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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…

Since I was a little girl I have always admired the different garden styles, but the Southern style garden has always been my favorite. A Southern garden is a place to relax, a place to sit back and slow down.

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

When I found this sweet, Southern gem I just knew I had to share it with all of you because it has all 5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden.

1. Swing, swing!

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

During the hot, humid days of summer, there is nothing quite like swinging in the Southern breeze. Also, how great is this pergola? It is the entryway into the pool area. Such a nice touch!

2. Fresh Veggies

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

I love how these vegetable plots are casually placed in the middle of the grass. Such a great twist on the traditional raised bed.

3. Steps for Strollin’

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Lush grass really helps to soften the steps, don’t you think? This is the perfect place for strolling, arm in arm, with a sweet friend.

4. Boxwoods, baby!

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Crochet, anyone? Boxwoods are the best way to create an intimate space for playing lawn games or just lounging around. (Tip: Elevate seating above retaining walls for even more space.)

5. Vintage Charm

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Vintage touches always add some Southern charm. Such an inviting element!

5 Elements of a Southern Style Garden by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Now you know what it takes to create a true Southern style garden. All that’s missing is a tall glass of sweet tea.

Have a great week, everyone!

DIY Succulent Garden 4

Be sure to check out this gorgeous succulent garden while you are here!

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.