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MARCH
6
2015

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DO-IT-YOURSELF STRING GARDENS

Some call it string art, some call it Kokedama and some just call it unique. Whatever you call it, these interesting moss-covered gardens held together with string find their roots in the century old art form called kokedama. A form of bonsai, the Japanese have enjoyed moss balls for centuries and just recently the West has caught on to this unique art.

Loosely translated, “Ko ke” means moss and “dama” means ball. Its history began, as a poorer mans bonsai due to its inexpensive requirements and easy to do technique. The simplicity of these moss balls are what makes them so interesting and you are not constrained by a pot. We recommend any small sized plant around 4-inches that has an interesting shape. We especially love using orchids, ponytail palms, rabbit foot ferns and succulents.

What You'll Need:

  • Clear Fishing Line or Twine
  • Orchids, Ponytail Palms, Rabbit Foot Ferns and Succulents
  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bucket of Water
  • Scissors
  • Shallow Container or Hanger
  1. Soak sphagnum moss in water. We do suggest that when working with sphagnum moss you wear rubber gloves.
  2. Remove the root system of the plant from its container.
  3. Surround the root system in a mud cake of sphagnum moss.
  4. Once the roots are completely covered, wind fishing line or twine around it to secure the moss in place.
  5. Once your are finished, hang your string garden or place it in a shallow container. Enjoy!

String gardens are not exactly maintenance free, but if you use the right plants then watering shouldn’t be a problem. We recommend watering once or twice a week depending on the plant.

FEBRUARY
8
2015

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DO-IT-YOURSELF LIVING VALENTINE

This year, give your Valentine a living gift made by your own two hands. All you need are just a few materials and some beautiful blooms. We designed our living Valentine using primrose - a flower that says "I can't live without you!" These little flowers make a big impact with mega color making it the perfect Valentine gift.

The primrose is an unusually vivid spring-blooming perennial flower. Unlike the faint pastels associated with spring, primrose shout out in bold yellows, reds, pinks, blues, oranges and white. Their flower stalks sprout up from low, ground-hugging rosettes of lush green leaves and stay in bloom for weeks. By forcing these blooms in our greenhouse, we can get them to you well before spring sets in. These flowers make a cheery houseplant this time of year, so dig in and create your own living valentine!

What You'll Need:

  • Heart-shape container -- Be sure it has drainage holes.
  • 3 to 6 primrose plants or any low-growing flowering plants -- We also love using succulents.
  • McDonald potting mix
  • McDonald Greenleaf fertilizer
  • Spanish moss
  1. Fill the heart-shaped container with soil and drop in your plants as desired.
  2. We recommend planting your flowers as low as possible to keep the heart shape.
  3. Be sure to sprinkle in an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf to promote optimum performance.
  4. Tuck Spanish moss in any spaces to cover soil and top off the look!
DECEMBER
5
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF CHRISTMAS CONTAINER

Creating an outdoor arrangement of fresh greens in an urn or other container is a wonderful way to add holiday cheer and life to your front steps, porch or walk. Even if you’re not using other outdoor holiday decorations, a festive container arrangement at your entryway is a beautiful way to greet guests. Red and green are traditional Christmas colors, and they look fantastic together to convey that festive spirit. Best of all, those colors can be found right in nature, maybe svn in your own backyard.

To create the basic container, we used evergreens and annuals. Evergreens add the thriller to a container and can be kept and maintained through all seasons. Annuals add seasonal color and can be swapped out each season.

To decorate the container, we incorporated seasonal greens to give it that Christmas feel. We like starting with fresh greens like Fraser Fir for the first layer. Then search around your yard to find other fresh items that will work such as juniper, magnolia, nandina, holly, spruce, boxwood and berries.

What You'll Need:

  • Large Container
  • Ornamental Kale - this low grower, offers a unique texture
  • Pansies - these tough little flowers are availabe in tons of colors and are some of the longest blooming flowers of the cool season/li>
  • Sky Pencil Holly - with dark green foliage, this evergreen grows in a narrow, columnar shape -- a perfect thriller for your container
  • fresh-cut greens such as firs, juniper, magnolia, nandina, holly, spruce, boxwood and berries
  1. Fill the container with soil and plant the evergreens and the annuals. Be sure to add an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf.
  2. Then add the first layer of greens. The fraser fir greens can just be stuck in the container to make for easy removal after the holiday season.
  3. Continue adding additional greens and berries to the container.
  4. Add ribbon, picks or shatterproof ornaments for extra pizazz.
DECEMBER
4
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF BOXWOOD WREATH

Give your front door a makeover this season with this Christmas door decorating idea. Simple and festive, wreaths are the perfect way to welcome holiday guests into your home.

The simplicity of a boxwood wreath makes a great statement on your front door, above your mantle or on a mirror. All the decorating magazines are showing a simple wreath, with a simple bow for understated elegance. By preserving your wreath, it can add beauty throughout multiple seasons, however it will need to be stored properly to ensure its longevity.

What You'll Need:

  • Fresh-cut boxwood greens
  • 18-inch wreath form
  • Floral wire
  • Ribbon
  1. Collect cuttings of a boxwood fresh from the plant. We recommend using small pieces with stems that are not so woody.
  2. Start on one side of the wreath form by clumping several branches together and using a half piece of wire – attach to the form.
  3. Continue around the wreath form securing the cuttings. Be sure to attach the wire securely, as the weight of the boxwood will become heavy as you start to add more.
  4. Pick your ribbon – choose from a variety of burlap ribbon and tie a simple shoe lace type bow. Or, you can make a long loop and knot at the top.
OCTOBER
21
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF NATURE PUMPKINS

Adorn your pumpkins with a little bit of nature. Take a walk outside and find autumn inspiration nearly everywhere. With just a few clippings from your garden, you can transform ordinary pumpkins into a nature-inspired masterpiece.

What You'll Need:

  • Faux or Live Pumpkins in any color or size
  • Fine-leaf ferns, boxwood or other foliage
  • Pansies or Violas
  • Dusty Miller
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Modpodge
  1. Choose pumpkins you'd like to embellish.
  2. Collect a selection of cuttings. We recommend using fine foliage as it adheres to the pumpkin easily.
  3. Spray the back of your botanicals and working quickly arrange on pumpkin.
  4. Add several layers of modpodge over the botanicals and pumpkin letting each layer dry in between.
  5. Place your finished creation in an undisturbed location to let dry overnight.
  6. Scatter these beautifully embellished pumpkins throughout your home or even wire to a wreath and enjoy!
OCTOBER
10
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF PUMPKIN FLOWER ARRANGEMENT

Who would have guessed it? The pumpkin shell isn’t just for peter, peter pumpkin eaters’ wife. Think outside of the box when decorating for fall this year. A hollowed out pumpkin makes a striking fall flower container. It’s a super quick and easy project that will add instant style to your home. Try grouping several arrangements together for a tablescape that is sure to impress. Use any size plant or pumpkin, but we recommend a medium-sized pumpkin in order to hold the arrangement snugly. We also recommend soaking your cut pumpkin in a quick bath of bleach before placing your plants there. This will prolong the pumpkin once it has been cut. You can add an empty can or jar inside of the cut pumpkin and add water for your arrangement. Next, take a trip through your yard in search of blooming flowers, foliage and branches. Once you collect your favorites, let the fun begin with arranging your cut treasures.

Try these plants from your own yard:

  • Zinnias
  • Ornamental Peppers
  • Ornamental Grasses
  • Pansies and Violas
  • Marigolds
  • Nandina Domestica (this shrub has great foliage and beautiful berries)
  • Flowering Trees & Shrubs
  • Optional: Add something vertical to add structure like twigs, sticks or or picks.

If you'd like your arrangement to stick around a bit longer, try potting rooted plants in the pumpkin using soil. Once the pumpkin is no longer fresh, simply pop your plants out and replace the pumpkin or simply use a pot. Try planting pansies, ornamental peppers, celosia, marigolds and succulents for a fresh fall look.

See more of our of our do-it-yourself ideas. GET THIS LOOK! >>

AUGUST
18
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF SUCCULENT JAR

What plant is easy to grow, hard to kill and can be planted anywhere? Answer: Succulents.

You are probably familiar with one of the most famous succulent groups - Cacti or a cactus. They have thick, fleshy leaves that store water and are easy to grow, require bright sunlight and very little water - just like other succulents and sedums. We love all types of plants in this group, as they are possibly be one of the most versatile plants on the globe. They have shallow roots, can survive without a great deal of water and love not a lot of care. They can even thrive on drought like conditions. Succulents come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. And, look good in bloom or not. Try your hand at a succulent garden in a strawberry. Leave the natural terracotta or paint the pot to add interest. Let’s get started:

What You'll Need:

  • Strawberry Jar
  • Soil
  • Assorted Succulents
  • Paints and Brushes or other Decorative items

Assembly is easy and fun for all ages. Simply fill the strawberry jar up to the top with potting soil and then start planting your sedums and succulents in the holes. We recommend starting at the bottom and working your way up. Once all of the sides are planted, choose something for the top. Remember you don’t need to water often as succulents and sedums are drought tolerant.

Some of our Favorite Succulents & Sedums:

Lemon Coral Sedum - This attractive sedum forms a fine textured carpet of golden yellow. In the winter, the foliage may be a coral, reddish, orange color. It will add a fine texture and color and is a trailing plant to form a cascading drape over a pot.

Sempervivum (hens & chicks) - Hens & chicks are mat-forming succulents that produce clusters of rosettes. The parent rosettes are the “hens,” and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the “chicks”. This low-growing perennial spreads quickly. Foliage can be red, green or some mixture thereof.

Sedum (stonecrop) - one of the most beautiful of all sedums with pink or rosy-red flowers produced abundantly in flat clusters; blooms open in late summer and remain in bloom several months.

AUGUST
11
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

Growing your own herbs is easy and rewarding. And, just because we are knocking on fall’s door doesn't mean you can have to give up fresh herbs for cooking. Fresh herbs are easy to grow indoors and as many chefs know, can mean the difference between a good dish and an extraordinary dish! Once you begin to use fresh herbs in your favorite recipes, you'll never want go back to using just dried herbs again. Try an growing an indoor herb garden to keep your favorite herbs right at your fingertips.

Here's what you need:

  • Container with drainage holes. We recommend our 3-set of galvanized containers with a tray that will fit perfectly in your kitchen windowsill.
  • Soil
  • Assorted Herbs
  • Assembly is easy and fun for all ages. Simply fill the containers halfway with potting soil and then start planting your herbs in the hole. Fill up the rest of the pot with dirt. And, remember to water. Voila – just that easy for fresh, homegrown herbs!

Our Favorite Herbs:
Here's a list of our favorite herbs for a basic kitchen garden. This is just a start, as there are many other herbs to experiment with in your garden that will add bold flavor. Cooking with herbs can be fun and you can’t make a mistake - so be creative and savor the flavor.

Basil - With lots of varieties to choose from, this king of the herbs offers something for every palette. While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent, other varieties also offer unique tastes that are true to their name like: lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil.

Parsley - Use this herb for the mild flavor it adds to a savory dish and for the coloring it adds as a garnish.

Sage - This is a must-have herb for seasoning any poultry dish. It has a slight peppery flavor and is best used on meats in a marinade but is also good in stuffing and sauces. We also love Pineapple Sage which is great in pitchers of water to offer flavor.

Rosemary - Rosemary is best used to season fish and seafood products, but it is also a great seasoning for grilled meats, lamb and potatoes. Try Barbeque Rosemary to use as skewers on the grill.... a real crowd pleaser!

Thyme - This is the basic herb used in dishes from all over the world including French, Italian, Indian, Greek and Spanish cuisines. Use thyme on lamb, meats, poultry, soups and stews.

Oregano - This classic culinary herb is one of the most commonly used herbs worldwide. Use in Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking. The flavor is strong enough to stand up to bold flavors like tomatoes, onion, garlic, and beef. We love the Hot & Spicy Oregano in pasta sauces.

Dill - This easy to grow herb is a member of the parsley family. Cut often to keep producing. Dill pairs well with fish and is used for pickling, to flavor salads and in soups.

Mint - Is a beautiful herb that has one of the most recognizable aromas. Spearmint and peppermint are the most popular types of mint, but more unusual varieties like Mint Chocolate are available. Use in drinks, or simply gather a small bunch to offer aroma for a room.

JULY
21
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF "UNDER THE SEA" TERRARIUM BOWL

Grab your kiddos and create a magical underwater world they'll love. With just a few materials, they'll have a fish eye view of life under the sea. Best of all, no up keep required.

Here's what you need:

  • 8-inch glass bubble bowl
  • 2 to 3 Tillandsia plants
  • Paper to form cone for filling bowl with layers of sand
  • Colored Sand
  • Scissors and Tape
  • Under-the-sea Cut Out Sheet FREE PRINTABLE >>
  • Toothpicks

Instructions:

  1. Begin by laying the sea floor. Fill the bottom of the bowl with approximately an inch or two inches of sand.
  2. Form a cone with a piece of paper and begin layering the colored sand and alternating colors.
  3. Cut out your favorite under-the-sea creatures and tape them to the large toothpick. Click here for FREE PRINTABLE >>
  4. Add 2-3 Tillandsia plants, shells and sea creatures to complete and underwater world.
  5. Water Tillandsia by misting it 2-4 times a week with a water bottle. Never leave them in standing water.

A little about Tillandsia plants: There are about 500 different species of tillandsia and the best known is the Spanish moss that gracefully hangs from oak trees throughout the South. Tillandsia is part of the bromeliad family and is sometimes divided into grey-leaved air plants and green-leaved terrestrial plants. All tillandsia are naturally epiphytic air plants that grow by clinging to trees and extracting excess moisture from the air. Tillandsias prefer to be mounted or placed on a solid surface that does not retain water. Try glueing it or using chicken wire to put into place. Don't cover the base of the plant with moss or dirt as it may rot. Tillandsia can be grown on almost any imaginable decorative mount, including shells, rocks, slate, driftwood, etc. We like placing them in glass orbs and hanging them in windows for a green element in the house. To water, simply mist 2-4 times a week with a water bottle. Never leave them standing in water.

JUNE
30
2014

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DO-IT-YOURSELF BEACH TERRARIUM

Whether you're hours away from a coastline or steps away from golden sand, bring the beach inside your home with a beach-themed garden in glass. Beach décor is all the rage this season and can be found everywhere from pillows to carpets to dinnerware. Embrace this trend with your own terrarium and capture an endless summer. You can even bring back seashells or a special memento from your summer vacation to showcase in your project.

Here's what you need:

  • glass bowl or hanging orb
  • sand
  • Tillandsia plants
  • shells, starfish, fish net and coral

Assembly is easy and fun for all ages. Simply fill the bowl with sand and then start placing your beach items. You can hang the glass orb with natural ribbon or twine for that beachy look.

Tillandsia Plants: There are about 500 different species of tillandsia and the best known is the Spanish moss that gracefully hangs from oak trees throughout the South. Tillandsia is part of the bromeliad family and is sometimes divided into grey-leaved air plants and green-leaved terrestrial plants. All tillandsia are naturally epiphytic air plants that grow by clinging to trees and extracting excess moisture from the air. Tillandsias prefer to be mounted or placed on a solid surface that does not retain water. Try glueing it or using chicken wire to put into place. Don't cover the base of the plant with moss or dirt as it may rot. Tillandsia can be grown on almost any imaginable decorative mount, including shells, rocks, slate, driftwood, etc. We like placing them in glass orbs and hanging them in windows for a green element in the house. To water, simply mist 2-4 times a week with a water bottle. Never leave them standing in water.