GARDENING DIVA: Long Live Summer

By on July 3, 2012
July Gardening Diva
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Long Live Summer!
By Frances Grossman

July makes me feel like we have countless days ahead of us to enjoy the laid back summer lifestyle that we crave through the rest of the year. There’s a lighthearted spirit that surrounds the way we live and it’s FUN! I’ve got a few bright and carefree ideas up my sleeve that I’d like to share with you so that we can make the most of sassy, stylish summer living with ease…

My Table… I love to ‘dress’ our outdoor dining table. Whether it’s just Larry, the dogs, and myself I and the dogs enjoying a quiet meal or having a few friends over to share an evening of laughter and lightheartedness, the table seems to set the stage. First, I like to cut some of my favorite blooms from the garden for a sweet bouquet on the table to accompany great table linens and dinnerware and then I let loose from there!

I have discovered the ultimate tablecloths for easy entertaining and clean-up: ‘Provence de Marketplace’ tablecloths are beautiful and functional. The printed cotton tablecloths are made in France (ooh la la!) with sturdy fade resistant materials. Each deliciously designed tablecloth is coated with an acrylic coating for years of outdoor entertaining and enjoyment. I have come to count on my ‘Provence de Marketplace’ tablecloths as decorating elements in our outdoor living spaces as much as a functional part of my entraining prep.

Next on my list is the Le Cadeaux dinnerware collection – and I can’t seem to get enough of this dinnerware! The colors, the style, the feeling that these delightful pieces evoke brings me to another place in time. At first glance, you’d think these dinnerware pieces were ceramic or porcelain. Instead, you’ll find beautifully designed heavy duty melamine! Depending on the pattern, you’ll see colors and elements reminiscent of French provincial, Italian or Spanish styles. The Le Cadeaux cCollections are dishwasher safe and shatterproof which means easy clean- up and no outdoor diningworries of outdoor use. worries of outdoor dinin.g.

I have one last delightful suggestion to add a fun and flirty feel to your table. ‘Elise’ Paper Products are the epitome of easy entertaining! You’ll find an incredibly vast selection of colorful paper plates and napkins in this premium paper line. The colors and designs coordinate beautifully and truly lend themselves to be mixed and matched to suite the time of year and the vibe that you’re going for. At the moment, the Pottery Scalloped Embossed Wide Rim Plates are my favorite. The cClassic Italian design is so pretty and coordinates with any of the napkin designs. I love the function of the collection, the ease of a quick clean- up and the sheer joy that I get seeing my guests “ooh and aah” over these sweet paper plates and napkins!

So we’ve got your tablescape all propped out and looking fabulous,… I am willing to bet that you have a few bare spots in the garden that your eye immediately focuses on when you sit down to relax. I think we all have a spot or two like that. I’ve discovered that the solution is so much easier than I initially thought!

In truth, you can probably spruce up and freshen up the ‘problem’ spot with just a couple of new summer blooming flowers. Lantana, sSunflowers and dDahlias are excellent contenders for sun-loving, drought tolerant plants. The wide variety of textures that ferns bring to the shade garden is a must, along with colorful impatiens and long- blooming begonias. These summer suggestions will offer the quick bounce back of color and interest that you’re looking for. Choose fresh summer bloomers that will thrive through and love the hot temps with zest! The options are endless for heat and drought tolerant flowers for your outdoor living rooms; – simply ask the experts if you need advice or a recommendation.

Did you know…? When it comes to edibles, there are ‘cycles’ for planting? You are not alone if you’ve recently looked at your garden only to find that you’ve worked through many of the veggies that you planted in the spring. July is the time for Round round 2two! Remove any of the remnants of your first planting. Freshen the soil with an organic compost to renew the nutrients that have been used up and depleted from the first go around (I use ‘Organic Mechanics’ and have great success.) Go ahead and plant vegetables to be harvested in the fall. You may want to consider broccoli, peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes or brussel sprouts. Water those babies in and watch them grow into a feast for your taste buds and your table!

Lastly, but not to be forgotten,; it’s time for some nice summer garden grooming. Just like us, your garden needs some TLC and sprucing up to continue in top form! Your annual flowers may be getting a bit overzealous and out of whack. Your spring perennials are now spent and need to be trimmed back. Taking a few minutes to clean things up will make you feel so much better and make your garden look equally as terrific.

Remember… when your home and garden look good, you FEEL good. I wish you a beautiful July filled with laughter, relaxation and an exuberance that puts some summertime pep in your step!

Frances Grossman is president of Grossmans Garden and Home. www.grossmans.com

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