To make this bouquet you'll need a large glass beer stein, a Collins glass, thin wood craft dowels, floral leaf ribbon and a selection of fresh fruits, veggies and flowers (listed in previous slide). Place the Collins glass inside the beer stein and fill the space between glasses with thin lime slices. With remaining limes and apples, remove produce stickers and insert the sharp end of the wood dowels at an angle into the bottom of the fruit. Line the Collins glass with leaf ribbon, fill with fresh water and arrange flowers and produce as desired. Tip: Cut stems at an angle and place immediately into water for long-lasting results.
When arranging produce, alternate colors, textures and sizes to create a display that looks as delicious as it tastes. In this centerpiece, artichokes, grapes and plumcots are arranged around a large bosc pear. Try to find produce that is unique and seasonal, although it's OK to mix in some imported, out-of-season fruit as well!
A large cabinet structure provides abundant concealed storage for this kitchen space. The cabinets frame an uncovered sliding window allowing natural light to reflect off the white countertop. Colorful display trays filled with fruit add vivid color against the solid design scheme.
This dining table in the Northridge, California home of Jair and Tiffany Paz has been beautifully dressed by HGTV Star Season 8 contestants Abby Vasek, Anne Rue, and Brooks Atwood. The designers have wonderfully combined glass jars of lemons with yellow and red flowers and a pair of black candles.
A chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao) is a large plant, not starting to flower until it reaches 5 to 7 feet tall. It craves warmth (temps above 60 F) and bright light. Sit it outdoors for summer to encourage flowering. Blooms typically form spring through fall, followed by a large pod-like fruit. The fruit starts green and ripens to golden yellow. Inside the fruit are the chocolate beans, which must be fermented and dried before use.
‘Vaniglia Sanguigno’ is an acidless sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) with a pale pink flesh that has a hint of vanilla. This blood orange is easy to grow, doing best with bright light and temps above 60 F. Watch for flowers in late winter and spring; fertilize lightly through summer. Fruit ripens through fall and winter.
The coffee plant (Coffee arabica) makes an ideal houseplant, not needing high light to grow and flower. Plants start blooming when three years old and usually in late spring and/or summer. Flowers fade to form green cherry-looking fruit that turns red when ripe. Inside are two coffee beans. In summer, place your coffee plant outdoors, gradually exposing it to sun.
Camellia sinensis is the plant you want for growing traditional tea leaves. Dried mature leaves produce black tea; young leaves yield a less acidic brew known as white tea. Allow plants to reach 3 to 5 feet before picking leaves, which you can do twice a year. Prune plants when they’re young to cause branching, which gives you more stems to harvest. Plants are winter hardy in Zones 8-10. Grow them in pots in other zones. Feed tea plants lightly—only in spring.
In South America, yerbe mate is the drink of choice, more popular than coffee. It’s made from the leaves of a plant by the same name: yerbe mate (Ilex paraguariensis). The drink, made with dried leaves, tastes refreshing hot or cold with a flavor similar to green tea. Packed with antioxidants and caffeine, yerbe mate is an easy growing beauty. Start picking leaves once plants are established—anywhere from 2 to 8 feet tall. Feed plants regularly through spring and summer.
Also known as Arabian tea jasmine, ‘Maid of Orleans’ (Jasminum sambac) is usually raised for its perfumed blooms. The blossoms also make a refreshing flavored water. Simply place flowers in cold water, refrigerate overnight, and drink in the morning. This jasmine thrives indoors or out, although it’s only winter hardy in Zone 10. Indoors, keep it in a bright southern window with temps above 65 F. ‘Maid of Orleans’ grows into a shrub form. Prune as needed to control and direct growth.
Rewarding and easy to grow, Meyer lemon (Citrus x meyeri) is prized by chefs for its intense flavor. It adapts well to growing in pots. In cold regions, shift containers indoors for winter. Keep plants in a too-small rather than a too-large pot for best growth. Most importantly, allow soil to dry out between waterings to avoid root problems. Meyer lemons offer a sweeter juice, less acid and a thinner peel than other lemons. Use it for lemonade, dropped into water or to season the rims of glasses.
Designer Marian Parsons creates a stunning holiday wreath from Christmas fruits and natural embellishments. "Adding fresh fruit and collected pinecones to an artificial wreath lends a more natural look," she says. "When hung outside, cold weather will keep fruit fresh for a couple of weeks."