6 Golden Principles of Design


Repetition: By using a repetition of color and form, you create movement and flow through the space.

Variety: Choosing a variety of textures and shades of color will create an element of fascination and intrigue, so that the eye will want to keep looking around.

Balance: A balance of different elements will create harmony within the space. For example, if you use bold, clashing colors, set them against a calming background of green to harmonize the combination.

Emphasis: The key to emphasis is to keep to a fairly strict use of elements and play them off against each other. This simply means using one element to emphasize another, for example, calm colors such as matt green leaves will highlight interesting stems or bark. Although clashing colors clearly emphasize one another, more subtle hues of the same color will emphasize brighter ones in a less garish way.

Sequence: How do you physically move through the space? Where does this path lead? What’s around that corner? It is about using certain elements to move you toward a focal point.

Scale: You need to consider the context of your space and match the scale of object to that. Putting a tiny alpine plant next to a huge bamboo will make everything look out of scale.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Fowler, Alys. (2008). Garden Anywhere. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Photo by Simon Wheeler

6 Golden Principles of Design

DIY – Market Arrangement


No matter what time of year, there is always a flower, herb, vegetable, or fruit that can inspire you to make a fun “garden-to-table” arrangement. Choose a simple vessel such as an empty tin can with a cool label, a mason jar, or a vintage vase from your own collection, and go to town clipping in your yard! Build the arrangement with a sturdy base using a variety of greenery and herbs, nestle in a few choice blooms that pack a visual punch, and then layer in some fruit for textural interest. For example, we’ve used grapes, dahlias, mint, lemon verbena, feverfew, jujubes, yarrow, zinnias, and heuchera in the arrangement above.

As florist, one of the simplest tricks of our trade is skewering fruit or vegetables to include in our arrangements. You can do this by taking a small apple, pretty pear, or cute jujube fruit and inserting a bamboo skewer into one end, making sure not to push the skewer all the way through it. Cut the skewer down to size and nestle the fruit into the arrangement just like the stem of a flower. A bright bunch of grapes or crab apple-laden branch can make a surprising impact cascading down the front of your arrangement.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Bennett, Leslie and Stefani Bittner. (2013). The Beautiful Edible Garden. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Arrangement: Studio Choo

Photo: Jill Rizzo

DIY – Market Arrangement

Video – Summer Maintenance in the Garden

Marta Caruso joins WUSA 9 to discuss summertime maintenance for your garden

Click the photo above to be directed to the video on WUSA 9’s website

4 Quick Watering Tips:

1. Water in the morning, not at night

2. Wet the roots, not the leaves – we recommend using a soaker hose and timer

3. Use a 3″ layer of mulch around your plants roots

4. Regularly prune your plants to provide air circulation

Download and print our Tips & Info sheets:

Watering Trees & Shrubs

Water Conservation

Our Blog entry, National Rose Month – Watering and Fertilizing, also has great watering tips


Recipe – Raspberry Mojitos w/ Fresh Mint


Serves 8; Total volume: about 11 cups

8 oz. (1 cup) freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup superfine sugar

16 oz. (2 cups) light rum

1 1/3 cups fresh raspberries

16 ounces (2 cups) club soda

1 bunch of fresh mint, separated into sprigs

4 cups ice cubes

Part of this cocktail can be mixed well ahead of party time, but add the club soda and mint leaves just before serving. That way you’ll have maximum fizz, along with fresh mint aroma, rather than wilted herbs at the bottom of the pitcher. For plain mojitos, omit the raspberries.

In a pitcher that holds at least 12 cups, combine the lime juice and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rum and raspberries and stir gently.

Just before serving, pour in the club soda and stir gently. Gently roll the mint between your hands to release the aromatic oils, then add it to the pitcher. Add the ice and stir gently to chill.

To serve, pour into tall glasses, such as Collins glasses, and offer straws.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Newman, Kara. (2013). Cocktails for a Crowd. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Photo: Teri Lyn Fisher

Recipe – Raspberry Mojitos w/ Fresh Mint

Recipe – Hibiscus Rum Cooler


Serves 8; Total volume: 9 ½ cups

16 oz. (2 cups) dark rum

8 oz. (1 cup) hibiscus syrup

4 oz. (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lime juice

4 cups ice cubes

16 oz. (2 cups) ginger beer

The key to this unusual cocktail is hibiscus syrup. I like those made by Fruitlab and Wild Hibiscus, but a number of other brands also offer versions of this rosy-hued, sweet-tart syrup. Although the drink doesn’t require a garnish because it has such an attractive color and balanced flavor, consider adorning the serving table with decorative flowers and limes or lime halves.

In a pitcher, that holds at least 11 cups, combine the rum, hibiscus syrup, and lime juice and stir until thoroughly blended. Add the ice and stir to chill. Pour in the ginger beer and stir gently.

To serve, pour into tall glasses, such as Collins glasses, and offer straws.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Newman, Kara. (2013). Cocktails for a Crowd. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Photo: Teri Lyn Fisher

Recipe – Hibiscus Rum Cooler

Japanese Beetle Control

Japanese Beetles on rose

Japanese beetles are members of the scarab beetle family, some of the worst garden pests. Adult beetles chew holes in foliage, fruit, and flowers, and their larvae devour grass roots. Adult Japanese beetles attack more than 250 kinds of plants, chewing holes in the leaves. Eventually only the leaf veins will remain, forming a lacy skeleton. The larvae, called white grubs, feed on grass roots. In severe infestations there can be more than 50 Japanese beetle grubs per square foot of lawn. Damage consists of dead or balding patches. The turf will have no roots and can be rolled back like a carpet.

Effective control measures must be aimed at both adult and larvae, and should be done as soon as you see them before they do too much feeding damage. We recommend using Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew, Sevin, and Safer brand Japanese Beetle Traps.

deadbugrtu_lgCaptain Jack’s Deadbug Brew contains Spinosad, a natural substance made by a soil bacterium that controls insects. Deadbug Brew kills bagworms, beetles, borers, caterpillars, coddling moth, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, sawflies, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips, and many other insects! It is approved for organic gardening – use it on fruits, vegetables, berries, citrus, grapes, nuts and ornamentals.

sevinSevin kills more than 100 pests, including Japanese beetles, ticks, and worms. Ideal for vegetables, fruits, ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers. Keep away from pets and people until the spray has dried, and don’t use on lawns.

With all products, foliage and flowers should be thoroughly treated. The application may need to be repeated to prevent re-infestation during the adult flight period.

japbeetletrapsSafer brand Japanese Beetle Traps do not contain any harmful chemicals or pesticides. Use the bait and jumbo sized traps to attract Japanese beetles. No spray. No mess. Just be sure to place traps away from gardens and landscape plants.

Because Japanese Beetles are attracted to favored host plants from a considerable distance, controlling white grubs in your lawn will not protect landscape plants from adult feeding.

Download and print our Tips & Info sheet: Japanese Beetles

Photo: http://www.thetreegeek.com

Japanese Beetle Control

Recipe – Rosemary Refresher

Serves 8; Total volume: 8 ¾ cups

16 oz. (2 cups) reposado tequila

12 oz. (1 ½ cups) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

6 oz. (3/4 cup) Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

4 oz. (1/2) cup) freshly squeezed lime juice

4 cups ice cubes

8 sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish

This sophisticated margarita variation is a wonderful thirst-quenching aperitif. The recipe makes a bit more rosemary-infused simple syrup than needed for the cocktails. Offer the leftover portion in a small pitcher for anyone who isn’t drinking alcohol so they can enjoy it mixed with club soda or ginger ale.

In pitcher that holds at least 10 cups, combine the tequila, grapefruit juice, rosemary syrup, and lime juice and stir until thoroughly blended. Add the ice and stir well to chill.

To serve, pour into old-fashioned glasses and garnish each drink with a rosemary sprig.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

8 ounces (1 cup) water

5 sprigs of fresh rosemary

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. When the syrup starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Gently roll the rosemary between your hands to release the aromatic oils, then add it to the syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then remove the rosemary sprigs and strain the syrup if need me. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, the syrup will keep for about 2 weeks.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Newman, Kara. (2013). Cocktails for a Crowd. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Photo: Teri Lyn Fisher

Recipe – Rosemary Refresher