Tips for Creating a City Garden

Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:27:20 Europe/London

With a little planning and dedication, it’s possible to turn even the dreariest outdoor space into an urban retreat. Whether you have a big backyard or a tiny balcony, here is how to make your outdoor space work for you.

DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO USE THE SPACE “Ask yourself what you see yourself doing in the space,” said Sera Rogue, the owner of Red Fern Brooklyn, a landscape design firm. “Yoga? Reading? Entertaining? Morning coffee?” This will drive most of your decisions, including where to put the plants, what furniture to buy and how to address noise or privacy concerns.

SKETCH OUT A PLAN “When you talk to an interior designer, it’s about flowing through rooms, transitioning through space and creating focal points,” said Todd Haiman, a landscape designer, who pointed out that the same principles apply to creating outdoor rooms. In a small space, he suggested, “design on a grid,” using squares and rectangles, rather than circles, to take advantage of every square inch. If you don’t have much width, go vertical: A tall hedge, a few small trees or trellised vines in planters can create privacy. “I always try to create a sensory and experiential journey,” he said, which can be as simple as placing a pot of lavender near the door “so you brush up against it, every time you step out, and release its scent.”

For more inspiration you can check out our plant collection here.

BE REALISTIC ABOUT UPKEEP Even the hardiest plants require regular watering and pruning. If you travel frequently, a well-furnished terrace with an occasional bouquet from the farmer’s market may be more your style. Sedums and ornamental grasses generally do well in full southern sun. “I like to use full-sun-loving sedums in hanging baskets,” Ms. Rogue said, as they require little water and are “colorful, draping and textural.” She also suggested using sedums “in low bowls for full-sun rooftops and balconies — you can put them anywhere, as they do not need to be connected to an irrigation system.” For shady spots, her go-to plant is a Britt-Marie Crawford ligularia dentata, for its “large, round leaves that give height and volume,” she said. “In the summer, it sends up an otherworldly wand flower.” Whereas hostas, she said, are “overused.”

FACTOR IN THE WIND Trees in planters can blow over if not properly secured. If windy conditions are a problem, try birch trees and ornamental grasses, which tend to be less wind resistant — so strong gusts pass through them, instead of blowing them over — and will rustle and “dance in the wind,” Mr. Haiman said.

For more inspiration you can check out our plant collection here.



Posted By lebloom london

The World's Driest Desert Blooms With Hundreds Of Flowers After Rare Rain

Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:17:06 Europe/London

Talk about flower power.

The Atacama desert in Chile, widely referred to as the world’s driest desert, is currently experiencing a truly breathtaking phenomenon. After surprise heavy rainstorms showered the region, thousands of colorful flowers bloomed to blanket its surface.

The climate is so dry in the Atacama that scientists use it as a way to gain insight about what life and living conditions might be possible on Mars, according to Reuters. 

This stunning scene is referred to as desierto florido or flowering desert, and it typically only happens every five to seven years. However, the last time was in 2015, when the region saw the equivalent of seven years of rain in 12 hours, the Weather Channel reported.

This time, heavy rains hit in mid-August, prompting seeds in the ground to germinate. 

Here’s what the landscape typically looks like:

And here’s what it looks like covered in 200 different types of flowers, which tourism officials believe will grow even more in the coming weeks:

The magic is not without consequences, though. When the storm came two years ago, it resulted in at least seven deaths and severe damage. 

The bloom should last until November, so if a trip to Chile is in your near future, definitely schedule a visit.


Posted By lebloom london

What's the Origin of Valentine's Day?

Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:01:16 Europe/London

Several tales have taken root as the cultural heart of Valentine's Day, most of which stem from the patron Saint Valentine.

One legend describes a priest named Valentine who lived during the third century in Rome. The Roman Emperor Claudius II was building up a military at the time and supposedly thought single men would make better soldiers. To build a stronger army, the emperor outlawed marriage for young men. Feeling this sweetheart ban was unjust, Valentine apparently performed secret marriage ceremonies . When found out, legend has it the love priest was put to death.

A slight twist to the tragic love story has the priest or bishop being publicly beheaded for refusing to denounce the name of Christ. His feast day was set as Feb. 14 by the Church to honor his heroic life.

Valentine's name was not associated with romantic and courtly love until the 14th century, when Geoffrey Chaucer incorporated St. Valentine’s Day into his love poem "The Parliament of Fowls," according to Philip Florio, assistant to the vice president of student life at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

The ensuing Valentine's Day has been linked with heroism and romantic love for centuries. Flowers , candies and syrupy-sweet cards help men and women profess their love for one another.

In 1868, Richard Cadbury released the first Valentine's Day box of chocolates , followed in 1902 with the first "conversation" hearts from the New England Confectionery Company. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland created the first commercial Valentine's Day cards in the United States. In 1913, the Hallmark Company produced its first Valentine card.

Can't buy love? Tell that to the retail industry and hearty buyers. In 2011, the average consumer will spend $116.21, with total Valentine's Day spending expected to reach $15.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Our pets will surely feel the love this V-day, with the average person spending $5.04 on their furry friends, according to the NRF.

Greeting cards still remain a popular gift choice, accounting for nearly 55 percent of Valentine's Day gifts, followed by candy and flowers.

For a cosmopolitan Valentine's, here's how to say "I love you" in other languages.

  • Italian: Ti amo
  • French: Je t'aime
  • Spanish: Te amo
  • Farsi: Dooset daram
  • Swahili: Naku penda wewe
  • Thai: Phom rak khun
  • Mandarin: Wo ai ni

Another sweet way to profess your love, albeit briefly, is through a pastel conversation heart. The New England Confectionery Company produces them from late February through mid-January of the following year. That entire production sells out in just six weeks, equalling about 100,000 pounds (45,360 kg) a day. In the early 1990's, the company decided to update the sayings every year, retiring some dated terms in the process. The first updated –and now retired– phrase was "Fax Me," and current phrases include "Text Me," "Friend Me," "Tweet Me" and "You Rock."


Posted By lebloom london