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5 Fun Easter Basket Items for Kids by The Green Thumb Gal at Carmen Johnston Gardens

 

1. How adorable is this ‘Seven Smooches’ Bunny Hand Puppet from Barney’s? If I’ve learned anything about kids it’s that they love to put on a show, which makes this hand puppet perfect for your kid’s Easter basket this year.

2. From what I remember, decorating the Easter eggs was just as much fun as hunting them later. This Easter Party Egg Decorating Kit from The Land of Nod will take your kid’s egg decorating to the next level!

3. These books are actually a part of my own collection. I just love the beautiful illustrations and whimsical tales. If you want to share a love of gardening with your kids, these are great gifts to include in their Easter basket.

5 Fun Easter Basket Items for Kids: Gardening Books featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

4. It is certainly no secret that I am a fan of Hunter Rain Boots. I love that they make them for all ages too. These Kids First Rain Boots are great for any kid who likes to run around outside and play.

5. Don’t forget the candy! No matter what you include in your kid’s Easter basket, the candy is always their favorite part. I just love this little Jelly Bean Weck Jar from Terrain and think your kids will be crazy about it too!

Happy (Almost) Easter! I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 8

Need an idea for Easter decor? How about a birdcage?!

Photo: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

Easter is a very special holiday. Unlike other holidays, I love that the focus is not on presents or decor. However, this green thumb gal cannot resist an opportunity to create something special for a holiday so near and dear to her heart. It does not have to take a lot of time or money either. All you need is a few blooms, pots, and chocolate bunnies, of course!

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 8

Materials Needed:
1. Bird cage
2. Cabbage and lettuce plants
3. Miniature pots
4. Daffodils
5. Wooden twine
6. Angelina sedum

Directions:
1. Begin wrapping quince around twine.
2. Place cabbage inside pot and then anchor each end inside the pot.
3. Fill the inside of the bird cage with plants of your choice. I think angelina sedum is perfect for this because it resembles grass.
4. Wrap quince and wooden twine around the edge of the bird cage.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 1

5. Nestle the daffodils and cabbages inside the cage as well.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 2

6. Use floral picks to insert daffodils for longer lasting blooms.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 3

7. Fill the tiny vessels with blooms. I love these little chicken compotes.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 4

8. Flank the outside of the cage with cabbages and blooms.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 5

9. Bunny parade! Line as many chocolate bunnies as you want along the cage.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 6

10. Stuff the miniature pots with alyssum and lettuce.

DIY Easter Decoration with Plants 7

Fun, right? I think this is an Easter decoration that everyone will love. Happy (Almost) Easter, everyone! I hope spring is treating you well!

Easter DIY

5 plants for beginners.  These plants practically grow themselves!  by Carmen Johnston

Green thumb or not, these 5 plants are great for anyone interested in gardening. They practically take care of themselves!

1. Angelina Sedum

This bright, chartreuse plant loves to be in the sun and was definitely made for the spring and summer months. It is perfect for softening up the edges of container gardens and for filling in the empty spaces along a pathway.

2. Soft Caress Mahonia

5 Plants for Beginners: Soft Caress Mahonia

Light and airy, this plant thrives in the shade and is perfect for creating outdoor borders.

3. Portulaca

5 plants for beginners.  These plants practically grow themselves!  by Carmen Johnston

Image via Park Seed

Don’t let the petite blooms fool you–this plant is almost indestructible! Like the angelina sedum, the portulaca is a spring and summer plant that loves soaking up the sun’s full rays.

4. Mint

5 plants for beginners.  These plants practically grow themselves!  by Carmen Johnston

Image via Wikipedia

This plant enjoys hanging out in the shade and the sun. You can also plant mint next to your air conditioning unit for some much appreciated condensation.

5. Rosemary

5 plants for beginners.  These plants practically grow themselves!  by Carmen Johnston

Image via Sunset Western Collection

Wherever there is rosemary, there is also a strong woman around. This is a water-wise plant that needs a lot of heat. Take good care of this one and it will bring you graceful stems of goodness all year round.

Have a great weekend!

How to Keep Your Plants Alive: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants 3

Need some help with watering? Find out some really great tips on watering indoor plants!

4 Plants for the Cold Days in Spring: Violas , Candytuft, Lamb's Ear, Creeping Jenny by Carmen Johnston Gardens

If you have kept up with my blog lately then you know that I can’t stop talking about spring. What can I say? I’m a sucker for this season! I am also aware, however, that Jack Frost might make an appearance very soon. Jack Frost is bad news here in the South. He is the reason that we have to wait until after April 15th to plant annuals for spring. But the show must go on, which is why I want to show you some plants that can survive his visit should he come.

1. Violas
2. Candytuft
3. Lamb’s Ear
4. Creeping Jenny

These four plants are extremely tough in the face of cold weather, but they will not be sittin’ pretty should it drop below 30 degrees.

For this container, I paired larger plant material with a shallow container. (Tip: This is the perfect time to start growing your container collection. Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning all have fabulous containers at great prices.)

Step One/Step Two:
Give your plants plenty to drink and then add a 3 inch layer of potting soil to your container.

Step Three:
Violas first!

4 Plants for the Cold Days in Spring: Violas , Candytuft, Lamb's Ear, Creeping Jenny by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Step Four:
Add lamb’s ear (silver foliage) next.

4 Plants for the Cold Days in Spring: Violas , Candytuft, Lamb's Ear, Creeping Jenny by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Step Five:
Place candytuft (white blooms) towards the front.

4 Plants for the Cold Days in Spring: Violas , Candytuft, Lamb's Ear, Creeping Jenny by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Step Six:
Use creeping jenny (chartreuse foliage) to create texture.

4 Plants for the Cold Days in Spring: Violas , Candytuft, Lamb's Ear, Creeping Jenny by Carmen Johnston Gardens

This container loves the sun almost as much as me! That’s not even the best part! Both the lamb’s ear and the candytuft are perennials, which means that they will bloom again next year too. Just remember to water this container once every 2 weeks, keep soil moist to the touch, and you’re good as gold!

4 Plants for the Cold Days in Spring: Violas , Candytuft, Lamb's Ear, Creeping Jenny by Carmen Johnston Gardens

I am really hoping that Mr. Frost won’t be able to make it this year. But if he does, we’ll be ready!

Today’s post combines two of my favorite things: innovative Easter baskets and fresh strawberries for spring.

Every time I go to the grocery store right now, those fresh, Florida strawberries are calling my name. Have you heard the call too? If so, this post is definitely for you!

Easter "baskets" filled with the gift that keeps on giving--gorgeous foliage and delicious strawberries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

With Easter right around the corner, I could not resist the opportunity to create a different kind of Easter basket for my guests. Don’t get me wrong, I love pastel Peeps and giant, chocolate bunnies just as much as the next girl, but I wanted to try something new and unique. That is why I have decided to make these awesome Easter “baskets” filled with the gift that keeps on giving–gorgeous foliage and delicious strawberries, of course!

Easter "baskets" filled with the gift that keeps on giving--gorgeous foliage and delicious strawberries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Materials Needed:
1. Mini colanders
2. Strawberry plants
3. Strawberries
4. Alyssum (Tiny, white blooms)

Easter "baskets" filled with the gift that keeps on giving--gorgeous foliage and delicious strawberries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Directions:
1. Start by giving your plants plenty to drink.
2. Take two strawberry plants and nestle them into a single colander.
3. Fill in the empty spaces with alyssum.
4. Add extra strawberries for a fun pop of color.

DIY Easter "baskets" filled with the gift that keeps on giving--gorgeous foliage and delicious strawberries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Maintenance:
1. Strawberries need at least 8 hours of full sun!

Strawberry Plant

Image via Bonnie Plants

Give your guests a lush treat planted with strawberries and alyssum. By Carmen Johston Gardens

Give your guests a lush treat planted with strawberries and alyssum.

When you’re done, simply place one “basket” at each place setting for your guests. Don’t they just scream spring? I could not be more in love with this idea or the season that inspired it. Now go and get yourself some juicy strawberries! I know you’ve got to be craving them by now.

Quick and Easy Plant Decor: Easter Topiaries 4

For more Easter fun, be sure to check out our Easter Egg Topiary!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

As you all know, spring is here! I’m sure that many of you are headed out of town for spring break and I want to make sure that you don’t come home to house full of dead plants.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. Invest in some water globes. They are a life saver–a plant life saver, that is! They will also save you some time and money as well.

How to Keep Your Plants Alive: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants by Carmen Johnston Gardens

How to Keep Your Plants Alive: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants by Carmen Johnston Gardens

A water globe working its magic in my house to help keep my hydrangeas alive. (Photo by Carmen)

2. Put your pots and pans to work! Fill each one up with about 2 inches of water and your plants will have plenty to drink.

How to Keep Your Plants Alive: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants by Carmen Johnston Gardens

How to Keep Your Plants Alive: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Easy, right? Now you can enjoy your dip in the pool or nap on the beach knowing that your plants are staying hydrated too.

I hope that spring has been good to you so far. This green thumb gal is loving every minute of it!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

Wow! Time has flown by way too fast. Six years ago feels like yesterday and it was our first time in Southern Living. And let me tell you, it was definitely a team effort. Everything was staged for the shoot when the heavens decided to break loose and inches of rain fell everywhere. Our dear friends Marianna, Georgia, and Natalia came to the rescue. (My sister is getting married to their brother and we will soon be family!)

Needless to say our first shoot happened and I wanted to share a few photos with you. Again, this is one of those times I wish I would have taken photos. But we were all too busy and had to leave it up to the professionals.

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

Sorry for the blurry photo! I just wanted to show my sweet husband who has been super supportive through this entire process. I could not have done it without him!

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

This was so simple! We just added a bracket, an old piece of wood, and our favorite pots!

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

One of my favorite ideas ever! Fill two strawberry jars with blooming flowers and place glass on top for an outdoor table.

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

Celebrating spring and a look back out our Southern Living shoot from six years ago!

This was the last photo of the day. So fun looking back on it all now. Thanks for reading!

Happy Saturday! Have a fabulous weekend!

Be sure to check out the full story at the Southern Living site!

You might also like to see our incredible news about the Southern Living cover if you missed it!

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Spring is finally here! Today is the first official day and I could not be more excited about it. I am also beyond thrilled to announce that…

*drum roll*

My container gardens are on the cover of Southern Living for April. For this green thumb gal, that is a dream come true.

This is how my journey with Southern Living began six years ago…

When I heard that Rebecca Read, one of the Garden Editors for SL, was going to be speaking at a trade show I just knew that I had to go. After she spoke, she had over 300 fans swarming her with questions. My husband, Tommy, kept nudging me to the front of the line, but I was determined to be the last person she spoke with. I told her all about my passion for sharing my love of gardening with the next generation. Fast forward a few weeks when an email popped up in my inbox from, the one and only, Rebecca Reed. I was over the moon! I remember calling my dad to share the good news. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

Before I knew it, I was having my very first photo shoot with Southern Living. It was a birthday party/backyard makeover. I remember that it was a lot of hard work, but we had the most amazing team and it was worth every minute. Rebecca, who is so sweet, let me know that she couldn’t guarantee the shoot would make it into the magazine. At that point, I didn’t even care. The experience was priceless. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the issue a year later and saw all of our hard work coming to life on page.

I have had countless photo shoots with SL since then, and I am so thrilled our containers made the cover! I hope that you will share with me in my excitement and cannot wait to share some of the images from previous shoots with all of you.

A few shots below of behind the scenes action.

Celebrate Spring with Southern Living Magazine 2

Celebrate Spring with Southern Living Magazine 3

Ingredients:
1. ‘New Look’ Dusty Miller (silver foliage)
2. ‘Liberty Classic Yellow’ Snapdragons (bright, yellow blooms)
3. ‘Lemon Ball Sedum’ (spiky,chartreuse texture)
4. ‘Bouquet Rose Magic’ Dianthus (pink blooms in the center of the container)
5. ‘Tickled Pink’ Veronica (tall, spiky, pink blooms)
6. ‘Supertunia Vista Bubblegum’ Petunia (pink blooms)

By now you probably know that I love a turquoise container. I cannot wait to see this vibrant color spring right off the cover of the magazine.

Celebrate Spring with Southern Living Magazine 1

If you kept up with my countdown to spring then you already know about The Three T’s. However, for this container I wanted to do things a little differently. I simply placed the tallest in the back and the shortest in the front. Layer after layer after layer–such a good look! For more depth we added a layer of snapdragons on the outside of the pot. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of this. We finished the look and added two smaller containers. So many layers! So much fun!

Shopping for the container garden that will grace the cover of Southern Living Magazine!

We were in such a rush, searching in all the garden centers to find the perfect blooms. If only you could have seen the Suburban filled to capacity with flowers. A big thanks to my dear friend Andrea for all of her help!

I am so thankful for this wonderful experience and will be floating on cloud nine for the rest of spring. I hope that you will all pick up a copy of the April issue of Southern Living (or download it on your tablet) to celebrate with me.

Celebrate Spring with Southern Living Magazine 5

Also, if you want to see some of the containers from previous shoots, meet me back here tomorrow for some images from my very first shoot with Southern Living.

Keeping this Spring Container Garden simple and green.Ingredients: 1. Maiden Hair Fern 2. Mother Fern 3. Fittonia 4. Ivy  by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Can you believe it? Today is the final day of our countdown, which means…

Tomorrow is the first official day of spring! It also means that I will be sharing some very exciting news. Tomorrow’s post will also be full of color so we are going to keep it on the simple side today.

Ingredients:
1. Maiden Hair Fern
2. Mother Fern
3. Fittonia
4. Ivy

Directions:
1. Create texture by placing the tallest plants in the back.
2. Then gradually create layers by adding the shorter plants in the front.
2. Use fittonia and ivy to soften the edges.

Keeping this Spring Container Garden simple and green.Ingredients: 1. Maiden Hair Fern 2. Mother Fern 3. Fittonia 4. Ivy  by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Maintenance:
1. Place in indirect sunlight.
2. Water at least once a week.

The variations of green in this container garden are absolutely beautiful. I love to keep her inside whenever we have guests. If you stay the night, this luscious lady will very likely be on your bedside.

Meet me back here tomorrow. I can’t wait to share my news!

Happy (Almost) Spring, everyone!

Missed one of the days of our 28 Days of Spring Container Gardens? Catch up here…

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Day Eight

Day Nine

Day Ten

Day Eleven

Day Twelve

Day Thirteen

Day Fourteen

Day Fifteen

Day Sixteen

Day Seventeen

Day Eighteen

Day Nineteen

Day Twenty

Day Twenty One

Day Twenty Two

Day Twenty Three

Day Twenty Four

Day Twenty Five

Day Twenty Six

Day Twenty Seven

Day Twenty Eight

A Spring container garden idea that calls for very little watering by Carmen Johnston Gardens

We are in the final countdown, everyone! Tomorrow I will share one final garden recipe for spring and then on Friday we can finally celebrate the change in seasons. Boy oh boy, do I have a surprise for you! What better way to celebrate the first day of spring than with some exciting news, huh? But for now, let’s get on with today’s post and another spring container garden.

Ever forget to water your plants? Maybe more often than you’d like to admit. Well, today’s spring container garden is just for you.

Ingredients:
1. Joey
2. Lemon Ball Sedum
3. Tricolor Sedum

Maintenance:
1. Keep in full sun. The hotter, the better!
2. Water once every 2-3 weeks.

A Spring container garden idea that calls for very little watering by Carmen Johnston Gardens

One of the best things about spring is bringing it indoors! I love making container gardens to bring inside my home. This one makes a fantastic centerpiece!

See you back here tomorrow for one more garden recipe. Then, once again, on Friday for some pretty amazing news. Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Missed one of the days of our 28 Days of Spring Container Gardens? Catch up here…

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Day Eight

Day Nine

Day Ten

Day Eleven

Day Twelve

Day Thirteen

Day Fourteen

Day Fifteen

Day Sixteen

Day Seventeen

Day Eighteen

Day Nineteen

Day Twenty

Day Twenty One

Day Twenty Two

Day Twenty Three

Day Twenty Four

Day Twenty Five

Day Twenty Six

Day Twenty Seven

Day Twenty Eight