Christmas Tree Alternatives
by Bob Westerfield

With the Christmas season upon us, many folks have already spent $50 to $100 dollars for a dead, cut Christmas tree, or perhaps dragged their plastic version out of storage. While there is something to be said about having a traditional cut tree such as a blue spruce or Douglas fir, it is hard for me to fathom spending that much money on a dead tree you will only enjoy a few weeks. If you are one of those folks that have procrastinated and not gotten the tree up yet, you might want to think about some alternatives that will work for Christmas morning, but also give you lasting enjoyment in your landscape for years to come.   >> read article
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Press On
How to bring nature indoors by pressing botanicals
by Cindy Shapton

Pressing botanicals is just one more way for plant lovers to get their fix while feeding the artist within. Just pick a basketful of your favorite flowers, herbs, leaves, seedpods, or whatnot to place between papers in a press and forget about it until the process is finished.   >> read article
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Warming Up With a Fire Feature
by Debbie Clark

Imagine yourself sitting around a warm fire. Can you hear the snapping and crackling of the wood? Do you feel the warmth of the fire on your hands and face? Can you hear and see your family and friends talking and laughing as they sit around the fire, toasting marshmallows? That could be your backyard, if you had a fire feature.   >> read article
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Sculpture in the Garden
by Taimi Anderson

On a spring morning while visiting Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston, SC, I left the main pathways and walked onto a narrow trail that led among Spanish-moss draped magnolias and bald cypresses. The trail went past an open glade, wild in its tangle of wisteria vines and solitary azalea and camellia blossoms. It had an eerie and deserted look about it, and I was startled by a white figure standing in the far distance like a mirage. When I looked closer, I realized that it was a white marble statue of a woman. Suddenly this abandoned space came alive. It was inhabited by this lovely sculpture, and my eyes focused on the glistening figure standing evocatively among the tangled vegetation.   >> read article
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Creative Containers
by Rebecca Stoner Kirts

Repurposing all types of objects into creative and sometimes wacky planters is a major gardening trend so hop aboard and I will give you some of my ideas. I have long been a fan of this idea – whether antiques or something you discover in the attic or barn – repurposing provides a vessel with non-traditional flair. Nothing is out of bounds, often the quirkier it is the more impact it will have. So let your imagination run wild. Pursue the flea markets, rummage through grandma’s attic or go picking in farm outbuildings, any object is fair game.   >> read article
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Homegrown Holiday Wreaths
by Sandi Crabtree

In a world surrounded by mass- produced goods, there is a special kind of joy that comes from receiving gifts that are hand-crafted or homegrown. Join in the trendy, handmade movement that’s sweeping the country by creating one-of-a-kind wreaths from garden materials.   >> read article
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Building a Scarier Scarecrow
by Cindy Shapton

If you have a garden, it’s more than likely that you also have a pest or three. It should be no surprise that pests and critters like our yards and gardens as much, or more, than we do. We are encouraged to invite wildlife into our yards and gardens because we love seeing them, and, in theory, they help balance our desire for our garden and nature to coexist. But what happens when they go rogue and start eating, digging and destroying all of our hard work?

Scaring them away, or we could say gently discouraging, wild and sometimes not-so-wild critters to “Step away from the garden,” is always a first and sometimes successful option.   >> read article
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A Checklist for Summer Entertaining
by Susan Martin

Your lovely, flower-filled landscape is the perfect setting for entertaining friends and family, but if you don’t have much experience in throwing a party it can be a bit daunting. Whether you’re hosting a graduation party, birthday bash or Fourth of July celebration, completing this simple checklist of tasks will help you organize and pull off the big event in style. Let’s get started!   >> read article
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