Category Archives: Recommendations

Cast Your Vote for the 2012 Flower of the Year

American Garden Award

Hello Everyone:
Here’s something fun to do…
Cast your vote
and help choose the most popular North American flowers of 2012!

This year there are six entries.  Voting is open until August 31st and the top three vote-getters will be announced this fall.  If you like what you see, all of these flowers should be available at your local garden center.

Angelonia angustfolia ‘Serena Blue’         Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’
by PanAmerican Seed                                by Ernst Benary of America
Gazania ‘Big Kiss™ White Flame’             Petchoa x hybrida ‘SuperCal Pink Ice’
by Syngenta Flowers                                by Sakata Ornamentals
Petunia ‘Surfinia® Deep Red’                 Sunflower ‘Goldie’ F1
by Suntory Flowers                                 by Seeds By Design

There are two ways to vote:
– Visit Massachusetts Horticultural Society (or 27 other public gardens across the United States) and see these beautiful flowers first hand.  Then you can text your vote as instructed on the signs in the gardens or use the postage-paid postcards provided by the garden.
– Go to and click on the voting link.

My favorite is the showy Garzania “Big Kiss” White Flame Pink Ice.  If you’d like to share your choice, that would be great!


Hostas for Sale – A Great Idea for Shady City Gardens

Do you have shady spots in your garden? 
Want to plant something that  gives the  space color and light?
Consider getting hostas!  There will be a huge Hosta sale at the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham on  Friday, June 15 through Sunday, June 17th.  There will be thousands of hostas on display.  Colors include creams, golds, blues and mixes.  There will be large-specimen and small plants, along with many new and hard-to-find varieties. Knowledgeable staff will be on hand to help you choose the right hostas for your garden.
The greenhouses are located at 185 Lyman Street in Waltham.
For more information, visit, or call 781-891-1985.
Free admission.

Two Thumbs Up – Louis Barry Florists in Boston

Every now and then I give “two thumbs up” to a business  offering excellent products and terrific customer service.
Today I  give a rousing recommendation for  Louis Barry Florists.

The reason?  I’m walking through the Prudential Center in Boston this morning after a killer Zumba workout (Thanks Katie at FitCorp!) when my eyes are pulled to the gorgeous flower display at the Louis Barry stand.  
I’m talking bright orange, red and yellow daisies and big, lush blue and white hydrangeas and deep purple orchids laden with blooms that droop with majesty!!
Louis Barry consistently showcases a rich variety of flowers with a vibrant color palette, varied shapes and sophisticated textures!
I’ve purchased many arrangements at the Pru store and at the International Place store for birthdays and holidays, even for trade shows and events I’ve managed.    Both stores vibrant flowers and an orchid selection that can’t be beat!
The staff is talented, attentive and courteous.
If you are looking for flowers and plants that will inspire, call or visit Louis Barry.

NOTE: I have no affiliation with Louis Barry Florists and take no compensation for this endorsement.

Garden Expert Tom Smarr Speaking at May 5th Workshop in Boston

Let me  introduce you to Tom Smarr.  
He is a smart and seasoned horticulturalist who will offer great gardening advice and practical tips on Saturday, May 5th as part of the Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.”  
For information or to register, go to
Tom was the first expert  to be featured at  His interview can be found in the site’s Expert Advice tab.
Tom is a experienced professional with more than a decade of experience in horticulture, botanic gardens, conservation and sustainable landscaping.  He currently works for The Garden Concierge, a residential landscape company in Boston.   
Tom studied at several notable public gardens including:
– Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania
– The Holden Arboretum in Ohio, and
 – Washington Park Arboretum/Center for Urban Horticulture in Washington. 
He holds a graduate degree in Urban Horticulture from the University of Washington in Seattle. 
Tom worked for several years as a professional horticulturalist and Horticulture Director at the New England Wild Flower Society’s native plant botanic garden, Garden in the Woods, famous for its extensive native plant collection.  Tom then began the horticulture organic maintenance program for the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, a vibrant public park in downtown Boston on top of the famous Big Dig managed by the RFK Greenway Conservancy.
Tom is committed to the preservation of our cultural landscapes through sensible design, horticulture practices, and public education.  He is dedicated to the principle that landscapes should not only be beautiful and functional, but should contribute to a healthy ecology.

Up next, information on Ellen Abdow, owner of Perennial Gardens.  She’ll be presenting at the May 5th workshop too.  She’ll create a gorgeous container garden right before our eyes and offer insights into the hottest trends in gardening. 
To register for the May 5th event, go to
Hope to see you on then!

Gardening Experts Speak May 5th in Boston!

Come get great advice and a dose of inspiration to make this year’s flower garden your best yet!
Join us Saturday, May 5th from 10am to noon for a lively, information-rich workshop called “Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.” 
This second annual City Garden Ideas event will be held in the auditorium of First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, at the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough. 
Our featured speakers are talented, professional horticulturalists: Ellen Abdow, owner of Perennial Gardens, and Tom Smarr, The Garden Concierge and former Superintendent of Horticulture at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  What can you expect?  Plenty! 
Ellen will create a beautiful container garden right before your eyes.  She’ll share gardening wisdom and offer insights into the hottest trends. Tom will offer up gardening basics on tools, soil, sun and choosing plants that thrive in every season.  He’ll also talk about vertical gardening.  That’s when blooms go up and up. 
Register at  The cost is just $25!  There will be plenty of time for questions and answers, loads of handouts and door prizes!  This event is not to be missed!
If you have questions, call 617-267-6500 or email me at  Hope to see you there!

Win Tickets to the 2012 Boston Flower Show

Calling all gardeners!Lush container with fronds and ferns
Here’s your chance to win two tickets (a $40 value) to the Boston Flower Show, March 14 -18, 2012 at the Seaport World Trade Center…
Here’s how… simply comment on this post and tell us about your favorite garden or container flower and why you like it so much. 
Send a photo if possible.   Keep comments to 50 words or less. 
Deadline for entry is midnight Sat. March Daffodils planted in white rain boots10th. 
The best submission (funny, useful, inspiring) will be chosen Sunday, March 11th and announced at 2pm that day on this blog.  Decision of the judge (me) is final.  Tickets will be delivered or sent overnight mail.  Good luck! 

For more on the 2012 Boston Flower Show, watch this:

Shade-Loving Jack Frost Named Perennial Plant of the Year

Green heart-shaped leaves with clusters of blue flowers

Photo courtesy of Walters Garden Inc

Hello All:
Jack Frost may have missed New England this winter but his leafy namesake has earned top billing as the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year!
I’m definitely putting this plant into my garden because it pretty, hardy and performs best in shady areas.  Need plants with all three traits to thrive in the big, bad city!

The Perennial Plant Association says Jack Frost (Brunnera macrophylla) sprouts clusters of blue forget-me-not blossoms from mid to late spring above silvery, heart-shaped leaves.  Sounds lovely and looks great!
The Association calls Jack a real “scene stealer” and suggests that it be placed:Silvery, heart-shaped leaves

  • along the front of a shade border.  The silver coloring lights up a darker garden from spring to fall.
  • in a shade container.  It grows 12 -15 inches tall and will spread to about 20 inches wide.
  • with other ground cover perennials. Try with hostas, ferns, epimediums, hellebores and heucheras.  These like shady, moist conditions too.
    Yahoo!  Spring is on its way!

Looking Ahead – 2012 Flower Calendar

Hello All:  Janine Moore 2012 Calendar Cover with Summer Bouquet  of FlowersI know it’s early October but now is a good time to consider purchasing a beautiful 2012 calendar full of flower images for yourself, a family member, friend or coworker as a holiday gift! 
For several years, the Janine Moore “Flowers” calendar has been in my home.  Next year will be no exception. 
I get the 11″ x 14″ calendar with 12 months of pretty, seasonal botanicals.  You need to place each month’s calendar into a clear frame. I bought my frame at a local crafts store.  Frames are also available for purchase with the calendar.  Overall, the 2012 calendar contains lovely images of seasonal flowers – in baskets and buckets and wreaths and vases.  I particularly like the tulips of March and the lilacs of May.  Not too fond of the February “grandmother’s wall paper” image but it’s the shortest month so not a problem. 
The price for the 11″ x 14″ calendar is $28 plus shipping and handling.  I invite you to see for yourself at

 Two notes: I’m not endorsing this calendar because Janine Moore shares my first name… (although it doesn’t hurt :-)). Her calendar art is beautiful and makes watching the days and weeks go by a pleasure. And I don’t receive anything from this artist or organization for this recommendation.