ALL POSTS IN Gardening & Outdoor

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If you haven’t heard (where have you been?), HGTV Gardens launched yesterday with a new website. It’s all anyone in the office can talk about (it’s that good!). And so, I’ve been flipping through the site all morning — and look what I’ve come across. This three-room treehouse strung together with wooden bridges is a secret hideaway in the middle of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Fascinating, right?

It sort of reminds me of the hugely popular Hobbit Houses post I did back in December.

Tree House in the City

A House on High: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Treehouse Inside: Look at the Stunning Interiors >>

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The spice cabinet is by far my favorite part of the kitchen. The aroma of cinnamon and red peppers, the endless flavor combinations waiting to be discovered . . . I could go on for days.

DIY spice jars

Perhaps you remember all the great ways you can use vinegar around your home. You’ll quickly find that herbs and spices are no different, offering natural solutions for both you and your home. Plus, it’s likely you already have several of these super-spices at home – probably more than you know what to do with – making them a practically free cure-all.

The Spices

Cayenne Pepper: An easy to grow hot pepper great for adding a kick to any dish, cayenne pepper is a powerful sinus-cleanser (as many hot-sauce aficionados may know) and also great for getting rid of pests.

Cinnamon: One of the most commonly used spices, cinnamon smells good and is good for you.

Garlic: Garlic isn’t actually an herb or a spice, but a member of the lily family – making it kin to other bulbs like onions, shallots and chives. Besides its numerous uses in the kitchen, garlic can do everything from clear up acne to protect your pet from parasites.

Ginger: Ginger root has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes such as treating digestive problems or a nasty cold.

Ginseng: Like ginger, ginseng is harvested for its healing properties and can also help you feel more energetic.

Mint: The mint family actually covers a wide range of plants that includes basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage. Mint is versatile and used in cleansers, can deter pests and can also soothe a tooth or tummy ache.

Other beneficial spices include – but certainly aren’t limited to – turmeric, parsley, saffron, nutmeg, cloves and countless others.

Tricks to Try

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This vintage storefront greenhouse comes complete with reclaimed windows, wood flooring and a wood back wall. Each window is latched with a barrel bolt and the windows all have box supports to hold them open for ventilation.

Greenhouse

Etsy User :: Schuan Carpenter

Each greenhouse is unique. Designs are not finalized until materials have been procured. The final design is based on what materials are available at the time of purchase.

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The heat of summer can be overwhelming. When temperatures soar into the 100′s, the last thing you want is a warm glass of red wine or a heavy beer. You need to cool off with a fresh, minty treat – a mojito. This simple drink screams summer and is the perfect accessory to relax with by the pool (or on the driveway, on the beach, in a fancy restaurant – it’s very versatile!).

Classic Mojito RecipeClassic Mojitos

Once you’ve made your simple syrup, mix in rum, lime juice and soda water. Head to your garden (or grocery store) for a few sprigs of mint and you have the perfect warm weather refreshment.

Happy Hour Cocktails: The Full Collection

If you prefer to cool off without alcohol, then this mocktail needs to be added to your beverage rotation. The fresh taste of grapefruit paired with mint is a taste that’s not to be missed.

Virgin Grapefruit MojitoVirgin Grapefruit Mojito

So raise your glass to summer and say cheers to mojitos!

Find more great mojito recipes on Food.com.

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If you’ve browsed around HGTV.com, then you have certainly come across Designers’ Portfolio. This area of the website houses thousands of images from designers all over the world who feature their high-end commercial and residential designs. It’s a place for you to seek inspiration and ideas for your home, both inside and out. Well, we decided to take this idea a bit further. Now, you can seek ideas and inspiration on flowers, landscaping, edible plants, water features and much more with HGTV.com’s brand-new Garden Galleries. Are you wanting to create an Asian-style garden, or maybe add climbers to the back of your home? Garden Galleries has just what you’re looking for.

First, you can browse by category: landscaping, outdoor retreat, flowers and foliage, water features and edible. Then, you can narrow those results even further by choosing one of 18 design styles. And if you’re looking for a particular color, you can search that way as well. Dive in and take a look.

hgtv garden galleries pictures of flowersClimbing Rose

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What is the history of bottle trees? Best I can tell (don’t quote me on this), their origin dates back hundreds of years. Evidently, it was believed that evil spirits would be drawn to the shiny bottles and become trapped inside. Folks would place bottles on trees around their home to keep evil from getting in the house.

Now, I don’t know about all that — but, I do know that today they are used as decorative art in gardens and landscaping. BottleTree.com has made having one super easy. They provide the “tree” and colorful bottles and ship everything straight to your house. They’re both stunning and unique.

Bottle Tree

Do you know more about bottle trees? Tell me below. And, let me know if you actually have one of these “evil catchers.”

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Until now, I didn’t think there was a nice way to seamlessly incorporate a label into your garden. But take a look at these vegetable-inspired rock markers by Repeat Crafter Me. I have to admit they’re pretty adorable.

Vegetable Garden Labels

I like the idea of re-purposing rocks and using supplies you’ve probably already got on hand to create labels for your vegetables. They would even make a great indoor project to try with your kids on a steamy day like today.

What vegetables are you growing this summer?

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My mother taught me never to boast. “No one wants to hear all of that,” she’d say. Well, Mom, look away, because I’m about to brag.

Everyone, look at my hydrangeas! Yes, they’re mine! If you know me, you know what a triumph this is. Finally, after years of heartache and struggle, I, Grant Dudley, have had hydrangea success!

Hydrangeas

The prettiest of all the blooms.

Hydrangeas

Yes, this is real. I didn’t doctor the photo.

Hydrangeas

New blooms are popping up daily!

I’ll tell you the truth, these plants are a sight for my sore eyes. I have been plagued with ugly, sickly and distressed hydrangeas for at least four years now.

“What made the difference this year?” you say. Well, I’m glad you asked.

Intervention. Yes, plain and simple intervention. This spring I stayed on top of the plants before they could take a nasty turn. I watered them faithfully (with a little vinegar here and there), pruned back the branches, pulled off questionable leaves and most importantly, treated the bushes with a fungicide (I now know a fungus has been the problem all along).

So, today, on this first day of summer, I proudly write here and say “Take that ugly hydrangeas!” There’s a new sheriff in town.

Have you ever turned a dud of a plant or flower into a blooming beauty? Let me know!

Oh, and I’m sorry Mom.

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No, this isn’t some sort of man-eating plant. And it isn’t a xylophone either. It’s actually an experimental moss garden designed by asensio_mah and students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design for the Canada Blooms show in Toronto.

 Interactive Garden

Participants got down and dirty by unwrapping and twisting the garden’s wall to create various-sized garden pockets (or microclimates) to see how they grow in different environments. I usually can’t keep plants alive, so I could really use this wall to “hide” all the sad plants I end up with. Would that be considered cheating?

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If you’re itching to do some landscaping – but don’t have the outdoor space to do it – then these mason jar planters may be just what you need. Stacy of Not Just a Housewife blog created this clever indoor gardening solution by screwing wire hose clamps to an old wooden board. She then screwed the board to the wall, placed the jars in the clamps and tightened them. You can place them in your kitchen or really any nook to fill up wall space, while adding a little bit of nature to your home. What types of flowers would you plant in these jar planters? Tell us in the comments below.

 Mason Jar Planters

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Dan Faires, the Design Star season five fan favorite and host of DanMade, presented at the 19th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV at Walt Disney World over Easter weekend. Dan demonstrated how to plant with a terrarium and how to go vertical with a clever container garden. Check out Dan’s tips for terrariums and vertical gardens:

With Mother’s Day less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking about gifts. If your mother is anything like mine, she will love this Danmade Planterfall. It’s practical, affordable, and is perfect for anyone who likes to garden.

DanMade Planterfall Container Garden

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I think the latest DanMade tutorial on our blog left a big impression on me, because I’m smitten with this living wall art by BrightGreen that I saw on Houzz. From here it looks like a solid hedge, but the effect was achieved by grouping a number of vertical planters together.

planter wall
I love the way the wall provides both privacy and style for the backyard. And the fanciful swirls and dots definitely call Van Gogh’s Starry Night to mind. Painting with plants, now that’s a clever idea.

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Dan Faires, the Design Star season five fan favorite and host of DanMade, presented at the 19th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV at Walt Disney World over Easter weekend. Dan demonstrated how to plant with a terrarium and how to go vertical with a clever container garden. Check out Dan’s tips for terrariums and vertical gardens:

Hi HGTV’ers!

Spring has SPRUNG and it’s great to be able to share some of the latest Danmade gardening projects with you here on the blog. My hope is that you will be inspired and want to jump right in and get your hands dirty this weekend.

This Danmade Vertical Garden is not only simple, it is perfect for anyone with limited green space. It can also be mounted inside on the wall. As a designer, people often ask me what type of artwork to use or what to hang on the walls that will provide an unexpected focal point in the space. The Danmade Vertical Garden is a great addition in any room and it won’t break the bank either.

DanMade Vertical Garden

The steps to creating your very own Danmade Vertical Garden are:

1. Find or purchase any old crate. I literally got this one out of the trash in New York City, but you can usually find them at any flea market or thrift store. The crate I am using is relatively small, but you could expand this principle and make your Danmade Vertical Garden as big as you want!
2. Purchase seed starter cells at any hardware store or nursery. I have chosen these 100% natural fiber cells because they are eco-friendly and absorb moisture well. You could also use plastic seed starter cells.
3. Cut the seed starter cells so that they fit snuggly into the crate.
4. Purchase some chicken wire or wire mesh at your local hardware store. This will serve as a barrier to hold the plants in place when the planter is hung vertically on the wall.
5. Cut the chicken wire or wire mesh so that it fits very tightly inside of the crate. *Remove the wire before proceeding to the next step.
6. Place dirt inside of seed starter cells
7. Install plants into individual cells.
8. Re-insert wire mesh making sure to be very careful with plants. Pull any plants through holes in the wire. For larger plants, cut bigger holes in wire if necessary, making sure to keep the wire as tight as possible. For larger Danmade Vertical Gardens I would recommend stapling the wire in place onto the crate.
9. The final step is to add moss. Wedge the moss as tight as you can in any gaps. This will help the dirt and plant material from falling out until the roots systems get established. It also looks much more aesthetically pleasing and helps absorb much needed moisture for the plants in your Danmade Vertical Garden.

Since everyone loved the animated terrarium how to, I thought I’d include one here as well:

DanMade Vertical Garden

A few important points to note about the Danmade Vertical Garden:
1. This hangs on the wall, just like a picture frame. You can use a cleat, or purchase frame hanging wire from your local hardware store.
2. To water your Danmade Vertical Garden simply remove it from the wall once a week, lay it flat on the ground and soak it with the water hose outside, or inside in the shower. Leave it for 2 to 5 minutes so that the excess moisture drips away, and then bring it back inside to hang vertically on the wall.

If you missed my last blog about terrariums, check it out here to learn how to create this simple container garden.

Have a GREEN day! Be sure to leave any questions or comments below and I will try to answer them as soon as possible. Also, if you decide to make your own Danmade Vertical Garden I would love to see photos!

Daniel Grady Faires
Host of HGTV.com’s DanMade

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Dan Faires, the Design Star season five fan favorite and host of DanMade, presented at the 19th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV at Walt Disney World over Easter weekend. Dan demonstrated how to plant with a terrarium and how to go vertical with a clever container garden. Check out Dan’s tips for terrariums and vertical gardens:

As a first time presenter at the Flower and Garden Festival, I really had no clue what to expect. I found myself on stage with an audience full of fellow plant lovers. The response was greater than I could ever have imagined and all of the people who were at the presentations had great questions and feedback.

Dan Faires EPCOT Flower and Garden Show

I covered a lot of gardening tips, tricks, and DIY tutorials including the Danmade Vertical Garden, Danmade Planterfall, and Danmade Terrarium. Many of the visitors asked me to post instructions and photos on HGTV.com so they could use them as a reference and share them with friends and family. I hope that if you missed the presentations, you will still be inspired by one of these three Danmade projects.

Terrariums are currently a very big trend in design and a lot of people in the audience were excited to go home and make one of their own. These easy, miniature gardens are a great way to bring the outdoors in or for anyone who has a black thumb. They make great gifts, and are a great way to get children started with gardening. From a design perspective, terrariums are also one of the best ways to make a bold statement in any space.

The basic steps for making your own terrarium are very simple:
1.) Select your glass terrarium of choice either online or at multiple retailers. Make sure to consider where you will be placing your terrarium in your space because the sizes and shapes are endless.
2.) Add gravel or stone to the base of the terrarium to provide additional drainage if necessary.
3.) Add an inch or two of potting soil.
4.) Insert your plants.
5.) Add green moss, Spanish moss, or mulch to fill in and help maintain moisture.
6.) Enjoy your new “miniature garden” in your home and watch your friends admire your new creation!

Dan Faires Terrarium How To

During the presentation I gave three basic terrarium tips:

1.) Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune on plants to make your terrarium beautiful. Because these gardens are so small, all you need are a few clippings from your existing garden. Succulents work great for this because you can remove baby sprouts from the mother plant that have small adventitious roots that will soon develop into an entire fibrous root system. If you have time, I would suggest starting your baby plants in seed starter kits so that their root systems can develop a bit, but if not you can plant them directly into the terrarium and watch them thrive.

2.) Moss is BOSS! Cheesy tagline, I know, however this is SO TRUE. Moss will fill the dead space between your plants and add that finishing touch. Moss also absorbs moisture very well and will help maintain the humid environment that will help the plants in your terrarium prosper. You can use any type of moss and can find it at any plant nursery, but also keep your eyes peeled because you don’t need much. I scraped mine off of a shaded cobblestone side-street here in Manhattan.

3.) Invest in a spray bottle. I killed a lot of plants as a youngster by neglecting them for weeks and then trying to over water them. With terrariums, all you need are a few sprays per week to keep your plants happy. The spray bottle spreads the moisture out evenly and prevents over-watering which can lead to root-rot.

Another tip that I would give to those of you who might be discouraged by the prices of these leaded glass terrariums is, get creative. I found a large vase at a thrift store for $3 and it has worked perfectly to display my daffodils that are about to bloom!

I will be posting how-to steps and photos for the remaining Danmade projects – the Danmade Vertical Garden and the Danmade Planterfall – on HGTV.com in the next few days, so be sure to check back.

Dan Faires Vertical Garden Planterfall

Daniel Grady Faires
Host of HGTV.com’s DanMade

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Fiber optic Christmas trees have a certain something, and y’all flipped for the twinkly bathroom I posted a while back — which achieved the dazzling effect with Swarovski crystals lit by fiber optic lights – so, I figured this starry garden path lit with (you guessed it) fiber optic lights would be perfect warm weather inspiration for you.

fiber optic garden path

Outdoor entertaining would be magical in a space like this, I think. The lights give off a subtle glow here at dusk, but I imagine at night it looks like a glittering galaxy — or like dozens of fireflies came to join the party. Want a little sparkle in your own garden? Head to the Starscape site to learn more about getting the look.

What are you planning to do in your garden this spring and summer?

[Via: Pinterest]

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For many people trying to keep a manicured lawn, dandelions are a spring and summer annoyance. But although they may not be delightful when they pop up all over your property, I think I can make a case for bringing them indoors based on this jaw-dropping installation by German artist Regine Ramseier for ArToll Summer Lab 2011.

dandelion room

Ramseier picked and transported nearly 2,000 dandelions from a field for the project. And just how did she get “the wishies” — my childhood name for the seed heads, as we used to make wishes on them and blow, like candles on a birthday cake — to stay intact, you wonder? A little spray adhesive and some special palettes with holes in them. (These pictures of the process are almost as cool as the finished product itself.) It’s so dreamy, I wish someone would manufacture a giant dandelion-like canopy so I could mimic the installation at home. But don’t worry, I won’t wish on one of those wishies.

[Via: The Jealous Curator]

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Today’s officially the first day of spring and I’m completely and utterly…speechless. Why? Because here in Knoxville, Tenn., where HGTV headquarters are located, we skipped winter. No snow days, no brutal freezes, just some typical cold weather. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining, just a little shocked that my favorite season is actually here! If you’re ready to welcome spring with open arms, then we have a project that will get you in the mood for all the gardening you’ll be doing in just a few weeks.

With this seed tape project you can create the perfect arrangement and plant seeds exactly where you want them. This is a great way to get the little ones involved in the garden, too. Find out how:

seed tape spring gardening

Measure out a length of toilet paper, determine the spacing of your planting row and cut lengthwise accordingly. Consult the seed packet to determine how far apart the seeds should be planted, and then use a marker to mark the seed spacing on the paper. Add a dab of all-purpose glue on each mark. Pour the seeds on a plate and separate. Use tweezers to pick up an individual seed and place on each drop of glue.

seed tape spring gardening

Once all the seeds have been placed and the glue has dried, roll the seed tape onto a toilet paper roll. Store the rolled seed tapes in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to plant.

seed tape spring gardening

If your containers are ready, you can plant your seed tape immediately. To plant the seed tape, simply lay it on the soil surface and cover with garden soil according to the depth recommended by the seed packet. Firm the soil, and then water with a fine nozzle, like that on a watering can. Get the Full Step-by-Step Instructions Here >>

Need some more ideas for fun projects you can do with the whole family? Head over to the HGTV Family Gardening Club. Plus, score some free expert gardening tips and top-notch plant advice at HGTV’s brand new gardening site HGTV Gardens.

Is anyone else ready to welcome spring? What garden projects are you planning this season? Tell us below!

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I’m going steady with kale. Sure, I’ve had flings with other veggies — spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts — but none of them were as versatile as kale, and I’m true blue to my leafy green. How do I love kale? Let me count the ways:

1. I love kale in Veggie Booty, which is covered in kale powder. (Hey, 15% Vitamin A and 10% Vitamin C, it counts!)
2. I love kale in the Mean Greens juice I get from the One Lucky Duck juice bar.
3. I love kale chips, especially the flavors from New York Naturals.
4. I love sauteed kale, and this recipe couldn’t be easier or more delicious.
5. I love kale in ornamental garden beds and in floral arrangements.

[cue record scratch sound effect]

kale floral arrangement

Yes! It isn’t just good to eat. You can absolutely grow some gorgeous kale and use it in elegant arrangements. We have a tutorial for making a dramatic edible fall arrangement with ornamental kale and asparagus, and I might use some of its pointers to recreate the gorgeous Kale and Eschevaria arrangement from Jayson Home shown above. (I spotted it on their site the other day, but sadly, it’s only available for order in the Chicago area. Go Bears.)

Would you use kale or another veggie in a floral arrangement? Or do you think they should appear on dinner plates alone?

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Sometimes I wish I lived in a small ivy-covered English cottage. Wouldn’t it be cozy? Reading great novels, eating tiny egg & cress or cucumber sandwiches with no crusts! As it is, my apartment is no cottage, and there’d be nothing to train the ivy on…unless I had one of these Screen-Pots.

screen pot

The steel grates are great (har) for helping climbing plants to take hold, though I think it’d still look striking and graphic without any vines winding through it. Perhaps my dream of some quaint ivy is attainable after all. In that case, I think I’ll have another spot of tea, please.

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