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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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Some surprises you get with a new house can be less than positive. They can range from annoying (Surprise! The sellers left a giant oil painting of a quarterback in the attic.) to slightly more horrifying (Oh look, the faucet suddenly has no water pressure!), but luckily, there are lots of good surprises too.

Good surprise exhibit A: Discovering the new-to-us garden. Since the yard thinks its spring (It was 70 degrees yesterday…in February.), each day we’re seeing new bits of green shooting out of the ground. And almost every day, a different flower pops out. Of course, as gardening novices, we have to run to a flower book (or to the all-knowing HGTV gardening editor, Marie) to identify most of them.

Everything from crocuses…

Purple crocuses

Freshly-sprouted purple crocuses

…to daffodils…

Yellow daffodils

Yellow daffodils, after the rain

…to rambling vinca. And more is popping up every day!

Purple vinca

Vinca major

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

What surprised you most (good or bad) about your first house? Tell me in the comments below.

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Terrariums have been enjoying a renaissance for quite a while now, but I’m not sick of them yet. (Perhaps that’s because, as a confirmed plant serial killer, they may be the only shot I have at keeping anything green alive.) Even if you’re feeling terrarium fatigue, this icosahedron Terra terrarium by Fort Standard should revive you.
terra terrarium

This nifty terrarium has a few things going for it that many others don’t: cool shape, rustic Hard Maple wood, its own tripod stand and…it spins! And I love the Japanese Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree inside. Its graceful curves are even more pronounced when juxtaposed with the lines and angles of the geometric container. OH, gosh. That just reminded me of the worst math teacher joke of all time. Here, I’ll rephrase it for you. What did the Bonsai inside the icosahedron terrarium say? “Gee, I’m a tree.” (Get it?)

[Via: M Stetson]

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Gardening may be tough for me, but for designer Sebastian Bergne, it’s child’s play. Literally. Behold this fully-functional greenhouse he constructed from LEGO bricks!

lego greenhousePhoto: Tafline Laylin

Bergne was tasked by LEGO UK to assemble the hothouse for the 2011 London Design Festival, and though it took an astounding number (approximately 100,000!) of translucent and brown blocks, it has me wondering if I could build a box for some veggies and flowers. Hmm. Perhaps I’ll just try a store-bought terrarium first. Still can’t believe your eyes? Check out Inhabitat for more cool shots of the structure.

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It’s been well-documented that I am a miserable failure at taking care of plants. But if I had this sweet elephant watering can, I’m betting I’d be better at gardening. In fact, I’d be dying for excuses to use the little guy.

elephant watering can

I’m sure budding gardeners (har) would appreciate this can’s playful pachyderm shape, too. And if all else fails, I think watering cans make perfect centerpieces when filled with fresh flowers. The elephant could be a terrific table topper at a kids’ circus or zoo-themed birthday party.

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It’s Caitlin for the win! Like a teapot, a handle and a spout are expected in the design of a watering can. However, this one sports a cylinder body and a flexible hose. I’m assuming that’s why a few of you guessed a hookah pipe. Like Sue and ‘tokenblogger’, I first thought fire extinguisher or tire pump. Watch out for Lori, she guessed a gas tank siphon.

Watering Can - Born in Sweden - HGTV Design Blog

This stylish and minimal indoor watering can, by Born in Sweden‘s co-founder and designer Pascal Charmolu, comes with a built-in magnet so the hose can attach to the can’s body when not in use. Pascal’s outdoor watering can is pretty nifty, too.

I’ve found that watering cans are something people develop great affection for. After all, they hopefully help us keep our beloved plants alive. My favorite of the three in our household is an antique French watering can that leaks, but I don’t care. What about you? Do you have a cherished watering can?

Tell us in the comments below.

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I would call myself a habitual plant murderer, but because there’s no intent, let’s downgrade me to a habitual plant manslaughterer. The longest I’ve ever kept a plant alive was three months. It was a beautiful white orchid that reminded me of the ghost orchid (I was on a big Susan Orlean kick at the time), and it seemed hearty. Until I went on vacation. On my return, the faux-ghost was but a ghost of its former self, and I ended up giving it a proper burial at trashcan. The good news is, I think I’ve found a planter that may reform my deadly ways yet…

self watering plantersThese LECHUZA Delta planters are self-watering, thanks to each planter’s “sub-irrigation system and water reservoir.” After the initial root-growing phase of your plant, you only have to put water in once every three months. The plant will then supply itself with as much water as it needs. So whether you’re bad with plants, travel a lot, or are simply forgetful (or, all of the above, like moi), your flora will still flourish. What has two black thumbs and will be stocking up these cool containers before the long Labor Day weekend away? [points thumbs at chest] This girl!

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My fellow editor Anna spotted this gorgeous “Wisteria Tunnel” from Japan’s Kawachi Fuji Garden on Tumblr the other day, and was so inspired she sent it around to a few of us via email.

wisteria tunnel

Just spying this lush watercolor painting come to life in my inbox was like taking a mini-vacation. How serene would it be to park on one of those benches and sketch or read a book? (And as Anna pointed out, it must be as easy on the nose as it is on the eyes, too!) If you’re as inspired as we were, follow these steps to train a wisteria walkway of your own.

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Have you heard? There’s a woman in a Detroit suburb who could face jail time if she doesn’t remove the vegetable garden from her front yard. When we bought our first house six years ago, my spouse and I planted a peach tree and an edible garden in our front yard. We felt the fruits and veggies would make for great conversation starters with our new neighbors. And it worked. One of my favorite memories is when we first met Grace, an elderly woman who lives a block away, and learned that her family grows chard and collards in their backyard. We swapped our cucumbers for some of her leafy greens and our friendship blossomed.

Front Yard Vegetable Garden Controversy

Photographer Fritz Haeg (top row)

Top row photos via Sustainable Transition, from photographer Fritz Haeg & Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. Bottom row photos from Ecosalon.

Lately, as I drive around Atlanta, I’ve noticed more and more front yard gardens. We’re talking raised beds with tomato plants and rows of corn. As evident in this Sunset magazine article, front yard edible gardens are popular in California. With all that sunshine it would practically be a sin not to there. But apparently not everywhere, like the growing controversy in the Detroit burbs. Then there’s the gardener in the county where my mom lives who ran afoul of code enforcement for growing too many veggies.

Do you have or would you plant an edible garden in your front yard? Is it wrong if it’s the only part of the property with good sunlight? Is it plain old ugly? Or can it be beautiful?

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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July is National Ice Cream Month (as if you needed another reason to hit the local parlor!), but my tragic allergy to all things dairy limits me to freezer-burnt popsicles or spoon-breakingly hard Italian ice. At least these Richard Taylor Ice Cream Cone planters allow me to indulge my sweet tooth for design.

ice cream cone planter

These Faux Bois — that’s French for false wood — beauties fool the eye, and would look wild with some baby succulents and cacti, as the good folks at Sprout Home suggest. Sadly, along with the milk allergy, I also have something of a black thumb, so I’m thinking of using one as a pencil holder on my new desk instead.

Say welcome to Briana, the newest member of the team!

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