Funeral Flowers Can Bring Comfort and Peace

With Memorial Day approaching, we turn our thoughts to those of sympathy or funeral flowers. When we find ourselves with the occasion of sending flowers to a grieving family, it’s important to know what to send and where to send them. Funeral flowers and sprays are an excellent choice for sending directly to the house of worship, funeral home or graveside for the service itself. Sympathy flowers, on the other hand, are better sent directly to the home of the family that is in mourning. The floral artisans at VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center have created some amazing funeral flowers that can bring comfort and peace during such a difficult time. 

Read More

Mom’s Favorite Blooms for Mother’s Day

It’s almost time to celebrate some of the most special people in the world. Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this is a fabulous time to express your joy and gratitude for all of the ways your mom has always dedicated herself to you. Honor moms with a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers or original blooms in her favorite colors. The floral experts at VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center are creating some amazing floral designs specifically for mothers on Mother’s Day this year. Take a look at all of our excellent choices and find something perfect for your mom this year.

Read More

Easter Flowering Plants

“The beautiful spring came, and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”

~Harriet Ann Jacobs

Now that Easter is upon us, we are excited about celebrating this beautiful holiday in the coming weeks. Not only do we look forward to Easter itself and all of the bright, beautiful colors, fragrances and joy that come with spring flowers and other Easter treats, but we also look forward to the Easter celebrations. We’d o remind parishioners to pick up your palm fronds for Palm Sunday the week before Easter, as well as beautiful floral bouquets to celebrate this holiday. The floral designers at Vandersalm’s Floweshop and Garden Center are currently featuring our pink, blue and white hyacinths and blue and pink hydrangea plants as part of our Easter flowering plants collection this spring. 

Read More

Fresh Designs For Spring Proms

The end of the school year is approaching, and it’s almost time for spring dances and prom. What a wonderful time for students to celebrate all they have accomplished this year and to have one last hurrah with classmates and friends before summertime hits. Prom is a big deal and we know you want to look your best for this event. Talk to the floral designers at VanderSalm’s Flower Shop & Garden Center about our fresh designs for spring proms and choose amazing corsages and boutonnieres to style your outfit perfectly. You and your date will show up looking amazing when you wear some of the freshest, most stylish flowers around.

Read More

Welcome Spring With Bulb Flowers

Now that spring has arrived we are eager to celebrate all things pastel, fresh and new. The colors and fragrances of spring are invigorating and inspire fresh new thoughts. Welcome spring and surround yourself with beautiful spring flowers to fully enjoy this gorgeous season. The floral designers it VanderSalm‘s Flowershop & Garden Center have a fabulous spring collection of fresh new designs that you’ll love. Take a look at some of the best and brightest among our spring florals and fill your home or office with the colors and fragrance of spring.

Read More

Promote Achievements on International Women’s Day

As we prepare for International Women’s Day this year, the floral designers at VanderSalm‘s Flowershop & Garden Center are happy to help you support the women in your life with a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers. International Women’s Day is a global movement dedicated to promoting gender equality in all walks of life. While the movement does not adhere to any particular organization or nationality, this is a day where women everywhere  celebrate their achievements and strides made towards gender parity in the past century. Who are the women in your life that should be celebrated for their dynamic leadership and positive influence on the world around them? Teachers, mentors and anyone who guides others towards a brighter future should be honored. Promote achievements on International Women’s Day by sending the women you know a floral bouquet to recognize everything they’ve done and hope to do.

Read More

Shower Them With Affection This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that means it’s time to think about what to send our loved ones to show them love. While we often think about our partner or significant other, it’s also a great opportunity to show affection to all of our loved ones. Your mom, for example, has always been there for you. Tell her how meaningful your relationship is with a beautiful delivery or surprise treat at Valentine’s Day. The floral designers at VanderSalm’s Flowershop are creating some fabulous Valentine’s Day gift baskets and floral bouquets that your mom will love.

Read More

A Gardener’s To-Do List For October

A Gardener’s To-Do List For October

A Gardener’s To-Do List For October

A Gardener’s To-Do List For October: October is harvest season: Apples, carrots, tomatoes and a whole host of other – equally important – fruit & veg ripens around now, so those of us with a vegetable garden will be rushed off our feet for the next few weeks!

Not that people without a vegetable plot have an easy time this month. With winter frosts fast approaching, October is your last real chance to divide up overgrown perennials, harvest seed heads and prepare your garden for the cold months ahead.

As such, you’ll probably spend a considerable amount of time clearing, pruning, planting and potting; regardless of your garden’s size or contents.

October is also a great time to sit back and take stock of your space. With the trees bare and borders empty, it’s much easier to get a real look at your garden’s structure, composition, and layout, which is why we often find ourselves using the last weeks of fall to make note of any changes we’d like to implement next spring.

This could be small things – like a new color scheme – or larger tasks, like repositioning a border or replanting a neglected space down at the end of your plot. Ultimately, the important thing is to take a step back and think about what you’d like to do differently next year.

It’s not all clean-up and reflection though: There’s also plenty to plant in October, and a few miscellaneous tasks – like repainting garden furniture – that are often neglected in the pre-winter rush.

To help you make the most of this busy month, we’ve pulled together a list of essential gardening tasks, as follows:

1. Divide perennials

Perennial plants like hostas, daylilies or yarrow have a habit of taking over borders, particularly if they’ve been allowed to grow unchecked for a couple of years.

You can’t divide these plants in the middle of summer, because they’re spending too much energy on new growth to recover properly. Fall is a different matter entirely though: At this time of year, delicate perennials concentrate spare resource in the frost-proof roots, and focus on building a strong safety net that will support them until spring.

This means that you can safely dig up (and divide) crowded perennials in October. To do this, pick a plant and lift it from the soil with a trowel or garden fork, taking care not to damage too much of the plant’s root network.

Once you’ve lifted your perennial from the soil, you can then tease the roots apart, forming two separate plants. Some perennials (including hostas) tend to develop quite thick root networks so you may need to use a bit of force, but many will just break apart in your hands, which makes it nice and easy to divide them.

Try to aim for equal division (i.e. splitting the plant in half) as this maximizes the chances of survival.

Once you’ve broken your plant in two, you can replant one half, and then find a suitable spot for the rest. Take care to cover newly-planted perennials with a little leaf mulch too, just to make sure they’re well-protected against early frosts.

2. Harvest seed heads

Alliums, poppies and a number of different wildflowers all disperse their seeds in October. If you want to enjoy these flowers again next year, now is the perfect time to get out there, and gather their seed heads.

These seed heads (literally, the part of the plant that’s covered in seeds) can be teased away from the stem and stored in a brown paper bag. If you keep this bag warm and dry until next year, you’ll be able to plant the seeds in spring, and then watch a new generation of flowers spring up from the ground.

Take care when gathering seed heads though: Some have a tendency to explode if their over-handled, and it’s important to be as gentle as you can with any ripe seeds.

3. Harvest vegetables

As mentioned before, October is harvest season, and those of us with a vegetable plot are likely to be inundated with fresh vegetables. Particular highlights include late-fruiting apples, root vegetables like carrots, broccoli, sprouts, and collard greens.

Beans need to be harvested in October too – particularly green, broad or runner varieties – as frost will ruin their flavor.

The same is also true of beets, cabbages, lettuces and that old seasonal favorite: The pumpkin, which will be at its ripest in the middle of October.

4. Dig out the last of the summer annuals

Speaking of removing things before they decline, there’s a good chance that most of your summer annuals are dead by now. There is a slight environmental benefit to leaving some of the wilted stalks sitting in your borders; they provide a habitat for small creatures and a unique biome for insect life, but they are also unsightly, and October’s the perfect time to swing around, and dig most of them up.

This will leave your borders bare for leaf mulch, or provide you with space to plant some late blooming alternatives. The chrysanthemum is a great example, but you could also plant out

5. Bring potted plants indoors

Temperatures start to drop rapidly as we move into fall, particularly here in Michigan. Plants in borders have a bit of added protection against frost and snow, but plants in pots are very vulnerable to sudden cold snaps.

As such, it is highly recommended that you bring citrus plants, olive trees or potted, outdoor plants indoors at this time of year. For best results, leave them by a window or door to make sure that they get enough sunlight, and water them occasionally throughout the winter.

Do take care to ensure that they are well drained though. There’s much less chance of water evaporating when plants are kept indoors, and it is easy to accidentally waterlog plants that normally live outside.

6. Paint outdoor furniture

Last but not least, October is the perfect time to repaint worn garden furniture. Regular weatherproofing extends the lifespan of all wooden furniture, and it’s important to get a fresh coat down every year – particularly if you can’t store tables and chairs indoors over winter.

You need to get this paint on before the cold weather sets in though; frost, damp and rain will stop varnish drying properly, and increase the risk of your furniture warping.

If you’d like to chat about winter-proofing your garden or ask questions about any of the advice given here, please drop us a message using the contact form on our site. We’re passionate about all things garden-related, and we’re always happy to offer friendly advice to people in and around Michigan.

5 Proven Benefits of Having Floral Arrangements in Your Office or Home

5 Benefits of Floral Arrangements

5 Proven Benefits of Having Floral Arrangements in Your Office or Home

We’ve been arranging flowers since the dawn of time. In fact, archeological evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians decorated tombs and churches with delicate floral bouquets; and written history shows that pretty much every culture on earth has taken part in the practice of flower arranging at some point in time.
For many years, we just assumed that humanity’s obsession with floral arrangements was a direct consequence of natures beauty: Flowers are bright, vibrant and delicate, so it seemed reasonable to assume that we’d be drawn to them for purely aesthetic reasons.
Recent science points to a deeper link though. Research carried out by Rutgers University and a handful of other, equally well-renowned research institutions suggests that flowers actually elicit a direct response from our brains: Triggering cascades of happy chemicals and keeping stress at bay.
If you were looking for an excuse to fill your home or office with floral arrangements, we’ve listed 5 proven benefits below:
1. Flowers boost your mood
A 10-month study conducted by Dr. Haviland-Jones of Rutgers University has shown that viewing flowers instantly elevates your mood.
During the study in question, participants were given flowers at random intervals and then asked to report their levels of satisfaction or well-being. Almost everyone involved in the study said that they felt happier after receiving flowers, and a substantial amount also reported feelings of elation, excitement, and gratitude.
To Dr. Haviland-Jones, this suggests that seeing flowers could trigger the release of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in our brain, and the effects are so profound that scientists are now exploring the use of flowers as a genuine treatment for depression and anxiety
2. Floral arrangements promote peaceful relaxation
There’s a reason that chamomile and lavender essential oils are used to promote relaxation: Many of the natural scents produced by flowers have a calming effect on the body, and breathing in the smell of a floral arrangement has been shown to trigger the release of feel-good chemicals that can help you to unwind.
A research paper published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology also showed that just viewing a bunch of 30 unscented roses could help to reduce your heart rate.
The exact mechanism that delivers this effect isn’t fully understood, but researchers think that being able to reconnect with nature and observe something detached from the stresses of our busy modern lives is enough to promote relaxation in its own right, and we’d be hard-pressed to argue!
3. Flowers aid memory and recall
Tests conducted by the  University of Lübeck show that the scents produced by certain flowers could also aid in memory formation.
In fact, people exposed to the scent of roses were shown to have a higher-than-average chance of recalling information that they were given moments before being exposed to the scent, and scientists are now exploring opportunities to use floral scents as long-term memory boosters.
This doesn’t mean that filling your office with flowers will stop you from forgetting your keys, but it does mean that consistent exposure to some flowers could help your brain to build strong neural pathways, and develop more memories.
4. Floral arrangements encourage socialization 
A study published in Evolutionary Psychology showed that giving people a flower while traveling with them in an elevator encouraged positive social interactions and a greater chance of bonding behavior.
These findings were tested by replicating the study with promotional pens and other gifts, but no other item was found to be as effective as a flower, suggesting that nature’s blooms hold a special ability to encourage socialization.
Whether this is because we find them comforting, uplifting or relaxing isn’t really known yet, but you can still take advantage of their natural powers by placing flower arrangements in rooms to encourage social behavior.
5. Flowers encourage creative thinking
An eight-month study conducted by Texas A&M University showed that employees performed better in a variety of creativity tests if they viewed flowers before starting. Again, this could be linked to the naturally-uplifting nature of flowers or some deep-seated chemical response, but the point is that if you want to encourage creativity in the office or home, a bunch of fresh flowers may be an effective solution.
These results were tested using a variety of different flowers too, so it’s up to you how you decorate!
If you have any questions about the studies that we’ve cited here, or you want to know more about decorating with flowers, we’d be more than happy to help you out. We have years of experience with flower arrangements, and we’d be well-placed to help you create a stunning visual centerpiece for the office or home.
We’d also be more than happy to discuss the benefits of flowers with you – just drop us a message using the contact form on our site, and a member of our team will be in touch.

A Gardener’s To-Do List For September

A Gardener’s To-Do List

A Gardener’s To-Do List

Gardener’s To-do list: It’s not quite harvesting time, but September is still a great month for those of us with veggie gardens. Potatoes, marrows, and onions all come into their own at this time of year, and it’s also the perfect time to pick apples – particularly if you’re growing McIntosh, Honeycrisp or Empire varieties.

It’s not all about the fruit and veg though: September is also the best possible time to start planting out your borders with hardy, spring-blooming bulbs like snowdrops, tulips or daffodils.

There is lots to be done to the lawn too, and there’s even a little bit of planting for those of us who are feeling adventurous and want to see some fresh color come October/November.

When all’s said and done, September’s a month for preparing; a time to focus on laying the groundwork for future beauty. But it’s also a great time to get out there and get stuck in your garden, and it’s certainly one of the more rewarding months for those of us that like to tackle big projects

1. Harvesting Veggies

As mentioned above, September is the perfect time to pull up any onions that you’ve been growing. It’s also the perfect time to pick tomatoes, runner beans, and rhubarb. All of these vegetables have grown as big as they’re going to get, and harvesting them now means that you’ll be able to enjoy them at their ripest.

September’s also the best time to pull up any potatoes. They should be flowering by now and leaving them in any longer increases the risk of slug damage.

2. Replacing ragged annuals

On the subject of harvesting, you may have noticed that a fair few of your annuals are looking a little ragged now that the best months of summer have passed. This is the perfect time to pluck them out of your borders and neaten up in preparation for the cooler weather.

Don’t worry about things looking bare either; there are plenty of things to plant in their stead. Chrysanthemums, Goldenrod, and Japanese Anemone are all great examples of flowers that thrive in fall weather, and they’re all quite forgiving too.

Plant a few different varieties and you’ll be guaranteed a spectacular show that should last right through to November, even here in Michigan!

3. Planting Spring-blooming bulbs

Many flower bulbs can be planted in September. This includes popular choices like Tulips, and some of our personal favorites, like snowdrops and daffodils.

The bulbs will lie dormant in the winter months and then burst into life come early spring – providing a little bit of color long before most perennials are ready to start flowering.

If you plant a few different types of spring-blooming bulb, you can even create a staggered effect; ensuring a cascade of semi-permanent color that’ll last from March through to June, when your regular favorites are coming into their own.

It’s good to get your bulbs in the ground nice and early too – after all, there’s nothing worse than waiting until the first frosts have set in, and finding that you’ve got to dig through half-frozen soil to get them planted.

4. Feeding your lawn

It might sound counterintuitive, but September’s also the perfect time to apply some lawn feed. Liberal use of a specially-formulated, fall fertilizer will help to repair a lot of the damage done over the summer months and winterize your grass; giving the roots a bit of a boost so that they’re capable of withstanding the vagaries of a real Michigan winter.

If there’s a lot of thatch down, you may also consider scarification, although this is a bit more risky, as it damages the grass and there might not be quite enough good weather left to guarantee a full recovery.

5. Cover your pond

This one’s fairly self-explanatory: Most ponds don’t fare well if they’re left uncovered all winter. They’re a magnet for falling leaves and some species of cold-resistant algae tend to flourish in the gloomy months of mid-winter. As such, we’d always recommend covering your pond in September and leaving it covered until you’re ready to enjoy it again in March/April.

6. Plant the last of your cold-season vegetables

Finally, September’s the last chance that you have to sow any cold-season vegetables – Most of which you’ll be able to harvest in late November/early December.

It might seem counterintuitive to plant vegetables at this time of year, but trust us, spinach, broad beans, carrots and even some strains of asparagus will thrive in the early months of fall, and getting them in the ground now means that you’ll have a steady supply of home-grown produce all year round.

September’s a great time to plant any garlic bulbs too. They’ll lie dormant over winter, and start growing again come spring.

If you have any questions about fall-friendly flowers, or you want to know more about any of the tips listed here, do please get in touch! We’re always happy to offer help to anyone that shares our passion for gardening, and we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a message via the contact form on our site and one of our team members will get in touch.