Garden Week in Georgia: Floral Design with an Emphasis on Color by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Garden Week in Georgia: Floral Design with an Emphasis on Color by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Yellow and gray are the Pantone colors for 2021. The following floral designs make beautiful use of these colors.

The featured image, from Art Floral Francais, 96 Rue Raymond Poincare, Bordeaux, France, has beautiful rhythm. This would possibly be the first quality commented on were it to be judged. The vine appears to be a bundle of fine reeds that are tied and shaped, probably with some wire within. Calla Lily stems can be easily shaped when wet. The Aspidistra leaves are also flexible and have been manipulated.

The elements have been skillfully combined. There is probably a piece of oasis hidden in the center for hydration as all the Calla Lily stems emerge from the center.


This second design has a tube like sculpture for its base or container. The interesting foliage consists of palms that have been manipulated and braided. After drying they probably were colored with gray since their natural color when dried is tan. The blooms are heliconia. Heliconia is easy to use in creative designs as it is sturdy and long lasting. This design has a creative combination of forms and textures.






The final design is a creative horizontal design.  I’m not sure what the base is underneath the attached dried leaves and yellow fabric, but it has a pleasing form. The manipulated foliage and yellow roses create a restful design with the horizontal line. One criticism has to do with scale, or the relationship in size of one material to another. I find the tiny pieces of plant material do not relate well with the other forms–they are fussy and detract from the total. 


Using Floral Design to Create a Fall Wreath by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Using Floral Design to Create a Fall Wreath by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Although wreaths are beautiful, they are a bit more challenging than creating an arrangement in a container. Here are some pictures and commentary about creating a fall wreath.

 First the ingredients: I chose several items from my design collection. I chose an interesting vine form…it’s a bit trickier to put together than a plain grapevine or straw wreath. Also, wheat stalks, Sea Grape painted foliage, dried Aspidistra leaves. Freshly fallen oak leaves, an assortment of ribbons, and sprayed Palmetto (I ended up not using this). Wire and tools.


Second, the wreath is put on a stand to decorate: Wheat sprays and Aspidistra go on first. Aspidistra is normally green or green with white stripes. This Aspidistra was used before…It was manipulated, folded, and pierced when still green and used in a fresh design. I usually save fresh Aspidistra for more uses since it turns to these beautiful brown tones as it dries.   

Third, the wreath hanging on the stand is completed: I chose the gold ribbon as it stands out well against the other colors. The orange Sea Grape leaves came from Florida years ago and have been used more than once. This fall, some of the oak leaves are falling in clusters. As you can see, I picked up the greener ones to add the green accent. The gold bow completes the wreath.

And, this is how it looks on our front door. The oak leaves will continue to dry and turn brown but there are more out there to replace them. I have painted completely dry oak leaves gold in years past. 

National Garden Week: Inspired by Chelsea…Ideas & Comments from the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

National Garden Week: Inspired by Chelsea…Ideas & Comments from the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

For the first time ever, the Chelsea Flower Show was virtual instead of in-person. I took advantage of that and spent hours being inspired & educated. There were fantastic walking tours of famous horticulturalists’ (think Adam Frost, Kazuyuki Ishihara, James Alexander Sinclair, Tom Massey, Andy Sturgeon) home gardens. I perused floral design demonstrations, how-to videos on growing specific plants, cooking demonstrations using home-grown veg and herbs, and suggestions for gardening with kids.

I loved the daily Ask a Gardening Advisor sessions which were primed by write-in-questions on given topics. Panels of experts on each given topic answered the questions. These sessions ranged from establishing a wildflower garden/lawn to everything related to houseplants; from how to get rid of pests to how to care for ponds.

My friend Mary & I loved Tips for Summer Design with gold-medal-winning garden designer Sarah Eberle–the session is inspirational and informative.

Now that Chelsea is over, I have notes on *and have started* propagating succulents; I’ve moved the baker’s rack from my patio to my carport to create a potting station. I’ve given my bulbs haircuts so that they can absorb necessary nutrients without looking like a total mess in my gardens. I’ve converted my grandfather’s cast iron scalding pot into a pond with a solar fountain–you’ll hear more about this in another post. I’m researching turning my front yard into a wildflower yard. I have found where east is in relation to my yard, and this fall I’ll be turning my iris so their rhizomes all face east. I’m sitting in my yard, looking & dreaming. And every morning, I’m walking the grounds with a cup of coffee.

Want to see what you missed? You’ll find all 53 sessions on the Royal Horticultural Society’s YouTube channel . I hope you’ll be amazed and inspired. When you get to the YouTube channel, you’ll see that the image for this post is the opening screen for the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020. As such it is copyrighted by the Royal Horticultural Society. Let me know if you, too, are inspired by Chelsea. Cheers!

National Garden Week: Why Isn’t My Annual Blooming? by RGC blogger Lisa Ethridge

National Garden Week: Why Isn’t My Annual Blooming? by RGC blogger Lisa Ethridge

In the spring, Roswell gardeners flocked to nurseries and big box stores to purchase colorful annual plants for containers and beds. If the honeymoon is over and your annual plants are dormant and stressed, they can be revitalized. With the right care and maintenance, annuals will brighten the landscape from spring through fall.

Annual plants need water to thrive and bloom. Drought conditions prevail in Georgia during the summer months. Most annuals require at least 1-1½” of water per week. Containers require daily or twice-daily watering during the summer and into October, Georgia’s driest month. Smaller pots require more hydration because they dry out quickly.

“Deadhead” or prune to encourage new blooms and growth. An annual completes its entire life cycle in a single growing season. It grows from seed and works to produce more seeds with every bloom. Gardeners must remove dead blooms to discourage the plant from putting all its effort into seed production. Not all annuals require “deadheading.” Some, such as petunias, benefit from heavy pruning. Cutting them back in July will encourage profuse blooming.

Lack of nutrients causes poor performance in annuals. For the best results, annuals must be fertilized. General purpose fertilizers such as 10-10-10 must be reapplied every 6 weeks throughout the growing season. Use slow-release fertilizers to reduce the number of applications. Water soluble fertilizers are particularly good for container plants because the nutrients are leached from pots due to frequent watering.

Monitor your annuals throughout the summer and make notes. At season’s end, do some reading and formulate a plan for increased success next year. Get a soil test and amend the soil in planting beds according to the results. For more vibrant containers, consider using special nutrient-rich potting soil mixes which are widely available. Plant selection is key; know your property’s mix of sun and shade to make an informed decision.

If you want to know more about how to select and grow annuals successfully, go to and read Flowering Annuals for Georgia Gardens, Bulletin B954.

Garden Week in Georgia: Commentary on Floral Designs from the 2020 Daffodil Show by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Garden Week in Georgia: Commentary on Floral Designs from the 2020 Daffodil Show by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

The 2020 Georgia Daffodil Society Show at the Chattahoochee Nature Center was spectacular. We are going to take a look at four designs from each of these classes: Bounty of Color, Visual Delight, and Brighten My Day.

This first class we are looking at, Bounty of Color, called for a creative design on a pedestal. Each creative design was staged using a 38” high black pedestal with a 14” square top placed against a neutral wall. Underlays were permitted but couldn’t extend beyond the 14” square top.



               Bounty of Color Design 1                    Bounty of Color Design 2                    ­­


Bounty of Color Design 3                     ­­Bounty of Color Design 4

  • Bounty of Color design 1 is my design. The judges felt the bottom orange leaf was too dominant. These are Sea Grape Leaves, painted orange. The title called for “A Bounty of Color”.
  • Bounty of Color design 2 won the blue ribbon. The colored glass vases were perfect for this class. Some of you know Betty Williams–this is her design.
  • Bounty of Color design 3 skillfully used weathered wood for the main line.
  • Bounty of Color design 4 has an interesting and unusual trunk and moss base. Carolyn Hawkins’ design uses chenille wires inside the stems. After being soaked in water, the chenille holds enough water for the daffodils to last 24 hours. This design was marked down because all of the color is at the top of the design.

The second class we are looking at, Visual Delight, called for a creative design staged using one-half of a 6’ long x 29” high table with a designer top space of 36” wide x 29” deep with no height restriction. The Show Committee provided a floor-length green covering for the tables placed against a neutral wall. Underlays and staging panels were permitted and encouraged. The underlay and panels were provided by the exhibitor. 



Visual Delight Design 1                    Visual Delight Design 2       


Visual Delight Design 3                    Visual Delight Design 4 

  • Visual Delight design 1 is very creative. The beautifully painted leaves are Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise. The judges thought the white was too dominant. This is JoAnn Jones’ design.
  • Visual Delight design 2 was created by Anna Burns. Anna took a course in Europe that taught the fabric enhanced wire circles. Her leaf manipulation of the Aspidistra is beautiful!
  • Visual Delight design 3 is another design by Betty Williams. It is a beautifully conceived design.
  • Visual Delight design 4 by Carolyn Hawkins received the top ribbon for the show. The toast colored plant material came from a desert plant. The mesh ribbon is beautiful and the daffodils are well distributed through the design. I felt the only tiny flaw was the silver stand showing through. It is a gorgeous design!

The third class we are looking at, Brighten My Day, called for a breakfast tray for one person, staged using a terra-cotta colored pedestal 25” high with a 24” square top, against a neutral wall. The Show Committee provided the pedestal. Underlays furnished by the exhibitor were permitted and encouraged. The design needed to be stable enough for the tray to be carried without toppling.



                Brighten My Day Design 1                              Brighten My Day Design 2                                      


                          Brighten My Day Design 3                                                      Brighten My Day Design 4        

  • Brighten My Day design 1 is a sweet design. I think you can read the judge’s comment here…design too small.
  • Brighten My Day design 2 is the first place tray. It is beautifully conceived. The daffodils are just gorgeous!
  • Brighten My Day design 3 is my design. The judges’ comment on this design was that the daffodils did not follow a line and impeded the rhythm. The design is mine, and I agree.
  • Brighten My Day design 4 — Unfortunately I do not remember the comment on this. Perhaps the design did not seem stable enough to be carried.

A daffodil show is fun but a challenge as daffodils are not always easy to work with. For more information on the Georgia Daffodil Society, see their facebook page If you are looking for daffodils for your garden, mark your calendar now for the Georgia Daffodil Society’s 2020 Annual Daffodil Bulb Sale on October 24, 2020 at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305.







Garden Week in Georgia: Fairy Gardens Bring Year-Round Joy by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Garden Week in Georgia: Fairy Gardens Bring Year-Round Joy by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Folks who enjoy plants have discovered the year-round joy that magical fairy gardens can bring. I got started with fairy landscaping when I found a rusty wheelbarrow in someone’s trash, filled it with rich soil, and decorated it with finds from the thrift store and throwbacks from the grandkids’ toy box. It made me happy.

Google “fairy gardens.” The creativity and ingenuity will amaze you. Scads of elaborate miniature wonderlands pop off the page to fire the imagination. To get started, select a low pot, a basket with a liner, a wheelbarrow, wagon, barrel, crate, drawer, birdbath or appropriate terra cotta vessel. Next, select the spot in the garden to place your magical landscaping. Think about surprising garden visitors when they round a bend and view the secret, sylvan splendor.

Then the fun begins. All manner of furnishings, buildings, and landscape features can be purchased in garden supply stores and on line; and shopping for the fairy garden will provide hours of fun during your stay-at-home days. Don’t forget to stock up on gnomes, pixies, fairies, and other characters to give life to the landscape.

When it’s time to put the miniature garden together, the right plants are key. The plants should be small to keep the proportions correct. Look for heat and drought resistant ground covers, plants, grasses, and trailing vines. Wooly thyme or any thyme is quick growing and makes an excellent choice. Ornamental strawberry produces white blossoms and tiny strawberries for colorful interest. Blue Star Creeper grows up to 6” tall and sports a blue flower. Platts Black “Brass Buttons” is a durable choice, and Cranesbill “Dark Eyes” adds to the fun with a sweet, pink flower. Be sure to keep the garden well watered.

Fairy gardening is an attractive pursuit for folks of all ages, especially those who enjoy miniatures. Container size is negotiable–perfect for gardeners with limited space.  Joseph Joubert said, “Imagination is the eye of the soul.” Nurture and soothe that soul during your stay-at-home days by planning a fanciful garden to keep the spirit of the sugar plum fairy alive throughout 2020.

The feature image for this post is from Ted Lare Design+Build: Fairy Garden & Hobbit House Class. Due to COVID-19, Ted Lare Design+Build is offering some great classes on Facebook Live. If you’re interested, check them out here.