ALL POSTS IN Gardening

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Alix Adams

One of the many things that I lack proficiency in is keeping plants alive. Watercolor, making spaghetti and enduring to the end of Top Gun are not really my strongest skills either. But I must say, I am particularly terrible at trying to keep a plant healthy. This is true for all potted plants, except for succulents and cacti (which, I like to consider a cactus a succulent, but with a sassy attitude). Yep, succulents are one difficult ornamental plant to kill. You need only water them every-other-week. They like lots of sunlight in my windowsill. They don’t care if my house is a mess or if I forget to shave my legs. Succulents are just there to cheer you up and add some green to the scene.

The best part about a succulent is that they can grow in almost any container. At my local hardware store, I have had my eye on some sassy-looking glass light covers for some time now; so when succulents went on sale I scooped up a few plants and a few light covers to create an inventive (and inexpensive) succulent garden for my mantel. You really can’t believe how fun a round light cover looks filled to the brim with succulent-ness. Time to make one of your own, I think!

Let’s Get Started

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I decided to grow my own vegetable garden a couple of years ago — and despite a lot of trial and error (and I mean a lot) — I’m pretty happy with it. Kale is a new and favorite addition to my garden this year— it’s crazy and a little scary how different fresh veggies taste. So, what about you? Have you tried your hand at vegetable gardening?

If you plan to start a vegetable garden this year, your best option is a raised garden bed. A raised bed prevents weeds and some pests from reaching the soil while providing good drainage. Plus, it extends growing season because soil above ground is warmer, and it prevents gardeners from straining their backs.

Raised Garden Bed

Making a raised bed is really easy — if I can do it, you can do it! All you need are a few tools and landscape wood. I had my local home improvement store cut wood to size. Follow our easy step-by-step instructions to build your own bed. Get the full instructions here>>

And to help you get started on planting, follow our easy steps on how to grow potatoes, which grow best through summer. Get the full instructions here>>

Happy Gardening!

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Wow, that was some kind of crazy winter, right?! For those of you still suffering through the winter that just won’t die — my humblest apologies — but for those of us in warmer climes: Yay, spring’s here! And, for me, the arrival of spring means it’s time to head outside, scissors in hand, to find any early bloomers that I can bring inside to brighten things up.

First to flower in my backyard is hellebore  (a.k.a. lenten rose). Their heavy, droopy blooms on short stems are best displayed in a vase with a small opening. Here, I have them in what looks like an expensive Wedgwood vase but it’s actually an old Avon bottle that I found at an estate sale for the irresistible price of … wait for it … 10 cents!: Spring Hellebores in an Old Blue Vase

Joining the hellebore in their winter-banishing crusade are tiny, delicate crocus placed in an antique salt shaker:
Spring Flowers on a Bedroom Nightstand

The cardinals that have reigned unchallenged in my backyard this winter have been joined by a variety of other birds, including robins. I love the idea of using bird’s nests as a spring decoration but would never want to deprive some poor bird of their handmade home so I simply DIY-ed my own bird’s nest complete with tiny robin’s eggs. You can make one too while watching your favorite show. Get crafting with my step-by-step instructions>> How to Make a DIY Bird's Nest for Spring

You can make your nest any size you like — even big enough to act as an Easter basket: Handmade Bird's Nest as an Easter Basket

This is also the perfect time of year to force a branch to bloom indoors. Good candidates for this include fothergilla, witch hazel, Bradford pear, cherry, quince, redbud, lilac and my favorite: forsythia. Here’s what the forsythia branches in my backyard looked like when I cut them; the buds were just beginning to swell: Forsythia Branches Just Breaking Into Bud

And here they are just 1 week later, adding a happy shot of color to my living room:Cut Forced Forsythia as a Spring Arrangement

 Are you as ready for warmer weather as I am? How will you spring-up your rooms?

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I can’t fully say spring has sprung here at HGTV Headquarters, but we had some pretty incredible spring-like weather over the weekend. And with Plant a Flower Day coming up on Wednesday, the timing couldn’t be better. Yahoo web trend expert Lauren Whitehouse said users are already searching for spring flowers, and some of the top-searched picks  are everything from sunflowers and carnations to lilies and irises. Clearly you can see where my inspiration for today’s board came from.

Mood Board Monday: Sunflowers Hair | Flower Heart | Print | Fashion | Bouquet | Dress | Child | Arrangement

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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The weather may be less than ideal for outdoor gardening in much of the country right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any fun to be had until spring. If your green thumb is getting itchy, why not channel that energy into some totally cool crafts made with old gardening tools and accessories? Here are some inspired ideas I spotted (with some help from MacGyver veteran, Briana)…

garden watering can planters

Dented or leaky watering cans can become the perfect vessels for the plants they used to water! Take a look at Nancy Ondra’s other ideas for stunning, low-budget container gardens here.

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I take a lot of pride in my home. If it was up to me, everything would be cute, right down to the light switch and outlet covers. But sometimes, it’s hard to find an attractive solution for your most basic and utilitarian essentials. Luckily, Garden Glory has risen to the occasion for at least one of those ugly little problems. They offer gold, white, neon pink and black hoses, but I believe the matching antler holder is my favorite part. Even better? Animal decor is right on trend for fall!

Antler Hose Kit

Babble

More Ways to Use Animal Decor:

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Is anyone else a fan of decorating with books? I tend to squeeze a book or two wherever I can find the space. Unfortunately, I’ve always had to rely on interior book decor. But now, the style of beautiful, old books can be extended to the garden. These unique and stylish brick books are a super cool way to show off your love of books without damaging a classic. And there are so many to choose from, you’re bound to find an old favorite.

brick books

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I’ve always known that it was good for your health to keep plants in the house. It perks up your attitude and improves air quality. However, I was not aware that some plants do a better job of purifying the air and improving the overall smell in the home. Some of these plants also happen to be delicious herbs that would be great for adding to meals or making a cup of tea. That’s smart planting!

air purifying houseplantsRosemary | Basil | Geranium | Jasmine | Woodbine | Coffee Plant | Lavender | Mint

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Last weekend, I decided I wanted to liven up my home with a few (or maybe 11) houseplants. However, when I got home to distribute my new plants, I quickly realized I had gone overboard. I just didn’t have the space for all my leafy spoils. But with this adorable mini indoor greenhouse, several similar plants can be grouped together, and they look right at home. It looks like it’s time for a trip to IKEA!

mini indoor greenhouse

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Gluten-free food has been a major conversation for some time now. And now that the Food and Drug Administration has set a standard for what it takes for food to be considered gluten-free, I did a little investigating. I set out to find gluten-free recipes that would actually taste good, too. It’s no fun giving up delicious foods you love, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that people on a gluten-free diet can still enjoy most of their favorite foods, including gluten-free cookies, zucchini bread, pizza, oatmeal and even cupcakes! Yum!

gluten-free recipes

MORE GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU:

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Hillside landscaping is one of the hardest jobs around. Many of you have probably just given up on the idea of ever having a beautiful and useful landscape, but take heart! We’re going to work through this together, and hopefully, hillside landscaping woes will be a thing of the past.

hgtv

Hillside Landscaping

Always consider your particular landscape. Is it safe to mow? Are there any existing elements, such as boulders or trees, you will need to work around? Do you experience flooding? Will you need to hire a professional? By taking your time in the planning process, you’re more likely to be happy with the result.

hill

Verdi Landscaping

Be sure to add a pathway or stairs. If you have room to add a courtyard or patio at the bottom of your hill, a walkway will be most beneficial for guests. Plus, a usable path will be a valuable investment as it will allow you to better care for and maintain your plants.

By Jamie Durie

And speaking of plants, it’s a good idea to choose perennials. Hillside landscaping is a tough business, and you don’t want to have to re-landscape too often. Also, be careful to pick plants that will work with your soil and the amount of sun your hill receives.

hillside

Upcott’s Landscaping & Design, Inc.

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Aside from the fact that hummingbirds are a joy to watch, these fascinating birds can pollinate flowers that large and small-beaked birds can’t. Plus, they eat many pests that can ruin your garden. So, how exactly do you attract these tiny birds? Our friends at HGTVGardens.com share a couple of tips on how to get them to your yard in little time.

Yarrow Flowerhead

Fill your garden with plants hummingbirds love, like the yarrow. This plant blooms early in the season and can last through mid fall in average to poor soil.

Check Out Other Hummingbird-Friendly Plants>>

Hummingbird

If you’d like to take a different approach, try making a feeder using only white cane sugar, water and food coloring.

Get the Recipe>>

How do you attract hummingbirds?

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When I overheard Adventures in Antiquing extraordinaire Camille gave conditioning her hair with beer a try, my first thought was probably similar to what you’re thinking right now: Whaaaat?

As it turns out, your favorite brew may have more uses than just cooling you off after a long day. And with Father’s Day right around the corner and the first official day of summer close behind, you’re bound to have a couple of extra cans of beer hanging around. Just don’t use Dad’s rare, imported stout on your hair or you might have to double up on the Father’s Day gifts this year.

1. Condition your hair. The natural sugars, B vitamins and protein found in beer can give your hair body and shine. Wash your hair as usual, then pour half a can of a warm, flat beer into your hair. Wrap your hair with a towel and wait 10 minutes. For a deep, spa-style condition, carefully heat the towel with hot water before wrapping. Rinse with a cup of apple cider vinegar (didn’t I tell you vinegar was useful?) and water.

2. Take a bath. If you’re already washing your hair with beer, why don’t you just go the extra mile and bathe in it? Add a can of beer to your next bath to create a skin-nourishing soak. Make sure to rinse off well before getting out of the tub.

3. Sleep better. Hops, a staple ingredient in most beers, is said to have properties that help you sleep. If you’ve got hops growing in your garden, try filling a sachet with the dried leaves and tossing it into the washer with your bed sheets.

4. Make a marinade. Serve up a drunk chicken at your next grill party: add a cup of your favorite beer to your usual marinade recipe for a sweet, caramelized flavor. Not sure what to put in your marinade? Try this beer marinade recipe.

5. Bake some bread. Whether you’re serving it with soup or just eating it as a snack, beer bread is delicious. Try this recipe by Good Eats star Alton Brown. Remember: the darker the beer, the more pronounced the flavor will be in the bread.

10 More Amazing Ways to Use Beer

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It’s hydrangea season, and it seems like everybody around you (including Grant) has gotten the hang of growing this beautiful flowering shrub. If you’re feeling overwhelmed (I know I can’t be the only one!) — don’t panic. HGTVGardens.com has come up with a little cheat sheet to help you on your way. They’ve made it easy to pick the right type of hydrangea for your climate and how to care for it.

Nikko Blue Hydrangea

Give it a try, and let us know how you’ve successfully grown hydrangeas this season.

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It’s time for another Tuesday confession from your resident Home Survival Skills blogger: I can’t grow basil.

Many of you who have successfully grown basil (and without much effort, at that) are probably laughing at me right now. From what I hear it “grows like a weed.” If only the weeds in my yard were as “lively” as my poor basil plants, I would never have to pull another weed again.

See which HGTV editor is struggling to grow basil and get tips on starting your first garden from the Design Happens crew.

Pictured: Not my basil plant. Get tips on recovering basil right here.

There’s probably something you’re struggling to grow. There’s also a chance that your fear of wilting plants is keeping you from gardening entirely. But don’t let any of that stop you – give those “ungrowables” another shot or start your first garden with these basic tips.

Pay attention to the labels. Though there are plenty of low-maintenance plants that don’t require more than a pot and some water to thrive, the process of creating intricate flower beds and thriving vegetable gardens is a little more delicate. There are thousands of species of plants that all have different needs, so make sure to note the specific variety of your plants to ensure proper care.

Get Growing

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If most of your plants never survive longer than a few months, don’t worry, you’re not alone — “Hello, my name is Grant Dudley — and sadly, I kill plants.”  To offer folks like us a hand, Click and Grow has created an easy-to-use solution.

A Click and Grow starter kit contains everything we need to become instant gardeners: a smartpot and a plant cartridge. These kits will grow our plants without us having to water or fertilize. Just add batteries, fill their water tanks and everything else is taken care of by smart technology.

Click and Grow Pot

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Some people find them creepy, some find them plain tacky — some, like me, find garden gnomes absolutely charming. I think having a gnome or two nestled subtly in your yard or garden adds a touch of whimsy to your landscape. Having a little fellow with a pointy cap keeping watch over things is sweetly exciting.

EXTRA: GARDENING TIPS FROM HGTVGARDENS.COM >>

So, you get where I’m coming from, yes? I. Like. Garden. Gnomes. With that in mind — these garden gnome doors from Nothin’ But Wood on Etsy are making my Monday. You can attach them to the bottom of a tree (or whatever else suits your little dude). This is an overload of cuteness! Can’t you just see a kid stumbling across one of these doors — and, how fascinated they would be with it? Their imaginations would run wild!

Garden Gnomes

Garden Gnomes

 Your Monday’s icy heart is beginning to melt, isn’t it?

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After recently spending a few (blissful!) days in Charleston’s historic peninsula touring private homes and gardens, I can attest that gardening is a full-contact sport in the Holy City. From manicured formal gardens to rambling flower-lined paths, Charlestonians definitely know how to rock their green thumbs.

In addition to full gardens, flower-filled windowboxes were everywhere: Window boxes in Charleston

Formal gardens boast mounds of color and charming weather-worn statuary: Charleston formal garden

Charleston’s sub-tropical climate provides ideal conditions for South Carolina’s state tree, the Palmetto Palm, and camellias whose ruffly flowers are synonymous with the South: Pink camellias and a palm tree in Charleston

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Now that spring is finally here, have you been working on your garden? With so many options, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. I used to walk around my neighborhood admiring other gardens, but my yearning days are over. If you haven’t checked out HGTVGardens.com, now’s the time. You can rest assured that you’re picking the right plants for your climate with the easy-to-use plant finder, and you can search the thousands of how-tos to help you grow your favorite flowers and vegetables.

China Aster

While you’re browsing the site, create a profile and share your favorite gardening photos and tips. Once you sign up, you can enter the Editors’ Pic of the Week for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card! What are you waiting for? It’s time to show off all your hard work!

Sign Up for the HGTVGardens Newsletter>>

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