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Edible Weeds

eat the dandelions

I nstead of trying to get rid of t hose lawn and garden weeds, harvest them for free homegrown meals.

All too often, homeowners and gardeners wage war in their lawns and gardens against the plants that grow incredibly well there, but that aren’t intentionally planted. And many times, the justification for these battles all comes down to the words we use to describe them.

When we buy and plant packets of common flower, vegetable, or herb seeds, we spend a lot of time, energy, and water in our efforts to get those seeds to germinate and grow, and take pride in our green thumb and homegrown food supply.But when a plant that we identify as being a weed is found growing in our lawn or garden, out comes the trowel and hoe (or for the ruthless and impatient gardeners, weedkillers such as RoundUp), and we may spend the entire growing season keeping these opportunistic and resilient plants at bay, in order to have neat and tidy garden beds and uniform lawns. And it’s too bad, really, as many of the common garden weeds are not only edible and nutritious, but can be a great homegrown (and free) addition to our meals.

Part of the resistance to eating plants that we believe to be weeds, in my opinion, is that we are conditioned to only consider the items we find in the grocery store as food, and not things that the rest of the neighborhood sees as unwelcome invaders in lawns and gardens. And unless we’ve been exposed to eating plants that are seen as common garden weeds, and had them prepared for us, we’re probably not likely to try to eat them on our own. Once in a while, we might come across dandelion greens or purslane for sale in the produce section of the grocery store, or the farmers market, but for the most part, many common edible garden weeds aren’t available anywhere else except for our lawns or garden beds. And that’s a shame.

Although the edible weeds that you can find in your yard might be different ones than the ones I find in my yard, due to weather, soil conditions, and geography, here are some of the most common garden weeds that can be used for both meals and medicine:

1. Dandelion

The quintessential garden and lawn weed, dandelions have a bad reputation among those who want grass that looks as uniform as a golf course, but every part of this common edible weed is tasty both raw and cooked, from the roots to the blossoms. Dandelion leaves can be harvested at any point in the growing season, and while the youngest leaves are considered to be less bitter and more palatable raw, the bigger leaves can be eaten as well, especially as an addition to a green salad. If raw dandelion leaves don’t appeal to you, they can also be steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup, which can make them taste less bitter. The flowers are sweet and crunchy, and can be eaten raw, or breaded and fried, or even used to make dandelion syrup or wine. The root of the dandelion can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute, or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables.

2. Purslane

edible weeds: purslane

Purslane can often be found in moist garden beds, lawns, and shady areas, where it lies close to the ground and often goes unnoticed. This humble garden weed, however, is a nutritional powerhouse, and is outrageously rich in in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. It can be a great addition to a salad or stir-fry, or used to thicken soups or stews. Purslane is a succulent, with a crispy texture, and the leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked to add a peppery flavor to any dish.

3. Clover

Edible weeds: red clover

Other than the occasional four-leafed clover hunt, this common lawn weed goes mostly unnoticed, even though it is becoming popular as a lawn replacement altogether. Clover is an important food for honeybees and bumblebees, and clover leaves and flowers can be used to add variety to human meals as well. Small amounts of raw clover leaves can be chopped into salads, or can be sauteed and added to dishes for a green accent, and the flowers of both red and white clover can be eaten raw or cooked, or dried for tea.

4. Lamb’s Quarters

edible weeds: lamb's quarters

The young shoots and leaves of Lamb’s Quarters (also known as goosefoot) can be eaten raw in any vegetable dish, or sauteed or steamed and used anywhere spinach is called for. The seeds of the Lamb’s Quarters, which resemble quinoa, can also be harvested and eaten, although it takes a lot of patience to gather enough to make it worthwhile as a main dish.

5. Plantain

edible weeds: plantain

This common lawn weed (not to be confused with the tropical fruit also called plantain) is not only a great medicinal plant that can be used topically to soothe burns, stings, rashes, and wounds, but is also a great edible green for the table. The young leaves of plantain can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, or sauteed, and while the older leaves can be a bit tough, they can also be cooked and eaten as well. The seeds of the plantain, which are produced on a distinctive flower spike, can be cooked like a grain or ground into a flour, and are related to the more well-known psyllium seeds, which are sold as a fiber supplement and natural laxative. Note that this is a medicinal plant, so be careful with it.

6. Chickweed

edible weeds: chickweed

This rather unassuming garden weed can be harvested and used for both food and medicine. Chickweed leaves, stems, and flowers can all be eaten either raw or cooked, where it adds a delicate spinach-like taste to any dish. The plant can also be used as a topical poultice for minor cuts, burns, or rashes, and can be made into a tea for use as a mild diuretic.

7. Mallow

edible weeds: mallow

Mallow, or malva, is also known as cheeseweed, due to the shape of its seed pods, and can be found in many lawns or garden beds across the US. The leaves and the seed pods (also called the ‘fruit’) are both edible, either raw or cooked, and like many greens, are often more tender and palatable when smaller and less mature. The older leaves can be used like any other cooked green after steaming, boiling, or sauteing them.

8. Wild Amaranth

edible weeds: amaranth pigweed

The leaves of the wild amaranth, also known as pigweed, are another great addition to any dish that calls for leafy greens, and while the younger leaves are softer and tastier, the older leaves can also be cooked like spinach. The seeds of the wild amaranth can be gathered and cooked just like store-bought amaranth, either as a cooked whole grain or as a ground meal, and while it does take a bit of time to gather enough to add to a meal, they can be a a good source of free protein.

9. Curly Dock

edible weeds: curly dock

Curly dock (also called yellow dock) leaves can be eaten raw when young, or cooked when older, and added to salads or soups. The stems of the dock plant can be peeled and eaten either cooked or raw, and the mature seeds can be boiled, or eaten raw, or roasted to make a coffee substitute. Dock leaves are rather tart, and because of their high oxalic acid content, it’s often recommended to only eat them in moderation, as well as to change the water several times during cooking.

Remember to steer clear of eating plants foraged from near roads; they may be tainted with pollutants. Also do not eat plants that have been treated with garden chemicals.

[Disclaimer: This is not meant as a field guide, so before you start eating the weeds out of your lawn or garden, be sure that you’ve positively identified them as an edible plant, and know how to prepare them. Unless you know for sure, steer clear of plants that grow outside your yard, in places where they may be sprayed or treated, or in places that neighborhood dogs and cats use to do their business.]

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Funeral, Sympathy and Memorial Flowers for Men

Choosing a Flower Arrangement for a Man’s funeral or Memorial service

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you decide on the perfect choice of flowers. While most flower varieties are suitable for a man’s funeral, there are some that are considered as more neutral or a masculine choice. Below we have listed some of the more popular choices for a man’s funeral or memorial service.

In addition to the type of flower and the choice of arrangement there are also colors that are considered more appropriate for men, colors viewed as more masculine. Usually primary colors or neutral colors are considered the best choice. Softer colors like pink, lavender and light blue are often considered as feminine.

While this has been written as a guide, there are no firm rules. Often the best choices are the favorite colors of the departed, or his favorite flowers. For example, for a sports fan you might choose the colors of his favorite team and include a personal item in the arrangement that was special to him. For a gardener you might choose an arrangement that includes his favorite flowers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call. We are always happy to assist you to choose the perfect floral arrangement.

Our Most Popular Funeral flower Choices for Men

All Rose funeral flower tribute with more than 12 dozen roses.
Our #1 choice for men. Roses are a perfect choice for men, and red is a masculine symbol of love. This traditional all rose tribute is the most often chose flowers for a man’s funeral.
Traditional white gladiolus arrangement This traditional gladiolus arrangement is one of our most popular floral arrangements. There are many masculine colors that you can choose from making this an excellent choice for man’s funeral or memorial or as sympathy flowers.
All Rose funeral flower tribute has more than 12 dozen roses
traditional white gladiolus arrangement

Flower Ideas for Men, Dad

Traditional red white and blue The combination of blue, white and red flowers in this traditional basket arrangement is a striking choice for men. This is an excellent choice as a sympathy arrangement or for a funeral, memorial or graveside placement.Celebration Vase of Flowers This large vase is a bright masculine choice, especially for a celebration of life.
Colorful round Memorial Flower WreathThis popular memorial wreath is often ordered for masculine memorials, it features grouping of Bold colors that can be substituted for his favorite colors.
Traditional red white and blue flower Basket
Celabration Vase of Flowers
Colorful round Memorial Flower Wreath
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Floral Friday – The Color Yellow

The official color of joy and sunshine, Yellow is a color proven to make you smile. In the floral world we see yellow in all of its shades, from bright lemon to muted mustard to buttery cream.

Of a the colors on the spectrum yellow is the most difficult for the human eye to take in, meaning that all the versatile shades of yellow will stand out in your design. An all yellow bouquet will make a punchy bold statement and yellow sprinkled throughout an arrangement will bring the eye to that pop of color. Summer is an excellent time for a vast selection of yellow product offerings. Go and spread cheer with yellow!

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The Golden Hour
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How to Make Succulent Cupcakes

These Succulent cupcakes are a fun to way treat anyone who loves succulents! Imagine inviting the kids to help and creating memories as well as delicious cupcakes! o!

How to Make Succulent Cupcakes:

Green, yellow, pink food color (I used McCormick)

{Video} How to make succulent cupcakes!

Begin by baking cupcakes and allow to cool to room temperature. Prepare your buttercream.

Now you can tint your frosting for the succulent cupcakes. I did 3 shades of green; a light, medium, and dark tone. I prepared a dark pink (mauve) and a yellow, then left a little buttercream white. Place all frosting in pastry bags fitted with coupler sets.

How to make a Barrel Cactus out of buttercream!

Barrel Cactus Succulent Cupcake

Tips: #352 with dark green frosting, #225 with yellow frosting, #3 with white frosting

Begin by piping out a tall center tower of frosting. (You can also place a mini cupcake or donut ball on top of the cupcake. Now hold the #352 tip flat against the tower of frosting and apply pressure as you move up. Release pressure at the top and quickly pull the bag away. Repeat.

Now grab the bag with white frosting and the #3 tip. Right on the edge of the green frosting apply a dot of frosting and quickly pull away. These white dots represent the needle on a barrel cactus. I made mine farther apart on the bottom and grouped them closer towards the top. Do this around the entire cupcake.

Finish with a yellow flower on the top of the frosting cactus.

Short Spiky Cactus Succulent Cupcake

Tips #32 with light green

Pipe out a small mound of frosting in the center of the cupcake. Starting at the base of the frosting, squeeze a row of tiny star shapes all the way around the cupcake. Once you have one row of spikes, continue moving up and around the cupcake until you reach the top.

Green and Pink Spiky Cactus Succulent Cupcake

For this version, you will prepare your frosting a bit different. I added both green and pink frosting to one pastry bag. Press an empty pastry bag into a tall kitchen glass. Spread some pink frosting along one side of the bag and then fill in the bag with green frosting.

With the #32 tip, pipe out a small mound of frosting in the center of the cupcake. Starting at the base of the frosting, squeeze a row of tiny star shapes all the way around the cupcake. Once you have one row of spikes, continue moving up and around the cupcake until you reach the top.

Desert Rose Succulent Cupcake

Tip #104 with light green and medium green frosting

Starting at the center of the cupcake, pipe a small mound of light green frosting. Now hold your tip at the base of the mound and apply pressure, moving over the top of the frosting mound. Rotate your cupcake 1/3 way around and repeat. Rotate cupcake another 1/3 way around and repeat. It should resemble the tighter inner petals of a rose. Now, starting at the base of the frosting, apply pressure and move upward slightly over the frosting and pipe another petal. Repeat a few more times and then switch to the medium green frosting. Repeat with the petals around until you almost reach the edge of the cupcake. Now hold the tip against the cupcake and pipe around the entire flower. This is optional but can help create a cleaner edge around the base.

Easy and fun succulents!

After making a few of each design, you will have a strong grasp on how to execute them in different ways.

{VIDEO} on how to make thee fun succulent cupcakes!

Try with different colors and add different tips… the sky is the limit! These Succulent Cupcakes are a really delicious way to impress friends and family.

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Strawflowers

Color Combinations

While the common name of strawflower doesn’t paint a pretty picture, you will understand the name once you feel the coarse, straw-like flowers. The showy petals of this plant aren’t even petals at all, but modified leaves called bracts. These bracts serve to protect the tender flower parts within until they are ready to open and be pollinated—hence their coarse texture and resilient nature. The showy blossoms can often be found in a variety of colors, most commonly warm tones of yellow, orange, and red and sometimes shimmering pink and white. The flowers are held above narrow, green foliage that is often covered in dense hairs. These hairs protect the plant from drying out, making strawflower a suitable plant for dry growing conditions.

Strawflower Care Must-Knows

If you are planning on growing strawflower plants from seed, it is best to start a little earlier than usual. Generally, the ideal time is 6-8 weeks before the final frost date in your area. At this point seedlings can be placed outdoors in well-drained soil. Hailing from tough areas in Australia, they can occasionally be found growing in very dry areas, sometimes even in pure sand. If they are planted in too fertile soil, plants can become overly lush and floppy. However, if planted in containers, plants will appreciate occasional fertilizer to help encourage continuous blooms. When it comes to watering, it is best to keep plants on the drier side as too much moisture will lead to rot.

For the best and brightest colors and the most floriferous display, be sure to plant in full sun. This will also help to prevent flopping and weak stems, which is important when growing cut flower varieties since these types can become quite large. Because the blossoms on strawflowers often look good even when fading, deadheading is not necessary but can help encourage a fresh set of blooms. If left on the plant in warmer climates, the flowers will help reseed and encourage a new generation of plants. If you are planning on cutting strawflowers to dry and use in arrangements, simply cut stems and hang upside down to air dry.

Annuals For Drying

Dried Flowers on coat hanger

Air-dry annuals in bunches upsidedown.

Many annuals are beautiful when dried. Among the best flowers for drying are hollyhock blossoms, zinnias, and cosmos dried in sand or silica gel (found at craft and hobby stores); love-lies-bleeding, prince’s-feather (Amaranthus hybridus var. erythrostachys), cockscomb, and plumed celosia hung upside down and air-dried; and snapdragons dried in silica gel. Most of the ornamental grasses, including hare’s-tail grass (Lagurus ovatus), quaking grass (Briza maxima and B. minor), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), and squirreltail grass (Hordeum jubatum) dry perfectly by hanging bunches upside down in a dry room, but they must be picked when fresh. Don’t forget the leaves of dusty-millers, which are elegant when pressed and dried.

Many annuals can be air-dried by gathering them in bunches and hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated place. Hanging them on a coat hanger works well.

Instructions:

Boxed Marigolds

Drying petaled flowers requires adifferent technique.

1. The classic way to dry flowers is to gather them in small bunches and hang them upside down in a dry, airy place out of direct sun. You might try suspending the flowers from coat hangers.

2. Many-petaled flowers such as zinnias and marigolds often dry best in a desiccant powder like silica gel. Lay the flower heads on a layer of desiccant, then sprinkle more powder over the flowers to cover.

Timesaving Tip: Some annuals will dry perfectly when simply stuck in a bottle. Flowers to dry this way include starflower, statice, globe amaranth, and love-in-a-mist.

More Ways to Dry Annuals

On Wires

Flowers that feel dry and papery are very easy to preserve. The strawflower, for example, has petallike bracts that are firm and brittle. To dry, simply clip the bloom from the plant just beneath the head (the stem doesn’t dry well). Select flowers that are just beginning to open. Right after picking, insert a 20-gauge wire through the stem end of the flower head; stick the other end of the wire into a foam board. Let dry for 3 weeks.

Upside Down

Another flower that’s easy to air-dry is the globe amaranth. Cut the stems when the flowers are just starting to show color and hang them upside down in a dry area for about 3 weeks. Dry baby’s breath, fernleaf yarrow, silver-leaved artemisia, liatris, ammobium, statice, celosia, ‘Victoria Blue’ salvia, hydrangea, and long-stemmed roses in a similar way. These flowers will dry best if you also follow these tips:

  • Cut stems at bouquet length
  • Cut flowers in mid-morning
  • Pick flowers at their peak
  • Put them in a vase of cool water if you can’t hang them to dry right away

In Silica Gel

Some flowers, such as dahlias, zinnias, feverfew, delphiniums, snapdragons, and daisies, dry best in silica gel (found at craft and hobby stores). Place flower heads face up on a 1-inch bed of silica gel crystals in an airtight container. Also, gently shake crystals over flowers, covering completely. Seal container. Leave for two days to one week, checking often to avoid overdrying (flowers will become brittle).

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What to do with Easter Chicks

The adorable, fluffy chick soon hits its gangly adolescent stage, and quickly thereafter advances to full-grown hen or rooster. Then what?

They are so cute! And children’s squeals and pleas are difficult to discount. Annually, thousands of baby chicks and ducks are purchased as Easter gifts. Yet, the adorable, fluffy chick soon hits its gangly adolescent stage, and quickly thereafter advances to full-grown hen or rooster. Then what?

If it is too late – if the deed has already been done – there are do’s and don’ts to consider.

– Do keep the babies watered, fed, warm and protected, instructs tractorsupply.com. Chicks will quickly outgrow a cardboard box and need clean, fresh shavings for bedding.

– Don’t release into the wild. Animal shelters may not take chickens or ducks, only unwanted Easter rabbits, so some individuals believe that to release them is most humane. However, inhabitat.com says these are domestic species and do not have the innate instincts to fend for themselves. They will quickly become prey to house cats, predatory birds or nocturnal creatures such as raccoons, foxes and opossum.

– Do find out zoning laws. Countryside magazine in April pointed out that since chicks and ducks are considered livestock, there may be neighborhood or city rules regarding raising them in residential areas.

– Do plan to have a secure coop with a roost/hen house where “fully-feathered” (mature chicks) and grown chickens and ducks can move around as well as feel safe, instructed Countryside. Even if planning to allow free range in the backyard, a coop is needed as their protection against nighttime predators.

– Do wash hands immediately after handling, as live poultry, especially, may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean, cautions tractorsupply.com.

Chickens and ducks often live for several years – generally five to eight, according to Countryside. Consider the long-term commitment.

If impossible to care for, seek through social media farming sites, or by word of mouth, a rural dweller willing to add the critters — free of charge — to their own broods.

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How to Care For Peonies

image

 

It’s best to buy…

When they are fresh cut and still in bud stage, because it allows you to enjoy the full blooming process. If you get peonies that are already fully open, they will look gorgeous but will only last a few days at most.

Once your peonies are purchased…

1. Quickly process the flowers. Don’t worry if the leaves appear a little limp. They just need some water to perk up!

2. Peonies will usually arrive wrapped in paper. Carefully remove and put the paper wrap aside.

3. Fill up a clean container or vase with at least 3″ to 4″ of room temperature water.

4. With sharp floral shears, cut at least ½” to 1″ off each stem at a diagonal and quickly place it in the water. You’ll want to make sure you remove any foliage that falls below the water line.

5. After you’ve cut each stem,  recommends re-wrapping the paper around the peonies. Depending on your container, you can wrap around the whole vase. This is not necessary, but wrapping around the peonies keeps them upright and enables them to hydrate better.

6. You can remove the paper wrap after 3-4 hours.

7. The rate at which the blooms open will vary and depend on a variety of factors. Some peony varieties (e.g., coral charm) open quickly, while others may take a few days to start. The temperature of the room they are kept in will also affect how quickly they open: warmer room = faster open rate.

8. You’ll want to keep an eye on the water levels as peonies can drink quite a bit of water so you may have to re-fill the vase often. Also, you’ll want to clean and refill the vase and re-cut the stems at least every 2-3 days to maximize vase life.

If you’ve already cut and put the stems in water, don’t worry you can still slow down the process. If you have a fridge big enough, just place the whole vase inside (making sure to keep them away from fruits and vegetables).

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Mothers Day

Mother’s Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. It celebrates motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers.

Is Mother’s Day a Public Holiday?

Mother’s Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, May 12, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in the United States.

Flowers and other gifts are given to mothers on Mother’s Day.©iStockphoto.com/Creativeye99

What Do People Do?

Many people send cards or gifts to their mother or mother figure or make a special effort to visit her. Common Mother’s Day gifts are flowers, chocolate, candy, clothing, jewelry and treats, such as a beauty treatment or trip to a spa. Some families organize an outing for all of their members or hold a special meal at home or in a restaurant. In the days and weeks before Mother’s Day, many schools help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or small gift for their mothers.

Public Life

Mother’s Day is not a federal holiday. Organizations, businesses and stores are open or closed, just as they are on any other Sunday in the year. Public transit systems run to their normal Sunday schedules. Restaurants may be busier than usual, as some people take their mothers out for a treat.

Background

The origins of Mother’s Day are attributed to different people. Many believe that two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis were important in establishing the tradition of Mother’s Day in the United States. Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely initiated Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year and urged others to honor their mothers.

Around 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for Mother’s Day to be celebrated each year to encourage pacifism and disarmament amongst women. It continued to be held in Boston for about ten years under her sponsorship, but died out after that.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother’s Day celebration in memory of her mother, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Jarvis had organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to improve health and cleanliness in the area where she lived. Anna Jarvis launched a quest for Mother’s Day to be more widely recognized. Her campaign was later financially supported by John Wanamaker, a clothing merchant from Philadelphia.

In 1908, she was instrumental in arranging a service in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which was attended by 407 children and their mothers. The church has now become the International Mother’s Day Shrine. It is a tribute to all mothers and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Mother’s Day has become a day that focuses on generally recognizing mothers’ and mother figures’ roles. Mother’s Day has also become an increasingly important event for businesses in recent years. This is particularly true of restaurants and businesses manufacturing and selling cards and gift items.

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Holy Week and the Notre Dame fire

 Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris early on April 16, 2019. Credit: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris early on April 16, 2019.

Paris, France, Apr 16, 2019 / 08:47 am (CNA).- Seeing Notre Dame de Parisburning and threatening to collapse was a shock that left everyone voiceless – including President Emmanuel Macron, who canceled a speech dealing with the social unrest in France over the past few months.

The cathedral towering above the island on the Seine that was the cradle of the city is more than a venerable medieval building, more than an exceptionally beautiful architectural masterpiece. It has been for centuries the heart not only of Paris, but of the whole nation, the place where even atheistic presidents and ministers came to pray because they could not think of anything else to do when France was victorious (in 1918), defeated (in 1940) or liberated (in 1944). It was desecrated during the French Revolution and turned into a temple of the goddess Reason, but Napoleon realized he had to give it back to the Church and be crowned there if he was actually to become an Emperor.

It is also a vibrant reminder of the faith of our ancestors, which shaped the monument and inspired every detail as a facet of God’s revelation and gifts as well as the overall design. It was meant and has survived as a representation of the celestial abode that everyone openly hopes for or secretly dreams of. That something so ancient should defy time and remain so mysteriously meaningful is perceived as a miracle that no science can either deny or explain. This is why even non-believers feel affected. The Paris cathedral is the symbol not just of the Catholic faith, but of the fact that all humans have souls.

Rather strangely, non-Catholics lament more noisily than Catholics. They fear the damage is irreversible. Can it be repaired? How much will it cost? Can it be afforded? A fund has already been started to raise the money that is needed. But will this be enough to restore everything as it was? Is it possible to rebuild the roof’s oak framework that had resisted the elements since the 13th century? Will Notre Dame ever be the same again?

The faithful are less pessimistic, though they quite reasonably could be. The late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger had centered the Paris Archdiocese’s life in and around the cathedral and refashioned the interior with an elegant modern altar in the middle. The loss of all this might seem to be the last blow after all the sex abuse scandals that have hit the Church recently, and all the sociological studies highlighting the plummeting numbers of baptisms, ordinations and religious vocations, or revealing that the younger generations are simply unsure what Christians commemorate at Easter or what a parish is exactly.

On top of it all, this happens just at the beginning of Holy Week, the most sacred time of year for Christians: Where will the Archbishop gather his priests for Chrism Mass? And finally, why did God allow this?

Notre Dame on fire and perhaps unusable for months if not years is undoubtedly a trial. But faith does not allow to see this as a punishment or the confirmation of a decline and fall. There is some comfort to be found in the massive sense of affliction and solidarity of non-believers, since it proves that for them, however irreligious they are, the visible Church is not a mere remnant of the past, but a vital part of the scenery, without which they themselves miss something. Yet, in the end, this support does not make that much of a difference.

What is decisive is the knowledge that Jesus Christ the Groom will never abandon his bride the Church – which does not mean that her faithfulness will never be tested. The Temple on Mount Zion was destroyed, rebuilt and destroyed again. St. Peter’s in Rome was plundered several times. The crusaders lost Jerusalem.  What ultimately matters is not the signifier (the cathedral), but the signified (God’s glory) which remains forever fertile and will forever inspire those who long for it.

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Rose Quartz

rose-quartz pantone 2016

“Rose Quartz, a persuasive yet gentle tone…conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Like a serene sunset, flushed cheek or budding flower, Rose Quartz reminds us to reflect on our surroundings during the busy but lighthearted spring and summer months.”

  • Cherry Blossom – Cherry blossoms were first brought to the US from Japan in the early 20th century as a gift from the Japanese government. They were planted along the Potomac and on White House grounds. Cherry blossoms are still cherished today and are commemorated with annual festivals in Washington DC and throughout the US. Cherry trees grow fast, but usually, don’t live more than 20 years and are prone to diseases and pest damage. To reduce the risk of diseases and pests be sure not to let mulch pile up against the tree, to remove dead or diseased wood, and to dispose of trimmings away from the tree.
  • Peony – Peonies are lush flowers that bloom from April to May or June depending on their variety. They thrive in hardiness zones 3 through 8 and generally start to grow after the winter frost has passed and temperatures reach 65 or 70 degrees. They should not be planted more than 1.5 to 2 inches below the soil line, and do best in full sun and well-draining soil. Peonies are known to be long-lasting perennials and generally require little maintenance, though they rarely do well after being transplanted.
  • Camellia – Camellias are evergreen shrubs originally from eastern and southern Asia. They have become popular in America, especially in the South, where they are Alabama’s state plant. Camellia buds take about half a year to develop, and blossom from fall to early spring. It is best to prune the shrubs after they flower. Camellias grow best in partial shade and are deer resistant. When watering, it is best to moisten the entire root ball, then let dry before watering again.
  • Mountain Laurel – Mountain laurels are evergreen shrubs and trees that are native to the eastern United States. They are the state flower of both Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Mountain laurel bloom from late spring to early summer and the flowers are often shades of pink, white, and purple. They grow best in partial shade with slightly acidic, well-draining soil, and should be planted so that their crown is not buried. The plants are poisonous to most animals if ingested.
  • Deutzia – Deutzia is a genus of flowering shrubs with around 60 different species. Most species are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves seasonally, but some are evergreen. They are native to Central America and Asia — the widest variety of species is found in China. Deutzia plants bloom throughout spring, and do best in full sunlight, though they can also survive in partial shade. They are deer resistant and relatively low maintenance.
  • Dogwood – Dogwood trees are deciduous trees native to the eastern United States. They bloom from two to four weeks at the beginning of spring, and their flowers range from pink to red to white. If they fail to bloom during the spring, that may be because there is too much nitrogen in the soil, too much or too little sunlight, cold weather, or lack of water. Dogwoods do best in partial shade and should be watered once a week so that the soil is soaked to 6 inches deep.

rsuasive yet gentle tone…conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Like a serene sunset, flushed cheek or budding flower, Rose Quartz reminds us to reflect on our surroundings during the busy but lighthearted spring and summer months.”

peach-echo pantone 2016

Peach Echo

“Peach Echo [is] a shade that emanates friendlier qualities, evoking warmth and accessibility. It is an all-encompassing, tempered companion in the playful orange family.”

  • Pink Tulip – Tulips bloom from March to May, depending on what variety they are. They are popular spring flowers because they come in nearly every color from bright red to light pink to dark purple and because they are perennials, meaning that they’ll come back year after year. Tulips do best in full sun, or at least six hours of sunlight a day. Though single tulips — tulips that bear one flower on each stem– are most popular, there are many other visually interesting varieties including double tulips, lily-flowered tulips, and fringed tulips.
  • Daylily – Daylilies are native to Asia, but have been hybridized in the United States and England so that they now come in nearly every color of the rainbow and in a variety of shapes. They are hardy perennials that are able to adapt to a variety of conditions and have relatively few pests and disease problems. Though they grow best in full sun, the can also grow in partial shade. Generally, they bloom in late spring to early summer.
  • Geranium – Geraniums, also known as cranesbill, are popular indoor and outdoor plants that come in annual, biennial, and perennial varieties, though perennials are most popular for the garden. Depending on the variety, they can bloom in spring, early summer, or fall. They do best in full sunlight and should be watered regularly letting the soil dry between waterings. Geraniums can be propagated easily — the best time to propagate is in spring or summer.
  • Garden Rose – There are two main categories of garden roses: Modern Garden Roses and Old Garden Roses. Modern Roses were bred after 1867, and include hybrid tea roses, which are popular cut roses. Modern Garden roses bloom continuously, come in a variety of colors, and have a large bloom size and long vase life, but lack fragrance. Old Garden Roses are a traditional class of roses bred before the arrival of the hybrid rose in 1867. They typically bloom once a year during the summer months.
serenity pantone 2016

Serenity

“Weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, Serenity comforts with a calming effect, bringing a feeling of respite even in turbulent times. A transcendent blue, Serenity provides us with a naturally connected sense of space.”

  • Bluestar – Bluestar, also known as amsonia, is named after its powder blue, star-shaped flowers. It’s a treasured perennial not only because of its unique flowers that bloom throughout spring, but also because of its beautiful foliage, which turns golden in the fall. Bluestar is native to North America, and does best in full sun. It is best if the soil is kept constantly moist, but overall it’s a relatively low-maintenance plant and is deer-resistant.
  • Sweet Pea – Sweet peas are often associated with the color pink and their enticing fragrance, but sweet peas also bloom in shades of red, purple, and blue. Some species are climbing annuals that can be trained onto a support system, while other dwarf varieties are non-climbers that grow well in beds and borders. Sweet peas commonly bloom in the spring, though they can also bloom in the summer and fall depending on the climate. They grow best in full to partial shade with moist, well-draining soil. Sweet peas are relatively cold hardy plants, and usually aren’t damaged by light frost.
  • Bellflower – Bellflowers are known for their diversity in color and growth habits. In some species, the flowers grow extremely tall, while in others the flowers grow close to the ground. Common colors are blue, purple, white, and pink. Most popular bellflowers are perennials, though a few are annuals and biennials. They bloom in spring and summer, and do best if planted in full sun to partial shade with moist, well-draining soil.
  • Forget-Me-Not – Forget-me-nots are low-maintenance wildflowers that self-seed. Because of this, once they’re planted one place in your garden, they’re likely to invade other parts, which is why they’re often planted as groundcover. Most forget-me-nots are biennials. They bloom from late spring to early summer, and produce blue, white, and pink flowers. Forget-me-nots prefer cool environments, and do best in lightly shaded areas with moist soil.
  • Muscari – Muscari, also known as grape hyacinth because of its purple clusters that resemble grapes, are great for attracting pollinators to your garden. The bright blue varieties are most common, though they also come in shades of white, pink, and yellow. Muscari grow from bulbs that should be planted in well-draining soil about three to four inches deep in the fall. The flowers will bloom in the spring and do best in full sun.
snorkel-blue pantone 2016

Snorkel Blue

“A maritime-inspired blue, Snorkel Blue plays in the navy family, but with a happier, more energetic content. The name alone implies a relaxing vacation and encourages escape. It is striking yet still, with lots of activity bursting from its undertones.”

  • Gentiana Verna – Gentiana verna, also known as the spring gentiana, is native to the mountainous parts of Europe. As an alpine plant, it grows well in rock beds and troughs and is very hardy. Gentiana verna is known for its vibrant blue, star-shaped flowers that bloom throughout spring. It does best in full sunlight, but can also survive in light shade, and thrives in gritty soil. Gentiana verna should be kept constantly moist.
  • Delphinium – Delphiniums are perennials that are known for their spikes of showy flowers that bloom in shades of blue, pink, white, and purple. They do well in full to partial shade and start to bloom in late spring into summer. They thrive in areas that have moist, cool summers, as they do not do well in hot, dry climates or in climates with harsh wind or rain. Soil should be kept moist at all times. Dwarf delphiniums grow to around two feet tall, while other varieties can grow up to six feet.
  • Morning Glory – Morning glories are known for their distinctive funnel-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves. These vines grow rapidly, and can be used to cover fences and trellises. They bloom in late spring and summer with flowers ranging from red to yellow to purple. Most morning glories are annuals, though some re-seed themselves. They do best in full sun, but can withstand light shade as well as poor soil.
  • Primrose – Primroses are the first perennials to bloom in spring — some actually start blooming in late winter. With proper care, they will reappear every spring for years. They grow to around six inches tall, and their flowers are commonly shades of ivory and yellow, though some varieties also bloom in shades of pink, purple, red, and blue. Primroses do best in partial shade with well-draining soil. Soil that doesn’t drain well can cause crown rot or root rot.

Buttercup

buttercup pantone 2016

“While the majority of Spring/Summer palette trends toward calmness, a few diversions from the theme emerge that offer a contrast. With Buttercup, designers reveal a shining beacon transporting its wearer to a happier, sunnier place.”

  • Yellow Trillium – Trilliums are also known as the trinity flower because they have three leaves, three sepals, and three petals. They are native to North America and Asia, and bloom in early to mid spring. There are over 40 species of trillium, and the flowers come in nearly every color. They are woodland plants, so they do best in shaded areas with moist, well-draining soil. Some species of trillium are threatened or endangered, making it illegal to pick certain types of wild trillium.
  • Daffodil – Daffodils are hardy perennials with around 60 species in a variety of colors, forms, and sizes. Their bright, trumpet-shaped flowers bloom in spring and grow to be about a foot or foot and a half tall. Daffodils do best in full sunlight or partial shade and neutral or slightly acidic soil. They require minimal plant care, and are resistant to many types of animals including deer, rabbits, squirrels, and rodents.
  • Freesia – Freesias are zygomorphic, which means the flowers only grow on one side of the stem. They often bloom in spring and summer, and come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, pink, red, blue, and purple. The plants grow from corms, which are similar to bulbs. The corms store the plant’s food in the basal plate, which is also where the roots grow from. Freesias grow well in full sun or partial shade. You’ll know you’re overwatering them if the leaves start turning yellow.
  • Pansy – Pansies are viola hybrids. They are hardy flowers that can often survive over winter and bloom into spring. To help the pansies survive the cold, it is best to plant them in early fall, and use medium sized flowers rather than large flowers. Pansies are often treasured for their multi-colored flowers. Though they are perennials, they are usually planted as annuals or biennials. Pansies do best in full sun or partial shade.
  • Golden Columbine – Golden columbine is native to the southwestern United States. It’s a herbaceous perennial that blooms from late spring to late summer and grows between one to three feet tall. Its bright yellow flowers are distinctive because of their five spurs that project backwards between the sepals. Golden columbine flowers are named after the Latin word for dove, columbinus, because their flowers resemble a cluster of five doves. It does best in partial to full shade, but can also tolerate full sun in cooler climates.
  • Forsythia – Forsythia are deciduous shrubs native to eastern Asia and southeastern Europe. They are known for their full, fountain-shaped branches, and can grow to be up to ten feet tall and ten feet wide at maturity. Bright yellow flowers cover the tree at peak bloom, which is in late winter or early spring. They do best with full sun and well draining soil, and should be pruned right after they have finished blooming.

Limpet Shell

limpet-shell pantone 2016

“A shade of aqua that leans toward the green family, Limpet Shell is clear, clean and defined. Suggestive of clarity and freshness, its crisp and modern influences evoke a deliberate, mindful tranquility.”

  • Scilla – The scilla plant is known for its bright blue flowers, though it also blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. It is a perennial that grows from small bulbs and blooms during the spring. There are about 90 species of scilla, siberian squill being the most popular. They can grow well in full sun to partial shade, and should be planted in well draining soil. These plants are deer resistant and relatively hardy, but they’re poisonous if ingested.
  • Calla Lily – Calla lilies are known for their heart-shaped leaves and prominent spadices. They are not actual lilies, but rather members of the Araceae family. These herbaceous perennials grow from rhizomes, which are underground plant stems that produce the shoot and root system. They are usually planted in spring after the frost has passed, and bloom in late spring and summer. Calla lilies are commonly white, making them a popular flower to dye vibrant colors. They do best in full sunlight, but can also survive in partial shade.
  • Hydrangea – Hydrangeas are shrubs that produce lush groups of flowers. Though most bloom during the summer, oakleaf hydrangeas start blooming in late spring. Hydrangeas are known for their vibrant colors, commonly blue, pink, or green. White hydrangeas can be easily dyed or tinted, allowing them to take on colors that are hard to find naturally. Many hydrangeas do well in partial shade, though the amount of sunlight needed varies by species. They should be watered often so that the soil is always moist, but not overly wet.

Lilac Gray

lilac-gray pantone 2016

“As in most any season, the need for neutrals arises. Essentially a basic, the subtlety of the lilac undertone in Lilac Gray adds a distinctive edge to this classy gray shade.”

  • Dusty Miller – Dusty millers are hardy perennials whose small, golden flowers bloom in mid-summer. However, its silvery foliage, which is often used by florists, grows throughout the year. The silvery fur on its leaves allows it to hold a lot of water. In mild climates, the plant grows until the first frost, then reappears in the spring. In cooler climates, dusty millers are often grown as annuals. It does well when planted in full sun or partial shade.
  • Echeveria – Echeveria are a group of rosette-shaped succulents native to Mexico. They can grow throughout the year in warm climates, and do best in hardiness zones 8-11. People are often attracted to echeverias because of of their unique coloration, which ranges from red to green to blue. Some species bloom, like Echeveria pallida, bloom in the spring, though the plants are valued for their leaves rather than their flowers. Echeveria are drought-resistant, and produce baby plants which nest against their mother and are easy to propagate.

Fiesta

fiesta pantone 2016

“The high energy Fiesta is a harbinger of excitement, encouraging free-spirited exploration to unknown but welcoming locales. A strong and fiery, yellow-based Red, the vivid Fiesta provides a stark contrast to the calming, softer nature of this season’s palette.”

  • Amaryllis – Amaryllis are popular flowers to give around the holidays because when planted indoors, they can bloom in mid-winter. There are only two species of amaryllis. These perennials are often transplanted to the garden in spring, or planted as bulbs in September to January for a spring bloom. Red and pink amaryllis flowers are most popular. They do best in full sun or partial shade with well-draining soil, and are deer resistant.
  • Mandevilla – Mandevilla, also known as rocktrumpet, is a flowering vine that is often grown along trellises or garden walls. It’s native to tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America, so it does best in warm climates, specifically hardiness zones 9 and 10. It can’t tolerate temperatures below 45 degrees. The plants bloom from spring to fall with red, white, or pink flowers. They do best in sandy, well-draining soil.
  • Butterfly Pentas – Butterfly pentas are rich in nectar, so they are often planted to attract butterflies or hummingbirds. They are also known as Egyptian starflowers because of their star-shaped flowers. They do best in warm environments, like hardiness zones 9 and above. They bloom continuously from spring to first frost, which is part of what makes these plants so popular. They grow best in full sun, but will also grow in partial shade.
  • Beardtongue – There are about 270 species of beardtongue, which are native to both North America and East Asia. These perennials require heat to bloom, and often start to flower in late spring and early summer — under ideal conditions they will continuously bloom until late summer. They are often planted to attract hummingbirds to the garden. Beardtongue do best when planted in full sun with well-draining soil.
  • Poppy – There are over 70 species of poppies which include annuals, biennials, and perennials. In his book entitled Poppies, Christopher Grey-Wilson hypothesized that poppies got their names either from the sound of chewing the seeds, or from the Celtic world papa, meaning a liquid food for infants, because poppy juice used to be fed to infants to help them sleep. Poppies should be planted in early spring, and will bloom in late spring and summer. They do best in full sun to partial shade, and will often self-sow.

Iced Coffee

iced-coffee pantone 2016

“A transitional color that will take us through the seasons, Iced Coffee manifests as another strong neutral for the season. With its natural earthy quality, the softness and subtlety of Iced Coffee creates a stable foundation when combined with the rest of this season’s palette.”

  • Pussy Willow – Pussy willows are relatively easy trees to grow, though they have deep, spreading roots and should not be planted next to pipes or water lines. These roots allow them to hold soil in place, making them a great choice for erosion control. Pussy willows grow best in full sun with constant water. The trees start to bud in late winter or early spring with white, furry catkins, which later develop into light yellow flowers.
  • Baby’s Breath – Baby’s breath is a popular ornamental flower that’s native to Eurasia. It is a herbaceous perennial that can grow up to four feet tall. It’s listed as a noxious weed in some states including California and Washington because of its invasive nature. However, it’s extremely popular as a bouquet filler, and is often tinted or dried to fit a color scheme. It does best in full sun, blooms in late spring and summer, and is deer resistant.
  • Curly Willow – The curly willow, or corkscrew willow, got its name from its unique branches which twist into curls as they grow. Curly willows have shallow roots that stay close to the surface, so they are not fitting to plant near sidewalks and will not stay firmly rooted in poor weather. These trees reach up to 30 feet at maturity. They are enjoyed throughout the year. In spring they bloom, in fall the foliage turns bright yellow, and in winter they shed their leaves showcasing their unique branches.

Green Flash

green-flash pantone 2016

“Green Flash calls on its wearer to explore, push the envelope and escape the mundane, radiating an openness that combines with the rest of the palette in unexpected but serendipitous ways. The popularity of this brilliant hue is representative of nature’s persistent influence even in urban environments, a trend continuing to inspire designers.”

  • Snowball Viburnum – Snowball viburnum is a shrub that is named for its clustered, white flowers, which bear resemblance to snowballs. The flower clusters start out as a bright green, but get lighter as they mature, and fade to a slight pink as they age. Snowball viburnum blooms in late spring into summer, and can grow over ten feet tall. It does best in full sun with well-drained, slightly acidic soil, but will also tolerate partial shade and alkaline soil.
  • Hellebore – There are about 22 species of hellebore plants. One of the most popular is an oriental hybrid, commonly called the Lenten rose, because it blooms around the beginning of lent. These perennials bloom in late winter or early spring and are relatively low-maintenance. The color of their flowers range from green to pink to red to purple, and are often fragrant and long-lasting. Though they are deer-resistant, they are also poisonous and should not be ingested. They grow best in full or partial shade.
  • Fritillaria – Fritillaria are part of the lily family. They have unique, nodding, bell-cupped flowers and can grow up to four feet tall, towering over many other spring flowers. They bloom in nearly every color, and some are even multi-colored with unique patterns. Fritillaria bulbs should be planted in moist soil and in full sun or partial shade. They are relatively hardy and resist deer, squirrels, and rodents.
  • Lycaste Orchid – There are four main subgroups under the Lycaste genus: Deciduosae, Longisepalae, Macrophyllae, and Fimbriatae. Of those, Deciduosae and Macrophyllae are the most common. They are typically found in temperate regions of Mexico and South and Central America. They’re also popular houseplants and often used in floral arrangements. Lycaste orchids are known for their triangular flowers, which bloom in spring.