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.



Bringing the Indoors Out

GARDEN-TAINMENT: The new outdoor trend we love!

Outdoor living spaces continue to take center stage as more and more people are ready to move the festivity outdoors. From outdoor spaces with furniture and even televisions to outdoor kitchens with fancy grills on the rise, outdoor spaces are becoming more and more personalized. The National Association of Home Builders predicts home sizes will shrink 10 percent in 2015. With less square footage indoors, outdoor living spaces are becoming even more important for cooking and entertaining.

This phenomenon called “Garden-tainment” is the new buzzword in the garden industry. More and more people want their homes to spill out into garden space, where they can enjoy time with family and friends. And creating an outdoor space that has style, comfort and functionality is top of mind especially now as we start to think about warmer weather and moving out doors again. So remember, the goal of an outdoor space is to create a space where people want to be. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning and designing your outdoor space:

Design your outdoor living space the way you would your indoors. Take into account all the activities you’ll be doing or that you will want to do in your outdoor space. Be sure to consider who will use the space and how the space will be used. Try to incorporate some of the same architectural details and style you have throughout the inside of your home in to your outdoor space. It could also be as simple as picking up on the colors you have inside your home and carrying them through to your outdoor spaces.

Create a seamless transition from your indoor spaces to our outdoor spaces. Creating a cohesive look between your outdoor and indoor spaces will allow for a natural flow and look as if they are one in the same space. When designing, ask yourself who will use the space and how will the space be used.

No one wants to be stuck inside cooking while everyone else is having fun outside. An outdoor kitchen with all the amenities will give you an outdoor living space that is both functional and fun. Give the same planning and thought to your outdoor kitchen as you would with your indoor kitchen. Be sure to consider the type of storage and appliances you will need outdoors as well.

An outdoor living space with comfortable furnishings and a fire pit will provide a natural focal point for your outdoor living space and the perfect place for family and friends to gather and relax. Simple additions can also turn an ordinary space into an outdoor room that adds value and comfort to your home year-round. A hanging swing, mood lighting and a vintage find can easily transform an ordinary outdoor space into an open-air living room Add color and comfort to seating by using pillows and cushions made from outdoor fabric to spice up your space. And don’t forget the plants! An assortment of beautiful plants and containers are key to the design of your outdoor space.

Come see this outdoor trend plus many more at our 21st annual Outdoor Show this weekend, February 27-March 1. LEARN MORE >>



New Year. New Trends.


Hold on to your gardening trowels. Fresh gardening trends inspired by local living and overall well-being are sure to make a positive impact on both our homes and our communities in 2015. From environmentally friendly plants and products to garden-tainment to portable gardening, this year’s trends will shape the garden and outdoor living for the coming year and beyond.

Wellbeing from the Outside In. For more and more people, health is a top priority. People aren’t just gardening for beauty, they are gardeing to nourish their communities, the environment and their own wellbeing. Trees, flowers, plants, birds and bees all increase overall health and wellness for self, society and the planet.

Garden-tainment. The party is moving outside! With the U.S. demand for outdoor plants expected to grow in 2015, garden-tainment is quickly becoming a way to personalize your outdoor space. Plants will play a key role whether it is potting up containers and terrariums, cooking fresh food from your garden or redecorating your patio.

Bite-Sized Decadence. Whether in a small space garden or on an apartment balcony, compact plants will pack a punch in 2015, with rich colors and textures as major focal points. Look for show stopping plants this spring like millionbells, impatiens, begonias and more!

Cacti and Succulents. No-fuss cacti and succulents are ideal for people that seek attractive, low-maintenance plants. Tiny and easy to grow succulents in bold containers bring style both inside and outside the home.

Bed Head. Purposefully unstyled outdoor spaces are the result of intentionally working within the natural landscape. This casual landscape style expresses an effortless personality with an anything goes attitude. Create bed head meadows and natural habitats using native plants to increase diversity, balance and ecosystems.

source: 2015 Garden Trends Report, Susan McCoy

Check out our Pinterest board and flip through OUTDOOR TRENDS WE ♡ >>



Succulents…Who Knew?


What plant is easy to grow, hard to kill, and can be planted just about anywhere? Succulents! These plants may possibly be one of the most versatile on the globe and they have certainly gained popularity recently. We are seeing them used just about everywhere. Because they have shallow roots, they can survive without a great deal of water or care and thrive in drought-like conditions. Succulents also have a variety of pleasing shapes and colors, and look good whether they have blooms or not! Not only are they amazing in the garden, but lately succulents have moved to center stage and are being used in a multitude of ways both inside and out. And, many people are using them in all sorts of way; as table arrangements, living sculptures, as cut flowers – the skies the limit when it comes to using succulents. Take advantage of these unique garden characters and challenge yourself to come up with new ways to display your succulents around the house. Whether you combine a few succulents together in a pot or arrange succulents to form a pattern in a vertical garden, they certain to add a burst of color and a little drama to your house and garden. Here are a few unique ideas for using succulents:

Succulent wreaths are a gorgeous addition to any home or outdoor living space. And, because succulents roots so easily, they are ideal for creating an easy to care for wreath. Simply lay them in place and in a few weeks, they will root into the soil or medium. Try using various shapes and shades of green succulents to create an interesting textured wreath that will continue to change and fill out as the plants become more established. Display wreaths on a door, as a centerpiece, or hang it on an interior wall – the options are endless! Succulent wreaths will thrive in a sunny indoor location or a partially shaded outdoor spot. And best of all, succulents require minimal watering to keep it growing!

Succulents are striking on their own but arranging them in groups or by introducing a colorful variety will surly up the wow factor in your home and garden. Experiment with these garden gems by adding a succulent container to a balcony, deck or patio. And don't fret, you don't have to live in a warm climate to utilize outdoors - there are plenty of cold hardy varieties that will weather the winter. Just be sure to ask which varieties are best suited for outdoor use in the Hampton Roads area. Or, plant the tender succulents in a container that you can bring indoors during those cold winter months.

Succulents have become the hot new trend in table arrangements for both indoors and out. Whether you mix it with classic decor to add a touch of modern or incorporate it into your outdoor space to create a rustic feel, these living arrangements have a number of advantages. Succulents don't wither in the sun, cause allergies, or have to be thrown out, unlike cut flowers.

The succulent craze is fast becoming one of hottest trends in wedding decor! Succulents come in a vast assortment of shapes and colors from greens to dusty blues to serene pinks and purples and even oranges. And, there are countless ways to use succulents on that special day. Incorporate succulents into the bride’s bouquet and table-top centerpieces, or use as boutonnières for groomsmen and even as garnish for the cake.



Trend Alert

TRENDS WE LOVE: A look at outdoor trends for 2014.

Everyone knows that trends come and go, and this is true in the gardening world as well. Whether you’re looking to make a change in your outdoor or indoor space, or you’re just curious about what’s hot for 2014, we’ve got the inside scoop on what’s trending 2014. This year, the color Radiant Orchid is the new black, growing herbs is chic, coastal living and vintage themes are all the rage. And, blurring the line between indoors and outdoors is more apparent than ever! Get ready to see these new trends in 2014:

Embrace rustic elements using zinc, teak, concrete, birch, glass, burlap and reclaimed wood. We can't get enough of these nature-inspired finishes that add a chic style to the home and garden. This spring, you'll see a lot of these materials used in pots, plant tags, indoor and outdoor decor, and other accents. Get ready for vintage chic, you're going to love it!

Herb is the word for 2014! Grow herbs indoors and out to spice up dining and decor. Whether you're cooking, infusing oils, making perfume or just enjoying the aroma, herbs are some of the most versatile plants in the garden. They are also perfect addition to a small space garden as you can grow one or ten successfully. Create an herb garden outdoors using raised beds and containers. And, don't forget to bring these plants indoors. Not only do indoor herb gardens look great as decor, but you'll love the convenience of snipping off fresh herbs while your cooking.

Capture the calm and serenity of the coast. Incorporate shades of blue and coastal motifs such as coral, oyster shells, anchors, star fish and more. This theme will inspire you to incorporate the coast in your home. The options are endless from lamps to cushions to pottery and even furniture. In the past, people have reserved coastal style to waterfront home or the beach, but now we are seeing this style used everywhere. You don't have to live on the water to enjoy the feel it brings you!

Take the outdoors in and the indoors out. Create spaces that blend seamlessly to extend your outdoor living space. Blending indoor and outdoor spaces is a continuing trend in 2014. Try using outdoor furniture on a sunporch or in your kitchen or creating large windows that bring the outdoors in visually. Also, extend your outdoor spaces using fire pits, outdoor fireplaces with mantles and even outdoor kitchens. The possibilities are endless.

Color of the Year: RADIANT ORCHID
Prepare to see this harmonious blend of fuchsia, purple and pink everywhere this year. It is said to inspire confidence and the color represents great joy, love and heath. The purple and pink tones give us a flexible color palette to work with from pink and violet pastels to deep purples and bright fuchsias. There is certainly no lack of plants that fall into this color category, so make room for this color in your garden.



Get Waterwise

Landscaping with water-wise plants, often referred to as Xeriscaping, is a great way to recognize Earth Day. Water-wise plants are adapted to local conditions and generally grow better. They also require less maintenance and ~ of course use less water! There are a wide variety of colorful, fragrant and beautiful plants that fit this description and most have long blooming seasons. By selecting plants that will thrive in dry conditions, you can save on your water bills – and help the environment, too. Here’s some of our top choices:

ICE PLANTS. These succulent perennials are low-growing making it a perfect ground cover or the perfect border. They also are gorgeous planted on their own in containers. Bold colored flowers range from golden yellow to purple. The Firespinner variety is our top pick this season with it's stunning orange blooms!

MEZOO TRAILING RED. This unique, annual foliage plant is an ideal spiller for any container combination. It adores the full sun and blooms with small red flowers. Try pairing it with Knockout Roses, Geraniums, Petunias and even ornamental grasses.

PORTULACA.This beauty is a small, fast growing annual plant with very bright, bold blooms. The flowers will open on bright, sunny days and close at night. Plant Portulaca in a container, window box or hanging basket and let it spill over with abundant blooms. We love the new Happy Hour series with bright colors like banana, fuchsia, orange and mixed. Look for these in store in May as they like it a bit hotter.

SEDUMS. Sedums encompass a very wide variety of hardy, perennial succulents with water storing leaves. Some are loved for their interesting and attractive foliage, while others for their gorgeous flowers. Sedums make an ideal groundcover and look absolutely beautiful planted in a container. The possibilities are endless with Sedums! We recommend our new varieties, Lemon Coral and Beach Party.

HENS & CHICKS. Few plants are as hardy, easy to maintain, effortless to grow and beautiful to boot! These succulents are shaped similar to an artichoke, but the color and leaves can vary. Colors range from pale mint green to dark olive, burgundy to red, purple to pink and sometimes even gray. The leaves may be thick or thin, bristly or round-tipped, smooth or covered with fine hairs. The parent rosettes are the "hens," and the smaller rosettes that sprout from them are the "chicks". Tuck Hens & Chicks into the niches of a rock garden, in containers or directly in the ground. They prefer full sun to partial shade.



"Apeeling" Orange Blooms

A vibrant shade, called tangerine tango, has been identified as the color of the year by Pantone, a global authority on color and provider of professional color standards to design industries. Set your garden ablaze with the season’s hottest color: ORANGE!

From pottery to annuals, perennials and shrubs, this color will light up your garden this spring and summer.

Orange pairs perfectly with its complimentary color on the color wheel: blue/purple. Try mixing with purple Petunias, Midknight Blue Agapanthus, Maynight Salvia, Purple Fountain Grass, Raven Sweet Potato Vine, or Purple Pixie Lorapetulum. The possibilities are endless so have fun and spice up your landscape.

Orange you glad there are so many options?!


No Soil Needed


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, yes, the air ~ so no soil is needed!

Tillandsias prefer to be mounted or placed on a solid surface that does not retain water. Try using chicken wire to display large amounts of tillandsia and keep it in place. Don't cover the base of the plant with moss or dirt as it may rot. Tillandsia can be grown anywhere imaginable including shells, rocks, slate, driftwood, etc. We like placing them in glass orbs and hanging them in windows to add a touch of green throughout the home.

To water, simply mist your tillandsia 2 to 3 times a week with a water bottle. Never leave them standing in water.

Find out ways to display tillandsia here >>



New Year. New Trends.

A new year brings new trends and that goes for the gardening world as well! There are so many trends to be excited about. Here are a few of our favorites:

Welcome the fairies and gnomes to your garden. Whether you create a mini garden indoors or outdoors, there are miniature plants and accessories to bring plenty of whimsy to this magical space.

Water Wise Plants
Using plants that require less water benefits the environment, while saving you time and money. In 2012, there will be lots of water wise choices to fit into any landscape. Try incorporating succulents, euphorbia, hens & chicks and sedums.

You don't need a lot of room to grow your own fruits and veggies. Edibles in containers, veggies in flowerbeds, kitchen herb gardens and even strawberries in hanging baskets. No matter your space, you can grow your own yummy goodness in 2012.

The latest trend in home decorating, terrariums offer a unique way to beautify your home. These gardens under glass can be created in a variety of sizes & styles to fit any taste or space. Your choice of containers & plants is as broad as your imagination.

TANGERINE TANGO: The Color of the Year!
Dance into the new year with the new, hot color of 2012: Tangerine Tango! We couldn't be more excited about this great new color... it's a bold, reddish-orange sure to bring a smile to your face. Prepare to see it displayed everywhere from paint to the runway, and of course, in plants!

{ Happy Gardening! Posted by McDonald Garden Center, January 4, 2012 }