above a set of growing leaves. Harvest leaves before they flower or your plant will go to seed. Check back in a few weeks to see what to do with leftover herbs (like drying and freezing).

Hope this shows you how manageable it is to grow your own herbs. Happy gardening!

xoxo,

Katie

4 Things to Know Before You Start Gardening

4 Things to Know Before You Start Gardening

Hey guys! Katie here. To give a little insight to my gardening journey: I live in a small apartment with a really small patio that gets essentially no sunlight at all. So that has made it pretty difficult to successfully grow anything out there! While I’ve had a couple plants straight up die due to the lack of sunlight, I’ve spent the past couple months gathering a small wealth of knowledge about gardening in small spaces. Today I’m sharing what you need to know to get started gardening.

Know Your Zone & Growing Season

Both your plant hardiness zone and growing season are directly related to average regional temperatures. Your zone refers to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and can be found here: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/. The zone you are in dictates what plants thrive in your area. Here in Georgia, zones range from 6a in the north to 9a in the south. Knowing your zone allows you to understand how and when to start your seeds and specific plants that can or cannot grow in your region. Once you figure out your zone, do some research on growing in your zone to familiarize yourself. 

Likely, upon researching your specific plant hardiness zone, you will learn your region’s growing season as well. Your growing season starts at last frost in the spring and ends at first frost in the fall. The growing season in Georgia is long and usually allows for two harvests; seeds that are planted in March – May often can be harvested in June – July and seeds planted in late summer can be harvested in late fall. Full transparency – the growing season has to do with frost and when the ground becomes too cold to grow, so take it with a grain of salt when planting in containers. I started my seeds outside well before the growing season started this year. 

Know Your Sunlight

All plants need different amounts of sunlight. The following are the categories of sunlight you will see often if you get into gardening:

  • Full sun (6+ hours of direct sunlight)
  • Part sun (3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight)
  • Part shade (3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight, but should have morning sun or evening sun and should avoid harsh midday sun)
  • Full shade (less than 3 hours of direct sunlight)

Often, when planting in a yard, different areas of your yard have different light conditions. If you are planting on a patio, you probably only fall into one of these categories. For instance, like I said before, I fall into the full shade category, with about 1 to 2 hours of indirect (or filtered) sunlight a day. 

Pick Your Plants

Based on the two points above, you are now ready to pick your plants! Some of the plants I chose for my patio garden based on the above points are:

  • Romaine lettuce (leafy greens are good plants to grow if you do not have full sun)
  • Potatoes and onions (root veggies are another good choice for minimal sun)
  • Herbs (herbs are resilient and are great for all growing spaces, even indoors)
  • Foxglove, English daisies, and columbine (all are flowers that require part sun or less)

I also have other plants on my patio like peppers, carrots, and marigolds (all full sun plants) more as an experiment. Coincidentally, some of the full sun plants are growing better than the part sun/shade plants!

Know Your Plants

Once you have picked your plants, it’s important to know how to take care of them. Typically, information such as when to sow seeds, how far apart to plant, when to harvest, etc. should come when you purchase your plant or seeds. If you purchase a baby plant, there should be a tab stuck in the dirt with this information. Similarly, if you purchase seed packets, the back should have helpful information about your plant! Once you have planted all the seeds you plan to, store your packet in a dark, cool place. The picture below tells you what you could expect to find on a plant tab or seed packet.

Reminder: do not throw away your plant tabs or seed packets! 

There are two more characteristics you should know before planting: your plant’s water and soil needs. Some plants, for instance succulents, need very little water. Other plants, like irises, thrive in wet soil. I’d bet most of your plants will like a happy medium, but be wary of overwatering! Your plants will start to look sick. A nice rule of thumb is to literally use your thumb to feel soil moisture. Stick your finger in the soil to your second knuckle. If your finger feels dry soil, it needs water. You may need to water your plants less than you think, especially if you have self-watering pots. I’ll write a blog specifically on watering your plants and self-watering pots soon!

Finally, onto soil. This could be a whole blog post in and of itself, but I’d bet if you are here, you’re not farming a plot of land. If you were, it would be a good idea to get your soil tested for nutrients and go from there (and then to get your information elsewhere, ha). Since most of us are gardening in containers, it really comes down to what soil to buy. Most importantly, you want to make sure you are buying soil fit for containers (aka: potting soil). Potting soil allows for proper drainage but still retains moisture. I’ve just used MiracleGro Potting Mix for all my plants, but there are plenty of options out there. There are specific potting mixes for specific kinds of plants, all kinds of organic potting mixes, seed starting potting mixes, and if you want to get really fancy, there’s compost. However, you really can’t go wrong with the simple stuff. Upon reading about your plants, you’ll probably come across what kind of nutrients and pH they need. Once you have chosen your soil, you can purchase fertilizers and soil amendments to help you reach your desired nutrient and pH levels. Again, for me, I’ve just used MiracleGro All Purpose Plant Food. Like soil, there are multitudes of fertilizers: veggie specific, flower specific, fish oil, slow release… It can get overwhelming. If you choose to go with the commercial MiracleGro Potting Mix and Plant Food like I do, you will likely do just fine. 

This is a lot of information, but the good news is, plants are pretty resilient! If your plants start looking sick or skyrocketing towards the sky (like my potatoes did when they shouldn’t have), do a little reading about what the plant needs and tweak its nutrients/water/sun accordingly. The first sign of sickness is not a death sentence in a plant; you can usually nurse them back to health with a little TLC.

Happy gardening!

-K