featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I’m a city girl, born and bred.  There’s no denying it.  Plopped down in suburbia by the whims of fate, far more comfortable with concrete and high-rises than a quarter acre of {shudder} lawn and garden.  It’s no use.  There is just no way I will ever cultivate a green thumb. The only thing that flourishes in my garden is weeds.  (Except for zucchini. Trust me, ANYONE can grow zucchini, even me. More on that in a future blog.) 

Anyway, I plant bulbs, and the squirrels send me thank you notes for the feast they dig up and dine upon.  I plant flowers, and the rabbits set up housekeeping.  I can’t plant a tree that doesn’t die, but I’ve got maple saplings sprouting up throughout my azalea bushes.  I’ve seriously considered plowing the whole thing under and installing Astroturf, but I think my neighbors would tar and feather me!

So what’s a city girl to do?  Especially a city girl who happens to love flowers but can’t afford a weekly delivery from the local florist, thanks to her dire financial circumstances?  If she crafts, she can have the beauty of flowers in her home year round without dealing with the Garden Gremlin.  You know him -- he’s the guy who comes out at night and deposits aphids on your roses and fungus on your forsythia.

I’ve asked Jeanie Sims, American Woman’s decorating editor, to share with us some of her ideas for bringing the outdoors inside.  Here's one of her suggestions.  She’ll be sharing more in the weeks and months to come. -- AP

Jeanie here, and I happen to know that there are a few plants hardy enough that even Anastasia can’t kill them (see comment above on zucchini.)  However, besides zucchini, they’re boring houseplants such as ivy and philodendron.  Dull, dull, dull.  Besides, Anastasia wants flowers.  But since there’s no way she’d ever be able to keep an orchid alive, we have to go with what’s hardy enough to withstand a woman lacking in green thumbs. 

One suggestion I’ve given Anastasia is to add color and turn boring into fun by sticking a few floral picks in her ivy and philodendron.  This is an inexpensive trick for adding spots of interest and color to a room.  Just remember the old design maxim, less is more.  Go overboard, and fun turns to tacky very quickly.

Coordinate the picks with your decorating scheme or change them out every few months.  Most craft and floral shops have a variety of picks available throughout the year to correspond with the holidays and seasons.  I add picks with colorful autumn leaves and miniature gourds to my houseplants for Thanksgiving.  If you’re like Anastasia and can’t keep a poinsettia alive for more than three days, add a few poinsettia floral picks to your philodendron.  Swap out wintry picks for pansies come spring.  Got little kids?  Go for whimsical with miniature Easter eggs.  Show your patriotism with red, white, and blue stars for the 4
th of July.  No matter what your taste, there’s bound to be a floral pick for you.

How do you bring the outdoors inside?  Let us hear from you. -- AP


Kathye Quick said...

Hi Jeanie--

I "cheat" too. My son bought me a beautiful orchid last year and once the flowers fell, it was suposed to go into dormancy for a while and then spike another flower-thingy. Supposed to is the key concept here. For months I had three large, albeit healthy, orchid leaves only, which I sprayed and watered and fed and did everything the book said to do.

The craft stores have some beautiful and real looking stems. I picked a partiucarly nice white orchid spray and put it in the pot.

Now he thinks I'm the Martha Stewart of orchids. Don't tell!

Great minds, right?

Kathy said...

I have a green thumb. All I can grow is green stuff. I have absolutely no luck with flowering plants. For a bit of color, I have stained glass plant pokes in some of my plants.

Janet said...

Garage sales offer lots of "flowers" at a very inexpensive price. I have been known to cut them apart and decorate lots of plants with little flowers. I even wound a few around an old shower curtain rod I couldn't take down without remodeling the whole bathroom.

Silk flowers are my friend!