Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden Book Giveaway

Benzakein with Julie Chai. Book Giveaway

Guess what!

I’m doing another book giveaway with the help of Chronicle Books and Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm I love Erin’s work. Don’t know Erin? Well, where have you been? She’s an extremely popular flower farmer, cut-flower style setter, mother, seed purveyor, and so much more. Erin’s Instagram account boasts 389,000 + followers. Can you say, “Wow!?

I was so happy to help out with her blog book tour. I mean, just looking at these photos is like taking a vacation to Skagit Valley, Washington, one of my favorite places on Earth.

“I have found tremendous joy in growing and sharing seasonal flowers and foliage. My hope is that my book will help others discover this joy and provide practical information to grow the garden of their dreams.” Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books and Erin Benzakein.
“I have found tremendous joy in growing and sharing seasonal flowers and foliage. My hope is that my book will help others discover this joy and provide practical information to grow the garden of their dreams.” Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books and Erin Benzakein.

Since my blog is very photo driven, I asked for a photo essay, and Chronicle Books sent me some beautiful photos of Floret Farm’s flowers and Erin, along with her quotes.

Sit back, grab a cup of something, tea, coffee, a cocktail and peruse the beauty. This is just some of what you can expect to see in the book which I have read.

Sit back, grab a cup of something, tea, coffee, a cocktail and peruse the beauty. This is just some of what you can expect to see in the book which I have read. Note: I was given a copy of the book for review from the publisher. 

“In the book, I share all my tried-and-true techniques for growing great cut flowers. Whether you want to grow flowers for pleasure, as food for bees and pollinators or as a potential side business, you’ll find step-by-step instructions alongside beautiful photos from my garden for inspiration.”
“In the book, I share all my tried-and-true techniques for growing great cut flowers. Whether you want to grow flowers for pleasure, as food for bees and pollinators or as a potential side business, you’ll find step-by-step instructions alongside beautiful photos from my garden for inspiration.”

The book does give detailed instructions for growing your own cut flower garden. The instructions are clear and concise, and I loved the photos. They are scrumptious as you can see.

A summer day full of zinnia harvesting at Floret Farm.
A summer day full of zinnia harvesting at Floret Farm.

I’ve bought zinnia seeds from Erin several times and other beautiful flowers for my own cut flower garden beds. I am especially fond of the ‘Oklahoma Salmon‘ variety. I love cutting gardens. They are such fun to create and grow. Just don’t forget to cut your flowers and bring them inside to enjoy.

About zinnias

Erin says, “No cut flower garden is complete without these versatile, easy-to-grow blooms. Just be sure to look for cultivars that are made for cutting gardens (versus bedding plants) such as the appropriately named ‘Benary Giant’ series, the massive magenta ‘Uproar Rose’ and the ‘Persian Carpet’ mix.”

About dahlias

Erin is also a big fan of dahlias as am I.

We grow more dahlias than any other flower here at Floret.  Dahlias come in a rainbow of colors and are nearly unmatched in terms of flower production. I’ve been bitten by the dahlia bug and have so many favorites that it would be impossible to narrow it down to 20, much less three.”

Dahlia 'Golden Scepter' Floret Farm
Erin holds an armful of Dahlia ‘Golden Scepter.’

Erin also suggests that you let plants do double duty in your garden.

About foliage

“A lot of beginning gardeners focus on growing flowers with big, showy blooms and forget to plant enough foliage to round out your summer bouquets. If you already grow herbs and vegetables in your garden, many of your plants can serve double duty.  Here are a few favorites that can be used for food or foliage in a summer bouquet:

“Mint: I was advised to never plant this vigorous spreader but am so glad I ignored them. Mint is available early in the season, has a great vase life and adds a lovely fragrance to bouquets. My favorite varieties are Apple, Peppermint, Pineapple (white variegated) and Spearmint.

Basil, especially one with red or purple foliage is great in bouquets too. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Basil, especially one with red or purple foliage like ‘Aramato,’ is great in bouquets too. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.

“Basil:  Easy to grow, fragrant and abundant, basil is great for both cooking and floral design.  With deep purple flowers, glossy foliage and a fantastic scent, ‘Oriental Breeze’ has been a favorite of mine for years. Other great varieties to grow include ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Lemon’, ‘Cardinal’ and ‘Aramato’.

Dill makes an excellent filler in flower arrangements.
Dill makes an excellent filler in flower arrangements. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.

“Dill: With big yellow umbel shaped blooms, dill flowers add an airy textural element to any summer bouquet.

“Shiso ‘britton’ (Perilla frutescens): Common in Asian cooking, this plant also is popular among floral designers who love its contrasting colors.  The serrated, bi-colored leaves of this culinary herb are green on top and a pretty burgundy-purple underneath.

Book giveaway details:

We’re giving away a copy of Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms along with a bunch of Floret goodies: a garden day planner, calendar, and seeds! For a chance to win, just leave a comment in the comment section below. The contest ends at Noon on March 20. I’ll pick a winner on March 24, 2017, with a random number generator. You have to leave your name and email address (unpublished) to enter. I can’t contact you if I can’t find you. Please note this giveaway is only open to continental U.S. residents.

Also, don’t forget my other garden tool giveaway is ongoing. Please feel free to enter it too. It’s an exciting spring!

If you follow along with the whole tour, you will have multiple chances to win!

Visit the other participating blogs below to learn more about the local flower movement and Floret Farms; plus, each blog post will offer a chance for you to win.

Participating blogs:

 

Buy the book here: www.floretflowers.com/book
Follow Floret:
Instagram
Pinterest
Facebook  

UPDATE: Denise Whitehead is our winner. I’ve contacted her so Floret can send her the goods. Thanks to everyone who played along.

 

Stitch Fix September Review

Stitch Fix Box

Hi gang! For this post, my Stitch Fix September review, let’s pretend RDR is a fashion blog. My blog does have ramblings in the title after all, and today, I want to talk about over-fifty fashion. Those of you not interested in fashion, check back later for more garden info. As I wrote in my last post, I can’t get out into the garden as much as I’d like this year due to my cubital tunnel problems–which are much improved by the way. My forced “rest” gave me time to think about a lot of things including my health and fashion. I’m calling this a September post because my box was supposed to get here September 1st for my birthday on the 7th. It got here early. My boxes ship out of Texas.

I’ve been receiving Stitch Fixes for a few months. According to my price sheet, this is my seventh fix. Several of you asked me to write about the experience, and, since I think blogging helps my stylist see how the clothing fits, here goes. It’s just one more way to connect with your stylist. Also, I’m fifty-three, and not many women who are middle aged do these. So, I’ll take the plunge for all of us who don’t have perfect bodies and aren’t twenty-somethings anymore. Ha!

Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service. You sign up, fill out a style profile, pay a $20 styling fee, and they send you five pieces of clothing and/or an accessory, like shoes, to try on. You keep what you like, and return the rest. Shipping both ways is free. If you like all five pieces, you can buy them for twenty-five percent off retail. Out of my fixes, I think I’ve had two 5/5s. Most of the time I pick one or two things. It has revamped my wardrobe immensely, and I hate shopping.

I’ve heard people think Stitch Fix is expensive, but you can set your price ranges on your profile. Mine are set a little higher because I’m not a huge polyester fan–although it does have its place. I also get boxes from Trunk Club and Trendsend. I’ll write about these two companies in another post. In full disclosure, if you click on my Trunk Club or Stitch Fix links, sign up and then order a box, I’ll receive a small credit. Trendsend doesn’t have a referral program. I’m just linking to them anyway because I used some of their clothes in the fashion show. If you order from either of the other two, thanks from the bottom of my little red-dirt heart.

For me, when this box arrives in my mailbox, it’s like the best day of the month. My daughter, the social worker, says this is because my love language is presents and acts of service with presents being number one. I think this makes me sound shallow, but whatever. You can receive fixes twice a month, but that gets expensive. Ask me how I know this.

When you open the box, you’ll see a “burrito” of clothing and, possibly, an accessory. Yes, that’s what people call the little bundle of goodies, a burrito. You will also receive style cards and a note from your stylist. Some stylists are more personable than others. Kristi is my wonderful stylist. Hi Kristi! I’ve also had Emma as my stylist in the past. She was great too.

One of the complaints I hear about Stitch Fix is that people get one box they love. The next time their stylist changes, and they receive things they don’t like. Well, if you get a box you love, email Stitch Fix at hello@stitchfix.com and nicely request that stylist. You might try two or more boxes before you do that though to make sure you’re simpatico. Below is my note to my stylist for this fix, her note to me, and the style cards.

As you can see, we banter. It’s fun. I decided earlier in the year to try Stitch Fix because I couldn’t tell where style was going. My teens are all growing up, and they could no longer help me. I always wore jeans and a t-shirt. I had a few dresses for church, and I was stuck in a Jjill rut otherwise. I like Jjill, but it’s rather limiting if it’s your only go-to. Let’s put it this way, I thought the new styles I was seeing were exciting, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself either. Enter Stitch Fix to the rescue.

Below is my current fix, and I’ve come a long way baby.

I still wear tees, but girlie ones. They are my go-to at home when I’m working, but I also like date clothes, cool shoes, maxi skirts and other dresses too. I lost some weight so I could fit into things again, and best of all, I discovered designer jeans, also called premium denim. Before, I bought all of my jeans at the Loft. I like the Loft, but really, when you wear jeans all the time, designer jeans are amazing! They come in all prices and styles. They also have the miracle fabrics, lycra and spandex, that are kind to middle-aged bodies.

I am over fifty, but I’m not dead. I wrote this on my style survey. I really did, and I mean it.

Now, that you waded through all of my thoughts, here’s what I tried on, kept and returned, along with the descriptions for people who want to pin them for their fixes. Believe me, people do this. I do this.

First up is the Bella Dahl Ophelie Henley Top with the Luisa Distressed Frayed Ankle Skinny Jean. How did Kristi know I love frayed hems? She looked at my Pinterest boards. I have two or three boards, but I only highlight in my note the one I think most important to our monthly conversation. This month it was my Stitch Fix Style Over 50 Fab  board and my Stitch Fix What I Own board. I sometimes buy things from other members off of the facebook groups like Shapely Stitch Fix Addicts and Stitch Fix BST L/XL so it’s important my stylist knows what I own. That’s the board where I also put my try-on photos. BST means buy, sell, trade.

Here are my thoughts about the jeans. I love button up jeans and frayed hems, but I don’t really like distressing to the point where the jeans are slit at the knees. In fact, it breaks my heart. It’s just a personal thing. I returned these beautiful jeans for that one reason, and it made me sad to do so. They fit fantastic. The Ophelie top makes me look a bit like a linebacker, but I don’t care. It is longer in back, and it has Tencel® in the fabric. I adore Tencel®! A lot of Stitch Fix shirts are hi-lo which is good for me. It covers my assets while taking advantage of my short waist in front. According to everything I’ve read lately, plaid shirts are back in. Hello 1980s!

Next up is the off-white Market & Spruce Brookline Mix Material sweater. I like anything with mix materials. It just appeals to me. This also has the edgy zipper detail in back and a pretty polyester lining beneath in the same color. My only problem with it is the color. I don’t look all that great in off white. I think it makes me look larger than I am. Now, if Kristi ever finds it in dark green, I’m in. I know it comes in that color from searching online. The necklace I’m wearing is Kendra Scott from Rocksbox. If you want to try Rocksbox, another subscription service, you can do it for a month free with my code: DEEBFF89. As for the jeans and shoes, they are from a previous fix and not the same one. I love both of them and wouldn’t have picked them out myself. Those style cards really help I think.

Next is Renee C Abreau Keyhole Front Blouse in this lovely green. My favorite colors are blue and green so if Renee C had fit, she would’ve had me at hello. It was just a little tight in the hips which usually isn’t my problem being so top heavy. Because it’s see-through, I put a cami beneath. Looking at it on me, it doesn’t look too small, but it was. I sadly returned it.

Finally, I received a pair of shoes I pinned to my over 50 board. These shoes! Yes, they have a heel, but it’s a block heel so it’s stable for those of us who can’t wear skinny heels anymore. They feel great on my feet, and they have this cute detail on the back. They’re also my favorite fall color next to green and blue! I love these shoes. I’m wearing them with my favorite jeans ever, 7 For All Mankind Josefina and the Matty M Crochet tank, both of which I got from Trendsend. In the third picture, I’m also wearing a sweater from Trendsend, the Billabong Beach Ramblin Cardy cardigan. Where do they get these crazy names?


I knew when I pinned these shoes that I would wear them with this outfit, but I can also wear them with the first shirt and a jean jacket. I also have these darling cargo pants from my last fix that will go with the Ophelie, but not with the shoes. I feel like Stitch Fix has taught me so much about fashion.

If you’d like to see some other bloggers and vloggers who post about Stitch Fix and other subscriptions boxes, here are three I really enjoy. I haven’t gotten up the guts yet to vlog about fashion. I felt self conscious enough just showing you pictures.

I adore seaweede Starfish because she is cute as a button and not twenty-five. I also watch the younger vloggers, but they are so hard on themselves that I just want to give them a big hug. seaweede Starfish vlogs about all kinds of things, and I envy her curly hair which she tells me is a lot of trouble. She is smart and funny which is part of the reason we watch youtube and read blogs, isn’t it? Here is her latest Stitch Fix unboxing and tryon post.

otherwiseknownasjill started vlogging about Stitch Fix about two months ago. I have no idea how old she is, but I enjoy her too. Here’s her latest.

Donna Walker is another vlogger I like. Here is her latest for September. She makes me smile.

These three will lead you to other vloggers talking about all kinds of unboxings and try ons if you’re interested.

As for blogs, Mid-Life Blogger just started posting. Here is her latest post on Stitch Fix. She’s super cute. I hope she keeps blogging. I know her from the Seasoned and Stylish Stitch Fix group on Facebook.

I also want to share with you the women I follow for more mid-life advice. I’ll share that on Friday. I’m also working hard to age as well as possible, and I’ve been reading some interesting books on a variety of subjects. I’m planning a post for that later too. I hope you don’t mind if I intersperse these with my regular gardening posts. I still love my garden and all things horticultural, but I’m also many things other than a gardener. Aren’t you?