Thursday, April 21, 2016

What to Plant, When?

Keeping track of what to plant and when can be overwhelming if you're new to the green scene. 
I hope this planting time wheel helps for all of you Connecticut gardeners! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Cleaning: Green-Up the Clean-Up

Now that spring is here it's time to get spring cleaning!

The thing about cleaning products is that those pushed to us in marketing can:

1. Be expensive
2. Contain scary ingredients

If you coat your house in mystery 'cleaning agents' that leave you gasping for air, how is that even close to CLEAN?

Why would you wipe any surface in your house with cleaners that say, "keep out of reach of children"? I'm all about child labor when it comes to cleaning the house, as I'm sure my daughter will tell you!

As if you need one more reason to skip the cleaning isle in the grocery store, do you really need to separate cleaner for every single thing in your house? Floors, kitchen counters, bathroom tile, tub and shower spray, window cleaner, etc, etc, etc.  By the time you are shopping for cleaners, the bank will be empty and your cleaning supplies need a MSDS chemical list and safety cabinet.

This spring, try going green and you will not go back. 
These solutions work and are made of common items probably already in your house!
Here are my favorites.  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Dusting Spray:
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
10-15 Drops Essential Oil (My favorites are Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Lemon)

Shower and Tub Cleaner:
1 Part Vinegar, heated in the microwave for about 1 minute
1 Part Blue Dawn Dish Soap

Disinfecting Kitchen and Bathroom Spray:
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Vinegar
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

Glass/Mirror Cleaner:
1 Part Vinegar
1 Part Water

Try using coffee filters for lint-free cleaning over paper towels.

Use your used dryer sheets for dusting instead of microfiber clothes.

I hope you find spring cleaning a little more enjoyable this year! Please share this post with a friend so they can green-up the clean-up too!                  xo Julie

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Flowers for Valentine's Day

A gift of flowers on Valentine's Day can invoke a feeling of love, affection, friendship, or romance.  (Maybe all four, if you're lucky!) Flowers have long held meaning to the giver and receiver.  The Victorian era established a dictionary of floral meanings- a definitive language of flowers.  Selecting the perfect flowers for your Valentine is easy with a little help from your local florist and a romantic spirit.  Speak with your heart and send your Valentine a poem of love.

I will share some of my favorite classic floral meanings, but first let's discuss the less romantic basics of purchasing cut flowers. 
A. Buy them direct from your local florist and contact them directly.  Floral wire services can be easy, but so is doing a Google search, of a shop if you don't know of a good one.  If you use a telafloral service they take a percentage of the sale off the arrangement.  Let's say you order a $100 arrangement.  The service might take $20 of that, giving the florist only $80 for your arrangement.  Take a minute to find a quality local florist and give them a call to order your flowers and your $100 purchase will really be a $100 arrangement. 
Don't let your flowers (especially roses go without water!)
B. Like all living things, flowers need water to survive.  Keep them out of water and your are sentencing your flowers to a much shorter shelf life.  Insist that your cut flowers leave the florist in a vase or tubes of water.  This is especially true for roses. Roses that experience time out of water often end up 'necking'.  Sounds sexy, but it's not when it comes to roses.
A rose 'necking'
According to Vanessa Diffenbaugh's book, The Language of Flowers, Below is a list of flowers and their meaning.  Because it's a holiday of love, I only share the more romantic flowers that are readily available from florists.  Some flowers can represent broken hearts and sadness, but who has time for that?
What will your flower poetry say this Valentine's Day? 
Baby's Breath=====Everlasting love
Freesia==========Lasting friendship
Pink Carnation====I will never forget you
Orchid==========Refined beauty
Ranunculus======You are radiant with charms
Red Rose========Love
Orange Rose=====Fascination
Pink Rose=======Grace
Purple Rose======Enchantment
Tulip===========Declaration of love

Be sure to share your LOVE of this blog with your friends! If you received this post as an email, please forward to a friend!
You can learn more about me on my website:
Happy arranging your Valentine poetry this year!
xoxo Julie


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Home for the Holidays

That's my own shadow (a little creepy) as I inspect the lights from the outside of the Phelps-Hatheway House.
Last January I was asked if I would be interested in decorating the historic Phelps-Hatheway House for Christmas.  I was flattered and intimidated and.... couldn't say no! What an honor it would be to work on this amazing home rich with history in my hometown. 
Over the past year I have daydreamed, researched and daydreamed some more for what could be done inside and outside on this property.  This week, my dreams are becoming a reality as the house is decorated.

If you are in the Connecticut area, I really hope you come see the house and what I have done to decorate it this year. The deadline is fast approaching to attend the opening night and cocktail party this Friday, December 4th.  Please call 860-247-8996 x23 to reserve your spot. 

Tickets to tour the Phelps-Hatheway House and seven other private homes on historic Main Street are available with details at The tours of these decorated homes are only available this Saturday, December 5th from 1-6 pm.  The Phelps-Hatheway House is also open on Sunday, December 6th from 1-4. 
Check out what The Courant had to say about it HERE!
A work in progress... see you this weekend!
Come see all six, yes, six Christmas trees and the entire first floor of the Phelps-Hatheway House decorated in a Naturally Elegant Design!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Holiday Decorating Workshop

Halloween is this weekend, which means Thanksgiving is around the corner and Christmas is like a month away.  I might be rushing things a little, but don't these holidays just sneak up on us so quickly?

They do for me, and that's why I'm offering another fabulous workshop on Holiday Decorating this Wednesday November 4th! Sign up NOW and be sure to bring a friend. As they say,

the more the....merrier.....!!!

Holiday Decorating

Just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays-Julie Harrison, landscape designer and WFSB’s Garden Guru on Better Connecticut, will demonstrate creative decorating ideas for the home and garden. Everything from exterior entryways to mantles and tabletops, Julie will offer fresh ideas using materials in unique ways. Call your friends and sign up for a fun night out while learning new holiday decorating ideas!

 Instructor: Julie Harrison -Registration closes on November 2nd and/or earlier if enrollment reaches maximum capacity. 

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 
Age: Adult (high school students  interested in gardening are welcome) 
Location: Suffield High School’s - Agriscience - hosted by the Suffield Agriscience Center
Fee: $10.00
Sign up Here:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spring Flowering Bulb Class- Don't Miss This One!

On a beautiful October day in New England, you might be captivated by a kaleidoscope of fall foliage, crisp air and warm sun. The thought of spring flowering bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths has been filed away for a few months. 
Unless you are a gardener. 
In which case planting and dividing these bulbs are on your to-do list, right now!  
The beauty that these spring blooms bring starts with planting them in fall.  I'm offering a class all about it on October 21, 2015. 
"Julie Harrison, landscape designer and WFSB’s Garden Guru on Better Connecticut will discuss different types of spring flowering bulbs, planting times and methods. Tired of deer eating your tulips? Julie’s got great alternatives and tricks to have beautiful blooms in the spring garden and she’s sharing them all!" 
Please visit my website to sign up for this event. It's going to be fun, informative and I promise a very generous giveaway! Click HERE to sign up!


Space is limited and you must sign up in advance, you reserve your spot now by clicking HERE! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Natural & Effective Pest Sprays for the Garden

Garden pests, they pest all of us! Whether you're new the gardening scene or well-seasoned with a garden trowel, there is one guarantee with gardening: there will be pest problems.  The good news is that garden pests can be controlled without the use of harsh chemicals, very affordably and my recipes are easy to make too!
These are my three favorite garden pest concoctions that I always have on hand.
Powdery Mildew Spray: After a lot of rain or a period of high humidity (Connecticut has been experiencing both lately) the chance for powdery mildew to start growing is pretty good.  Especially true if you're a Bee Balm, Perennial Salvia or a Phlox.
Get ready for this fancy recipe....... Mix 4 cups Water with 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda. 
Yup.  That's it.  And it works.  Really well.  
Just mix it up in a spray bottle and spray all of the foliage top and bottom that's showing signs of the white mildew and your problem is solved. 
Plant Bug Spray: Whether it's Aphids, Japanese Beetles or some other bugger that you can't identify beyond the damage of spotted, chewed up or lacey leaves, try mixing up this spray for any foliage that's being dined on:
4 cups Water
1 tablespoon Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap (I like to use the Peppermint 'flavor')
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Just mix these three ingredients and watch the bugs start packing! Spray on foliage and reapply after rain or about once a week if you have overhead irrigation. 
Weed Killer: Like the commonly used herbicide--- rhymes with Wound-Up----- This magic formula will kill or severely damage anything it lands on.  Plant nerds like myself call it non-selective.  So this is the perfect weed killer for areas like patios and walk ways where you want to eliminate plant growth.  This formula works best when applied on a hot dry day.  When plants are a little stressed to begin with, this spray will push them over the edge.   
4 cups Vinegar
1/4 cup Salt
1/2 tablespoon Dawn Dish Soap (for whatever reason the blue seems to work best)
I hope you find these pest solutions helpful! 
Please share this post with your friends and share with me what you do to control pests in your own garden!