I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, getting to spend time with friends and family as we graciously remember those who gave everything for the freedom we get to enjoy. For our team here at Carmen Johnston Gardens we have had a wonderful and busy spring with many projects keeping us on our toes but last week my husband Tommy and I were able to escape to Palm Beach for the long weekend and enjoy some restful quality time on the idyllic island. As we returned from our trip, I just knew I had to share a few of our favorite places in Palm Beach with you! From where to stay, what to eat, and what to see and do, Palm Beach is the perfect getaway for every garden lover and landscape enthusiast.

We had the opportunity to stay at the beautiful hotel, The Colony, for our extended weekend stay and let me tell you- it is a landscape and architectural masterpiece all on its own! From the iconic pink color to its well-manicured grounds and pool we enjoyed every aspect the hotel had to offer. The décor, done by Dorothy Draper, was stunning and created a wonderful atmosphere in which to stay. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with the pleasant surprise that the island itself was not at all crowded! Now, let this just be our secret- but to have Palm Beach not be crowded on Memorial Day weekend was incredible! There was no traffic and no lines making our stay so peaceful! The Colony’s customer service was a highlight of our trip, making it one of the reasons I highly recommend booking your stay here! The location is ideal as well, as the hotel is within walking distance of shops and the beach and the hotel provided services to take us anywhere we needed to go. They have adorable bikes you can use to travel the island, the cutest pink golf cart they will drive you around in, or a fun Suburban with a surfboard on top! The weather was perfect for our excursions and for someone who works in the sun year-round to not break a sweat all weekend was just the icing on the cake!

The Colony has wonderful dining options and we enjoyed their famed tuna tartare, curried chicken salad, and lobster salad. Our favorite restaurant was Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court with food by Chef Daniel Boulud. I loved the Dover Sole and Tommy was a huge fan of the Parisian Gnocchi. We both devoured the Pommes Puree (truly the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat!). For desert, we visited Saint Ambroeus where their gelato, tea, and the flourless chocolate cookies are to die for! We also brunched here and loved all the menu had to offer. Another evening we visited Flories at the Four Seasons whose menu boasts of many seasonal and garden-driven entrees and drinks which we especially enjoyed. The Breakers Hotel was also a favorite brunch spot of ours during our trip. For a more budget-friendly meal, we definitely recommend Coyo Taco. The shrimp, grouper, and al pastor tacos paired with one of their homemade margaritas are perfect on a warm day!

While our trip was primarily for us to enjoy some much-needed R&R, we were able to use the bikes The Colony provided to ride around the island and take in the beautiful sights. The beaches are of course a wonderful place to spend time and we sure enjoyed some sand between our toes! We also rode our bikes around and admired many of the beautiful homes around the hotel. Each house was perfectly manicured, and the landscape and architecture were stunning! You sure know that you love what you do when you spend your vacation looking at landscape design! If you want to get out and visit some places on the island, we recommend the Worth Avenue shops with its charming piazza and enchanting stores. Of course, we had to visit some gardens on our trip and our favorites were Pan’s Garden and The Society of the Four Arts

We loved every second of our trip and cannot wait to go back and experience more of what Palm Beach has to offer. What are your suggestions for what to eat and do on the island? Do you have a favorite spot on your getaways? Let us know in the comments below! We hope our recommendations help you plan your next trip to beautiful Palm Beach, Florida!

Like many big cities around the globe, New York City boasts a wonderful array of florals and landscape design. From window boxes to restaurant gardens, displays of local and international flora can be found almost everywhere. Depending on where the city takes you, there is something for everyone from botanical gardens to community gardens to flower markets. 

New York’s botanical gardens are perfect to visit regardless of the time of year. With conservatories and greenhouses, these locations allow for collections of tropical and even local plants and flowers to grow year-round. One of my favorites is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Its great location and reasonable entrance cost made it a perfect morning trip. I loved the detail put into each aspect of the landscaping and appreciated the thought that went into areas like the Shakespeare Garden. Its stunning Japanese garden with dozens of Cherry Blossom trees and large collection of tropical plants located within its conservatories makes it a perfect Saturday morning or late afternoon visit. 

A great way to capture the local landscape is to visit community gardens and parks around the city. Many of the gardens are run by the community and if you are a NYC resident you can contribute to these gardens on a regular basis. Jefferson Market Garden is a perfect example and my favorite garden I visited on my most recent trip to the city.  I spent over an hour here enjoying the peace and calm. Located in one of the busiest areas in the city, it is a wonderful place to take a break from the city rush. Including shading trees, a goldfish pond, and a beautifully designed walking path, community gardens bring the calm of nature to the City That Never Sleeps.

One way to bring New York’s florals into your home is through the countless flower markets such as corner bodegas, many of which offer bouquets on a daily basis.  Areas like Chelsea and Greenwich Village also contain a number of flower markets open to both professional florists and decorators as well as individuals looking to make a home arrangement. I loved how no matter which corner I turned on to, I was sure to find a well-designed window box or quaint flower market. The High Line in Chelsea is a perfect place to enjoy both the cityscapes and floral landscape. Whether you want to spend the day in an idyllic garden or pick up a bouquet on your way to dinner, New York City has something for every garden enthusiast. 

We love succulents, so low-maintenance! If you are a forgetful water-er or frequent traveler, these are the perfect plants for you. Succulents are perfect for the hot summer sun since they love to dry out. We planted with an Atlanta couple at the Home Depot in Midtown last weekend; check out the video below for a step-by-step tutorial. Make sure to check out the other posts on Planting a DIY Succulent Garden and Rehabbing Your Succulents. A few key points:

  • Succulents like a drier environment. Make sure you are using a high-quality ‘cactus soil’ or mix some sand into your regular potting soil that you have on-hand for proper moisture and drainage.
  • When picking succulents, make sure to choose a variety of colors, shapes and textures for richest look. I love to plant in odd numbers in containers because it makes centering and balance much easier.
  • Ensure your plants have some room to grow in their container with proper drainage. Space about 2 inches apart, and keep those roots in tact when planting.
  • The marble chips polish off this look perfectly, so clean and modern! These were less than $5 at the garden center! (similar here).
  • Make sure you aren’t over-watering your succulents. 2 times a month is plenty

And…. a few of my favorite succulent images

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

A small succulent garden in my favorite color pot, turquoise! From my post on How to Rehab Your Succulents.

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If you want to make a big impact, more is more! I love all of the varying colors and textures. From my post DIY Succulent Garden.

Hello, Atlanta friends!

This Saturday I will be at The Home Depot in Midtown at 650 Ponce de Leon Avenue. Grab some containers and come get your hands dirty with me for some good old-fashioned gardening fun. As an added bonus, you will leave with a gorgeous spring container garden that will make all your neighbors super jealous.

See you there!

Happy Spring from The Home Depot

Flowers and fashion–what’s not to love? That’s exactly what artist Anna Kincaide offers in her latest series of paintings. We found Anna via Gallery Orange, a contemporary art gallery in New Orleans owned and curated by the fabulous Tracy Gielbert. When we saw ‘Dreaming with You’ it stopped us in our tracks!

Artists We Love: Anna Kincaide and Our Love Affair with Hydrangeas 1

‘Dreaming with You’ by Anna Kincaide

Gorgeous, right? I am head over heels in love with the hydrangeas.

In her latest ‘Avant Garde’ series, Anna combines high fashion with vibrant flowers, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. She brilliantly captures the timeless, couture feel of the Cary Grant era, while also cropping out the subject’s face to enable viewers to better identify with each painting.

Artists We Love: Anna Kincaide and Our Love Affair with Hydrangeas 2

‘Take Me to Paradise’ by Anna Kincaide

A lot of Anna’s works feature hydrangeas, which just happen to be my favorite flowers. I frequently plant limelight hydrangeas in both clients’ gardens and my own because they have beautiful green and white blooms, which is also a favorite color combination of mine. Limelights can handle the full intense sun–perfect for summer! Hydrangeas are also perennials, so when you cut them back in the fall they will come back bigger and even more beautiful in the spring.

Artists We Love: Anna Kincaide and Our Love Affair with Hydrangeas 3

Hydrangeas in full bloom in my yard last summer.

Hydrangeas are also perfect to cut for flower arrangements inside of your home. With such big, beautiful blooms, you only need a few stems to make a big impact. Here is a simple arrangement in my sunroom right now.

A simple arrangement in my sunroom.

A simple arrangement in my sunroom.

Tip: Zip tie your blooms together to keep them standing nice and tall in the vase!

Like any great accessory, you can dress a hydrangea up or down. We recently worked with a bride who wanted a glamorous, Gatsby-esque wedding. An all-white color palette featuring hydrangeas was the perfect backdrop for the glitzy affair. Just add some crystals and you have an elegant look your guests will never forget.

Arrangements from the Flandry wedding

Arrangements from the wedding

Arrangements from the Flandry wedding

Arrangements from the wedding

Arrangements from the Flandry wedding

Arrangements from the wedding

If you are a lover of hydrangeas, or if you would like help choosing the perfect flowers for your special day, be in touch–we would love to help!

Wedding photos courtesy of: Eliza Morrill Photography

Summer is almost here! We’ve already started to feel the heat here in Georgia, and now is the perfect time to plant for summer. Here are my 6 go-to plants for color that will last all season long, even in the intense heat. These plants will thrive in both containers and landscapes; check out the video for more details on which plants to pair in containers.

  1. Dragon Wing® Begonia: This shady lady produces beautiful blooms and will grow 3’ x 3’. The pink and red varieties are my favorite. Shade | Annual
  2. Vinca: An oldie but a goodie, non-trailing variety grows about 2 feet tall, straight up. If planting in a container, these beauties can stand on their own. Full Sun | Annual
  3. Landmark™ Lantana: An aggressive grower, this plant will takeover in no time. This could be a single star in a container, but also great in landscaping because it grows so quickly. See other examples of how to use Lantana here. Full Sun | Perennial
  4. Rosemary: Perfect for the summer heat, doesn’t like wet feet! Add as texture to a container, or use as a border in your landscaping. Rosemary grows where strong women live, so we love it even more!
  5. Sunpatiens®: Just like the name suggests, these gals love the full sun. Another aggressive grower, these work best as a standalone in a container. You can also plant in a grouping for added color in the yard. Warning, she’s a heavy drinker – make sure she gets plenty of water! Full Sun | Annual
  6. Joseph’s Coat: You may put up your coats for the summer, but Joseph’s Coat is perfect for the high temperatures! I love the chartreuse green, which complements any other color! This plant grows wide, not tall, so perfect for layering with taller plants in containers and landscapes. Full Sun | Annual

Remember to always plant in good potting soil, even in your landscaping. Check out the video for more details, tips and tricks on how to plant successful summer color in your garden!

And proof that I love these plants in my own garden:

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My Dragon Wing® Begonias in full bloom last summer. “Turkey the Chicken” has quite the setup!

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Joseph’s Coat and Sunpatiens® create a beautiful border in my backyard.

A beautiful container that will flourish all summer!

Replanting our Easter centerpiece as an outdoor container for long-lasting summer color! Plus get all of my tips and tricks for the perfect container! #containergardening #spring #garden #flowers

Posted by Carmen Johnston Gardens on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

There is nothing quite like using live plants for a centerpiece. During Easter week, we created a live ‘n’ luscious centerpiece using Spanish Lavender, Creeping Jenny, Lemon Butter Ferns, and Kale. (Hint: ‘Like’ Carmen Johnston Gardens on Facebook for more live video tutorials!) Yesterday, we replanted that very same centerpiece into a few different containers. Amazing, right? Freshly cut flowers are beautiful, but they would have been dead weeks ago. You can enjoy this live centerpiece (and our live videos) all spring and summer!

Materials Needed:
– Medium to large container
– 1-2 bags of good potting soil
– Spanish Lavender
– Creeping Jenny
– Variegated Swedish Ivy (Optional)
– Lantana (Optional)

– Fill your pot with soil about 2 or 3 inches below the rim. I like to use smaller plastic containers in the bottom of my pot to help with drainage and to keep your pot light. Packing peanuts or pinecones are great for this, but you can always just fill your pot completely with soil.
– Add your plants, arranging them in the shape of a triangle. I love to stuff ‘n’ shove my containers full of plants, but you could absolutely make a stunning container garden with Lavender and Creeping Jenny alone. For more tips and trips on plant placement, watch the video below!
– Lastly, be sure to water your container every 2-3 days.



I know what you’re probably thinking–What about the ferns? Don’t worry, we’re not wasting a single thing! The Lemon Butter Ferns don’t enjoy the sun quite as much as the other plants do, however, they make really great indoor plants, and could also work on a covered porch.


How lovely is this blue and white pot? Chinoiserie is a design after my own heart. It looks especially nice against the orange of the accent table.

Watch the video below for tips on how to water your outdoor containers.

Watering your containers the right way!

Quick tip for easy, mess-free watering of your containers!

Posted by Carmen Johnston Gardens on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

As you have probably noticed by now, we are currently excited about all things live–from centerpieces to the new video feature on Facebook. If you want to follow along, subscribe to our videos and receive notifications whenever we go live. We look forward to chatting with you about all things green and growing throughout this spectacular season!

One of the things I look forward to most every spring is finding new containers for my plants. Every year I am so excited to see how designers update containers with fresh new colors, repurpose older designs, or reinvent them completely. While you want your plants to be the star of the show, a great container can really set the stage for them to shine. Just check out these 7 stylish containers I have added to my must-have list for this spring.
This is such a classic look in my opinion. And I love that they come in different sizes too!
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 2
The natural look of cedar is a great complement to any plant, especially a plant with a bright, bold color.
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 3
How gorgeous is this planter? And it can obviously serve several other purposes later on, including housing your towels by the pool.
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 4
I have always been a fan of using tin containers as a contrast to the feminine look of whatever flowers you choose. This planter also has wheels, which is definitely a plus!
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 5
While this is clearly not a container, it is certainly a great way to put all your current containers on display. I adore the eclectic feel of all these different pots and plants grouped together.
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 6
Talk about classic! I would love to have two of these beauties on either side of my entryway as a way to frame my front door.
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 8
Wall planters are such a fun way to bring life to an otherwise bare wall. And I’m convinced that the industrial-look will never go out of style.
7 Stylish Containers for Your Plants this Spring 7

I am so excited to continue growing my container collection this spring, because I truly believe you can never have too many. I am always on the lookout for new ways to display my plants. Comment below and let me know what new containers you are excited to use this spring, or what oldies-but-goodies you look forward to bringing back each year.

Happy almost spring, everyone! This green-thumb gal can’t wait!

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.

8 Gardening Tools for Beginners 4

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.

8 Gardening Tools for Beginners 5

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