Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teal Pumpkin Project

Teal Pumpkin Project- looks like a pumpkin from Tiffany's. What's not to love?
Have you started to notice teal pumpkins creeping up onto doorsteps near you? They are likely part of the Teal Pumpkin Project.  This is a great way to give all kids- especially those with food allergies a fun Halloween.  A teal pumpkin at your house signifies that you have non-food treats.  Things like markers, stickers, pencils, spider rings, etc can replace the sugary treats that are commonly offered.  Please read more and download a poster with more information by clicking HERE.
If you missed yesterday's post, you can watch my segment about the Teal Pumpkin Project on WFSB's Better Connecticut HERE.
My sugar pumpkin needed three coats of paint

This is the craft paint I used. 
Please visit me at www.juliesharrison.com, and subscribe to my YouTube page JulieTheGardenGirl. Thanks for reading!

xoxo Julie

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jack-O-Lantern Tricks

You have been carving pumpkins for years and know all there is to know about this classic Halloween decorating essential, right? Well, there might be two important steps that you are skipping over that make a big difference in how long your jack-o-lantern will last. 

On WFSB's Better Connecticut I demonstrate a little trick that will help keep your jack-o-lantern aglow for longer than a couple of nights using these two unlikely items:
 Click HERE to watch my Better Gardens segment on Halloween Pumpkins.

1. Draw the jack-o-lantern face on a pumpkin.  I tried to draw Olaf from Disney's Frozen
2. Remove all of the seeds from the inside- I think using a metal spoon works best.

3. Mix one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water to create a water bath for your carved pumpkin.  This kills all of the bacteria that causes the initial deterioration of a pumpkin.  Sorry that I don't have a pic of this- but you can watch me cleaning my pumpkin in a video HERE.
4. Use Petroleum jelly to seal in moisture everywhere you carved.  Moisture loss is what would lead my Olaf to looking like a pumpkin puddle instead of a pumpkin snowman after a couple of days. 
5. Here is my Olaf jack-o-lantern- clean, moisturized and ready for a candle tonight! Wow, is this a blog post about pumpkin carving or a romance novel for pumpkins?
Have fun carving this year and try this trick to help keep your jack-o-lanterns around longer!
If you would like to contact me, please visit www.juliesharrison.com and contact me there! I'm on twitter now so send me a tweet @JulieSHarrison
xoxo Julie


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fancy Fall Flowers

My sweet friend who owns Green Dog Market is expecting a baby!!!  For her baby shower I designed flower arrangements which were perfect for her, but great for fall too.  Her favorite color is orange and she is expecting a boy, so this only seemed natural:
Mokara Orchids, Volkerfreiden Delphinium, Calla Lily, and Hypericum.

The Orchids and Lilys complemented each other so well.
There were several smaller arrangements like this too:
Same flowers as above but with blue Hydrangea.
When I was all done, there were a few short stems on the counter.  Waste? NOT!
So, I made this:
The blue and green alone together just pop! #Whalers

This Delphinium... the textures in one bloom are incredible.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these flowers. If you would like to contact me, please don't reply to this email.  Visit www.juliesharrison.com and go to my contact page.  Thank you!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hydrangea and Marriage Help

As the Garden Expert on WFSB's Better Connecticut show, I receive many plant and garden questions via email.  This past year one theme kept popping up.  Hydrangeas.
When do I prune my Hydrangea?
Why aren't my Hydrangea blooming?

Oh Hydrangea, why must you be so difficult???? If I had a penny for every Hydrangea pruning question I would be so rich!  

Here is the latest email:

Hi Julie,  Enjoy seeing you on Better CT.  Missed your show on "When to prune hydrangeas" and how far down should I cut?  My husband pruned the plant in the spring and of course we didn't get any blooms this summer.  Please clarify for us how to prune them. Thanking you in advance!
Newington. CT

The video from this past spring on pruning Hydrangeas can be seen by clicking HERE.

And here is my reply to Judith:

...First, let me say that this year was NOT a good year for Hydrangeas.  I have had so many people tell me they lacked blooms it isn't even funny, so don't blame your husband yet!
There is no simple answer- it all depends on the type of Hydrangea.  I will assume it's a Hydrangea macrophylla as these are the biggest noodle scratchers.  If it's a newer plant- like an Endless Summer, you can prune to a healthy bud that's a couple inches above ground level.  Endless Summer Hydrangeas bloom on new and old branches.  If it's an older variety, then you have to leave the branches as buds form on the previous year's growth.  These older varieties are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations.  I have Endless Summer Hydrangeas and prune them nearly to the ground every March.  I get blooms every year.   
If you don't have Endless Summer Hydrangeas, get them! They are so easy and will prevent marital tension caused by improper pruning! 
Varieties like Hydrangea arborescens- the most common variety is the Annabelle Hydrangea- get cut down to the ground in fall or spring depending on the gardeners preference.
Hydrangea paniculata can be pruned by cutting the branches back my at least two-thirds.
And remember, be gentle on a spouse that prunes.  Plants are very good at forgiving, and we should be the same.      
~Julie Harrison
If you would like to contact me, please don't reply to this email.  Please visit my website www.juliesharrison.com and go to my 'Contact' page.  Thank you! 



Monday, August 4, 2014

Julie's Five Favorites

When it comes to color in the garden, spring and fall are easy, even winter can have bursts of color and interest with a little decorating and good design.  It's mid to late summer when a lot of gardeners notice that the perennial garden isn't as colorful as it was earlier in the season.

If that sounds familiar, click HERE to watch me on WFSB's Better CT talking about five perennials that will add lots of lasting color to your summer garden.

Here are my Five Favorites this week:

Perennials that are in bloom right now!   

1. Astilbe simplicifolia ‘Key West’
A dwarf form, with deep magenta, feather-like plumes above dark green and burgundy foliage in summer. Great as an edging plant or for front of the border. Flower spikes reach 15-18" tall, with foliage to 10". 
    Common Name:Plume Flower
    Hardiness Zones:3-8
    Deer Resistant:Yes
 2. Gaillardia aristata ‘Arizona Sun’
This All-American Selections and Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner has 3" wide, mahogany red pinwheel flowers with bright yellow on the edges of the petals. Has a compact, mounding habit growing just 8-10" tall and up to 12" wide in full sun. Blooms as early as mid-May, up to a month earlier than other Gaillardia and continues blooming until first frost. Lance-shaped, fuzzy, grayish green foliage. The perfect choice for the front of the border or in containers. 
    Common Name:Blanket Flower
    Hardiness Zones:3-10
    Deer Resistant:Yes

'Enchanted Eve' photo by J. Harrison

'Red Elf' photo by J. Harrison
3. Coreopsis Lil' Bang™ 'Enchanted Eve'  and
    Coreopsis Lil' Bang™ 'Red Elf' 
Blooms late May through Oct. Cut back periodically to refresh buds and promote rebloom. 
    Common Name:Coreopsis
    Hardiness Zones:4 - 9
    Deer Resistant:Yes
About Lil Bang™ Series: This sub series of the Big Bang™ series features compact Coreopsis varieties that have the same unique bloom colors but on plants growing just 8-10" tall. They are perfect for use containers, as edging or in front of the border.
4. Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ 
A dwarf form with 12-15” fluffy spikes of rich, violet-lavender button flowers midsummer. The glossy, deep green foliage adds to the attraction.
    Common Name:Gayfeather
    Hardiness Zones:3-8
    Deer Resistant:Yes
About Liatris: The vertical growth habit of Gayfeather gives a strong contrast to the many rounded forms of the perennial garden. Excellent as cut flowers, they also attract butterflies. Most are quite tall and work midway to the back of the garden. The dwarf is suitable from mid to front.
5. Rudbeckia subtomentosa
Clear yellow daisies with black-brown centers bloom on stiff stems 30-36” tall. Long bloom season. Late summer color and anise scented. 
    Common Name:Sweet Coneflower
    Hardiness Zones:4-8
    Deer Resistant:Yes
All information and pictures posted above is from the Sunny Border Nurseries web site.  You can learn more about SB and their fabulous plants by clicking HERE

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July, from my garden to yours!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Four Cut Flowers to Love Today

One of the many perks of developing beautiful gardens is bringing cut flowers into the home.  Arranging cut flowers inside can bring new perspective to each bloom and of course, instant elegance to your interior space. 

This is what I'm enjoying in my house today:

1. Solomon's Seal on a bedside table.  Just one leaflet of Polyonatum multiflorum allows a renewed appreciation for the pendent flowers.

2. A mixed arrangement of Peonies on the dining room table.  A combination of double Peonies, Paeonia lactiflora, Lupines, Lupinus, and ready for this????? Kale!!!! A row of Kale overwintered in my garden and I allowed it to flower this spring.  How lovely and unexpected!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Wait, Wait, Don't Waste It!

One of my blog readers, Melissa, recently emailed me a picture of her Easter Hyacinths and asked, "Julie, can I plant this in the ground?"

YES!!!!! Why throw them away when you can enjoy them for years in the garden? Hyacinths are super fragrant and give the garden wonderful splashes of saturated purple, violet, pink, yellow and white.  So don't waste those Easter Flowers- when you are done enjoying them in your house, plant them outside! You can do this with Tulips and Daffodils too. If the flowers are spent, be sure to deadhead the bloom but leave the leaves.  The leaves recharge the bulb for more blooms next spring!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tulip Fix

March is here- and spring is not.  Well, at least not yet.  I recently did a segment for WFSB's Better Connecticut show on how to select the best cut Tulips, arranging tips and how to keep them fresh.  You can see that segment by clicking HERE

While not the first flower to emerge, Tulips to me are a true symbol of spring and the end of winter.  Here is a photo shoot of the Tulips that I used on Better Connecticut.  The Tulips are now sprinkled around my house bringing plenty of spring joy!

Get your Tulip fix below:

And I will leave you with a recent pic of my husband and myself
at a benefit party for Knox Parks, Carnival Style!
We had THE best time supporting the terrific work they do in Hartford! You can see more pics from the event by clicking HERE