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Happy June, everyone!

Spring has already sprung, summer is about to begin, and this green thumb gal is ready to spend some quality time in the sun. Today I am sharing with you my secret for healthy skin that is sun-kissed skin, but not burnt or blemished.

4 Products for Sun-Kissed Skin by The Green Thumb Gal's Guide

1. This pore perfecting facial polish by bliss is a must-have! End of story.

2. If brown spots are a girl’s worst enemy, then this skin brightening complex by Lytera is definitely her best friend.

3. When I told my friend Nicole, who just started her own dermatology practice in Columbus, that I was in need of some good sunscreen she recommended EltaMD. You can’t get a better endorsement than that!

4. Every now and then I like to make my own products as well. When your face needs a little extra moisture after a few hours in the sun, try this mask: 4 tablespoons of honey, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, and half of a freshly squeezed lemon.

Enjoy the soon-to-be summer, everyone. Go out and get some sun, but not too much!

I would like to take a moment to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day weekend! I hope you enjoy your day. Be sure to soak up all that special love! Here are a few gift ideas for that wonderful woman you love.

The Green Thumb Gal's Gude for Mother's Day. Gift Ideas by Carmen Johnston Gardens.

1. You can’t go wrong with a Rifle Paper Company Mother’s Day card! There prints are always beautiful, which your one and only mother definitely deserves.

2. I am sure you have heard of TOMS by now, but did you know that they now sell bags? I adore this Chevron Straw Islander Tote! I think this is a fantastic gift for Mother’s Day because the proceeds from every bag purchased goes towards helping a mother gift birth to her baby with a safe delivery. Amazing, right?

3. How great are these boots? The print, the height–absolutely everything! With summer right around the corner these Hunter Floral Garden Boots are a must-have. And they are available at Terrain! I so want to add them to my boot collection, and I’m betting your mother will too.

4. If you have been keeping up with my blog, then you know that I recently did a post on “Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables” because it is one of my favorite gardening books. If your mother is inspired by edible gardens and is interested in starting her own, this will be a fantastic gift for her.

5. I cannot recommend this body balm by bliss enough! It is absolutely amazing for your skin, especially if you spend a lot of time working with your hands like me. If you are feeling crafty, you might even try making this DIY Honey, Lemon, and Salt Scrub as an added gift for your mom (and her hands!)

P.S. Be sure to follow #SaksGlamGardens on Twitter for lots of fun garden inspirations!

It has been a long while since I shared one of my favorite gardening books with all of you and I thought today was the perfect day to post the next one on my list.

The Best Gardening Books: "Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables" by Toby Musgrave and Clay Perry

I already shared with you my nostalgic connection to Bunny Williams’s “On Garden Style” and about my coffee table classic, “Flowers” by Carolyne Roehm. Today I want to talk about another “classic” of mine, a kitchen counter classic: “Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables” by Tony Musgrave and Clay Perry.

The Best Gardening Books: "Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables" by Toby Musgrave and Clay Perry

I just love how these photographs pop right off the page. (Of course, we did help out a little bit with some raspberries of our own.) I am so inspired to grow my own fruits and vegetables every time I flip through these delicious-looking pages.

The Best Gardening Books: "Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables" by Toby Musgrave and Clay Perry

“The Raspberry . . . produces agreeable eatable fruit . . . in estimation both as a decent fruit to eat raw, and for making tarts, sauces, raspberry jam, and other culinary preparations and therefore highly demands culture in every garden.”

The raspberry is also great for garnishing drinks and adding a subtle twist to the overall taste. Last year we made some raspberry mimosas to celebrate the beginning of summer. They were so yummy!

The Best Gardening Books: "Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables" by Toby Musgrave and Clay Perry

The Best Gardening Books: "Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables" by Toby Musgrave and Clay Perry 4

We planted some raspberries last year and (fingers crossed!) we will be enjoying them soon. What are some of your favorite fruits and vegetables to grow for good summer eats?

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

The Best Gardening Books

Check out my entire Great Gardening Books series…

My dear friend, Andrea Crawford of Couture House Interiors, created this incredible piece and I just had to share it with all of you. Such an inspiring idea! Seriously, I fall more in love with gardening every day! Just take a look at this fountain full of succulents and you will be smitten too.

Materials Needed:
Tiered fountain (Andrea found this one at Home Decorators)
Sand/soil mixture
Drill
Succulents

DIY Succulent Garden 1

Directions:
1. Give your plants plenty of breathing room by drilling holes for drainage. Air is just as important as water for helping your plants grow.
2. Mix one part potting soil with one part play yard sand to create the perfect environment for your succulents to live in.
3. Stuff ‘n’ Shove! Mix various colors and shapes throughout the fountain for a big, bold look!

DIY Succulent Garden in a fountain featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

DIY Succulent Garden in a fountain featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

4. If you want to take it to the next level, you can always add some sedum around the base of your fountain. You can never go wrong with chartreuse in spring!

DIY Succulent Garden in a fountain featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

So simple, so chic! God has truly blessed me with such talented friends and I am beyond thankful for how they continue to inspire me. Thank you, Andrea, for your beautiful work.

DIY Succulent Garden 5

One of the best things about spring and summer is bringing all those fresh blooms indoors! Today I want to show you how to make a stunning centerpiece for your kitchen table using some snips ‘n’ clips from your spring garden.

Materials Needed:
Bucket of water
Hydrangeas

Gardening 101: Fresh Cut Arrangements by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Gardening 101: Fresh Cut Arrangements by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Gardening 101: Fresh Cut Arrangements by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Fresh mint
Hosta leaves
Lady Banks
3 glass containers

Directions:
1. Build a foundation of blooms! Cut the stem of your hydrangeas at an angle and then simply place on top of your container.
2. Add mint! Place the mint directly into the hydrangea blooms.
3. Add hosta leaves and lady banks next.
4. Group all three containers together at the center of your kitchen table.

So simple and so chic–spring chic, that is! There is nothing quite like the smell of flesh flowers and herbs mingling with your morning coffee. Enjoy!

Keeping It Green

For more fresh cut arrangement ideas be sure to check out this gorgeous tablesetting idea.

This is one of my favorite gardening projects. This DIY herb garden is both beautiful and practical. It is an herb garden and patio table in one! And it is super easy to make!

Make your own herb garden and patio table in one with these super simple directions with Carmen Johnston Gardens

Make your own herb garden and patio table in one with these super simple directions with Carmen Johnston Gardens

Snip and clip fresh herbs.

Materials Needed:
Iron table top
Strawberry jar
2 bags of bark
2 bags of soil
Rosemary and Thyme
Bubblegum Petunia and Creeping Jenny

Make your own herb garden and patio table in one with these super simple directions with Carmen Johnston Gardens

Directions:
1. Make a layer of bark in the bottom of the strawberry jar. This will prevent you from having to use a ton of soil.
2. Choose soil with a time release fertilizer. Then use it to create another layer on top of the bark. Stop adding soil just 2″ inches below the top of the jar.
3. Remove about half of the root ball on all of your herbs and then begin planting on the outside of the jar.
4. Use only one 4″ plant per cup on the outside of the jar.
5. Add creeping jenny to the top of your strawberry jar. This plant fills a space out nicely so you will only need three.
6. Add your table top and a few chairs to complete the look.

 

I love this mix of decorative plants and herbs. Both work so well in the strawberry jar too! Also, I don’t think you can find a better table for your patio anywhere. Like I said before, this DIY herb garden is both beautiful and practical and that is what gardening is all about!

5 Plants for Beginners: Mint

Be sure to check out this delicious cocktail herb garden.

Today is Good Friday, which means that this Sunday is Easter! It is almost time for that special day spent with family and friends. While a kid on Easter looks forward to scavenging the yard in hopes of finding that one special egg, an adult on Easter mostly just looks forward to sitting down and enjoying some food. The time spent around the table with loved ones is invaluable, which is why I want to show you how to set the stage for this year’s Easter dinner. And it only takes 10 minutes!

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 1

Materials Needed:
4 ” Cabbage plants
Freshly picked daffodils
Tin buckets
Freshly clipped forsythia
Chocolate Easter bunnies

Directions:
1. Criss-cross bunches of daffodils on the table. The more the merrier!

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 2

2. Place cabbage in tin buckets making sure that the soil is moist to the touch.

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 3

3. Clip forsythia branches 10-14″ and stick each end in the soil to create a handle.

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 4

4. Nestle the chocolate bunnies throughout their new home.

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 5

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 6

What a dreamy tablescape! I just love that Easter is so full of cheer and whimsy. Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy (Almost) Easter!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

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

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