Our front porch is drenched in sunshine for most of the day. With summer temperatures rapidly approaching Charleston, we’re being extra careful to make sure that our plants survive the heat. Will, my husband, is their primary caretaker and has set up an automatic watering system. Still, in the interests of plant care we give them an extra soak most evenings, it’s a lovely way to enjoy the last bit of daylight and balmy early evening air. Many of you have asked about keeping plants alive and healthy, and while we are certainly no experts, we have learned a few things which might help you too!
We always manage to plant our young plants on a cloudy day. We make sure to select good quality potting mix which is full of nutrients and to leave a hole bigger than the root ball. Next, we loosen the root ball of the plant (but not too much as to break anything off). Once the root is placed in the hole, we press fresh potting mix around the root and water well (soak!). After a few months, we always add fertilizer to the soil — we actually need to do this now because we planted these a while back and they are due some extra plant care.
One task I do enjoy is “deadheading” or removing spent blooms. I’m in the middle of doing this now, but I left a few in these photos to show you. It can be a bit time consuming; I do a little bit each time I pass by. Deadheading really helps the plant re-direct energy and space to growing more, especially in Petunias. For those of you interested, some of the plants we currently have on the steps are: White Knight, Petunias (heavenly blue), Snow Cone Candytuft, Nemesia (rose pink), Lanai twisted Verbena (peach and purple), Lavender, Lobelia and Rusty Foxglove. They were all picked from the amazing collection at our local garden center. I find Petunias to be very manageable and the Snow Cone Candytuft has lasted for ages! Lavender has been another trusty companion.
We hope that you enjoy looking at them as much as we do. I know that I post them all too often on my Instagram so will be venturing inside our home next to give you a bit of a break!!
Anne from Stems is one of my all time favorite creative friends. Everything she touches makes my heart sing, she is so so talented. We met through the wedding industry a few years ago and became fast friends; we both enjoy setting a beautiful table and collaborate A LOT. I have been lucky enough to have her to our family home in France where we were able to “play” and she is the person I run my creative ideas by. Yesterday, we launched a fine art series of neutral flowers together. She was in town last week and I asked her to give us a quick tutorial arranging flowers, which of course we had to set an impromptu table around!
I love these pottery barn plates, I have used them several times. They fit particularly well for this table because Anne picked up mini pineapples and together, they set a tropical vibe. Anne tied the name card of each guest to the pineapples which I think is such a fresh, fun idea. She always manages to do something slightly unexpected when arranging flowers.
The video below is quick, so here is a step-by-step of how to create a similar centerpiece, a starter guide for arranging flowers in Anne’s own words:
Prep a clean container with a ball of chicken wire, bent so that it touches the edges (it won’t move around that way).
Start with bushier textures to fill the base of the arrangement. This time of year you can’t beat the seasonal flowers that are available, so we took advantage and used Lilac, Viburnum, and Pittosporum greenery to fill in our base.
Add local flowers, Peonies, Garden Spray Roses, Double Tulips, and Ranunculus. Since I chose a (very) wide range of colors, I was very careful about placement of flowers. We had a few ranunculus stems that had more yellow in them and clashed with the purple lilac, so I made sure we used those on the opposite side of the arrangement.
It is easiest to start out leaving the stems longer, you can always shorten if they’re too long and that way they won’t disappear/slide too far into the vase! Make sure to keep the arrangement short enough to have a conversation over if you are using it as a centerpiece.
Finally, we added smaller pieces that we wanted on the outer layer of the arrangement so they would get noticed and appreciated. We used Lily of the Valley, a seasonal treat, and mini pineapples which were a bit random but added a variety in texture. The Lily of the Valley should be clumped together because it is so fragile and so it will show up better.
When you’re finished, make sure your flowers have plenty of fresh water to drink and set an amazing table around them for your guests to enjoy!
Julia generously tagged me in the “J.Crew Challenge,” and sent me this lovely top to style. Amidst the beauty of Charleston’s spring, where white Confederate Jasmine is in full bloom, it was easy to show off the fun pop of color and graceful swing of this off-the-shoulder top in front of these fragrant blooms, spilling over the walls and gateways of my city’s historic downtown. I also love JCrew’s rattan straw clutch (inspired by Julia’s love of wicker bags) and found it the perfect match for this spring top and their white ruffled cotton shorts. Hats off to J.Crew for infusing a simple “shorts and top” combination with an easy elegance that I can wear in the most sublime surroundings!
The beautiful jasmine scented driveway above leads into one of my all-time favorite houses in Charleston. Church street is the perfect avenue of jasmine walls, gates, and driveways and is a must-see for any visitor to Charleston.
This perfect sized clutch will be a favorite bag of mine this summer. It is just the right size to squeeze in my iPhone 7+, a lipstick and sunglasses. I’m also very enthusiastic about my pink version that I can’t wait to take to the beach.
Where does it all come from? The abundance of the Jasmine makes it hard to see whether it grows from the ground or seems to explode effortlessly from the air… surrounding a lamppost, spilling through the gates, or creating a huge hug around a front door. It is truly spectacular!
One of the most beautiful and happy making sights of all blooms — the scent is intoxicating! If you are visiting Charleston, this is an easy find and it is right along the battery.
We were so excited to bring home some hanging baskets of bougainvillea last week. I am really drawn to their sprawling nature and fantastic colors (I think we all are!). We decided to place the retention pot that they came in inside a more traditional hanging basket, and to soften the “new” feel of the basket with moss, all purchased at the same garden center. They were so simple and easy to install on the porch and we could not be happier with the results.
First, we broke up the moss and lined the wire section of the hanging baskets (which I will spray paint white next time); it was surprisingly tricky to place the liner inside without the moss getting squished to the bottom of the planter but, with a little bit of teasing and supplementing, it ended up looking a bit more intentional.
After placing the bougainvillea in the hanging baskets, we tucked more moss between the edge of the plastic and the liner to make sure the plastic was completely hidden. I used scissors to tidy up each basket before hanging it up.
Will was actually a lot better at it than I was, he has more patience than I do! I can therefore say (without bragging) that I think they look pretty good! At least a bit more organic than the plain planter. We know that we will be enjoying lots of evenings on the porch — either on the daybed, or in the rocking chairs — and that it will be so nice to admire the beautiful colors of the bougainvillea.
In our next garden post, we will be showing you how the colorful flowers on our steps are doing and I will be quizzing Will about plant care — he is becoming quite the expert! Thank you for tuning in! xx
Continuing on from last week’s series, we’re celebrating pink color inspiration today with lots of vibrant hues. I’ve gathered a few of my favorite pink items from around the house: the most delicious Peony scented candle, an amazing book on Flowers, my supremely beat up Thelma loafers, my wallet, lipstick, phone case, a cashmere blanket and an old silk scarf. I paired our phone case with iphone snaps of the beautiful Colefax and Fowler pink floral fabrics I have sitting in the house, passed down from my grandmother. Last, I threw in our fine art pieces from the pink series, available and on sale in the shop!
I hope this brings a little joy to the start of your work week. Tomorrow we will be sharing a visual tutorial of our moss-lined hanging baskets which we featured on Instagram stories last week. xx
Luckily for us, springtime strawberry picking starts early in the South. We were so excited to head out to the farm; it seemed a perfect way to keep exploring our lovely city and to sample one or two strawberries fresh off the vine. We have heard a lot of wonderful things about the Ambrose Farm CSA from our neighbors and friends; we invited our friends Julia and Thomas to come along.
The farm was bursting with so many rows of fresh strawberries to pick, they tasted sweet and warm. I was also so excited to bring some back for our baby’s food. We make it ourselves, and his appetite has increased so rapidly, I am constantly trying to think of new things to feed him. Lucky for us, the farmers markets have just opened and will be brimming with inspiration. Peach season is coming quickly and might be my favorite of all.
In addition to the strawberries, we came across carrots, asparagus and beautiful yellow wild flowers which made the farm feel like it was set in the English countryside. Thomas told us that the yellow flowers are a cover crop, freshening up the soil for a new round of vegetables. I headed right to them and picked some to take home, sorry Ambrose Farms!
We loved strawberry picking and spending time with Julia and Thomas, they have become such great friends and we’re so thrilled that they moved to Charleston. They are such fun (and funny) company and incredibly talented — truly inspiring to be around. We love brainstorming with them about lots of upcoming projects. Julia also helped me double knot my shirt here, it looked way better after she did it (she’s the expert for sure!).
After we filled our buckets with berries, we noticed an alley of live oaks and took a leisurely stroll in their shade. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon!