The meaning of plants in Florida

The Orange Tree

Orange trees symbolize eternal love, fruitfulness, and marriage.

After reading the new book, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, I started looking at my landscaping in a new way. The book speaks about the meaning of plants (flowers, herbs, and trees included) and the way they are used in our life. For example, the main character brings a wayward couple back together by presenting them with jonquil, a flower similar to the daffodil. According to the Victorian meaning, the jonquil means “love me” or “affection returned.” If you’ll pardon the pun, the marriage blossoms as a result. [Read more…]

Tips and Tricks: A kid and pet friendly holiday season!

It’s the most wonderful time of year once again, but there are a few things you may want to consider before sitting back with a cup of eggnog to ensure a safe Christmas. If you have young children or pets, take a moment to follow these steps and save yourselves from being one of the approximate 11,000 people visiting the emergency room this Christmas.


Holly, Poinsettia, Mistletoe. Sadly poisonous

1. Don’t use poisonous plants to decorate.

Unfortunately, the beautiful and classic poinsettia bush has sap that is an irritant (there are disagreements on whether it is actually classified as poisonous) that can cause vomiting and mouth inflammation. It can be treated with simple soap and water, but considering the height of the plant and toddlers’ weakness for picking at things and eating things, it might be simpler to avoid altogether. Sadly, holly berries have a similar reaction as well as stomach irritation and mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous.

Overloaded Christmas Tree

2. Don’t overload your tree

My in-laws are a sentimental bunch. They save everything. I mean everything, including a plastic tube of candy that my husband played with as a boy on Christmas 1980. Every year a new ornament adorns their tree for each member of the family. That’s now 10 people, 2 dogs and one cat. I swear the tree looks frightened every year as the ornament boxes are dragged out of storage. Inevitably, two Christmases ago, the tree fell, some ornaments were broken and tears were shed. If this is a danger in your home, you could consider paring back the decorations, using them elsewhere or perhaps even branching out (that’s my pun for the day) and getting a second tree. Even solitary branches can be hung and decorated. Check out for some ideas.

kids eat cables

Yum, a cable! Image courtesy of

3. Hide the plug

My son is one year old and when he sees a cable he walks over to it, holds it between both hands, looks up at me and opens his mouth, ready to bite down on it. Take it from me, if you can hide the cable for the lights behind the tree, do it!

Pine Needles everywhere

Image courtesy of

4. Sweep up pine needles

Pine trees smell so good, but if they aren’t watered enough, or as they reach the end of their winter festivities, they shed. Those little pine needles get everywhere, and while they aren’t poisonous, they can be irritating to little stomachs. They can cause dogs to throw up bile, and are irritating to the pads of their feet. Babies will eat them and they can scratch little throats, well I could go on, but I don’t want you yelling Bah Humbug, so I will simply say, sweeping can be a fun chore for toddlers! Make the most of it!

Ok, now you can enjoy the egg nog!

Merry Christmas to one and all!



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