Can you believe that we are already half way through the month of July? This summer has flown by! Remember in high school when summer use to mean sleeping in, staying up late, and swimming your days away? Summer in adult world is a different thing entirely. For one, most of us still have to wake up early every day and report to work. For me, this summer (and practically this whole year) has kept me busy with traveling from one place to the next. And while I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world, constantly packing, planning, leaving, and going can be extremely exhausting. That is why I have created these 10 packing tips for long trips that will help you prepare for a weekend on the road. To challenge myself a bit further, I made this list into a one-stop-shop. That’s right! Everything on this list was purchased at one place—Target! So if you’re headed out of town and realize you don’t have something you need, stop by the Target nearest you and get everything on your list.

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Sharing ideas and encouraging creativity is part of the heart of Carmen Johnston Gardens and exactly what happened at the annual Haven Conference in Atlanta. As a Southern Living Garden Lifestyle Editor, I was honored to present great ideas in plants & gardening with the always beautiful Southern Living Plant Collection.

The Southern Living Plant Collection, first introduced in Spring 2008, provides gardeners with innovative new plants designed to solve specific landscape challenges and to excel in Southern gardens. Each plant in the collection is the result of years of plant evaluations, plant trials and research.

During the two sessions, I had SO much fun presenting lifestyle gardening solutions with container gardens, something I’m excited to pioneer and to share! My co-presentor for the two sessions was HGTV/DIY’s Jeff Wilson and I loved hearing about his home adventures and the building of his deck using Thompson’s WaterSeal products.

Carmen Johnston, Carmen Johnston Gardens


Some of the most popular tips from my session were the “stuff and shove” where we created beautiful container gardens with plants from the gorgeous Southern Living collection. Using the Three Ts, tall, thick and trailing, DIY bloggers from across the Southeast helped me create fresh container gardens which were also given out to several lucky winners. Everybody went home with their own lovely plant and so can you by visiting your local Home Depot today!

Carmen Johnston, Carmen Johnston Gardens


We took a variety of fun snapshots and assemble a quick glimpse in this video.


Remember, have fun and don’t forget, if you fail, just give it back to the Earth and try again!




Quick, easy entertaining and garden solutions are being served up at an exciting event called Haven convening in Atlanta this weekend, a conference started by some of the top DIY Bloggers in the nation. As a Southern Living Gardening Lifestyle Editor, I’ll be sharing exciting ideas from the Southern Living Plant Collection including six DIY gardening and decorating projects from get your hands-dirty to ready-made solutions!

Carmen Johnston, Garden Lifestyle Expert, Carmen Johnston Gardens

This will be happening Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. (EDT). For those of you not attending, you’ll want to check out the highlights of the great ideas we’ll be sharing via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and follow the hashtag #havenconf as well.

I’ll also be sharing some of the hottest trends for gardening in 2015 at the Southern Living potting shed as part of our exhibit for the event and we will be posting plenty of those pics too!

So here’s a little nugget to inspire you to join us on this weekend adventure. Give color a boost! Keep your blooms looking their best by pinching all dead foliage and blooms. Be sure to give them a drink -plants like us need a lot of water during the heat of the summer. And, are you done with your morning coffee? Give your plants a java jolt pouring the left over coffee into your plants.

Carmen Johnston Gardens


We are going to be crafting a floral centerpiece with ice, ice cream and florals. Intrigued? Join us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and be sure to hashtag #havenconf, #SLPC, #CarmenJohnstonGardens.

Flower crowns have become extremely popular over the last few years and it doesn’t take more than fifteen seconds of scrolling through your Pinterest feed to understand why. Even though everyone and their mama is wearing one, I love how no two flower crowns look the same. Just like every flower is uniquely its own, so too is every flower crown and today I’m going to share with you three different ideas for making one of your own.

The steps for all three flower crowns are the same, the structure is what sets them apart. The first look focuses on the front of the crown. By using some larger blooms in the front section, and then filling in with smaller blooms, you create a crown that is nice and full in the front. This won’t take as long as filling the entire crown but it is equally as stunning! The second is the exact opposite. Instead of creating fullness, you use smaller, simpler blooms to create a single look all the way around. For the third and final look, we made a crown that is meant to be off-centered. Create a cluster of a few of your favorite blooms and then group them together off to one side. This will make it look as though you have flowers effortlessly tucked behind you ear.


Having never made a flower crown before, I enlisted the help of a friend for today’s post. Trial and error led her to believe that these flower crowns could be made in three easy steps.

Snip the stems! Leave about an inch of stem so that it can be attached to the crown.


Create the crown! Use several pieces of floral wire and braid them together to create a sturdy frame.


Fill with flowers! Using your floral tape, lay the stem on the wire and then wrap with tape. Then continue adding blooms until you’re pleased with the finished look.


I hope this has been helpful! I may be a garden expert, but flower crowns are not my forte. The important thing to remember is just to have fun with it. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with flowers in your hair.