Monday, February 5, 2018


Tillandsia is a fascinating genus of bromeliads that have become popular due to their ease of growth, unique plant form and the crafting possibilities they encourage. These airplants are epiphytic in nature, meaning that, like many orchids and some ferns, they are able to take in moisture and nutrients from surrounding air and humidity directly onto their leaves. They may be found growing on another plant, like a tree, but are not parasitic in nature.

Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usenoides, is one variety that many of us may be aware of as we have seen them in the humid south growing on live oaks and other trees.

Tillandsia can grow without soil, so are ideal for creating wall art, growing on rock and wood  or displaying in all sorts of fun vessels, including seashells.

Provide bright light and sufficient water to be rewarded by a durable plant with unforgettable shapes, colors and blooms. Plants grow from an offset at the base of the "mother" plant. Pups will reach maturity relatively fast. Once they bloom, expect another offset. Tillandsia can grow in clumps or be divided into individual specimens.
Ionantha Ball

Under watering tillandsia is the most common problem for the plant. Be sure to water them about once a week. They will survive longer, but the leaves will dry out and begin to curl. I may soak mine in water if it has been mounted on a frame, a shell or piece of driftwood. A larger plat could also be misted, but would need almost daily misting to keep the tillandsia healthy.

Here are varieties of tillandsia to consider for growing indoors





Capitata Maroon Hybrid

Bulbosa Hybrid

Brachycaulos Abdita

Ionatha Fuego

 These and many more varieties, large and small, are now available in our greenhouse. We will be hosting a seminar on how to grow tillandsia and will offer a frame project to interested attendees on Saturday, February 17 at 9:00 am. Visit our website for information on this and other upcoming classes.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Gardening Classes Saturday Mornings at Valley View Farms

Happy New Year! Maybe gardening is on your list of things to improve on in 2018. One of my resolutions for this year is to work on training my big, beautiful Alaskan Malamute in agility and weight pulling. While I have an idea what to do, working with a certified trainer and being with like-minded people will increase my chance for success.
Yes, I did sneak a picture of Jefferson into the blog!
The same can be said for working with plants; it is fun to work in a group and to accomplish a project and/or learn more about a segment of gardening.
In that spirit, we offer seminars and workshops most of the year, but especially now in winter and later in early spring. Seminars are free of charge; workshops have a fee to cover the cost of materials to create here at the store.

Listed are the dates and titles of our upcoming classes in January and February. Classes are scheduled on Saturday morning at 9 or 11 o'clock. Updates appear on our website. There is no need to pre-register; we will also be mentioning these events on our facebook page as a reminder the week of the class.
  • January 7: Bonsai Basics led by bonsai business owner Martha Meehan. Martha has worked with us since 1985, providing primarily tropical bonsai starters and finished trees.
  • January 13: Today's  workshop will teach each participant how to put together a Houseplants Container Garden. Textures, colors and plant characteristics will play a part in our choices for potted plants. Basics of potting media, choosing containers, fertilizing, watering and other subjects will be part of the conversation.  
    Crotons and Aglaonemas...are they compatible in a container?
  • January 27: Growing African Violets and other Gesneriads. Eric R knows plants and is enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge about Chiritas, Epicias, African Violets, Streptocarpus and other plants that will grow in a home environment. 
  • February 3: Join us for our second monthly Bonsai meeting to discuss a hodgepodge of winter subjects relating to propagation and pruning. Martha Meehan returns to host the class.
  • February 10, 9 am: Create a Valentine's Day Planter to give to a loved one. Planters will feature red or pink plants, some with heart-shaped leaves or flowers. Cost of materials will average about $27.00. Children are welcome. 
    Anthuriums have heart-shaped leaves and flowers
  • February 10, 11 am: Our Fairy Garden Workshop will help children and adults combine the best design techniques with plants suitable for miniature gardens. Cindi Fielder will be our instructor. Cost of materials vary widely according to props used in the gardens. 
    Fairy houses are one of many accessories to add to a garden
  • February 17, 9 am: Work with Tillandsias. These airplants are featured on Pintrest, Etsy and other sites with fun projects. Today, instructors Jen Kostick and Katie Newman will show participants how to create a framed tillandsia garden suitable for wall-hanging. Cost of materials including frame and plants is $26.00. 
    We'll have plenty of tillandsias to work with
  • February 17, 11 am: The  Staghorn Fern Workshop will provide instruction for mounting a staghorn fern to a plaque for wall hanging. Jen and Katie team up once again to assist with this fun project. Cost of materials including board, moss and plants is $25.00.
    Staghorn Fern

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ornament of the Week----Bethlehem-Israel

Olive trees have symbolized peace since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. In Jerusalem today, trees aged almost 900 years stand. Earthwood ornaments are made from the pruned wood of the trees.
The  olive trees are pruned every two years to promote fruiting. Once pruned, the wood is dried for at least one year after which amazing artists are able to carve and polish the designs for these one of a kind ornaments from Bethlehem
Our International Christmas Shops has a beautiful selection of ornaments, figures and nativities crafted from olive wood from the Holy Land.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Ornament of the Week...Russia

Matroyshkas, or nesting dolls, first appeared in Russia in 1890. Often referred to as babushka dolls, they have come to symbolize family. Matroyshkas are figures of decreasing sizes nested one inside of the other. Traditionally, the baby is the first piece created in a new set, carved from a single piece of birch wood. The figures are painted in folk garb. The largest doll in the set often holds a basket, birds, or flowers.
Our International Christmas Shop features an astounding selection of both traditional folk art and holiday matroyshkas.

This year, we also have a selection of delightful small ornaments painted in folk art fashion, ready to hang from the Christmas tree.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ornament of the Week...Italy

The beloved character, Bambi, comes to life in stunning detail on this laser-cut wood ornament from Italy. Surrounded by Edelweiss as a butterfly lands on his tail, Bambi brings back childhood memories. The master artists have created a beautiful ornament that will be beloved for generations.
Bambi and other wood ornaments are available in our International Christmas Shop from a family-owned company in Pema, Italy.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ornament of the Week---Baa Baa Black Sheep

Diminutive ornaments are made of wood and wool

Caused by a recessive gene, black-woolen sheep are rarities of the flock. They are considered less valuable by breeders because their wool cannot be dyed and they stand out from the rest of the herd.
Historically, the term 'black sheep' was synonymous  with outcasts, or those different from the norm. Nowadays, the term has evolved into a symbol of pride, recognizing a person who stands out from the crowd; unique and nonconforming.
Visit our International Christmas Shop and pick up this sweet, tiny ornament for the black sheep in your life.
Available in limited quantities.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

International Ornament of the Week---Estonia

Christmas witches are familiar to European children. Consider the friendly Befana of Italy, who delivers presents on the Epiphany,
or Berchta, from North Germany, the witch who bestows her favors upon the good.
Or perhaps you are celebrating the American holiday of Halloween. In any case, these delightful witches made in Estonia would be a charming addition to your home.

Please visit our International Christmas Shop to see our full selection of Estonian witches and other handcrafted ornaments from the region.