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Glitter Pumpkin Thanksgiving Decor

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Inspiration

Thanksgiving is almost here and the holiday season is getting into full swing! For many of us, this means welcoming family and friends into our homes for lunches, dinners and festive gatherings. Whether or not you host at your home, this is a fun time to get creative with fall décor. The best part about decorating for the holidays is that the sky is the limit. Using creativity and a combination of found, repurposed, or purchased supplies, anyone can make a beautiful piece for their home. We’ve put together just a few examples for you to get your creativity flowing before Thanksgiving arrives.

Thanksgiving Harvest Tablescape

Candlelit Harvest Display

In this piece, we combine large pillar candles with an array of natural items you can purchase and collect from outdoors. Pumpkins, gourds, wheat stalks, branches, pine cones and autumn leaves are just a few. Add a little polish by lightly spraying or brushing gold paint on the pine cones or leaves and tying ribbons or raffia around the candles.

Cornucopia Centerpiece

Cornucopia with Fresh Greenery

A lush centerpiece featuring the traditional cornucopia makes a classic addition to any Thanksgiving table. Purchase or cut fresh ferns and flowers from your own garden to pair with gourds and pumpkins. Add candles and berries for a finishing touch.

Modern Gray Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Modern Fall Table in Green, Gray and White

Combine greenery (fresh or artificial) with shades of gray and silver for a more modern take on a fall display. Fresh pumpkins can be painted and sealed any color you want – this arrangement would also look lovely with gold or white. Add some pine cones and berries for extra interest, and your centerpiece is complete.

Metallic Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Metallic Gold and Silver

If you love metallics, this is the centerpiece for you! Spray and seal your pumpkins, gourds, pinecones or fall leaves and arrange with candles or other items to suit your tastes. If you are looking for more holiday decorating ideas, you are welcome to visit us at any of our stores and speak with our design specialists – we are happy to help!

Air Plant, Tillandsia lindenii, Istock, greenhouse

Air Plant Guide

Tillandsia, often known as air plants, are a popular variety of houseplant that originates in Central and South America as well as some parts of the Southeastern United States. They are called air plants for good reason – they do not need roots. Instead, air plants absorb water and nutrients through their leaves from the surrounding air. This makes them incredibly popular, as they can be used in all variety of décor. Hang them from the ceiling, attach them to a wall, or set them on a table, and they will do just fine wherever you place them without soil – provided you meet a few conditions. 

Before reading on – note that the lifespan of most tillandsia is several years, and they only bloom once in their lifecycle. 1-2 months after blooming, new plants, called pups, form around the original. These will bloom eventually, so with a bit of care, you can keep your plants going for years. 

Light Requirements

When thinking about the environmental conditions needed by houseplants, it is always helpful to consider their natural environment. Air plants often grow on trees or in moist areas with partial shade. In these conditions, they receive bright, indirect light. This means that indoors they do best in high light environments. Rooms with southern or eastern facing windows are best.

If you lack a southern or eastern facing window, others will also work, you just need to keep a few things in mind. If your plant is in a western facing window, beware of frying your air plant in the intense afternoon sun. North-facing windows get less light, so place the plant close to the window. 

Watering

In general, you can plan to water tillandsia 1-2 times a week. However, you will need to take the environmental conditions into account and adjust accordingly. Before watering, think about the answers to these questions:

  • How much light will my air plant get, and at what time of day? 
  • What is the temperature in the space where my air plant is located?
  • How humid is the space?

Air plants that get afternoon sun in a western window in your living room will need more frequent watering than air plants  in a southern facing window in your bathroom, as the sun is less hot when coming from the south, and mist from the shower provides plenty of humidity for the plant. If the air plant will be dryer space, in an area near a heater for example, it will need watering more frequently. 

Air Plant, Tillandsia ionantha, greenhouse, Istock

How to Water an Air Plant

  1. Bi-weekly under a kitchen or bathroom faucet, run lukewarm water over your tillandsia until thoroughly soaked. 
  2. Then turn upside down and shake off excess water.
  3. Return your plant to it’s display.

Some notes about watering:

  • Be careful with bulbous air plants (they have visible bulbs at the base) if too much water stays at the base of the plant, the plants will rot.
  • In between watering, you can lightly mist your air plants to keep them a healthy vibrant green as they soak up water.
  • Once or twice a month, you can spray a little bit of Tillandsia fertilizer on your air plants to keep them thriving.
  • Be careful not to overwater your air plants. When the base of the plant becomes a brown/black color or the leaves begin to fall out from the center, the plant has rotted.
  • Usually if the tips of the leaves turn crispy and brown, the plant isn’t getting enough water. Additionally, when the plant isn’t getting enough water, its naturally concave curved shape will become accentuated.

Get Creative with Air Plant Décor

Air plants grow naturally in trees, so using driftwood as a display piece for your favorite tillandsia is a wonderful way to show them off in a more natural setting.

Tillandsia, Air Plant, Istock

Since they do not need soil, you can get as creative as you want in designing art with your plants. We love this idea from Balcony Garden Web’s post, “51 Most Amazing Air Plant Display Ideas.

And of course, their is always the classic option to put them in terrariums. You can use them as a feature plant, or add them in as a decorative element with other plants. 

Not sure about how to care for your air plant or what you want to get? Call or visit one of our Merrifield locations to speak with a plant specialist to find out what suits your home environment the best!

Created something cool using air plants? We would love to see it! Share with us on Instagram or Facebook and tag @merrifieldgardencenter for a chance to be featured on our page.

Bright Ideas for Dark Rooms

Houseplants can brighten even the darkest homes with a fresh feeling and bright blooms. However, not all of us are lucky enough to have the perfect conditions for growing plants indoors, such as ample floor space near south facing windows. If you love plants but have north-facing windows, or perhaps want a plant several feet away from a windowsill, here is your guide to selecting plants that can thrive in these less than ideal conditions.

Choose Plants that Thrive in Low Light

When selecting a plant for a dark space, one of the first things to consider before  is where you want to place it. The specific area of the room where your plant will be going will affect not only the lighting available for your plant, but the shape and size of plant that you can place there.

For a corner or tall space:

Dracaena

Kentia Palm

Zamioculcas (ZZ Plant)

ZZ Plant ISTOCK

Sansevieria (Snake Plant)

Sanseveria, Snake Plant, ISTOCK

For Ultra-Low or No Light Spaces

If you have a basement or area that receives almost no natural light, these plants are your best bet. They are extremely tolerant of low light.

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

Aspidastra ISTOCK

For Small Spaces or Shelves

If you wish to put a plant up on a bookshelf or somewhere smaller, pothos and philodendron are great options that take up less vertical space but will grow to cascade over the sides of a table or shelf. For a north facing window, try an African violet if you want some blooms.

Keeping Plants Healthy in Low Light

There are a few care tips and tricks from our greenhouse team that anyone can use to keep their plants looking fresh and healthy

Rotate Regularly for Better Light

Choose a pair of plants for your space rather than just one. Place one of the two in your low light spot. Place the other in a brighter place, but without direct sun. Switch you plants weekly to keep both plants looking beautiful. By doing this, you can successfully keep a variety of plants healthy in lower light conditions. 

Add Light with Gro-lights

You can supplement natural light by using Gro-light bulbs in ceiling fixtures or lamps that will shine down on your plants.

Water Properly

These foliage plants generally prefer to dry out between waterings. Appearance can also be an indicator, leaf shine can instantly freshen the look of plants. If you’re unsure of the specific watering requirements for your plant in your space, check our our watering guidelines or talk to a MGC plant specialist to get more information.

Add a Colorful Container

If the purpose of your plant is to brighten up your space, there are many ways to do that beyond plant choice. Consider putting your low light plant in a fun pot or unique container! We have so many options to choose from at each of our locations.

Try Silk Plants

If you have a particular vision and don’t have enough light to bring in the plants you want, keep an open mind as sometimes silk plants are the best option for locations without any light. Good silk plants lend beauty and color to dark spaces, and look as real as the real thing. We also recommend silk plants if you’re worried about the safety of keeping certain plants around your pets or children.

We encourage you to come in and speak with a plant specialist for assistance selecting the perfect plant for your space. Have a picture of the space and let us know what the light conditions are, (Does your window get morning sun or setting sun? Is it a north or south facing window? etc.) and we would be happy to devise specific recommendations about what plants can thrive in your space.

Love your low light plants? We would love to see them! Share with us on Instagram or Facebook and tag @merrifieldgardencenter for a chance to be featured on our page.

Create Your Own Fresh-Cut Floral Arrangement

Fresh flower arrangements are a wonderful way to bring the outdoors in and transform your space seasonally with fresh blooms and greens. This step-by-step guide covers spring blooms, but you can use the guidelines to select and arrange flowers from any season in a beautiful arrangement for your home.

What You Need

Blooms, Branches and Greenery

  • Linear blooms and branches (we used mulberry-4, and baptisia-7)
  • Fill greenery (we used hellebores-1, heuchera-6, climbing hydrangea-3, and lambs ear-5)
  • Focal flowers (we used garden roses-2)

Supplies

  • Decorative vessel of your choice (for a table centerpiece, the vessel should be about 1/6 the diameter or length of the table)
  • Floral foil or heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Oasis or floral design tape
  • Two to three buckets/containers filled with warm water (you can use anything large enough to hold all your cut plants)
  • Floral food
  • Pruners
  • Floralife Clear Crowning Glory® spray

Step One: Select Your Vessel and Flowers

When arranging flowers for a dining table centerpiece, the maximum length of the full arrangement should be about a third of the table’s length. An appropriately sized vessel will be one-third of this measurement, or a sixth of the overall table length. Of course, this is not a requirement! Select a vessel and arrangement size that suits your taste and decor, and line it with floral foil or a heavy duty aluminum foil to protect your vessel.  

Select plants from your garden to enjoy indoors, or visit your local florist for flowers. Choose plants in good condition with healthy foliage. Flowers should have just opened or be in bud form. 

If you are cutting stems from your own garden, bring your bucket of warm water with you if possible, and cut your flowers from the garden in the morning when the weather is cooler. The heat later in the day can shock cut stems and cause them to wilt. After cutting your stems, put them in your warm water with floral food right away. The floral food controls bacteria levels and assists the stems with the absorption of water.

If you can’t bring a bucket of warm water outside to the garden with you, re-cut your stems an inch above your cut line before placing them in warm water inside. Leave the clipped flowers in the warm water with the floral food for about 30 minutes to give the stems time to condition.

Step Two: Prepare the Oasis

Cut your oasis block to a size that fits your vessel shape without compressing the oasis. A compressed oasis will not hold water, so this is an important step to ensure your arrangement lasts.

After sizing your oasis, soak it in water and floral food for 30 minutes using a bucket or sink, then place it in the vessel. 

Step Three: Arrange Structural Blooms

Place your branches or structural blooms, in our case mulberry and baptisia, to create the lines and overall movement for your arrangement. It’s best to begin with the highest point first. Keep in mind the viewpoint from which your arrangement will be enjoyed when deciding where your flowers should go. Some arrangements will be viewed from all sides, while others may be against a wall and only visible from 3 sides. 

Step Four: Place Greens and Fill Flowers

Using your filler greens (the hellebores in this arrangement), start around the perimeter or your arrangement and move inwards as you place them to fill in the overall shape. Keep it light, and avoid overcrowding so that room remains for the focal flowers. You can always go back and add more as desired after placing the focal flowers. 

Step Five: Place Your Focal Flowers

When placing your focal flowers (garden roses in this arrangement), think in triangles. Triangular shapes provide dimension and keep your eye moving throughout the arrangement. You want to avoid having your focal flowers make a line. 

Step Six: Hide the mechanics

Using complementary fill flowers or greenery (heuchera, lambs ear, and climbing hydrangea in this arrangement), hide the oasis, floral tape, and other ‘mechanics’ of the floral arrangement and highlight your focal flowers.

Step Seven: Preserve Your Arrangement

When your arrangement is complete, spray it with Crowning Glory preservative. This helps the plants hold in moisture, keeping flowers more vibrant.

To keep your arrangement fresh for as long as possible, flush the arrangement with water every other day and keep out of direct sunlight.

To flush the arrangement, place the vessel in the sink with water entering just inside the edge of the vessel, and leave the water running for a few minutes. The force of the running water will push out the old water and any floating debris out of your container. We recommend flushing the water at night so you can leave it to drip dry overnight.

If you make your own Fresh Cut Arrangement using these instructions, we would love to see it! Please share on Instagram and tag @merrifieldgardencenter for a chance to be featured on our page

DIY Potted Orchid Garden

As elegant greenhouse plants, orchids and ferns thrive year-round, and make the perfect plants for garden fresh arrangements. Elegant and timeless, they can be used for any occasion, or just to bring a fresh update to your home at any time of the year. These arrangements are simple to make in just a few steps, and with a little care and attention, anyone can keep an orchid and fern garden for years to come.

To create this arrangement, here is what you will need:

Supply List

For a centerpiece arrangement

  • Decorative vessel – approximately 10 inches in diameter
  • 1 or 2 orchids in 4 inch pots
  • Two assorted ferns in 4” pots (we used maidenhair ferns) 

For a grand entryway arrangement

  • Decorative vessel – approximately 20 inches in diameter
  • 2 orchids in 4 inch pots
  • 1 orchid in a 6 inch pot
  • 3 ferns in 4 inch pots

For both centerpiece and grand entryway arrangements

  • Moss to cover your orchid and fern grow pots (we used preserved sheet moss)
  • Branches (we used white birch)
  • Raffia or wire to tie the orchid to the support branches
  • Floral foil or heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • One block of sahara foam and a knife to cut it
  • Pruners
  • Spray bottle or small watering can

Step One: Prepare Your Vessel

Select a vessel that is about five inches deep to cover the orchid and fern grow pots. You can select any container meeting that requirement that suits your taste, and matches the decor of the location where it will be placed. After selecting a vessel, line the interior with floral foil or heavy-duty aluminum foil to protect the container.

Step Two: Arrange your Orchids and Ferns

Place the orchids slightly off-center, leaving them in their grow pots, to give your arrangement a more natural look. Afterwards, place the ferns in their grow pots around the orchids, angling them away from the orchids to fill the space around the perimeter and hide the orchid pots. Leaving the orchids and ferns in their respective pots allows each to be watered according to their individual requirements. 

Step Three: Cut and Place Sahara as Needed

If the container is deeper than the height of the potted orchids and ferns, place sahara under the pots to raise them to the desired height. After this is done, fill in any voids between the individual pots with sahara to stabilize the arrangement, and hold it firmly in place.

Step Four: Prepare and place the moss

Lightly spray the moss with water, and arrange it in the display. Dampening the moss makes it easier to manipulate and arrange, and also prevents it from making a mess. The moss serves as a beautiful way to cover the ‘mechanics’ of the garden, including grow pots, sahara and empty space between the orchids and ferns. 

Step Five: Add Branches for Support

Not only do branches add drama to garden arrangements, they also help support the heavy orchid blooms. Place your branches in the orchid pots and tie them to the stems of your orchids using rafia or wire.

Caring for Your Potted Orchid Garden

For best results, keep your potted orchid garden in bright, indirect light.

Water each type of plant in your orchid garden according to the individual care instructions for that plant. The ferns, for example, will prefer a thorough watering a few times a week, depending on the time of year. Orchids generally prefer a thorough watering about every two weeks. 

For additional information, check out some of our previous blog posts such as orchid care for beginners and the basics of caring for houseplants.

If you make your own Potted Orchid Garden using these instructions, we would love to see it! Please share on Instagram and tag @merrifieldgardencenter for a chance to be featured on our page

Christmas Collections for Every Home

The holidays are a special time at Merrifield Garden Center. From the moment you walk in the door, you’re immersed in the charming sights, scents and spirit of the season.

One of my favorite parts about Christmas at Merrifield is designing the shop, which showcases our hand-selected decorations for customers to enjoy. This year, we’ve created twenty unique themes throughout the store, each with its own style featuring different types of décor. Whether you visit our Fair Oaks location or one of our other stores, I hope you enjoy the themes our teams have put together this year!

I love all of this year’s themes, but I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites to give you a “sneak peek” of this year’s Christmas Shop. I would encourage you to visit the store to experience the magic of our Christmas Shop in person!

Pageant in the Woods

Our “Pageant in the Woods” theme features adorable animals and woodland themed decorations which appear to have wondered in off a forest path or jumped out of the pages of a story book. At our Fair Oaks store, we’ve designed two trees in this theme.

The “Woodland Tree” features textured bristle animals reminiscent of the creatures you might encounter on a quiet winter walk. These delightful critters look perfectly at home on a Christmas tree or in a woodland themed holiday display gracing a table or shelf.

Christmas Tree, Holiday Decor

Woodland Tree

The “Woodland Tree” features textured bristle animals reminiscent of the creatures you might encounter on a quiet winter walk. These delightful critters look perfectly at home on a Christmas tree or in a woodland themed holiday display gracing a table or shelf.

Christmas Tree, Holiday Decor

Felt Tree

Whimsical felt ornaments with a soft, wooly texture adorn our “Felt Tree”. This collection of lovable characters is sure to put a smile on your face, evoking some of our favorite classic children’s stories featuring dapper mice, sly foxes and other characters.

Christmas Tree, Holiday Decor

O Tannenbaum

Die-cut wood ornaments and décor with an Old World European style make up our “O Tannenbaum” collection. If you love charming details and the feeling of being in a cozy chalet, this theme is perfect for you!

Some of our featured décor from this collection are made just down the road in central Virginia! Our Inge-glas German glass, KWO German smokers, and the TRC Ginger Cottage collection are worth checking out.

Christmas Tree, Holiday Decor

Creating a Garden-Fresh Arrangement

Peg Bier, Merrifield Plant Specialist

The windowsill in my kitchen was always adorned with a love bouquet—a gathering of flowers picked from my garden and delivered slightly crushed by the small, loving hands of my children and grandchildren. Today one of my greatest joys is a walk through the garden with scissors in hand discovering unexpected treasures that combine into a beautiful arrangement.

Like anything, there are techniques you can use to create these arrangements. But what I’ve learned over the years is that the most important thing is to just do it! If it brings you joy and happiness, that’s all that matters.

Here are a few steps you can follow to design a fresh arrangement with materials from your garden.

Step One: Source Your Container

Select a vessel to use as your container. Don’t worry if you don’t have a collection of pots laying around, a water pitcher or small bucket can work great! Prep your container by cleaning it thoroughly and placing a pin holder in the bottom or taping off a support grid with waterproof tape. Once your support is secure, add fresh, cool water and floral preservative.

Garden-fresh-arrangements-1

Step Two: Select Your Plant Material and Assemble Your Foundation

When you head out to your garden, select a combination of cuttings from plants such as annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, herbs and vegetables to bring in different textures and colors. Aim to pull a mix of three to six materials to vary texture, color and height.

Cut your base plants at varying lengths to build a foundation to support your arrangement. Here we used hydrangea blooms (a shrub) and fennel (a perennial) and varied the placement to alternate textures.

Garden-fresh-arrangements-2

Step Three: Layer in Flowers

Layer your flowers one variety at a time, beginning with the deepest and greatest volume to disperse color throughout the arrangement. Here we layered annual celosia and then brought in pops of color with verbena and rudbeckia.

Garden-fresh-arrangements-3

Garden-fresh-arrangements-4

Step Four: Add Your Focal Point

Finish your arrangement by placing your focal point flowers asymmetrically. In this arrangement, colorful annual zinnias become your focal point and provide the finishing touches.

Garden-fresh-arrangements-5

It really is as simple as that! You can create your own unique display by heading outdoors to your garden today. I hope you enjoy the process as much as the final result!