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Toad Pumpkins Add Whimsy and Warts to Fall Decor

toads 16_08126

Painted pumpkins are an easy and popular alternative to carving the traditional jack-o-lanterns. And the Toad pumpkins, with their small shape and interesting “warts” will add even more whimsy to your designs. Toad pumpkins are easy to grow from seed, have a bright orange color and will need approximately 85 days to grow to maturity. They weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 lbs., which is the perfect size for a project with children. The more water you give it, the more warts it will produce! You can purchase Toad pumpkin seeds from my Home Grown Seed Collection.

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Two-for-One Plants: Amaranth

Amaranth flowers bloom in hot summer day

By Amy Renea
See full article in the September issue of Naturally

Amaranth is an under-appreciated native grain with a host of beneficial uses. It grows easily in most of the United States and can be found growing wild in many U.S. states. Typically, wild amaranth is ‘pigweed,’ but you might also find various cultivars popping up in your garden that have seeded from a neighbor’s garden. My initial exposure to amaranth was in our first house where a tiny seed of ‘Hopi Red Dye’ had managed to settle in the cracks of an aging sidewalk. I didn’t know what it was, only that it had beautiful wine red leaves, so I let it go. That tiny little seed in that tiny little crack with its tiny little red leaves grew and grew and grew until it was 6 feet high. Beautiful plumes developed and seed was set for the next generation. I was hooked for life.

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Bridal Shoot at Moss Mountain

The gorgeous scenery of Moss Mountain Farm makes it a virtual wonderland for photographers and videographers, and when you pair this stunning backdrop with a beautiful bride, the results are breathtaking.  Jake Reeves from Betwixt Magnolias shared this beautiful behind-the-scenes footage of a recent bridal shoot at the farm, and we were struck by how gracefully the bride interacted with the gardens.  It was like watching someone float through a dream. Take a look!

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What’s the Fig Idea? Find out in the summer e-mag

The summer issue of our Naturally magazine is full of recipes, architecture, DIYs and more. Be inspired to party with sweet figgy bourbon cocktails, spicy green beans and sunny, heat-hardy flowers that will brighten up your home all summer.

In this issue, learn how easy it is to grow and harvest your own baby broccoli, get a peek into an historic piece of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and learn how to make the most of your water feature. Click below to start reading!

Happy Mother’s Day with Fresh Flowers

Buzz with flowersIt’s hard to find just the right gift that evokes all the things you’d like to tell the mother in your life on Mother’s Day. Whether it’s your own mother, a best friend or the mother of your own brood, a beautiful bouquet from Stargazer Barn just can’t be topped. This Mother’s Day Bouquet is a stunning fresh-cut arrangement bursting with beautiful complementary colors, and long, gorgeous stems grown on the farm at Stargazer Barn. The bouquet features six perfectly shaped, bright yellow Royal lilies accented with16 gorgeous deep blue irises. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond by topping your bouquet off with a package of coffee or small-batch chocolate to make her feel like a queen!

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You can have this bouquet delivered directly to your treasured matron, or order one to your own home and use it as décor to host a delightful Mother’s Day Brunch! Help mom kick back and relax on her day by providing a bountiful brunch complete with a Stargazer Mother’s Day Bouquet as a centerpiece.

I’m always amazed at the resilience and tenderness of motherhood, and I like to invite the ladies in my life to kick back and enjoy the day at Moss Mountain Farm on this special day. The fare can be simple—try a chicken salad and Buttermilk Pecan Pie—after all, it’s the togetherness and enjoyment of the day that we all come to celebrate.

See the whole fresh flower collection at the P. Allen Smith shop.

 

Stargazer Barn Mother’s Day Bouquet
The Stargazer Mother’s Day Bouquet features 6 perfectly shaped bright yellow Royal lilies accented with a full cluster of 16 deep blue irises.

 

Stargazer Barn Orange Tulips
Dazzling deep red-orange blooms open to reveal an unexpected surprising black base. The rich, hand-selected flowers will arrive in bud form and continue to bloom over the ensuing days.

 

Stargazer Barn Pale Pink Priental Lilies
These breathtaking Stargazer Barn Pale Pink Oriental Lilies have large blooms, high bud counts and long stems. The blooms have a slightly sweet, almost citrusy scent. With proper care, they’ll have a long vase life.

Purple birthday party table

Leap Year Birthday Party Tablescape

Leap years only occur once every four years. The reason is that it actually takes the earth 365 days and 6 hours to make a revolution around the sun. That adds up to an extra 24 hours at the end of every four years, so we tack on a leap day to align our calendars with the sun’s position. You might think this extra day is exciting and rare — it comes with all kinds quirky traditions and folklore — especially if your birthday is on a leap day. Can you imagine only getting to celebrate once every four years? So if you are part of that less than .07 percent of the US population whose birthday falls on a Leap Day, then you better go all out when you finally get to celebrate. We’ve designed a leap birthday party celebration of our own to get you started …
Purple and yellow birthday table

Gift Element

If you can wrap a gift then you can create this charming birthday party tablescape. Start by making the box for your centerpiece.

  1. Just a regular box such as a brown shipping box is available at most office supply stores. Ours was 12×12 inches.
  2. Fold in the tops of the box to make a flat top edge.
  3. For the wrap you can use gift wrap or colorful vinyl on a roll. This worked well because it is lightweight and flexible. Lay the box down and bring the paper around the box and secure with tape leaving the top and bottom open and unattached.
  4. Next trim off the excess on the bottom of the box and fold the edges in and secure with tape.
  5. Fold the top paper inside the box. If using wrapping paper you may need to cut slits down the edges so that the paper doesn’t rip. Secure with tape if needed.
  6. Now for the fun part, embellishing the box. We used a simple silver ribbon.

Wrapping a box with purple paper

Silver ribbon wrapped around a box

Floral Element

Our centerpiece arrangement is made up of a base of boxwood, myrtle and rosemary. The floral elements include creamy white hybrid tea roses, Stargazer Barn purple and yellow iris and orange tulips. For added drama, curly willow branches were worked in. When arranging flowers, it is nice to use items that are in bloom. In essence, you are making a mini-garden on the table.

We created this arrangement using two blocks of floral foam resting on a dinner plate. We elevated the items on a cake stand inside the “birthday box,” but you could also use a tall cylinder vase or whatever you have handy because the nice thing about this arrangement is that the stems and the mechanics of the arrangement aren’t going to show.

Iris, roses and curley willow

Want to keep your centerpiece simple? Pop a couple of florist bouquets into a vase within the birthday box and presto, instant success.

Table Setting

The cream roses in the centerpiece echo the creamware plates used on the table. The plates are resting on top of custom-made placemats, which coordinate with the floral box. Here are the simple steps for making these colorful placemats:

  1. Cut out the cardboard placemat.
  2. Cut wrapping paper to fit.
  3. Secure paper around the cutouts with tape, or if your wrapping paper is thick you can use a spray adhesive to attach it to the poster board, but we encourage you to test this out first to see the results before applying adhesive all of the placemats.
  4. Embellish with a ribbon.

Tracing a placemat shape on yellow paper

Cutting yellow cardboard

Wrapping purple paper over cardboard

Purple placemat with silver ribbon

Lavender Champagne Cocktail
Liven the setting up with a colorful napkin topped with a Lavender Champagne Cocktail garnished with a fun paper straw. The recipe (borrowed from handmademood.com) is easy!

Champagne coupe

  1. Bring one cup of water to a gentle boil.
  2. Add in one cup of granular sugar, reduce heat, and combine until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and add in 3 drops lavender essential oil.
  4. Transfer still warm liquid to a container for storage in the refrigerator. A glass vessel with a cap (such as a mason jar or a vintage soda bottle) and a funnel make this process easier.
  5. Once cooled, fill about 1/4 of a glass with your lavender simple syrup and then top with a dry sparkling wine, such as La Marca Prosecco.

Tip: Be sure to use food grade lavender oil.

Party Favors & Decor

Since our birthday boy or girl only has a party every four years on their actual date of birth, a fun party favor for all guests is a pocket calendar. Place the gift on each seat for a festive touch.

Purple gift bag with silver and gold tissue paper

Instead of tea light votives on the table, we used cupcakes on stands and topped them with assorted silver and gold birthday candles in varying heights. What a way to say welcome to dinner! The candles produce a festive atmosphere, and after they are blown out, serve for dessert.

Cupcakes on cupcake stands with candles

Essentials from Shop.PAllenSmith.com

Cupcake Stand
Creamware Cupcake Stands
Creamware Plates
Creamware Dessert Plates
J Schwanke Book on floral arranging
J Schwanke’s Bloom 365
Iris bouqet in a French flower can
Stargazer Barn Teslar Iris Bouquet

Say Happy Valentine’s Day with Flowers

Giving flowers is the perfect way to let someone know you are thinking about them on this love-filled holiday. Whether it’s your spouse, partner, child, parent or closest friend, everyone loves to receive a bouquet of elegant flowers for Valentine’s Day and know they are in someone’s thoughts. The folks are Stargazer Barn have orchestrated some beautiful handpicked bouquets to brighten your loved one’s home or office this holiday. Add a small batch package of coffee, or an artisanal chocolate bar and hearts are guaranteed to flutter. Here are a few of my favorite bouquets available in the P. Allen Smith shop

P. Allen Smith’s Exclusive Love in Bloom Bouquet

A dozen long-stemmed Jumbo Pink tulips and a dozen Telstar Irises are sure to get hearts swooning.

Lilies For Lovers

The Lilies For Lovers bouquet of Stargazer and Oriental lilies packs a colorful and fragrant punch when the enormous buds burst open with beautiful pink and white petals.

Valentine’s Tulip Kiss

There is nothing more romantic than long stemmed tulips. This gorgeous combo includes 12 stems of the variety Ile de France and 12 stems of Jumbo Pink tulips to add sweeping romance to any room.

Paper fortune cookie for Chinese New Year

Paper Fortune Cookie Place Card How-To

Welcome guests to your Chinese New Year celebration with creatively designed fortune cookie place cards. You can either use real fortune cookies from your local Asian market, or make your own paper fortune cookie. Grab a few sheets of your favorite pattern, or keep with the Chinese New Year theme and choose red or gold paper. For this project you’ll need:

White paper
Scrapbook paper
Pen
Glue
Scissors
Drinking glass (about 4 inches wide)

Instructions for Making a Paper Fortune Cookie Place Card:

Drawing a circle around a porcelain cup onto paper

Lay the scrapbook paper facedown on a table and set the drinking glass or cup on top of it.
Draw a circle around the drinking glass and cut along the line you’ve drawn.

Circle of paper
Applying glue to a circle of paper
Flip the paper over and softly bend the circle in the center, careful not to crease it. Secure with glue.

Writing on a strip of scrap paper
Cut a 1 by 4 inch strip of white paper and write your guest’s name on it.

Inserting paper with a hand written name into a paper fortune cookie
Slip the place card into the fortune cookie.

Bending and glueing the paper fortune cookie

Pinching together a paper fortune cookie with the hand written name tag

With your thumb and forefinger gently pull both ends of the half-circle toward each other.
Add a dot of hot glue to hold the two ends together.

Paper fortune cookie place card.

Your guests will have a great time exploring the fortune cookies to discover their place at your table!