Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dried Fruit for Christmas Decor

What's better than homemade Christmas decorations? Nothing, right? I love using dried fruit around the holidays- it's simple and creates a warm charm of bygone days that you can't find in any store.

I had the honor of decorating the historic Phelps-Hatheway House in Suffield Connecticut for the holidays.  The original part of the home, built in 1761 has an obvious early American feel that practically begged for my dried fruit creations.

This is a street view of the Phelps-Hatheway House. 
Located on Main Street, it was a classic New England home, now preserved as a museum. 

I used limes, oranges, lemons, apples and cranberries along with cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves with with fresh boughs from Spruce and Fir trees.
Here you can really see the star shape from the core of the apple.
I gathered slices of fruit on a string and tied them to branches of the Concolor Fir Christmas tree with deep red velvet ribbon.
 The first cigar factory in the United States was built in Suffield Connecticut. Because tobacco played such an important role in shaping the town,
I figured a tobacco swag above the hearth was only appropriate.   
I love this garland of cinnamon sticks, apples, citrus and gay leaves.

To dry the fruit, I tried using the oven and a food dehydrator. I could get a lot more done at once with the dehydrator. If you don't have a dehydrator, the oven works fine, I just wouldn't leave it unattended.
I started by slicing the fruit about 1/4 of an inch thick.
Here the fruit is in the oven on cooling racks with a pan below to collect drips from the juicier fruits.
I set the oven to the coolest temperature and left them until they were very dry to the touch.
This is the green parlor of the house. I created valances with spruce branches and hung slices of fruit from twine tied to the branches.
The attic of the Phelps-Hatheway House is filled with treasures. I found these tea boxes and placed them around the base of the Christmas tree instead of gifts.
I created pomanders with oranges and whole cloves. They smelled so wonderful with the springs of fir and pinecones. Such an easy, long lasting arrangement.
Another attic treasure...this bird cage might have belonged to a family pet. I placed a toy snow owl inside and I love how the feathers glow in the sun. An antler my father found in field is along side more bundles of Suffield-grown broadleaf tobacco.
The citrus glowed with the lights from the tree. And how cute are the bundles of cinnamon tied to the branches with the wonderful velvet ribbon?
No need to complicate Christmas. I love the rustic early American charm of dried fruit.
Sometimes back to basics is best, don't you think?
Please share this post with a friend and let me know in the comments below how you are decorating for the holidays this year.
xoxo Julie Harrison ~ 'Julie The Garden Fairy'

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rose Garden Videos, Take 2!

This past year included a wonderful video series project for The Connecticut Valley Garden Club (CVGC) with camera and editing by Peter McCue of Pearl ProVideo. The CVGC has been restoring the Heritage Rose Garden in Elizabeth Park which is located in West Hartford and Hartford, Connecticut. This garden is unique for it's heritage plantings and has been created to be accessible to everyone.
Heritage roses are the old fashioned fragrant roses that might not bloom all summer like new varieties but heritage roses have the fragrance and the details that are almost forgotten about, making this rose garden a living museum of roses.

As the host of these videos, I will show you around the garden at different times of the year. Let's start off with the video featuring Rosarian Stephen Scanniello so you can learn a little more about a heritage rose and a few of the varieties that you may want to add to your own garden.

Next I'll take you on a tour for an overview of the Heritage Rose Garden.

Finally, here is a visit to the garden in spring when the garden is filled with heritage Daffodils.

I hope you enjoy touring the Heritage Rose Garden with me in these videos or in person. The garden is truly a very special place and has been a labor of love for the CVGC.
It has been my pleasure to host their videos.

Please follow me at JulieTheGardenFairy.com and

xox Julie

Monday, November 7, 2016

Elegant Fall Wedding

Since we have 'fallen back' on daylight savings time, I can't help but fall back in love with the autumn wedding flowers that I arranged for the sweetest couple for their October 30th celebration. The reception was held at The New Haven Lawn Club in New Haven, Connecticut which made for the perfect, elegant backdrop for the couple and of course the flowers!

I hope these photos inspire you and maybe even spark some of your own creativity!

You can watch a fun video of Kristina and Michael's big day with lots of great images of the flower arrangements, just click HERE! And enjoy the photos below....

Fall Wedding Video with Flowers by Julie The Garden Fairy
Church arrangement for the wedding ceremony.
The Bridal Bouquet.
A few of the five bridesmaid's bouquets.

The entrance to the New Haven Lawn Club.
Details of the lanterns leading up to the front door.
The welcome table that greeted guests of the wedding.

10 unique bud vases topped each table in the cocktail room.
How cute is this open bar warning?
I love the presentation for the escort cards.
And I'm glad that we had one extra candelabra for this table!
This memorial arrangement for loved ones was beautiful in the sun...
And just as beautiful in candlelight.
I spent a ridiculous amount of time arranging the roses on this cake. I wanted it to be perfect and I couldn't make any mistakes because the frosting would have told on me.
Instead of traditional arrangements, the bride chose runners for the tables with gold candelabras.
The ballroom complete and ready for a celebration! I couldn't do it without my team. Pictured with me are Lisa and Julie who helped me with delivery and set up.
Not pictured is Kathy who helped me the night before.
I'm grateful for Kristina and Michael for including me on their special day
Please be sure to follow my blog at www.JulieTheGardenFairy.com  
 xox Julie

Friday, August 19, 2016

Best Basil Pesto. Ever.

If you have copious amounts of basil in your garden right now like I do, this is the most delicious way to use it up!  Here is my personal basil pesto recipe- for YOU! I make this in small batches, but once the blender is messy, I keep going.  A jar of this pesto makes the perfect gift, but be sure to freeze some now so that this winter you can enjoy the flavor of summer!


If you love good food, good gardening and a good life,
please like Julie The Garden Fairy on Facebook and follow me on Instagram!

Have a great weekend!
xo Julie

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stock up on Summer Supplies

My friend The Chicken Chick recently shared an awesome coupon with me from Tractor Supply Co. You can print the coupons for $5 off $25 and $10 off $50 by clicking HERE

Don't let the name mislead you... Tractor Supply sells way more than tractor supplies. You can find all kinds of pet foods, tools, and supplies for your home and garden.
I just used my $10 coupon towards a new sprayer, a Carona saw, some pine shavings for my new chicks and I found a cute summer tank! Yes they even have clothes and shoes!
Johnny and Baby inspecting the new shavings in the chicken coop.
But I'm most excited about my new hose nozzle!  If a Garden Fairy can feel bad-ass, I'm feeling it with my new nozzle called the '8 Pattern Pistol Nozzle'!  The regular price is only $4.99 but with the coupon it came to $4.18! Are you kidding!?!?!

I'm spending a lot of time watering my flowers this year since it's been sooo dry this summer.  So I'm especially loving my Portulaca that THRIVE in dry heat!
Please be sure to follow Julie The Garden Fairy
and Instagram
Peace and love, Julie

Friday, July 1, 2016

Herbs: Inspiration and Tips for Growing from Julie!


When it comes to herbs, I’m never sure if it’s better to start off with utility or aesthetics.  Fresh herbs liven any dish in the kitchen and they are outstandingly durable and beautiful in the garden. Why grow anything else?

I turned this chicken wire basket in to a planter by lining it with coconut husk fibers.

Using an assortment of cut herbs in a vase or canning jar makes for a wonderful, 
natural air freshener!
I have found culinary herbs to be some of my most durable plants for drought resistance.  Many are cold hardy enough to grow perennially or self-sow after even the harshest winters.  With one exception, (basil) I have had few pests bother my herbs enough to be a problem.

You can read about my basil pests and what to do, here.

This wood basket was lined with sheet moss.
Don’t you want this herb basket on your kitchen step or patio table?   
Add to that the variety of colors, textures and growing habits and herbs had me at hello!

This ‘hedge’ of chives was spotted in VT at Flatbread’s kitchen garden. The mass of chives acts like a hedge with wonderful texture, color and of course flavor!
When adding herbs to your yard, consider placement first.  Most appreciate 6-8 hours of sun a day.  They seem to grow equally well in containers as they do in the ground so make them easily accessible so that they can be used frequently!  Container gardening with herbs is great if you’re tight on space.  I always keep a planter of herbs close to the kitchen door so that I can pop out and grab what I need while cooking.   

Here are some of my favorites with some interesting combinations to try in your garden. 

This Rosemary has provided my years of delicious. In the winter it comes into the house because CT winters are too harsh for it. I like these blue glazed pots as an alternative to traditional terra cotta because the soil doesn’t dry out as fast.  In the background is my ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ which is a thorn-less Raspberry!

I like the occasional use of planters in a garden be, in this case an urn.  Planting in containers is a good way to keep animals out and add height to the garden.
Here is a similar urn that you can use in your garden. 
Here is a view of the same urn from above. I love how the red strawberry runners spill over the side and the wonderful textures from the different herbs.
 While not an herb used for cooking, this Scented Geranium has a wonderful scent and is easy to grow. Many swear that the lemon-geranium scented foliage helps keep bugs away. I love how it looks in this terra cotta pot and the pink flowers are precious.

 I added Chocolate Mint to my potted Brown Turkey Fig.  They cohabitate well and green at the base helps balance the look of the branches overhead.
Not only does the mint serve as a nice under planting for my fig, it also contains the mint.  You should never plant mint of any kind directly into the garden. It’s very invasive.  Mint should only be grown in containers. You have been warned.
This is one of my favorite herb planters this year.  I found the container at Ikea, drilled holes in the bottom and planted the basil, chives, thyme and alyssum in composted leaves and cow manure.  Always consider your potting mix when planting edibles.  A commercial fertilizer laced brand should not be used.  Organic is best!
The steps up to a kitchen door are stacked with window boxes planted with perennials like chives, coral bells, sage and thyme.  The wave petunias add an extra pop of color.  The dill reseeds itself every year in the garden below.
Planting a strawberry pot with herbs is a fun way to grow herbs while utilizing limited space. 
Jump over to my blog to try my favorite healthy detox salad with Cilantro.  I hope you will follow me on Facebook at Julie S Harrison, on Instagram at @juliesharrison or on my website at www.juliesharrison.com

With love,