Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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April 2016

Flower Container and Planter Inspiration

Written by , Posted in Gardening

I think it’s safe to say that Spring has sprung, and that means people everywhere are readying their yards and porches for the agreeable weather ahead. If you’re looking for front porch inspiration, check out these flower container and planter ideas. There are so many beautiful planter combinations out there!

  1. Bright Potato Vineflower container and planter ideaWith any planter, a good rule of thumb is to include some plants with height, and others that hang and add interest. Enter the vivid green potato vine. Easy to combine with almost any other flower, potato vine adds contrast in this planter.

2. Rainbow of Colour

flower container and planter idea

While sometimes it’s cool to keep colours classic (think whites and greens), filling a container with flowers of several shades is like an instant encouragement! The pops of purple, yellow, and red in this planter are so bright! And remember, a great container garden has height as well as hang — and this planter is a perfect example.

3. Cabbage!

flower planter and container idea

While this container is more suitable for the cooler fall months, I’ve gotta say, I’m LOVING the colourful cabbage and ornamental kale in this planter! Add to that the white pumpkins, and you’ve got a container that’s as interesting as it is beautiful.

4. Unlikely Flowersflower container and planter idea

If you’re like me, when planning a flower container garden, tulips aren’t the first flower that comes to mind as a good candidate. That being said, I’m loving the look of these planters, filled with lots of seasonal favourites, including several varieties of tulips. These containers are also a great example of the rule of threes: Try combining three planters of varying heights, filled with complementary flowers.

For more flower container and planter inspiration, visit my Pinterest.



April 2016


Written by , Posted in Gardening

A couple of years ago, I purchased some tulip bulbs, which sat in my kitchen through the winter, until one day when my Mum was visiting, she planted them. Last Spring, when the tulips bloomed, they were the most vibrant red.

Those same tulips in our garden started to sprout up with the warm weather we had a few weeks back. Wes and I both intended to cover them, however — as frequently happens in life — things of more importance took precedence.  Since then, we’ve had sleet, snow, ice, rain, more snow, and as a result we’ve been questioning whether or not the tulips will bloom when Spring finally makes an appearance.

red tulips bouquet

Being the incredible man that he is, Wes brings me home flowers every Friday. This past Friday, he picked up the most beautiful, fresh tulips from Elora St. Flowers — and they’re red, just like the ones in our garden. *sigh* I’ve been enjoying these beauties the past few days, and I have to say, they make me eager for warmer days and to see our outdoor flowers!

Like robins, tulips are a sure sign of Spring. Part of the lily family, tulip flowers come in a wide array of colours, and there are more than 3,000 varieties of the flower. You may associate tulips with Holland, and rightfully so, however tulips are thought to have originated in Central Asia.

red tulip flowers

While the tulips in our garden are midseason bloomers (late April/early May), you can purchase tulips that bloom as early as March and as late as mid-May. These attractive flowers offer a lot of vibrance for very little maintenance.

On a more important note, April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and the tulip is the symbol of hope for a cure.

red tulip flowers



March 2016

Hydrangea Plants

Written by , Posted in Gardening

Every Friday, Wes has been known to bring me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. This past weekend, we celebrated Easter with some beautiful Hydrangea blooms. We have two Hydrangea bushes in our outdoor garden (which usually bloom mid-summer). Since it’s too early for blooms outdoors, these indoor plants were a welcome addition to our kitchen, brightening up the space with their voluptuous shape and vibrant colour.


The name Hydrangea comes from the Greek “Hydro“, meaning “Water“, and “Angeion“, meaning “Vase“. As you know, Hydrangea plants love their sun and they love their water. The plants have two flower arrangements: One is the mophead flower (pictured here), and the other is the lacecap flower.

pink and white hydrangea.

The Hydrangea plant was originally discovered in the 1730s by an English-American botanist, John Bartram. Bartram became King George III’s botanist and is widely known as the “Father of American Botany”.


While white is the most common colour of Hydrangea, in some species the plant can also be pink, purple, blue, and even green. Regardless of the hue, Hydrangea blossoms remain some of my favourite. Not only is the flower itself beautiful, but these plants have healthy green leaves, which make for a lovely contrast.





May 2014

3 Essential Perennials for Every Garden

Written by , Posted in Gardening

I’m slowly developing my green thumb, with some outdoor plants that, as my Mum puts it, are “low maintenance”. While I have to discipline myself to water on a regular basis, thus far things are looking lovely, and this Spring I’m up to the challenge of adding a few additional plants in my garden. Before I get to that however, I’d like to share three essential perennials for every garden. These are low maintenance, easy enjoyment plants that everyone should have in her (or his) garden.

A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials will (or should, if you plant them correctly) bloom year after year, and provide you with long-term gardening success. Long after the blooms and leaves die off for the season, the root remains and will sprout up each Spring or Summer.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had some hearty perennials planted, which are sprouting well so far this Spring. Here are three essential perennials I’ve got growing in my gardens:

Beautiful periwinkle blue forget-me-nots in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Beautiful periwinkle blue forget-me-nots in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

1. Forget-Me-Nots (perennial, good in part sun to full sun): Tiny little forget-me-nots are sweet, delicate flowers (mine are blue, but this perennial is available in pink and white). Forget-me-not blooms are rather short-lived (they bloom early in the season), and they spread well because of their generous seeds. [Note to fellow amateur green-thumbs: If you don’t want these blues to spread, then best plant them in a pot or collect and dispose of unwanted seeds once they drop.] Two years ago, I transplanted my forget-me-nots along the edge of my gardens, to use as complementary edging. It’s worked out well, and with each passing year they grow more and more.

My peony garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

My peony garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Deep magenta peonies in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Deep magenta peonies in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Pretty pink peony. img copyright hopereflected.com

Pretty pink peony. img copyright hopereflected.com

2. Peonies (perennial, good in part sun to full sun): Peonies are perhaps the most well-loved perennials out there. I’ve yet to meet a girl who doesn’t love these resplendent blooms. Peonies can be light pinks, reds, even whites or yellows. The pretty petals in my garden are a mixture of the most feminine pink and also a rich deep magenta. The long-fingered green stems usually bloom early Summer (the pictures here I took last June). If you plan to enjoy indoors as part of a bouquet, pick early to avoid ant infestation in the blooms.

Hosta in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

‘Formal Attire’ hosta in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Hosta and hydragnea in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

‘Aztec Treasure’ hosta in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

3. Hostas (perennial, good in shade, part sun): Hostas are hearty plants. There are more than 50 different hosta varieties, and I was fortunate enough last Spring to have a neighbour give me about ten hosta plants (of several varieties) to enjoy in my garden. Easy to grow, hostas make a lovely accent in any garden. [Cool idea: For a moveable garden, try planting a hosta plant in a container.]