Spring is Here!


In other parts of the country the first day of spring is exciting after what is often a long, cold and gray winter. Here in Arizona our winters are warm. sunny and the envy of most of the Eastern United States. But there is a flavor to spring in Arizona if we take the time to see it.

First we have the orange blossoms blooming. Orchards full of them in some places in Arizona, and it’s rare to drive down the street without seeing at least a few trees in bloom. Roll your car windows down in some parts of town and your nose will be inundated with the smell of orange, lemon and grapefruit trees in bloom.

Even in the desert, flowers cover the normally dry landscape. Yellow, of course, but some blue and purple smaller ones too dot the roadside. Easterners are surprised by the variety of flowers our cacti provide this time of year. We calmly explain, “we had a lot of rain…” In other parts of the country flowers bloom everywhere every Spring. Here, we know how lucky we are to have the rich display we’re seeing this year.

And of course we can add to that with flowers at our own homes. Plants in pots – either individual flowers or luscious mixes – look wonderful clustered around the front door. Consider adding a few flowering bulbs under the trees in your yard. Simply follow the instructions at your local nursery – putting them in the refrigerator for a few weeks will allow you to end up with daffodils and tulips out here.

Don’t forget the pleasure of spring plants in your home. Either in pots or as cut flowers, daffodils make a grand display at a brunch or in your kitchen.

Whether you’re looking at the calendar or outside, Spring is here. Enjoy it!

Bring a Taste of Spring to your Winter Home

801743_SIn Arizona, winter means beautiful cool weather, sunny days and time to take long walks or eat al fresco. In the rest of the country, however, winter holds on to moods and weather with a vengeance and back there they’re far from the spring we’re already experiencing.

If you or friends or families are in the middle of this very difficult winter, here are a few ideas to remind you that spring is coming – eventually!

Bring branches inside: Forsythia and pussy willows can be forced to bloom if you bring them inside and place them in water. Pound on the woody stems with a hammer to help them soak up water, and watch the yellow forsythia flowers and fuzzy willow buds open up.

Take a look at how inviting these branches are in this winter room. The small yellow blossoms say just wait – spring is on its way.

23771815_SForce bulbs: Paperwhites, tulips, amaryllis and hyacinth respond well to early forcing. You can buy bulbs already planted, order them online or set them up yourself. Check online or on Pinterest to get the instructions. They are all beautiful, but nothing smells as wonderful as hyacinths in bloom. With one plant, the entire room will sing of spring.

18586921_SPlant herbs: A little inside kitchen garden looks charming, smells lovely, and adds freshness to your meal prep. Consider a mix of basil and Italian parsley to add to salads and pasta sauces. Add mint in its own pot – it spreads too much to share – and perk up desserts with a couple of leaves on top. Rosemary has a great smell and just a small amount turns chicken into something special.

You can bring spring into your home, or into the homes of others, by adding these simple fresh plants and flowers to a room or two. And if you live in the Midwest or New England, remember that winter will leave eventually, bringing lovely weather for you while we swelter. So we don’t gloat.

Anticipate Spring with Accessories

8755374_SWith temperatures hitting close to 90 this week in the Phoenix area, we need to celebrate spring before we get into the middle of summer. Here are some fun ways to dress up your home to create the spirit of spring.

1) Look for unique and interesting pastel containers to hold fresh-cut flowers. These little ceramic boots with butterflies say spring even without flowers. It’s a nice touch to have two to remind you of a child’s set of boots, but notice that only one vase has flowers in it – you can break the rules and still end up with a charming vignette.

12464404_S2) Look for spring bulbs in pots to have flowers in the house for weeks. Crocuses like these, tulips and daffodils are available at many grocery stores. Pick several types and colors and group them for a spring splash of charm. Consider adding a Hyacinth or two to your selection for the rich floral scent they produce.

17919516_S3) Look for inexpensive plastic and metal children’s sand toys and gardening tools in bright colors. With the selection to the left, you could add a few fresh flowers or spring candies and have a festive centerpiece for a dinner party buffet. You might also want to consider placing your plants in more inviting containers such as these to add to the spring mood.

4) For additional decorative elements, look through your wardrobe for a straw hat or scarves in pastel colors. Placing them among your flowers or other decorations will contribute to a spring mood. With just a few touches such as these, your home will remind every visitor that spring is here.