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Welcome, gardening newbies! I hope this post will enable you to get your garden started. And while I have created this post with beginners in mind, seasoned experts are always welcome. Gardening is all about growth, and there is nothing wrong with seeking a little advice every now and then.

Today, I am sharing with you all eight gardening tools that will help you help your garden grow. I believe these tools are essential, whether you are a fresh-faced newbie or have been cleaning dirt out from under your nails for years.

8 Gardening Tools for Beginners 21. Squeegee bucket – As you have probably noticed, tending a garden takes a few different tools. Having a bucket on hand makes all the difference when you need to haul them all around. Doubles as a watering can too. Trust me on this one—it’s worth it!

2. Gloves – The most important tools in the garden are your hands, which is why you need to protect them with a good pair of gloves. I like for my gloves to be fitted so that I can really feel the plants that I am working with. Second skin garden gloves are the absolute best! They are crazy comfortable and they dry really fast.

8 Gardening Tools for Beginners 3

3. Garden hose – Even beginners know that plants need lots of water to stay alive. The easiest and most effective way to keep your garden nice and green is with a garden hose. Any hose will do, but I just had to go with the Premium Garden Hose from Frontgate. The copper color is so stylish!

4. Tarp – A tarp may not seem like a necessity, but gardening can create such a mess. I always keep a cloth tarp on hand for any spontaneous planting projects. Just plop ‘n’ drop one wherever you feel like planting and it will help make cleanup that much quicker.

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5. Boots – Having a good pair of boots in the garden is important for a couple of reasons. For one, they keep your feet dry, and if you are anything like me you cannot stand having wet feet. A good pair of boots also gives your body support and keeps you from slipping and falling. Lastly, boots are cute! I am a huge fan of Hunter rain boots and I want a pair in every color and every design.

6. Pruner – One of my favorite things about gardening is sniping ‘n’ clipping blooms. There is nothing quite like a house full of fresh flowers, and the PowerGear2 Pruner by Fiskars is my go-to partner in crime.

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7. Yard butler – A yard butler is like a gardener’s double-edged sword—one side is a trowel and the other side is a tapered pick. My absolute favorite is the Manufactum forged short hoe, which works double duty by allowing you to loosen soil and dig new holes without ever switching tools.

8. Tray – I am always looking for ways to incorporate more copper elements into my garden. So why not use a copper tray? A tray is great for giving your plants a place to drink before planting. Just add a little bit of water to the bottom and your plants will be good to go.

8 Gardening Tools for Beginners 1

Investing in quality gardening tools is like purchasing well-made clothing—it might cost you more upfront, but, like your wardrobe, you want tools that last!

Photos: Mercy Morecraft

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I thought that, with all you crazy love bugs out there getting ready to pop the big question, a post about wedding florals might come in handy real soon.

© 6 of Four Photography

I did the florals for this stunning wedding at Lake Burton last July. With the hot, hot heat of summer all around, the white, cream, and champagne color palette could not have been more refreshing.

© 6 of Four Photography

I just love how the greenery looks extra lush against the light and airy backdrop it provides.


© www.haleysheffield.com_0071

And just look at that classic table setting! Who doesn’t love Royal Crown Derby Blue Aves?

Weddings, though wonderful, can also be extremely stressful. However, deciding what and how and where to arrange your florals doesn’t have to be. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you plan and prepare florals for your big day:

1. Pick Your Palette – Work with 2-3 primary colors, playing off each one.

© 6 of Four Photography

2. Plan Your Placement – During a wedding, especially the reception, guests tend to gravitate to certain “hot spots.” These are the areas you want to highlight the most. When choosing where to place arrangements also consider what will look best in photos. After all, photos are how you will remember your special day.

© 6 of Four Photography

3. Repurpose Your Bouquets – After the ceremony is over, your bridesmaids are going to want to free up their hands for all of the eating and dancing and toasting that’s about to go down. Don’t let those beautiful bouquets go to waste, though! They transition perfectly into tabletop bouquets during the reception, and they always look great around the cake table or near the food.

© 6 of Four Photography

4. Choose Your Florals – Hydrangeas are my go-to suggestion for wedding florals because they cover more space–and look great doing it!

© 6 of Four Photography

5. Surprise Your Guests – There is nothing sadder than a dumpster full flowers. Trust me, there isn’t. At the end of the night, surprise your guests by giving your arrangements away instead. Use zip ties to keep smaller arrangements together throughout the day.

Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to sharing more tips for wedding day florals with you all very soon. A huge thanks to the Patterson’s for allowing me to surround them with beautiful flowers on their wedding day.

Photos: 6 of Four Photography

I have really enjoyed sharing some of my favorite gardening books with all of you. I hope that these posts have inspired you to find some inspiring books of your own. This is my final book post (for now), but I hope to find new favorites to share with you in the future.

The Best Gardening Books: "The Complete Garden Handbook"

I can’t think of a better book to end this series on than The Complete Garden Handbook.

The Best Gardening Books: "The Complete Garden Handbook"

The information is incredibly useful, but the illustrations are my absolute favorite. I just love the simplicity. Such a stunning approach to educating first-time gardeners and seasoned experts alike.

The Best Gardening Books: "The Complete Garden Handbook"

Comment and let me know how you enjoyed this series. Which of the seven books did you like best?

The Best Gardening Books: "The Complete Garden Handbook"

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

Four months ago I started the series “The Best Gardening Books” to share some of my favorite gardening reads with all of you. Since then, I have shared a total of five books, from Carolyne Roehm’s Flowers to Nicolai Bergmann’s Florescence. With only two books left to share, I thought it was time to finally introduce you all to this little gem–Private Gardens of Georgia by Polly McLeod Mattox and Helen Mattox Bost.

The Best Gardening Books: "Private Gardens of Georgia" by Polly McLeod Mattox and Helen Mattox Bost

The stunning gardens captured by Erica George Dines are truly something to see for yourself. Flipping through the pages and seeing the private gardens photographed in this book is like being invited on a secret tour of some extraordinary world.

The Best Gardening Books: "Private Gardens of Georgia" by Polly McLeod Mattox and Helen Mattox Bost

The Best Gardening Books: "Private Gardens of Georgia" by Polly McLeod Mattox and Helen Mattox Bost

So much beauty, so much lush!

What are some of your favorite gardening books? I am always looking for new ones to add to my shelf.

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

I have another fabulous gardening book for you all today. “The Layered Garden” by David L. Culp is a key ingredient in my collection, one that every gardener needs. I am often an advocate for breaking the rules when it comes to gardening, but layers are to gardening what salt is to cooking–add a little bit here and there and, just like that, everything looks better. I could not possibly offer you better proof than the photos in this book.

The Best Gardening Books: "The Layered Garden" by David L. Culp 1

The Best Gardening Books: "The Layered Garden" by David L. Culp 2

I can sum up the importance of creating layers in just three words: layers equal texture.

The Best Gardening Books: "The Layered Garden" by David L. Culp 3

I would encourage all you lovely gardeners to check out this book for more incredible photos that further prove my layer theory, which is basically that you need them in your garden. End of story.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! There is certainly a lot to celebrate! And speaking of layers, how about making dear ol’ dad his favorite cake? You know, for Father’s Day, which just so happens to be the FIRST DAY OF SUMMER too! Enjoy!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

Today I am taking you back to the basics–the basics of container gardening, that is. You probably know by now how passionate I am about this type of gardening. The reason being that it is so darn simple! I want anyone and everyone to know that they can have a garden and it doesn’t have to require a ton of time, money, or space. That is what container gardening is all about, which is why I want to share with you five tips for making your own.

1. Fill ’em up!
Give your plants plenty to drink before planting and they will last much longer.

5 Tips for Container Gardening by Carmen Johnston Gardens

2. Don’t skimp on soil!
Quality container gardens call for quality soil.

5 Tips for Container Gardening by Carmen Johnston Gardens

3. Drain, baby, drain!
Good drainage is key for container gardening. When choosing your container make sure that there are plenty of holes for draining.

5 Tips for Container Gardening by Carmen Johnston Gardens

4. Three T’s are better than one!
Tall, thick, and trailing–it doesn’t get more simple than that. This is a timeless recipe for a fabulous-looking container garden.

5 Tips for Container Gardening by Carmen Johnston Gardens

5. It’s basic geometry!
Take your Three T’s and plant them in the shape of a triangle and your container garden is complete! Math has never been quite this easy.

5 Tips for Container Gardening by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Gardening made easy, right? I’m betting you’re a believer now too.

5 Tips for Container Gardening by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Have a great week!

28 Container Gardens for Spring 7

If you missed our 28 Container Gardening for Spring Series, check out all of the ideas here!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

I am all about practical gardening books, like Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables and On Garden Style. However, my reason for sharing today’s gardening book is all about the gardener’s unique and innovative designs. Whenever I feel stuck or uninspired in my work, the images in Nicolai Bergmann’s Florescence gives me all the permission I need to break the rules.

The Best Gardening Books: "Florescence" by Nicolai Bergmann featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

The Best Gardening Books: "Florescence" by Nicolai Bergmann featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

Mesmerizing, isn’t it? Have you ever seen anything else like it?

I am also a huge fan of his use of bold colors, which is why I’m sharing this particular book today. Summer is on its way and it is time to bring out the boldest and brightest!

The Best Gardening Books: "Florescence" by Nicolai Bergmann featured on Carmen Johnston Gardens

These images barely scratch the surface of the creativity captured in the rest of this book. I recommend it to anyone who is ready and willing to think outside the pot.

Have a great week! I hope to see you back here real soon.

The Best Gardening Books

Be sure to check out these other GreatGardening Books reviews!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

Calling all home/garden/food bloggers! I am so excited to be apart of the upcoming VIP preview for the Nashville Symphony Show House and garden party taking place on Wednesday, June 10th from 10 a.m. until noon.

Come along with Carmen Johnston Gardens as Carmen Tours the Nashville Symphony Show House!

It is going to be an incredible day. As always, it will be a pleasure working with Southern Living, but I am also eager to see Troy B. Marden in action, as well as the iconic Miss Daisy King of Miss Daisy’s Kitchen.

Come along with Carmen Johnston Gardens as Carmen Tours the Nashville Symphony Show House!

If you are a home/garden/food blogger and you are interested in attending, please RSVP by May 26th. Seating is limited.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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…

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Email: carmen@carmenjohnstongardens.com

Phone: 762-822-7696