Menu

Daring creativity blooms in this seasons floral decor

  • Written by ARA

1435177_webA little black dress, a great pair of jeans and a leather jacket — some styles never go out of fashion. Some elements of home decor share that same sense of timelessness and none more so than a simple floral theme.

“Flowers are always fashionable, stylish and on-trend,” says Dani Nichols, a trend-watcher for home decor website MuralsYourWay.com. “Whether you’re looking for just the right touch of elegance and life for patterned upholstery or modern floral murals to make an accent wall pop, flowers are always appropriate.”

Nichols points to hot trends in floral decor this spring and summer:

Floral walls

“Flowers have always inspired paint makers to create colors that pay homage to both the boldness and the delicacy of floral inspirations,” Nichols says.

This year, paint manufacturers are offering a diverse palette of floral-inspired colors, from dusty roses and iris blues, buttercup yellow and daisy white, to frothy lilac and popping peony.

Floral wallpaper and floral murals are also great ways to incorporate flowers into a room’s decor. A subtle pattern of small, delicate flowers can create a gentle, peaceful feeling in a room. Or, go bold with an accent mural that depicts a single, showy bloom. You can find a plethora of floral options online at websites like MuralsYourWay.com.

Sustainability

One of the most enjoyable ways to decorate with florals — cut flowers — is also one of the most fleeting. Few beautiful things are as short-lived as cut flowers. This season, look for cut flower designs to trend toward sustainability, as everyone looks for ways to get more enjoyment from their flowers for longer.

While adding the packet of plant food will help keep a florist’s bouquet alive as long as possible, there’s more everyone can do to make their displays more eco-friendly. Look for more florists to use biodegradable packing products, compost their leftovers and choose seasonal blooms that don’t require long-distance shipping.

Daring pairings

When you think of floral design, you probably envision bright, rich hues paired with background neutrals. This year however, florals are going daring, mixing in metallic accents and deep, saturated purples and blues that almost appear black. A touch of silver or gold matched with pure white creates an upscale, classic effect. A dash of bronze or copper married with vibrant yellows or blues is an unexpected and delightful decorating twist.

And while bright or light colors are as intrinsic to floral decor as the background greenery, dark blooms impart an almost mystical aura, whether the hue is natural or dyed. You’ll see these daring pairings pop up everywhere from throw pillows to centerpieces, this year.

Nichols also predicts designers will continue to experiment with combinations of floral patterns. “Long gone is the conventional wisdom that if you had one bold floral pattern in a room, you couldn’t do more,” she says. “It’s perfectly alright to experiment with one floral pattern on the drapes and a complementary — or even competing — one on accent pillows.”

“Few decorating themes afford the timelessness and flexibility of florals,” Nichols adds.

Give grass a fress start this spring

  • Written by ARA

14720132_webGrass is an extraordinary plant, the unsung hero of backyards everywhere. With proper care and feeding, grass can help clean the air, cool the ground, reduce erosion and provide one of the softest outdoor play surfaces. With all of these amazing benefits, it pays to start the spring season off right by giving grass a boost.

The drought and heat of last summer, combined with uncharacteristic winter temperatures in many regions, may have taken a toll on the lawn, but getting it back on the road to recovery is easy. Moderate temperatures and increased precipitation in spring are perfect for repairing, seeding and feeding grass. Well-nourished grass withstands harsh conditions better and provides a lush, durable place to play while squeezing out unwanted weeds by blocking access to sunlight. Follow these tips to take your grass from tired to terrific.

•Seed

Fill in bare or thin spots with grass seed to encourage a thick lawn, helping prevent weeds from invading your lawn by blocking access to sunlight. Use a high-quality seed appropriate for your region, like Scotts EZ Seed to fill in thin spots and thicken the lawn. To repair larger areas, use Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed with WaterSmart coating.

•Feed

Grass needs nutrients to grow strong, deep roots that can endure harsh conditions and grow in thick to help block access to sunlight for weeds. If the lawn does not need reseeding, use a high-quality lawn food like Scotts Turf Builder. This lawn food can be used in any season on any grass type, and delivers balanced nutrients for strong, thick grass. Use a starter fertilizer when planting new grass to promote root growth and seedling development.

When seeding or feeding, use Scotts DLX EdgeGuard Broadcast Spreader for larger areas to direct lawn food only where desired — on the lawn and off hard surfaces — and out of storm sewers. This spreader combines the accuracy of a drop spreader with the speed of a rotary spreader.

•Mow

Set your mower at the highest setting and leave grass clippings on the lawn. Mow frequently to avoid removing more than one third of the grass height, and do so when grass is dry to avoid damp clumps that could smother grass. Leaving clippings on the lawn recycles nutrients stored in the clippings keeping the soil cooler, encouraging deeper root growth and enriching the soil with organic material.

Keep these simple mowing tips in mind every time you head out to trim the grass: Mow your grass at the highest setting, keep grass clippings on the lawn and water only when needed.

•Water

Grass that is fed and kept at a taller height develops deep roots which are better able to conserve water and withstand periods of heat and drought. Rely on rainfall as the primary source of water. During periods of drought, the lawn can go without water for an extended time. Even though the lawn may look brown and wilted, it will recuperate after the rain returns. If you do choose to irrigate the lawn, water less frequently for a longer period of time rather than short frequent waterings.

These tips for a great lawn will provide a foundation for a fun-filled summer in your own backyard. For more information on seeding and feeding this spring, visit www.scotts.com.

So Happy Together - Fun with themed seed packs

  • Written by Submitted by Molbak’s

There are a zillion seeds out there just waiting to be planted, to grow, to delight. If you want a simple way to create a well-thought-out mini-garden filled with character and variety, reach for the ease and convenience of themed seed packets.

Inside a themed seed packet you’ll find an assortment of carefully selected seeds that are proven to coexist happily, side by side. Whether you want to grow a mini-garden overflowing with gorgeous flowers or a container filled with delicious, fresh herbs and veggies, there are plenty of themed seed packets to get you started quickly.

Here are just a few of our favorite themes and inspired ideas for how to have fun with these delightful mixes:

harvestseeds
The annual and perennial flowers in the Water-Wise Mix have been selected for their drought tolerance and adaptability.
Nurture & Conserve

Earth Day is April 22! Celebrate with seed collections that do their part to conserve precious resources and help nurture nature along. Botanical Interests® offers a Save the Bees mix filled with fragrant herbs and beautiful flowers that attract and provide food for honeybees. They also carry a Water-Wise Mix filled with highly adaptable, drought-tolerant plant varieties.

Gift idea: For an eco-conscious friend, arrange these earth-friendly goodies in a colorful biodegradable bamboo pot: garden gloves made from recycled water bottles, a rain gauge, a reusable water bottle and a packet of Water-Wise Seed Mix.

Flutter & Float

For the child at heart, there are plenty of playful mixes that will lure delightful creatures into your garden. Choose from themed seed packets that grow into irresistible gardens for hummingbirds, songbirds or butterflies. Botanical Interests also carries a Fairy Meadow mix that’s so enchanting, it just might open your eyes to the magic of fairies.

Gift idea: Does your mother love watching hummingbirds flit about? If so, nest a pretty hummingbird feeder, some lovely aviary-themed notecards and a packet of Hummingbird Haven Seed inside a rustic gift basket. It’s a Mother’s Day gift that will make her heart soar.

hummingbird_seeds
A ready-made hummingbird magnet - get started with the Hummingbird Haven themed seed packet.
Harvest & Enjoy

Few things are more satisfying than bringing homegrown herbs, vegetables and flower bouquets straight from your garden into your kitchen. Try a trio of fragrant basils; a hearty mix of corn, beans and squash; or a gourmet mix of baby greens for fresh summer salads. And for that empty corner of your veggie garden? Scatter a packet of Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden Seed from Renee’s Garden and enjoy a charming mix of old-fashioned flowers, perfect for tabletop bouquets.

Gift idea: Celebrate sisterhood by giving a friend a brightly colored colander filled with recipe cards, a cookbook of Northwest favorites, and a pack of Native American Three Sisters Garden seeds from Renee’s Garden. According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans and squash are three inseparable sisters who grow and thrive together. What could be more appropriate for a dear friend?

Why Grow Sweet Peas?

  • Written by Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee’s Garden On behalf of Molbak’s Garden +Home
With their graceful beauty, ruffled blossoms, soft texture and glowing colors, sweet peas are one of the most irresistible annuals. Their blooms offer an exquisite perfume of orange blossoms and honey, surely one of the most seductive of all flower fragrances.

Properly planted and tended, sweet peas are carefree and easy to grow in the Pacific Northwest.

Because so many varieties have been developed, sweet peas come in a symphony of soft colors and bi-colors.

A vase of their long-stemmed winged blossoms will truly scent an entire room.

Growing sweet peas is easy and rewarding if you follow the basics.

• Plant when danger of frost is over and soil can be worked, usually late March through April.

• Sow seeds in a sunny spot with good air circulation and well-drained, fertile soil.

• Set up a well-anchored trellis for climbing varieties before planting seeds.

• If all your seeds don’t germinate within 3 weeks, don’t hesitate to plant more as they will catch up quickly.

• Be sure to control slugs and snails.

Growing tip: Make a small nick in each seed with a nail clipper, just enough to break the tough seed coat, to improve germination.

Planting a row of 15 or 20 feet will reward you with wonderful centerpiece bouquets whose lovely flowers and deliciously evocative fragrance will bring pleasure to everyone.

10 great sweet pea varieties for the Pacific Northwest:

Fragrant Tall Vining Varieties:
April in Paris
Zinfandel
Blue Celeste
Queen of the Night
Royal Wedding
Saltwater Taffy
Watermelon
Chiffon Elegance

Shorter Fragrant Varieties:
Jack and Jill (dwarf)
Heirloom Cupid (for containers)

A STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

  • Written by Howard Grim

Grimm015If you have your dream home in your mind’s-eye, maybe a remodeled version of your present home, odds are it includes a beautiful staircase. When you move beyond the dreaming stage, getting what you want within your budget is the big challenge. As with most things, better quality and elaborate design cost more. Concerning style, think about how the design fits the rest of the house, especially the area surrounding the stair. If you want to update a stair, keep the new design in line with the character of the existing trim and finishes.

A handrail should be sturdy. When we climb and descend a stair, it should feel comfortable and safe. If you’re buying an existing home, check the soundness of any joints in the handrail, the handrail connections to posts, and if balusters are tight in their mountings. Posts should not wiggle. Finish should be in good shape – it is expensive to refinish. Squeaks can be annoying, but don’t usually mean the stair is faulty overall, and can usually be remedied by an experienced stair carpenter. A good home inspector should be also able to inform you about quality, condition, code compliance and safety.

I love the look of beautiful wood stairs. Wood stair treads are easier to clean than carpeted ones. But they are also more expensive and can be slippery to stocking feet. A hybrid alternative that saves money over full wood treads and provides the safety of a carpeted stair, is the use of partial treads and risers with a carpet runner between them. To make eventual refinishing practical, use solid hardwood partial treads rather than veneered ones. Set the treads flush with the rough plywood treads between them and have the carpet installed as if the partial treads actually extend under the carpet.

What factors increase cost? 1) Better quality and exotic materials 2) Complex designs with larger numbers of individual parts to install, including intricate assemblies of high quality – such as elaborate box newel posts with lots of “detail.” 3) Most curved pieces, especially custom made ones. 4) Unique designs that require design time and communications between designers, suppliers, fabricators, finishers and installers.

How to get a nice stair for less? Carefully select styles of off-the-shelf components that go together well and install them in an elegant but comparatively simple design. An expert in stairs can be very helpful here, and can bid the job as well. Get more than one bid. Your fair scrutiny of the bidding and building process should keep price realistic, but quality always has its costs. Labor is quite competitive now, but the cost of materials and of being in business have certainly not decreased, so, as always, expect to get what you pay for.

Howard Grim has been building stairs out of his Hollywood Hill/Woodinville location for 23 years. www.woodstairways.com.