Sunday, December 18, 2011

Alternatives to Poinsettias

If you are worried about having poinsettias around your pets, etc. but want that Christmas color, then use some other alternatives.... I like to use blooming bulbs like the Amaryllis, Paper Whites, and other varieties in white. Try to grow the Kalanchoe, florist Azalea, and even a Lemon Cypress tree. For something different, try the white Lenten Rose. But sometimes, there is nothing like a cheerful lush poinsettia plant. Remember, poiset are not poisonous but can make your stomach a little sick.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keeping Your Cut Evergreens Fresh

Some of us, like myself, have switched from live cut evergreen garland, wreaths, and even Christmas trees to silk substitutes. I have no choice since I start decorating my home the first week in November, but if you are among those die hard that just have to have fresh scented evergreen decorations, then here are a few tips to make them look fresh and alive up to Christmas. First, place your greenery in areas that do not get direct sunlight. Also, always keep away your greenery from heat vents and try to use LED lights that are cooler in temp. so your greenery does not dry out so fast. Mist with water once or twice a day if possible and keep your tree pan full of water at all times. Go ahead and use a preservative that you can add to the water. You can find this product usually where you have purchased your Christmas tree. Over a fireplace try to wait about 1 week before Christmas to decorate. Finally, if your greenery starts to look rather dry, just add some fresh greenery sprays to your display. Most places that sell trees will have extra cut limbs that you can add to garland and wreaths to keep them fresh and plumb. Or trim a few bushes and trees in your yard or like I do...borrow from your neighbors...just kidding.

Peace and Joy,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Holiday Planted Container"

Have fun with your potted containers this season. Plant your pots with an assortment of evergreens and then embellish with bamboo poles spray painted a vibrant Christmas red. Stick those in the pot in groupings of odd numbers and the length of each pole is up to you. Then add red netting and a cluster of ornaments. WOW.....Santa will stop by for sure....

Have a great week....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friends visiting on the set with Chris!!

We had such a great time filming this past week...and to make it even MORE special..we had a few visitors!! Some of our fans came by! To make it even MORE special...these folks came in sooo early!
It was great showing off the set that myself and my staff at Botanica had designed! Thanks everyone for your love and support!
Here's a few pics!!

"Christmas Decor for Your Door"

Add holiday cheer to your front door this Christmas. Stop yourself from doing the same "old thing" that you do ever year. I'm going to show you some joyful, unique, and easy ways to make your front door festive for this Christmas season. Use accessories and other supplies that you would normally never consider as a holiday decoration. From wire bowls, silk sedums, to long door swags, your front door can be the focal point of your neighborhood street.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weed and What Not to Feed Your Turf

It's that time of year to get ready to pre-emerge your turf and to winterize your lawn with a low or zero nitrogen fertilizer. Before your winter weeds start to sprout, this is the time to go to your local garden center and pick up a pre-emergent weed product. Remember, a pre-emergent only works before your weeds start, so don't be too lazy, get ready and get a head start. You will want to make sure that you read the label on the bag very carefully and that the product will work for your turf variety.
Soon you will want to go ahead and also winterize your lawn with a fertilizer that has little or no nitrogen. Your goal for your turf during the cooler months is to promote root growth. Any turf fertilizer with high potassium will do the trick.
Happy Gardening!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Delicious, Easy Sides

Grilled Rainbow Peppers- Preheat grill to about medium-high heat or oven to about 400 degrees. Quarter 3 bell peppers (use green, red, and yellow for fall colors): L

ightly coat with vegetable cooking spray. Grill peppers, covered with grill lid, 5 minutes on each side or until tender; arrange, cut sides up, on a serving platter. Whisk together 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar: drizzle over peppers. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, 1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Makes 4 t0 6 servings. Hands-on time is about 20 minutes . Not to bad!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shell Details

Give your terra-cotta pots an aged look, then trim them with sea shells.

1. To weather your pot, combine 1 part powder milk paint (available at crafts stores) with 1 part water. Apply to pot with a paintbrush. Let dry 1 hour.

2. Working in a well-ventilated area, sand your pot with medium-grit sandpaper until your desired look is achieved.

3. Gather some shells that are uniform in size and appearance. Affix shells to the rim of your pot with tacky glue or with a hot glue gun.

Let dry and plant with any variety of plant that you like. I think Echiveras would look great with this look.

Happy Gardening!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Recycle Milk Jugs

Don't throw away your plastic milk jugs. Recycle them instead!! I have found that 1-gallon milk jugs work just perfect as nursery pots, plus they have handles. Simply cut out the spout and front of the jug, leaving the handle. Then punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage and it is ready for your seedlings to grow with vengeance.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to Extend the Blooming Season of Your Summer Annuals

You may have noticed that your summer annuals maybe looking rather tired. Don't give up on them yet. Persistence is the key here. You have to water on a consistent basis, trim back occassionally, and of course fertilize. It is so easy to get lazy this time of year. Who wants to works out side with these hot temperatures?? Place these thought on hold, and gather the strength to out in the garden and do some needed chores. This is the time to lightly prune back petunias, impatiens, begonias, and other leggy annuals. Annuals tend to strengthen during the very hot months. Then go ahead and fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer. A liquid food will be more immediate. Fertilize every 4 weeks at least. Make sure you always keep your seasonal annuals moist and do not let them get too dry. Dryness can weaken the plant and thus they produce little too no flowers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Watermelon-Peach Salsa and Tomatoes

When you think of summer, you may be like me, you think about foods like watermelon, peaches, and yes... ripe tomatoes. These three foods, when blended together make for a delightful treat.
Here is what you will need to create just ONE of those special treats that your guests will think you spent HOURS on:


1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
1 Tbsp. lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups seeded and diced fresh watermelon
1 cup peeled and diced fresh peaches
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garish with fresh basil sprigs

Whisk together pepper jelly, lime zest, and lime juice in a bowl; stir in watermelon and next 3 ingredients.

Season halved baby tomatoes with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Spoon into cocktail glasses, top with salsa. Garnish, if so desired (you will want too.....).

Have a great day...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Creating the perfect Fathers Day Gift! One is the Wine Bottle Star! is that time of year to find that perfect gift for that special man in your life.......your Dad..... If your Dad is a gardener or just simply likes to play in the yard, then we have that perfect gift. The best gift is usually a collaboration of several different and related items. You want your Dad to know you actually put some thought into it. Here a inexpensive but wonderful gift idea. Purchase or reuse an existing hanging basket. A plastic basket will be just fine Then place four herbs in the empty baskets still in their individual pots. Then go ahead and also add to the mix a book on herbs. Secure with raffia or twine, add a card, and now your done. We will show you several other ideas to make Father's Day a very special day this year as well.

Here's another idea! I like surprises in the garden. Here is a fun and simple project to hang from your trees or simply use in a container. I call this a "wine bottle star".

Your will need:

9 Assorted wine bottles with corks
2 tubes Household silicone glue
4 rolls Paper towels
A little patience

First you start with gluing the bottoms of 4 wines bottles together. Let dry for 4 hours.
Then you glue the center of the 4 bottles with one additional bottle sitting upwards. Let dry for 4 hours.
Last, you then glue 4 bottle leaning upwards at a 45 degrees angle with the paper towels supporting each bottle as they dry for 4 hours.

Then either place in a tree or lay on top of a pot and then plant around.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adding Texture and Color to your Garden

It's that time of year to get your gardens looking great so you can enjoy their beauty all summer long. I know, the temperature is getting hot, but it's not too late. So let's get some work done. Remove those old pansies and add lots of different varieties of annuals. Cheat a little and fill voids with over sized hanging baskets. Use colorful foliage plants such as Moses in a Cradle that will for sure add color to your landscape all the way through to the first frost. Remember to add plants such as the Summer Snap Dragons, Hibiscus, and Kimberly Ferns for drama. I like to plant in drifts and I like the flowerbeds full and lush. You get alot of bang for your buck when you spend more for spring and summer annuals. Eight months for that matter. So spend a little money and enjoy a beautiful retreat all summer long. See what we have planted in the Weather Garden. We have lots of great ideas for you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dressing Up A Dreary Fence

So many of us are surrounded by a wood fence. A wood fence can become our only focal point in the back yard. It is virtually impossible for most of us to cover and hide the entire fence. So, in these circumstances this is what I with it! Just find inexpensive metal art such as metal flowers at your local garden center or craft store. Then, add some pizazz by spray painting each item a vibrant color, like I've done here, where I chose a BEAUTIFUL orange. Then place at a random pattern on the fence by attaching each piece with wood screws. Before you know it, you will have an awesome display and our old wood fence will be a forgotten memory of the past.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Caring For Container Gardens

Water Keep soil evenly moist. That generally means daily watering in hot, dry weather. Stick a finger into the soil. If it feels dry, water. A moisture meter is ideal.

Pinch Encourage branching and bushy habit growth by pinching out stem tips once or twice early in the season.

Deadhead To encourage a steady stream of flowers, remove spent ones regularly.

Feed Container plants need frequent small feedings. Water weekly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. Note that some bagged container mixes contain fertilizer. Read the bag, please, to see when you will need to begin feeding.

Prune If plants get leggy and if blooming slows, cut them back hard, then water and feed. They'll bounce back and bloom quickly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bountiful Vegetables and Savory Herbs

Nothing tastes better than garden-fresh produce or newly picked herbs, especially when they're home grown. Use the three secrets presented here, and you are sure to be producing your own in no time!

Start Small: A 4 by 4 foot garden will produce a lot of vegetables, yet is still easy to maintain. You can always enlarge it once you have a bit of experience.

Work on Your Soil: Concentrate on improving the soil and ensuring good drainage. Also, don't forget to keep weeds under control.

Grow Easy Crops: Start with radishes, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

Plant in wide rows: This uses space efficiently. Traditional gardens, with paths between rows, use 50 percent of the space available. Wide rows devote 80 percent of the available space to crops.

Plant crop after crop: Plant a new crop as soon as one is finished.

Give your soil TLC: Intensive gardening takes nutrients from your soil. Amend it with compost or other organic matter after every harvest.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Living Easter Basket

Easter baskets are not just for candy. Create your own beautiful living Easter basket. Just line the basket with a plastic liner or plastic bag and then place an assortment of wonderful spring flowers and houseplants. Remember to get plants that not only have color but texture. Pick various sizes and heights and then squish their root balls together and create a lush and full arrangement. Complement the look with custom painted (in Easter hues) ceramic or fiberglass bunnies.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Scoop on Shrubs

The simple shrub---it can work wonders in your yard. Whether it's structure, privacy, color or wildlife you seek, there's a shrub to fill every need.

Growing on a smaller scale than trees, shrubs are easier to manage and more admirable at eye level. Their size also means it's easier to find spots for them in a existing landscape, and they won't create large areas of unwanted shade. An added bonus, you get to enjoy their appearance year-round. Follow these steps and put shrubs to work for you.

1. Savvy Shopping--Find out which shrubs meet your needs.
2. Find the Right Spot--Take a walk around your property and determine where shrubs may fit in.
3. Planting-Planting shrubs isn't as hard as you would think.
4. Finishing Touches--Frequent watering and fertilizing will do wonders.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fine Vines

VINE-ally!! A way to expand your gardens without having to break ground. Think up rather than out, and let climbing vines do the rest. Vines give your garden new dimension, add vibrant color to your landscape as well as being a practical problem solver for many unsightly situations. Looking to hide those ugly trash cans near your house?? Let a vine climb a trellis placed in front of them. Want to blend your chain-link fence into the landscape?? A flowering vine will give it a natural look without sacrificing function.

Mix annual vines such as Morning Glories, the Cardinal Cypress Vine, and the purple Hyacinth Vine ( this plant!!!), with wood vines. Some great woody vines are Evergreen Clematis, any type of climbing rose, Carolina Jasmine, Star (or Confederate) Jasmine, and so many others. If you mix your vines, then in summer when your woody vines are just green, but the annual vines will be in full bloom. Remember...just stop in at Botanica Gardens and either myself or one of the staff will be HAPPY to help you out!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello, Sunshine

With just the beginning of spring, we are all craving some sunshine. Bring the color of yellow to your garden with wonderful plants such as the Winter Jasmine. This plant will grow about 4 foot tall and will bloom its heart out in winter and early spring. Easy to grow, this plant loves a semi-shady area. Don't forget some others such as the Kierra Japonica and the Forsythia. These two can tolerate more light and will bloom at different times. The forsythia will bloom early and the Kierra Japonica will bloom about 3 weeks later. WOW..........sunshine for weeks.............

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Soil 101

Good soil is the secret to any great garden. It is really simple to build a rich, fertile soil that will produce lush vegetables and herbs or beautiful flowers.

The secret to good soil is organic matter. It releases nutrients to plant roots and also helps make spaces in soil, called pores, that hold the water and air that roots need to grow. The following steps will build great garden soil:

1. Add organic matter You simply can't add too much organic matter. Use homemade or purchased compost, leaf mold, or other organic matter. Either dig into the soil before planting or spread it on the surface.

2. Keeping adding it You need to replenish all the time. Mulching and rebarking beds is a great way to add organic matter on beds every year.

3. Don't walk on beds Walking on cultivated soil flattens soil pores, causing compacted soil, which hampers root growth. Compressed soil also doesn't drain as well. Reach in to tend plants or use stepping stones.

4. Keep soil covered Maintain a layer of compost, chopped leaves, shredded bark, and/or straw on the soil to keep it cool and protect it from wind and rain.

5. Consider testing To learn more about your soil, give a soil sample to your local Cooperative Extension Service or buy a do-it-yourself soil test kit.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weed and Feed

If you are a do-it- yourself type of person (I am not sure why....), then it's time to apply pre-emergent to your turf. Remember to read the different products directions on the market carefully. Watch out for those products that you can't use on certain warm season grasses such as St. Augustine and Centipede grasses. If you use the wrong product, then you could kill your turf. When you find the right product, make sure you apply it according to the directions as well. To much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

I use a lawn spreader when applying a granular product. You will want to go in one direction at half rate and then in an other direction at half rate. This will ensure full coverage.

The weeds to control now are crabgrass, Dallas grass, and broad leaf weeds. If you wait too long, then a pre-emergent will not work on existing weeds. For existing weeds you will have to use a post emergent which is usually in a liquid form.

As always, please protect yourself from these chemicals. Wear long sleeves and pants and make sure, if possible, to wear a dust mask. I won't look pretty but who cares when it comes to your health.

Monday, February 28, 2011

How and What to Use When Cleaning Your Patio Cushions

Yes...........It is that time of year to get your patio furniture ready for the warm seasons. Most of us hate to wash cushions and patio furniture and for that matter, most of us don't know what products to use. Just plain soap and water won't do. You need to use stronger products to clean that mildew and give those cushions a new and fresh look. I know there are products on the market that claim to clean outdoor cushions, but I have found, usually, that they have not really gotten the job done for me. So what I use is a commercial mildew cleaner. You can go to your local home and center and purchase a big container of mildew cleaner. Word of CAUTION, first try a very small area of one of your cushions (preferably the bottom) to make sure that the bleach or chemicals in the mixture will not discolor. I personally have never had that problem, but it's important to make sure you test. I simply spray my cushions on the driveway with water. Then pour the product right onto cushions and scrub it into it with a scrub brush. Then wash of with clean water. Let dry before placing onto the furniture. If you have a lot of mildew and some of it remains after scrubbing, no worries, it will fade away in a few hours.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hot House Plants to Beautify Your Home

This is going to be a two parter since I have so many cool things to share with you! So make sure to check back NEXT MONDAY!!

Rule number 1: Never follow but always lead. This rule applies definitely when you are decorating your home inside and, for the matter, on the outside as well. It's almost spring time and you get that spring fever to clean your house and you desire that fresh and new look. You can fluff up your home decor without spending much cash at all. Simply place new hybrids of houseplants to spice up your decor. Here are some hip and fun plants that will do the job: The Dragon series Dracena (twisted and awesome), The hanging pitcher plant (loves bugs), the nun orchid, the velvet purple passion plant (great color), every type of bromeliad you have never seen and lush, lacy ferns.

Just give all these plants lots of indirect light. Keep moist and please don't over water. Fertilize every few weeks with Miracle Gro and you will have beautiful houseplants that not only complement your decor but help purify your air.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Give Soap a Chance"

You're on the right track with the soapy water, but not all soaps are created equal in the bug killing department. Though all of them are formed by the interaction of fat with an alkaline substance, if that makes any sense, the number and nature of fatty acids they contain varies quite a bit. I know this might not matter when your doing the dishes, but it can mean a lot when we are trying to cope with an aphid invasion on your indoor plants!!

So before you give up on soap, try a product specially formulated for houseplant care. At Botanica Gardens we have several different soap mixtures. Not only are they more likely to do the job for which it is intended, they also are less likely to burn the leave of sensitive plants.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Sweet Valentines for your Sweetheart"

Don't get nervous!! You still have time to find that perfect Valentine gift. If you want to give a personal and custom made gift (and you should), then here is an easy and afforable idea. Just spray paint a Terra Cotta pot red, pink, or white. Then take decals and tape and apply to your painted pot to create your own design. Then spray with adhesive glue, apply a generous application of glitter, let dry, and then remove the decals and tape to reveal a wonderful new look. The final touch is to plant the pot with spring bloomers such as tulips. All you need is a special card to complement your new creation. You are sure to score major brownie points this Valentine's Day. You can thank me later.....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweet Valentines Gifts

Okay..let's talk. If you have been giving your Sweet Valentine the same gift each and every year, then promise me this, you will stop! If you do, then will get so much band for your buck when you do something different this year! Usually, but not always, the same gift each year says that your too lazy to do anything else. It's easy and effortless. Well, is that the impression you really wan to to give the love of your life...or that very special someone??? I hope not! So, instead, create a gift that is made up of several items. For example, add a bar of nicely wrapped soap, some candy, a candle, a small arrangement of flowers, a gift certificate from his or her favorite store, and even a cool Arkansas crystal! This gift says..."You are worth my time to take a few precious moments out of my very busy day and search for such individual and special items". Usually, you can even find all of those items at one store!! You have to LOVE THAT!!

Creating the Perfect Coffee Table Look!

You can make you coffee table look so stylish by just doing a few simple and easy tricks. I have found that the coffee table is an ideal place to show off your collectibles and assortment of different items you may have. Create a mix match look. for goodness sakes, try to refrain from using everything that matches! Mix new items with old items. Add one or two contemporary elements or simply display 3 traditional items in a straight line. The magic number is three here! Three items together and lined up gives a nice contemporary look! Use some stacked books for a pedestal and then add a few assorted items like a mineral rocks, a small vase with fresh flowers, and a bowl planted with our favorite and colorful tropical plants such as Bromeliads. It's that simple...
Of course, don't forget candles..there is nothing that sets the mood of relaxation as lit candles! Candles are so don't be cheap and light them EVERY NIGHT!! Treat yourself..YOU DESERVE IT!