How To Use Seashells In Home Decor

Using Seashells in Home Decor

Are you looking for some new and different home decorating ideas? Try incorporating seashells into your decor. Seashells are natural sustainable decorating items and will add a nautical touch to your home. A trip to the beach is not necessary to get seashells. Order them online.

Sea shells are of course free from the beach and inexpensive elsewhere. I like to mix the common ones that I find at the beach with  more exotic ones sold in specialty shops. Hot glue guns and glue sticks work very well when “shelling” mirrors that you perhaps bought at a yard sale or thrift shop. Glass containers, fill-able glass lamps and baskets will help display shells.Below are some ideas to get you started on crafts with seashells. Incorporate nautical beachside creations into your home decor.

Please remember the less is best rule when applying any theme in decorating. Let your shell creations be a part of a nautical decor or simply have your shell decor blend into a bigger scheme of things.

Make a Shell Garden

5938099_f260

For a lovely shell garden simply choose a tall glass container and arrange shells. Start with smaller shells at the bottom and then alternate with small and larger shells. Play around with them until you achieve the look you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Seashell Lamp

5933697_f260

Purchase a fill-able glass based lamp and follow the same procedure as with the shell garden.Then add the shade and Voila! You have a lovely nautical table lamp.

 

 

 

 

Seashell Mirrors

5933742_f520

 

Oval Shelled Mirror

 

This shelled mirror looks much harder to make than it actually is. Just be sure to plan it out before gluing the shells with the hot glue. Use smaller shells to fill in gaps around the bigger shells. Plan for a special grouping for the top and the bottom. Here a starfish is the “star” attraction.

Go here for step-by-step instructions on shelling a mirror.

You may wish to make a smaller one like the one below to gain some experience first in shelling a mirror. The rectangular mirror on the smaller one is 30 inches x 22 inches.

Rectangular Shelled Mirror

5938137_f520

Make your first shelled mirror project with a smaller mirror. Notice the grouping in the top middle (oysters shells) and the spiral shells in the corners.

The idea is to create a focal grouping on the top and bottom of the mirror and then follow a sort of pattern down the sides.

Other Seashell Decor Ideas

5933767_f520

Add a nautical look to a window sill or shelf with large scallop shells, starfish, and a sand dollar. Fish figurines complete the nautical look for this bathroom window.

5938206_f260

 

Make a garland of shells and starfish to string across a window. Use twine such as that used for wrapping packages. Most shells have a “natural hole” in them to help you with your stringing.Or if necessary use a Dremel tool for boring a small hole. From southernliving.com

5938254_f260

Anchor a pretty peachy pink candle in a glass container with lots of small and medium shells. Lots of cowry shells are included in this cluster. Use any small to medium shells for grouping. From Do It Yourself.com

 

Collecting And Decorating With Sea Glass

What is Sea Glass or Beach Glass?

I was first introduced to sea glass collecting by a year around resident of one of North Carolina’s quaintest beaches, Ocean Isle Beach. She was agog with the hobby and gave me a call to encourage my participation.

“Try to find a red piece. Blue is good too. Call me and let me know what you find.”

“So what,” I thought. ” A piece of glass?” Then one day while walking the shores of the Ashely River at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, I spotted a frosty white piece of glass.

6456472_f260
white sea glass

“This is it! This is what she is talking about.” I had found my first piece of sea glass. I was hooked!

 

6439678_f260
kelly green

Sea or beach glass is broken glass tumbled for years and smoothed by water, sand, gravel and the elements. The term beach glass is inclusive to that found on freshwater bays and the oceans’ beaches. Sea glass refers exclusively to pieces found on salt water shores

Hydration is a slow process in which the lime and soda present in the glass are washed out by the water to combine with other elements. This process, along with tossing and tumbling, will help give the pieces a frosty look. A true piece of sea glass must have two distinct qualities present; smooth edges and a frosty worn look.

Identifying Sea or Beach Glass

1y
yellow green

Color and imprints are ways of identifying sea and beach glass. The most commonly found colors are white, brown and green. Newer soda bottles, jars, plates, windows and auto glass are sources of the white sea or beach glass. Green can be found in various shades. Beer, wine, juice and soft drink bottles are the most common sources. Brown pieces are mostly from beer and medicine bottles.

 

Many products packaged in plastic today used to be sold in glass containers. Amber pieces come from bleach and medicine bottles. Some of these pieces have numbers and imprints that are visible enough for identification. Lighter amber comes from auto or boat tail lights.

6456747_f260
brown

Old ink, fruit, and baking soda jars are the source of soft blues and forest green. Cobalt and cornflower blues are rarer and come from Phillips Milk of Magnesia, Noxema, and Bromo Seltzer bottles. Pastel pinks and grays are from old Depression Era glassware.

6456321_f260
amber

Red, orange, and black sea or beach glass are the rarest colors for Sea and beach glass. Red comes from old Schlitz beer bottles, dinnerware or auto, and nautical lights. Carnival glass and other dinnerware are the sources of orange pieces.

Dark olive or black pieces are from very old containers used to transport “spirits” in the 18th century.  A rare dark purple, almost black, can be traced to insulators on the bottom of early light bulbs.

6439685_f260
light lavender

Color charts have been created to help identify sea and beach glass, but cannot be totally accurate because of the many nuances in the colors. More uncommon green pieces from very old Coca-Cola, RC, Dr. Pepper and beer bottles have variations in color because the bottles were locally produced. Some pieces that appear as a light lavender color may actually be from white glass sources. Before WWI the chemical used to make glass white gave it a greenish tint. After war broke out the chemical was changed. The replacement chemical gave the glass a lavender tint.

6435047_f260
soft blue & soft green
6456781_f260
olive green & lime green

Common Sources Of Sea And Beach Glass By Color

soda bottles, jars, plates, windows, auto glass

Color Of Glass
Source Of Glass
white
brown
beer bottles, medicine bottles
yellow-green/kelly green
beer, juice, soft drink bottles
uncommon green
early Coke, Dr. Pepper, wine and beer bottles
gray, pink
Depression glass
lime green
1950s soda bottle
soft blue, forest green
ink, fruit, baking soda jars
lavender
originally white tinted by replacement chemical
cornflower/cobalt blue
Noxema, Phillips, Bromo Seltzer, medicine, poison
dark amber
whiskey, medicine, bleach bottles
light amber
auto or boat tail loghts
dark olive/black
old bottles used to transport spirits
orange
Carnival glass
red
old Schlitz bottle, dinnerware, car and nautical lights

Finding and Collecting Sea or Beach Glass

sea foam
sea foam

People have been finding and collecting sea and beach glass for a long time. In the past, the frosty glass pieces were called mermaids tears or sea gems. The most sea glass found has been in the United States from the late 1800s to the 1960s.

6439673_f260
cornflower & cobalt

The best time to find sea glass is after extremely low or neap tides and the first low tide after a storm. The best beaches for sea and beach glass searching are located near what is or used to be the city dump. The most bountiful beaches for finding beach and sea glass in the US have been in Northern California, parts of Hawaii, the southern shores of the Great Lakes and the northern east coast.

Glass Beach, located in Northern California, was the former town dump before “going green” and is a sea glass lover’s paradise. There are reports that it is no longer “allowed” to be taken but if that is the case check out Sea Side State Beach in Monterey. Beaches in the Caribbean are good sources of rubbish from old “rum runners.”

6456330_f260
red & light amber

Sea and beach glass are becoming harder and harder to find because of more collectors and anti-litter campaigns. Avid collectors are willing to travel worldwide to search for their treasures.

If you can’t be near the best beaches to find sea or beach glass you can still find it with some persistence. All of my pieces are from beaches in the South Eastern US. It may take a while to have a sizable collection but once you do you can use your pieces in some beautiful displays and artwork.

Other Interesting Pieces From the Sea

Ceramic shards from old china and dishes are fun finds when looking for sea glass. They make awesome additions to mosaics.

6456372_f260

My rarest piece of sea glass is this dark, dark green.  It is from an old 18th-century spirit bottle.

6638882_f260

Crafting And Decorating With Sea Glass

Decorating and crafting with sea and beach glass is an art form. Artisans create beautiful jewelry with it. Wreaths, wind chimes, mobiles, and mosaics are popular crafts using sea and beach glass. A simple and elegant display with glass containers is an easy way to display your collection. Then your pieces aren’t glued down and you can take them out to enjoy their beauty up close.

Leave it to humans to try to copy what takes nature and time to create. Manufactured sea glass is made by tumbling glass in a rock tumbler. It is sold in bulk and is plentiful and inexpensive. It’s great for those who want to create crafts with sea and beach glass but can’t go searching for it.

Ways to Display Sea Glass

6472458_f260

Glass jars, vases, and baskets are great ways to display sea or beach glass. Purchase a fillable lamp to display sea or beach glass. Glass vases and bowls can make beautiful displays for sea or beach glass.

Purchase a candle in a glass jar. Set the candle in a slightly larger jar. Fill in the gaps with pieces of sea or beach glass.It will look lovely on a patio table–simple yet elegant. The flicker of candlelight reflects off of the glass for a stunning effect at dusk or after dark. Imagine cocktails and conversation with candle light and glasses with sea, beach glass charms attached!

 

Make A Wind Chime With Sea Or Beach Glass

6473224_f260

A clever method to make a sea or beach glass wind chime or mobile is shared by Hannah Milman.  Bottle tops and bottoms are great for this.She learned the technique from J.M. Porter, owner of a sea glass specialty shop in Isleford, Maine near Bar Harbor. She uses 8 poundSpiderwire fish line, super glue and driftwood to create a rustic wind chime. The secret is in tying a knot and cinching the sea glass with the fish line and then using brush-onKrazy Glue to secure. With this technique, no holes need to be drilled in the glass.

sea glass bottle tops
sea glass bottle tops

I decided to give it a try. I am very protective of my sea glass, so I decided to use the greens, browns, and whites of which I have the most. It worked well. The trick is in spacing out the pieces. Cut a 3-foot strand of the Spiderwire.Leaving 7 or 8 inches at the top and bottom, work horizontally to create tiers. Tie knots around the pieces and secure with the brush-on glue. Then tie the strands to a wooden holder, such as a piece of driftwood. Make a rustic hanger from twine.

sea glass bottle bottoms
sea glass bottle bottoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

To me, collecting and crafting with sea or beach glass is not only an art form, it is a way to recycle. The litter bugs who left all this glass behind left us with a fun hobby and great decorating and crafting ideas!

6434816_f260


Lasagna Gardening: No Dig Gardening The Easy Way

 

No Dig Container Gardening

6518828_f520

After leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind to enjoy the country lifestyle, I soon found myself contemplating having a garden. I began to explore my gardening options and decided that a no dig garden method was definitively the way to go for me.

I learned that raised beds, lasagna gardening, and straw bale gardening were no dig gardening plans that could work for me. Although I might not get to grow those tall stalks of corn like Mr. Farmer Up the Road, I decided that I could still grow quite a variety of tasty fresh veggies with a no dig garden plan.

A huge factor in the decision to go with a no dig garden design was the local soil, red clay soil. It is low in major nutrients such as calcium and potassium and difficult to dig and cultivate. Lime and other fertilizers have to be added for growing vegetables. A second factor was the fact that I didn’t own a tiller or tractor and didn’t really care to. Raised beds together with lasagna gardening, sometimes called sheet composting and straw bale gardening are two ways to grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs with no back-breaking digging.
 

Benefits of Raised Bed Gardens

6518873_f520

The first good solution to gardening where the soil is rocky or of poor quality is a raised bed garden plot. A raised bed is a sort of bottomless box making it different from a container garden. The most common materials used are plywood boards that are hinged together. However, there are other options. Avoid the cost of lumber and hardware with whatever you have on hand. Bricks, concrete blocks, old logs, large rocks or boulders and railroad ties are some suggestions. There are raised bed gardening kits available for ordering if building your own is just not possible for you.

There are many benefits of using raised beds for gardening:
  • weed control is much easier
  • garden plot can be placed in best location for sunlight
  • soil will be warmer
  • better drainage
  • less bending and stooping for planting and weeding
  • pathway weeds are avoided
  • cold air sinks down around the base of the box making tender plants less susceptible to freeze
  • easier to cover plants for late frost
  • kids and pets are less likely to run through the garden

Ingredients for Lasagna Gardening

6523251_f520

Whatever you decide to use for your raised bed there needs to be room for about 2 feet of soil or growing medium. Lasagna gardening, also known as sheet composting, is a less expensive way to provide a rich, nutritious environment for vegetable garden planting. Lasagna gardening involves layering carbon-rich (brown) and nitrogen-rich (green) materials. Just as there are different recipes for making a dish of lasagna, so can the ingredients for a lasagna garden vary. When combining greens and browns for your lasagna garden use what you have on hand.

Composting Materials

Browns
Greens
old leaves
grass clippings
pine straw
dead plants or flowers
shredded paper
fruit and vegetable left-overs
sawdust
egg shells
wood chips
coffee grounds
dryer lint
pruning clippings
animal hair
animal manure,vegetarian animals

Putting Your Lasagna Garden Together

6523261_f520

Just as long and slow baked dishes are tastier, your lasagna garden will do best if the “ingredients for cooking” are started in the fall before the following planting season. The lasagna ingredients can be used to form a garden bed without boards or a border, but I like to think of the raised box as a “pan” to hold the lasagna garden.

After you have a raised bed border (built in a good sunny location for “baking”) it will be time for the layering. Start by lining the bottom with a “crust” of newspaper or cardboard, wetting it well. There is no need for digging. Remember: this is a no dig garden. The newspaper or cardboard will serve to suffocate any grass or weeds that might grow in the garden. The dark damp environment will encourage earthworms to enter the garden. They will eat their way through the decomposing paper to become “little tillers” in the no dig lasagna garden.

Begin layering the green and brown ingredients for the lasagna garden. Make the brown layers a little thicker than the green. Top off the lasagna garden with a sprinkling of wood ashes from a fire or fireplace. The wood ashes will help condition the soil and act as an organic pesticide. Finally, a layer of mulch, like pine park or pine straw will seal everything inside the “dish” and lock in moisture.

Planting the Lasagna Garden

6527760_f520

To save money, and enjoy the garden experience, even more, it’s great to start seeds in seed starters 3-4 weeks before planting time. Peas, lettuce, green beans, beets, squash, peppers, carrots, radishes and more will grow well. Tomato seeds are so tiny it is best to buy the seedlings. Plant root veggies, like carrots and radishes directly into the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Scattering in a few marigolds between the veggies adds color and beauty, and wild animals will tend to avoid the garden. They don’t like the smell.

Quick Method for Lasagna Gardening

Suppose spring planting time is near and you’ve just learned of the method (as I did). Just as there is a quick cook method for some dishes, there is one for a lasagna garden. Composting is an important process for introducing a variety of microbes to form a rich, loamy soil. Collect green ingredients and begin a compost pile. If you add all of your green kitchen waste it will build up quickly. Toss in last winter’s dead leaves, pine straw or other brown ingredients. In one month you will have good composting matter built up.

Layer the composted material with a few thin layers of a good black top soil that you buy. I also added some of the local red soil. I figured that it must have at least some nutritional value. After all, it is iron that gives it the red color. To make the lasagna garden even more nutritious, add in a couple layers of animal manure (from grain-eating animals only). If you live near a farm this will be free, or a pet store will happily give you all the rabbit poop you want.

These quick cook methods will help jump-start a lasagna garden. Another option is to start in the early spring for early summer planting.

No Dig Straw or Hay Bale Gardening

6535055_f520

The second no dig gardening plan I learned about is straw or hay bale gardening, another variation of container gardening. Bales of hay or straw become the growing medium as the straw or hay begins to decompose. What is the difference between the straw and hay? Straw is a carbon or brown. It will be necessary to add a nitrogen fertilizer to grow anything. Hay naturally contains nitrogen making it an organic way to garden. Hay will probably have seeds in it that sprout and a bit of weeding will need to be done. I am opting for the hay.

As with raised beds, no digging is required and poor soil worries are eliminated. The method shares the same advantages as raised beds except more diligent watering is required.

Straw or hay bale gardening supposedly works anywhere with enough sun, even an abandoned parking lot. The size of garden planned will determine the number of bales needed. Use one bale or many bales to create rows or a pattern. Straw bales can be purchased at garden supply stores. Hay bales may be purchased at animal feed stores. Both are inexpensive and can be purchased for under $5.00 each.

All of the same vegetables, flowers, and herbs that can be grown in raised beds will work in a straw or hay bale garden. Use a stake or trellis to support climbing vines. Tall plants like corn and okra can’t be grown with this no dig garden design. Yes, you will have to get your corn from Mr. Farmer Up the Road.

How to Start a Straw or Hay Bale Garden

6535061_f520

When determining where to place the straw or hay bales look for an area with full sun. Because the bales must be kept wet at all times they will be heavy to move. They will need to be watered twice a day. The size of your garden will determine whether to use a watering can or a hose. Plan your location accordingly.

After deciding on a location water the bales and add any necessary fertilizer. They will begin to cook and get hot. In 2 or 3 weeks, or when the bales feel slightly cooler than body temperature it is time to plant. Check the temperature by placing a hand inside the bale.

To grow directly from seeds, put in a couple of inches starting mix for the seeds. For seedlings, dig into the bale with a spade, add a little potting medium and plant the seedling.

I am a bit skeptical with using straw or hay bales as a no dig gardening plan. I did want to try it though! I decided to start with one bale of hay for a kitchen herb garden.

Quick Start Method for Straw or Hay Bale Gardening

As with lasagna gardening, there is also a quick cook method for straw or hay bale gardening. Use a 10-day regime of adding a high nitrogen fertilizer. On day 4 after watering add 1/2 cup of the fertilizer to the watering. After day 5 cut back to about 1/4 cup of fertilizer for 3 days. Then continue watering without the fertilizer.

 


Ideas For Thrill Fill Spill Container Gardens

Thrill, Fill, Spill

In the spring of 2010, Better Homes and Gardens magazine introduced the thrill, fill and spill method of creating a container garden in one of their issues. Since then, the design has been the mainstay of container gardens everywhere.

At homes, squares, malls and all around the town, you are likely to see thrill, fill and spill container gardens on every corner. Think about the container gardens you see all around the neighborhoods and towns.You will see that the design for these container gardens fit the thrill, fill and spill bill.

Spill, fill and thrill container gardens don’t have to be limited to flowering plants only. Flowers and veggies alike can come together in an awesome thrill, fill and spill container garden design. Tomato and pepper plants are often used as the thrill while a mixture of herbs and flowers provides the spill. Sweet potato vine is perfect for the spill.

What is Thrill, Spill, and Fill

7965398_f496

The thrill, spill, and thrill container garden method creates an aesthetically visual effect. The design’s roots may lie in a sort of structure popular in thrill,fill,spill floral design.

The first step is obvious. Choose plants that will have the same growing needs in the way of light, water and fertilization. Pick something for the thrill, the fill, and the spill.

Pick something stunning, some floral “eye candy” so to speak to be your focal point. Cone-shaped evergreens and climbers such as clematis are good choices.

The Thrill

7965394_f496

My eye candy or thrill is a saucy pink clematis growing up a trellis. This vine plant, with its delicate pink flower, needs full sunlight. It is an easy-to-grow vine plant that loves to climb trellises and posts.

The Fill

 

7965470_f496

Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) is that silvery fern-like plant that is commonly grown in landscaping and container gardens. It too requires full sunlight. It is easy to grow and very hardy. It bushes out, making it great for the fill of this container garden.

The Spill

7965474_f496

Calibrachoa is the perfect “spill” for my container garden. These tiny petunia-like flowers grow quickly when fertilized, and will cascade over the planter in an enchanting way.

 

 

 

 

How to Design a Thrill, Spill, Fill Container Garden

After the “eye candy” or focal point, concentrate on fill-ins that will compliment your choice as the “thrill.” In this arrangement,dusty miller makes a great silvery fill-in that will compliment the delicate pink clematis blossom. It grows up to 12 inches tall and gets really bushy.

Sometimes two or three different fill plants may be nice, but I think the dusty miller will be enough here. For the spill, choose plants that tend to cascade and spread like vines and ground covers. For my “spill”, the little “petunia like” blossoms of calibrachoa will grow and cascade down the container. It is sort of romantic, isn’t it?

Choosing Plants for Thrill, Spill, Fill Container Gardens

The charts below give a few ideas for flowering plants to use in container gardening. Choose plants that will need about the same type of care. Have fun and pick what you think would look good together.

Another good way to choose your plants is by browsing around a local nursery or gardening center. They usually have little plastic stakes stuck in them giving growing requirements as well as the size they will grow to. It’s always better to purchase plants locally. These nurseries and garden centers only sell plants that will do well in your particular growing zone.

Think about how the flower shapes and colors will go together. Think about how the leaves and vines will look with the flowers you choose. This is what garden design is all about.

Thrill Plants
Plant
Maintenance
Description
Asiatic Lily
Full sun, at least 6-8 hours
Looks similar to day lilies, Grows up to 3′
Celosia
Full sun, easy to care for
Flame-like spikes of brilliant reds and pinks, grows 6″to 8″
Hibiscus
Full sun, tolerates wet soil, tropical
Showy pink blooms the size of a baby’s head, grow 4′ to 10′
Mexican Feathergrass
Full sun, water regularly
beige-colored cascading ornamental grass, grows 1′ to 2′ hihg
Angelonia
Full sun, hardy in both hot and cold extreme temps
Clusters of deep rose-colored flowers with black throats, grows 6″ to !0″.
Rosemary
Needs 6-8 hours sun, somewhat sandy soil, good drainage
An herbal bush , may rarely have pink or blue flowers, grows 1″-6″
Caladium
Partial sun, keep soil moist
colorful foliage, red, green, white variegated leaves , 2 or more ” in diameter, can grow 1′ to 2′ high
Geranium
Full sun, tolerates heat and dryness
pink or red flower clusters, fuzzy leaves, grows 1′ to 2′ tall
Clematis
Full sun, moist soil, regular feeding, needs something to climm
climbing vine, large showy blooms, pinks and purples, can grow up to 12′ tall or more
Fill Plants
Plant
Mainainence
Descritiom
Aster
full to partial sun, loamy soil, keep moist
pink, white, purple red daisy-like flowers, grows 8″ to 8′ depending on variety
Dusty miller
6 or more hours of full sun, water once weekly, fertilizer every 2 weeks
silvery fern-like plant, grows 8″ to 12″ tall
Marigold
full sun, easy to grow
bright gold-colored double carnation-type flowers, grows 6″ to 4′ tall
Petunia
full sun, but some shade when very hot
morning glory-like pink, white,red or purple blooms, grows 6″ to 4′ tall
Star zennia
full sun, loamy well-drained soil
white, yellow, orange daisy-like flowers, grows 1′ tall
Coleus
shade to full sun, depending on variety
very colorful leaves, many varietes grows 1′ to 6′
Impatiens
shade plants, keep moist, doesn’t tolerate heat well
small colorful red, pink, white, orange flowers, grows 6″ to 8″ tall
Splash
prefer indirect sunlight, misting
pink, purple or creamy splashes of color, grows 12″ tall
Lemon Balm
sun to partial shade, moist soil
herb; oval, scalloped leaves, light blue or white flowers in summer, grows to 2′ tall
Spill Plants
Plant
Maintance
Description
Creeping fig
full to partial sun, needs minimum watering
green leafy vine, grows 25 to 30 ‘ long
Trailing geranium
full to partial sun, don’t over-water
pink ,white, red blooms grows up to 2′ long
Vinca Minor
full to partial sun, don’t over-water
blue or lavender small blooms, spreads out 1.5 ‘
Purple Jew
very hardy, full to partial sun
purplish leaves with occasional 3-petaled pink flower, spreads to 2′ long
Swedish ivy
full to partial sun, keep moist not soggy
vine; scalloped,veined leaves, occasional small, white bloom, grows to 3′
Needlepoint ivy
full sun, tolerates some shade, loamy, moist soil
ivy vine; pointy leaves, grow 6″ high then spreads
Lobelia
easy to grow, prefers full sun, moist soil
usually blue flowers, some pink, white or red, compact in height, cascades
Sweet alyssum
full to partial sun, moist soil
white, pale pink, lavender blooms, hairy gray-green leaves, low in height, cascades down
Sweet potato vine
full to partial sun, moderate watering
light green vine, grows out up to 6′
Moss rose
full sun, sandy soil,good drainage
succulent plant with tiny flowers in variety of colors, grows 3-8″ tall and 1′ wide
Calibrachoa
full sun, ample water and fertilizer
tiny petunia-like flowers in deep red, coral, purple, cream, grows 5″ to 10″ tall and 12″ wide

Thrill, Fill, Spill all Around the Square

Growing flowers with the thrill, spill, and fill method is widely used. Stroll around the square with me and get inspired to make a container garden. These are all freshly planted and will grow and fill out over the summer. I will be checking back to see their growth.

7973576_f496

7973578_f4967973591_f4967980192_f496

So, remember, thrill, fill, spill. I hope this stroll around the square has inspired you to create a thrill, spill, fill container garden.

Flower Arranging Ideas For Tulips

How to use a Potted Tulip in a Floral Arrangement

Ahh…Spring! All our favorite perennials in the garden are blooming again! Standing like Sentries tall and straight, the tulips stand guard. Their regal helmets of polished petals are in a host of colors. It is hard to pluck a tulip from its post. The colorful little Sentry would surely be missed from guarding our flower gardens, walkways and borders.

6405477_f520

Tulip bulbs forced bloomed in pots are one answer to flower arranging with tulips. Enjoy potted tulips in arrangements and standing alone in Terra Cotta planters on the patio.

Potted tulips from force blooming make a lovely basket arrangement grouped with 3 to 5 other dish garden plants. Just make sure the “Sentry” isn’t out-ranked by the others. Let him be the focal point. In this arrangement notice how the small yellow Narcissus blooms compliment a tulip of the same shade. Foliage plants without blooms in complementary shades complete the set.

How To Make A Tulip Garden Basket

  • potted tulip in full bloom
  • one other blooming plant
  • 2-4 foliage plants
  • a basket
  • floral moss
  • pretty bow and floral pick

Mother’s Day Gift Idea

 

6405535_f520Arrange the other chosen plants around the potted tulip. Use inverted plastic containers to lift them to the same height if necessary. Fill in the top of the basket with floral moss to hide the tops of the plant pots. This will help to make the arrangement more attractive. Add a pretty matching bow and floral pick like this bejeweled butterfly.

This tulip basket idea would make a great gift for Mother’s Day or any occasion. The arrangement can be enjoyed for a few days. Then separate the plants and plant them in separate pots. Place them according to the different light requirements and have several new house or patio plants to enjoy!

Easy Way To Tie-dye Flowers For Arrangements

Tie-dying Flowers

 

Tie-dye colors seem to be especially popular for roses. I have never been fond of the idea of tie-dying roses. First of all, roses are expensive. I love the deep colors of roses; the pinks like coral, deep red and yellow. Why mess with that?

To tie-dye roses,you must use white roses. White roses have a special beauty that stands for purity. I like my white roses to stay “pure and white as the driven snow”. Tie-dying roses require the stems to be split. If I were a flower, I wouldn’t want my stem to be split. It seems that would be akin to a broken back.

 

Tie-dying Spring Flowers

The process of tie-dying roses seems difficult and easy to mess up. I have found a way to tie-dye flowers that actually isn’t really tie-dying. Yellow daffodils or Jonquils and red or green food dye make the perfect combination for tie-dye colors in flowers.

There are a couple of different reason for using daffodils or jonquils. Members of the Narcissus bulb family, these flowers are often called March flowers because they bloom from January or February in temperate climates right into spring.

7775534_f496

Look for unique containers to display tie-dyed flowers.

The first arrangement  above is  structured. I had a colorful striped tea pitcher that showed off my larger, longer-stemmed jonquils.These are all cut and prearranged before dying.

In this arrangement, I used both daffodils and jonquils of different lengths for a more free form arrangement.

Steps for Tie-dying Spring Flowers for Arrangements

  • select vases for arrangements
  • decide on structured or free form arrangement
  • cut stems to fit arrangement
  • fit number and form of flowers to your container
  • Arrange in container and then remove
  • use Popsicle mold or any container for dying
  • add a little water to the dye
  • leave 4-6 hours, check often
  • rinse stems and use in arrangements
7791893_f260
Cut stems to fit arrangement
7791904_f260
Add a little food dye and a little water to Popsicle molds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7791907_f1024
Put different colors in the molds

 

 

 

How To Make Mosaic Easter Eggs With A Stained Glass Look

Stained Glass Mosaic Easter Eggs

If you are like me, Easter really sneaked up and took you by surprise this year. Seems like just yesterday I was packing away Christmas.

I love a pretty basket of traditionally colored Easter eggs, but with all the “blingy” egg ideas out there, I started feeling a bit like “EbanEaster Scrooge” or The “Grabbit That Stole Easter”.

My basket of eggs seemed a bit sad, and well…plain.

Here is what I came up with as a solution to my Easter decorating woes.

This is SO fun and SO cool. The idea is for making stained-glass mosaic Easter eggs.

Stained glass mosaic eggs are a quick and easy way to brighten your holiday table. They will look best mixed in with some “plain” dyed eggs in complementary colors. The only thing needed is tissue in bright colors,Mod Podge, (or even Elmers glue and water will do), hard boiled eggs, a small brush and clear sealant spray like Krylon.

Pretty Easter Table Centerpiece

7838060_f496

Stained glass mosaic eggs are like little church windows. Mix them in with some brightly colored “plain” eggs in a pretty basket with Easter grass. They will look lovely along with some fresh flowers, perhaps daffodils or Easter lilies.

Now you have a pretty centerpiece for Easter brunch on the deck or even a formal Easter dinner. Follow the steps below to make these easy and unique Easter eggs.

Cut bits of brightly colored tissue. Make some smaller ones to fill in tiny spots. Make them all in different shapes.

7837047_f496

This looks a bit like papier mache, but it is much simpler. Just brush on a solution of white glue and water or Mod Podge.

7836986_f496

There is no need to toss out slightly cracked eggs when making stained glass mosaic eggs. The tissue paper will cover the cracks.

7838064_f496

7836977_f496

Spray on a clear sealant spray.

7838068_f520

Bling Your Easter Eggs With These Ideas

Easter Crafts For Kids

 

Easy Easter Crafts for the Kids to Make

Easter is the only major holiday that falls on a different Sunday of the month and sometimes even a different month (March or April) each year. The exact date of Easter is calculated by using a formula involving religious history, calendar history, the science of equinox and a full moon. Generally speaking, the date of Easter for the year can be found by finding the first Sunday after the first full moon directly after the Spring equinox. The Spring equinox is the second point in time when the tilt of the earth’s axis is such that the center of the sun is in the same plane as earth’s equator. No matter the date, Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth, natural beauty, and joy. Signs of Spring are everywhere. Even though the day may be chilly we know that winter is over.

No matter the date, Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth, natural beauty, and joy. Signs of Spring are everywhere. Even though the day may be chilly we know that winter is over.

Many schools observe Spring Break along with Easter Holidays for a week or more of vacation. This year consider spending quality time with the kids creating Easter crafts. Here are three original craft ideas both you and your kids will love. They are easy enough for younger children to do with assistance and challenging enough for older children to do alone. School and church groups can use these craft ideas for projects to be taken home for the holiday.

How to Decorate Plain Plastic Easter Eggs

6342923_f496

Decorating plain plastic eggs is a fun easy project for children of all ages.

You will need: large plastic Easter eggs, items from your sewing box or the sewing notions section of craft/department stores, stickers, beads…(be resourceful and imaginative!) …scissors and glue that will bond porous materials such as Elmer’s School Glue.

How to do: Guide children in pre-planning their egg design. Younger children may need help with measuring and cutting. Glue on ribbon, stickers, rick-rack, buttons, etc. for a personalized Easter egg.

Easter Trees

6343190_f260

Additional idea: Make tiny hanging Easter baskets by using half of the egg. Stuff with Easter grass and jelly beans. Older children, with the help of an adult, can spray paint a tree branch or small bare tree with pastel colored enamel. We used a pretty glossy pink. Attach a thin ribbon hanger to the “egg baskets”. Be sure to use hot glue for this and glue ends deep into the egg so that the weight of the jelly beans doesn’t pull the eggs loose from the ribbons.

We mounted our Easter tree into an Easter bucket with rocks, then concealed the rocks with Easter grass. It will make a great centerpiece for the holiday!

How to Make a Faux Stained Glass Window

6343200_f520

Shiny tinfoil and markers in bold colors are the secret to this faux stained glass window.

Step 1: Begin by having an adult use a box cutter or Xacto knife to cut a church window shape from cardboard.

Step 2: Cover the cardboard window shape with tinfoil. Tape the tinfoil down in back.

Step 3: Glue a swirly line of glue. Place a string of black yarn over the line of glue. Allow to dry.

Step 4. Color the “window pane” sections with bold color markers.

6343204_f260

Step 5: Add a potted “Easter Lily” to your faux stained glass window. Cut a Styrofoam cup in half vertically and paint a pastel shade. We used pale pink acrylic. Attach to the bottom of the window with glue.

Step 6: Color mini craft sticks with a green marker. Cut out 3 Lily shapes from white paper. Attach to the green mini craft sticks “stems” with glue. Add a tiny yellow “stamen” by using a bit of chenille pipe stem.

How to Make Colorful Easter Peeps From Cotton Balls

6342939_f496

A dozen cute colorful peeps can double later as a seed starter! Save egg shells and cartons for several days. Wash out shell halves and air dry. You will need cotton balls, colored chalk, glue, a small amount of orange and black paper, plastic zip-lock bags, cutting board, rolling pin.

Step one: pick a few colors of chalk. Place 2-3 sticks of each color in separate plastic zip lock bags. Smash and roll the chalk inside the bags to make powder. Put cotton balls inside the bag and shake to coat the cotton balls with chalk powder.

6342934_f260

Step two: glue two cotton balls together to form a chick. Add black dots(we used clippings from a hole punch) for “eyes” and an orange triangle for a “beak.”

Step three: stuff a bit of grass into the half shell and then glue in the little peeps. Display in an empty egg carton. After Easter simply remove the peeps and then use the eggshells as seed starters.

How To Protect Plants From Late Season Frost, Freeze

 

Helping Plants Survive Cold Spells After Blooming

Mid February to mid April can be tricky times for gardeners. Is is too soon to plant? How can we protect our plants from Mother Nature’s tricky weather? What to do if we mess up?

 6217910_f248It’s not nice to be fooled by Mother Nature!

The weather in many growing zones is a roller coaster ride from mid-February to mid April. This can be unfortunate for those who love gardening. It is the time of year when those who love to grow plants are anxious to get started. The quicker that tomato seedling gets in the ground, the sooner we are rewarded with a ripe, juicy red tomato.

An unseasonable warm spell can cause buds to swell open and green shoots to pop up from the ground. Then suddenly a cold snap, or Blackberry Winter, as old timers say, blows in to delay our spring dreams. Fortunately, there are steps to take when Mother Nature fools us with warm temperatures too soon. There are even steps to take when her trickery appears to have gotten the best of us.

blackberry winter or dogwood winter is a name coined in old Appalachia that refers to a traditional late winter “cold spell”

Plants turn soil, air, light and water into necessary nutrients. This process takes place in the leaf of the plant. Frost and ice freezes the water in plant cells, causing damage to the plant at the cellular level. Cell walls in the leaves will become dehydrated and render the plant unable to produce nutrients.

The amount of damage depends upon the following factors: length and warmth of the unseasonable warm spell, severity and duration of the cold snap, and the hardiness of the plant. The more warm days that occur during the period the more plants will begin to bud and bloom. A very short not-so-severe cold snap after a short warm up is not likely to hurt hardier plants.But a longer, more severe cold snap after a longer warm up will most definitely hurt less hardy plants. It’s a game of weights and ratios and the gardener has to pay attention to many factors to beat Mother Nature’s dirty tricks.

Where to Protect Plants From Late Freeze

First and foremost, the gardener will need to be aware of the hardiness zone they are planting in. Zone maps show where certain plants can adapt and thrive permanently. The zones can be found on the internet, in gardening books and on seed packages. Each zone moves 10 degrees warmer or colder. There are 11 zones in North America ranging from a low temperature of a possible -50 degrees below zero in zone one to rarely dipping below 40 degrees above zero in zone 11. In Europe the zones are numbered 3 to 10 and range from Finland to southern Spain, Italy and Greece. Possible lows range from -40 below zero to rarely dipping below 30 degrees above. All temperatures listed are Fahrenheit.

If you are unsure of your own hardiness zone, type in your zipcode to find out. Use the zone map as a general guide line and take into consideration variations for higher elevations as these areas tend to experience colder temperatures. Some meteorologists have recently suggested that these zones are shifting with the warming of the planet, and you may be able to safely move your planting into one zone warmer.

6223155_f520

An Ounce of Prevention

The savvy gardener prepares for Mother Nature’s fickleness in the fall and begins with mulching. Suggestions for mulching materials include dead leaves, pine straw, hay and wood shavings. Mulch will act as a blanket for sensitive plants.

6228017_f248
Raised beds are a good way to prevent damage to plants from late freeze

Mulching Tips For Winterizing Plants:

  • in the fall, pull out old mulch to replace with new mulch.
  • for rose bushes, add mulch mixed with soil for 12 inches of the trunk from the ground to the crown.
  • for young fruit trees or other tender new trees, create a cage of chicken wire around the tree and fill this with mulch.
  • when mulching, leave some space around stems to help prevent root rot.
  • some tender plants can’t handle a lot of mulch. Be careful not to smother them. Remember, plants need air!

Plan Ahead For The Most Delicate Plants

  • Resist the urge to plant too soon. if you have to begin seedlings over those veggies will be even later.
  • Keep plants that you are attempting to grow that are not native to your zone in large containers that can be relocated to a warmer basement or indoors. rosemary, pomegranate, avocado, poinsettias and citrus trees are popular choices for gardeners but are plants native to warmer climates.
  • Remember that bulbs planted in pots are more likely to freeze than those planted in the ground. they won’t have the insulation provided by the ground or by an early snowfall.
  • Consider planting spring flowering bulbs later (daffodils, hyacinths, tulips) so that they sprout later and miss early freeze.
  • Have materials on hand for building a cold frame. a simple one can be constructed using cinder blocks or bales of hay for the sides and an old glass window or door for the top.
  • Construct raised beds for your early spring planting of tender plants. They are more easily covered and cold air will tend to sink around the bottoms.

Spring Flowers Planting Guide: What To Plant When

When to Plant the First Flowers of Spring

The first flowers of spring have always been my favorites. The early blooms appear when it is still officially winter in many growing zones. A few days of balmy weather tends to swell the buds on early bloomers, creating a splash of vibrant or pastel color and bringing new life to a dreary, late winter world. Although the weather is unsettled and will probably turn cold again before true spring, there are several hardy varieties that can survive cold snaps. Becoming familiar with your growing zone and knowing when to plant these hardy varieties can help ensure a colorful early spring!

Planting Spring Flowers From Bulbs

 

6308370_f260

Daffodils and Jonquils: The Narcissus family of bulb plants has hundreds and thousands of members. Some of the most well known are the Paper Whites, (popular for Christmas force blooming) Daffodils and Jonquils. The showy heads of Daffodils and Jonquils can appear as early as late January in temperate zones, and late February and March in less.

Daffodils and Jonquils are “twins” in the Narcissus bulb family with subtle differences in stems and petals.

Snowdrops: These hardy bulbs produce very early drooping white blossoms that are so hardy they often pop up through a late winter snowfall to resemble a dollop of snow, hence the name.

Crocuses and Hyacinths are also early blooming flowers that bloom from hardy bulbs. Tulips are fairly hardy but tend to bloom a bit later than the former Spring bulbs.

When to plant Spring bulbs: Fall is the ideal time. It is best to get them in the ground by mid-November. This will ensure proper time for root development for large and showy blooms. However,  there are techniques for planting bulbs later in Fall or Early Winter. They may bloom later and be smaller, but as the saying goes, “better late than never.”

Hardiness Zone: Thrive as perennials in zones 3-8 and annuals in zones 9-11 when pre chilling bulbs

Spring Flower Bulb Care: The bulbs need to be planted before they dry out or not planted at all. Planting too soon in a temperate zone may cause them to rot before they grow. The bulbs need to experience a chilling period. Fertilize the ground below the bulbs before planting. Consider replacing the bulbs with new ones after two years.

Landscaping tips: These early flowers can be used in rock gardens, along fences, around trees or anywhere! Consider planting them in gardens that will host later spring or summer flowering bushes.

Check out these eight ideas for floral arrangments with daffodils and jonquils.

When to Plant Early Spring Flowering Shrubs

6303959_f260

Early Spring flowering bushes are favorites because of the colorful blooms they produce before they even grow leaves. They light up the winter landscape with their bursts of color against a backdrop of still-brown branches! There are several hardy late-Winter-early Spring flowering shrubs that produce breathtaking blooms.

Forsythia: Tiny trumpet-shaped yellow blooms are among the first blooms for flowering shrubs. A little late Winter warmth will help these shrubs bud early. Not to worry! The hardy Forsythia doesn’t seem to mind a serious cold snap.

When to plant: Forsythia bought from a nursery with the root ball attached can be planted in early Fall or in Spring when the danger of freeze is over. Give them enough time to establish themselves in favorable weather. Established clumps can be divided in Spring after flowering. You can also start new plants from tip cuttings taken in Summer.

Hardiness zone: zones 5-8.

Caring for Forsythia: Wait one year after planting to fertilize and then add a slow-release granular fertilizer upon blooming.

Landscaping tip: Grow one to three singling as a central focus in a garden of early Spring bulbs. Let the bushes grow freely without pruning, or use as a hedge row and trim them to be box-shaped.

6307831_f260

Flowering Quince: The bright dark pink blossoms of the flowering Quince also open before the leaves. The Quince shrub is available in white, pink and orange varieties. The thorny bushes have been used to surround farms in the past for protection from small animals that feast in gardens. They produce a bitter pear-shaped fruit that is sometimes used in jelly making.

When To Plant: Quince bushes can be purchased at a nursery with a root ball attached. Plant in Spring after hard freeze danger is past. Cuttings can be taken and rooted in July. Plant them in pots, protect them during the Winter and plant the following Spring.

Hardiness zone: zones 4-9.

Caring for Quince: Work organic composting into the soil before planting and prune after blooming.

Landscaping tips: As they are thorny, plant one or two separately at a sunny location to partial shade location. They can be used as a fence-like border hedge if you want the thorns.

6308553_f260

Camellias: The various varieties of Camellias are super hardy and thrive in adverse conditions. Depending on the variety, they bloom from late fall to early spring. The profuse dark pink blooms are surrounded by dark glossy leaves.

When to plant: Plant Camellias at any time of the year in their hardiness zone.

Caring for Camellias: Practically no care required, but trimming them occasionally will reward you with loads of blooms.

Hardiness zone: zones 5-9, taking special care in coldest zones.

Landscaping tip: Plant Camellias close to the foundation of your home. They are perfect for camouflaging  air-conditioning units or unsightly areas.

When to Plant Early Flowering Trees

Like shrubs, early flowering trees sprout their blooms before the leaves to give welcome color to blue or gray skies. Redbud, Bradford pear, and Japanese Magnolia are popular and hardy favorites.

6308366_f260

Redbud : The Redbud tree grows all over most of the Eastern USA west to Texas and into Northeastern Mexico. Blooms are purplish pink. The red roots have been used in making dye, but they are mainly used as ornamental plants. The state tree of Oklahoma, they are popular for their hardiness and early blooms.

When to plant: Plant in early fall or early spring so a root system can become established in suitable weather.

Hardiness zone: zones 4-10.

Caring for Redbud trees: grows best in moist soil with a slow release fertilizer. Check for insects and diseases and seek proper treatment such as Horticultural Oil, Bug Buster or Trounce.

Landscaping tips: Grow singly or in a streetscape.

6300437_f260

Bradford Pear Trees: Not to be confused with Bartlett pears, the Bradford pear tree is only an ornamental tree producing no edible fruit. A grouping of Bradford Pear trees in bloom on the late winter landscape gives the illusion of snow covered branches making this tree a favorite of many. However, there are some who have given this tree a bad rap claiming that the branches break off easily. They claim that suckers sprout easily making mowing lawns difficult. Glimpsing around neighborhoods in early Spring, they appear to be rather popular!

When to plant: late summer to early fall

Growing zones: zones 6-9.

Caring for Bradford Pear: Water well when young. Fertilize with phosphorus. Remove weak branches frequently.

Landscaping tips: Plant singly or sparingly in rows along driveways.

6300481_f260

Japanese Magnolia: The Japanese Magnolia has beautiful saucer shaped flowers in pretty pink (most common) yellow or white that appear long before the leaves. Fairly hardy, they will produce lots of blooms in early Spring and may bloom into early June in more northern zones. If nipped by a hard early freeze,  blooms will be more sparse. The blooms fade rather quickly, lasting about three days.

When to plant: plant in either spring or fall.

Landscaping tips: leave ample rooms for trees to spread away from buildings and utility wires.

Caring for Japanese Magnolia: plant in well drained soil, full sun or partial shade. fertilize.

Planning for Late Spring Flowers

 

It is often said less is more. Imagine if every variety of spring flowers were in bloom at the same time-not to mention summer and autumn flowers as well! It would be a “flowery world” we lived in.

No matter what zone you reside in, Mother Nature has planned a time schedule to let us enjoy her flower show one act at a time-from early spring until late fall. If we work along side her wisely and schedule our planting times we can sit back and enjoy the long show!

In the photo below, the long-lasting Camellia finally begins to close her act. She sheds her pretty pink dress and prepares for resting through the warmer temperatures with cool green leaves.

6307959_f520

Coming up soon will be another favorite, the Azalea. Azalea shrubs have beautiful clusters of flowers in an array of colors from white, shades of pink, red and purple. All species of Azaleas that grow in North America are deciduous, meaning that they shed their leaves in the fall and lie dormant. This dormancy period is crucial for a healthy shrub that will produce flowers.

6308141_f260

In Asia, the Azalea is evergreen and does not go through a dormant period. They must be planted in temperant climates. The blossoms of Asian Azaleas are the same as the deciduous ones.

When to plant: zones 4-5: plant in early Spring ideally and use Fall as a second option

zones 6-8: can plant anytime

zone 9 and above: plant only in the fall (to avoid root rot in warmer soil)

Hardiness zones: see above.

Caring for Azaleas: provide a shady spot in slightly acidic soil with good drainage. Use mulch around the bushes. Pruning after blooming is critical.

Landscaping tips: Keep in mind that Azaleas do best in shade. Plant a grouping around trees using two or three complimentary shades for a stunning visual effect.