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Legacy Farm

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!

It should be fairly obvious, based on the majority of my posts, that I love planting gorgeous foliage and flowers. However, I also have an interest in edible gardens as well. Last year, I started a vegetable garden but then failed to maintain it. What can I say? This green thumb gal jus got a little distracted by all the beautiful flowers out there. This year is going to be different, though! As proof, I have already put together my vegetable garden and I want to give you 5 tips for making your own vegetable garden grow.

Tips:
1. Make room. In order to give our plants additional room to grow, we used large galvanized tubs. Drill holes into your tubs for proper drainage and then fill with good soil.

Use galvanized buckets.

Use galvanized buckets.

2. Add height. We bought 5 ft. tomato cages for even more room to grow.

5 Tips to Start Your Vegetable Garden 5

3. Create tents. I love gardening with our neighbor’s children and really wanted to create a magical place for them. We used lattice to make tents for the two beds. This is where we plan on growing beans and cucumbers.

Vegetable Garden Tents

4. Mix it up. Who said you can’t plant corn with boxwoods? I think the bright, yellow Rudebeckia will look great mixed with the corn.

5 Tips to Start Your Vegetable Garden 2

5. Cheat a little. I am not a good seed starter. Even though I would love to learn one day, I will buy my vegetables and fruits grown for now. Just think about those delicious tomato sandwiches! The sooner, the better, right?

Fresh Strawberry Plants

Meet Clara, the chicken. She is living the good life, isn’t she?

Chicken Coop

Stay tuned! We are eagerly waiting on the Passion flowers to bloom. I can’t wait to share photos once they do.

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!

It is officially springtime and I could not be more pleased! If you follow me on Facebook, you already know that there are a lot of things that I am looking forward to this season—hosting patio parties and enjoying some delicious, fresh strawberries are just a few. What you might not know, though, is that the one thing I am most looking forward to this season is seeing the collaborative efforts of myself, Rebecca Reed from Southern Living, the Home Depot, and the Southern Living Plant Collection hitting the shelves in the form of our Ready to Impress container gardens, which are now available in the Home Depot gardens centers. That’s right, folks! This spring marks the beginning of a new journey for me and hopefully a new and improved way of decorating and entertaining for all of you. I am beside myself with excitement!

NOW AVAILABLE graphic

To say that this experience is a dream come true would be an understatement. I have always been passionate about gardening, but it has also been a goal of mine from the beginning to find ways of helping others to enjoy plants in and around their home – green thumb or not. The Ready to Impress container gardens offer just that! Available in three different colors—brights, whites, and pastels—these container gardens can be purchased from Home Depot garden centers and then taken home and immediately put on display. Here are some gorgeous ways of displaying them below:

CONTAINER-1

RAISE-THE-BAR

PLACE-SETTINGS

CONTAINER-2

LINE-THE-STEPS

RELAX

FLANK-A-GATE

CONTAINER-3

I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity, not only to do what I love, but also to share my passion for planting with others. I look forward to visiting major cities this spring in order to promote the Ready to Impress container gardens and I am so thankful to the Home Depot and the Southern Living Plant Collection for their combined efforts in making it happen. This is going to be such a memorable season for me and I hope that the Ready to Impress container gardens will also make this season equally as memorable for all of you. Whether it be at your doorstep, every time you come and go, or in your backyard surrounded by family and friends. It is my hope that the Ready to Impress container gardens, not only make life easier for you, but also more enjoyable.

Here’s five quick and easy tips on how-to impress your guests with these colorful container gardens:

SL Video

If you’ve been driving around lately and wondering, ‘What are those beautiful pink blooms bursting from yard after yard?’ the answer to your question is this: Sasanguas. These flowers are in full swing this season! Realizing that I had missed out on this trend, I borrowed a few from my neighbor for the sake of this Sunday’s Table.

If your neighbors are as generous as mine are with their garden, snag some Sasanguas of your own and make this super easy centerpiece.

1. Fill a casserole dish with water

2. Snip blooms, leaving a 2″ stem

3. Arrange the blooms in the water

IMG_8630IMG_8626IMG_8641

What did I tell you? It’s just that easy, and beautiful too! These kinds of centerpieces are my absolute favorite. It just goes to show that all you really need in order to make a beautiful centerpiece are beautiful blooms.

Beautiful Tulip Bulbs

Beautiful Tulip Bulbs

As the weather chills and the arrival of winter comes to mind, I have visions of tulips and daffodils dancing in my head…shouldn’t it be sugar-plums. A trick to remind yourself when to plant anything is to connect it to a holiday. In this instance, Halloween is that holiday. When you think of Halloween don’t just think of ghosts and goblins, but of the beautiful kaleidoscope of color that the new season will bring as the winter fades.

Buying

Many state that September or October are the months that bulbs must be planted, however, I like to hold off until Early to Mid-November as long as mother nature and the weather agree meaning no hard frosts or snow. The reason being is because the sales begin to show up and increase during November. Today, I was able to purchase almost 100 bulbs for less than $40 because they were 60% off. However, if there is a flower that I must have because it is hard to find such as Fritillaria meleagris – then I snatch them right up. Buying bulbs in large bulk bags where there is 15 to 20 bulbs per bag is a much better bargain and use of my hard earned dollar.

All of that being said, it is still important to make sure the bulbs are quality. They should be hard – not mushy, soft or have mold growing on them. This can be the case if storing bulbs and reusing them from last spring. Discard any bulbs that have these characteristics.

While shopping, pay close attention to the bloom time, you will want to make sure your mixes either bloom at the same time or bloom throughout the spring depending on the design of your garden.

Planting

Bulbs are often planted in ground, but I love them best in containers. Since my soil is more on the clay side and I don’t have the time or patience to amend it; bulbs will rot before they bloom. I prefer planting bulbs in containers. This way, I can ensure that I will have beautiful springtime blooms due to excellent soil and good drainage. Planting them in a container design that is four seasons is ideal, but bulbs alone in a container in spring have a grand effect on the garden. It brings it to another dimension of beauty for me.

These windowboxes are getting a planting of colorful spring bulbs today.

These windowboxes are getting a planting of colorful spring bulbs today.

In the South, we must refrigerate bulbs 2 weeks prior to planting so that they go through a dormancy cycle and be ready to bloom their heads of in the spring.

Only in the South, bulbs will need to be chilled for 2 weeks prior to planting.

Only in the South, bulbs will need to be chilled for 2 weeks prior to planting.

When planting bulbs, you always want to have the pointed end upward and the flat side where roots will emerge or are already emerging on the bottom. However, if you do this incorrectly, the emerging stem will grow toward the sun.

Make sure to plant flat side where roots emerge at bottom and pointed tip on top.

Make sure to plant flat side where roots emerge at bottom and pointed tip on top.

Make sure to reference the planting depth on the packaging to know what is correct. The general rule of thumb is to plant 2 to 3 times deep the height of the bulb. So if the bulb is 1-inch high – plant 2 to 3-

inches deep. It is also extremely important to plant the bulbs in a location where they will receive the correct sun exposure –full sun is 6 + hours of UV light and shade is 3 or less.

Typically, I like to scatter bulbs or put them in groupings of 5 to 9 when planting them in the ground. In containers, bulbs can be planted one right next to another and be a floral bouquet as the snow melts.

Using a bulb planter is fine, but attaching an auger to a power drill makes the job super fast and easy.

Adding an auger to a power drill can speed up this project.

Adding an auger to a power drill can speed up this project.

If planting in containers, like I did, make sure to use a good container soil. Fertilizer can be used, but it isn’t necessary. However, if you feel inclined to use it an organic granular fertilizer or a fertilizer specialized for bulbs is ideal. If planting in containers in the North, make sure to top the soil with mulch or leaves to insulate the bulbs. Placing the containers in the garage, shed, or placing them close to the house would help keep the soil from freezing through.

Care

After planting your bulbs, make sure to water til it comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. If you live in a Northern climate, watering during the winter months is not necessary as the rain and melting snow will provide enough water for your containers and in-ground plantings. In Southern states, it may be necessary to water if there are spells of drought and heat throughout the winter months.

Watering in the South during the winter may be necessary (Photo Source: BHG.com)

Watering in the South during the winter may be necessary (Photo Source: BHG)

It may be necessary to protect your bulbs from squirrels and rabbits. Squirrels like to dig up the bulbs and play with them like basketballs. The way to prevent this from happening is by topping the soil with mesh or chicken wire then topdressing with mulch. The critters won’t be able to dig to get to them. The other problem may be rabbits or deer. They prefer the gourmet leafy greens of your newly emerging bulbs. I prefer using organic methods were possible and have had luck with making a homemade cayenne pepper spray to deter them from chomping on the foliage.

Don't let those squirrels mess up your spring plans!

Don’t let those squirrels mess up your spring plans! (Photo Source: BHG)

Once your beauties have blossomed, bloomed and are spent. Take your pruners and remove the stem and foliage. This will force more energy into the bulbs instead of it spending it time on the dying foliage.

Storing

After all my bulbs have bloomed, I remove the bulbs from the containers and store them for next season and plant the bare containers with annuals for the summer months. If you would prefer to not remove the bulbs from the containers, working your annuals around them is completely doable. It’s totally understandable for gardeners out there with limited time on their hands.

If you would prefer to remove and store your bulbs, remove them from your containers and prune off any foliage. Place in a paper bag and put on a shelf in your garage, basement or shed. The reason for the paper bag is to absorb any moisture so that the bulbs do not form mold or rot. Placing them on a shelf gets them out of reach for critters to eat or use them for their own purposes.

Paper bags work the best for storing your bulbs from year to year.

Paper bags work the best for storing your bulbs from year to year. (Photo Source: The Gardener)

Then the following fall (remember around Halloween), take your bulbs that you stored and reuse them in your containers or plant them in the ground. I like to take pictures of what I have done in the past and put them in the bags or make notes on the bags of what I would do differently for the following season.

With bulbs, your spring can be fill of flowers and colors!

With bulbs, your spring can be full of flowers and colors! (Photo Source: BHG)

Favorite Bulb Source: K. Van Bourgondien and Sons

Sunday, in a biblical sense, is meant to be a day of rest. For some, Sunday means waking up early for church followed by a relaxing afternoon, enjoying a delicious meal with family and friends. For others, Sunday means sleeping-in one last time before Monday morning sounds its inevitable alarm. Some people have to work on Sundays and other people view Sunday as nothing more than another day of the week. However, for me, Sundays are a significant day—the beginning of one week and the end of another. In my opinion, Sundays should most definitely be spent relaxing but also spent reflecting on all of the accomplishments from the week before and the goals and aspirations for the week ahead. It’s important to take inventory of your life, to celebrate the good and to improve upon the bad.

I also enjoy having a big, Sunday dinner with family and friends. Sundays are the perfect excuse to get together with loved ones, celebrating each other’s lives. For me, this means finding new ways to decorate my table each week. I know what you’re thinking—There is no way I am going to spend time and money on a different tablescape every single week! While I thoroughly enjoy the time spent designing centerpieces and arranging tablescapes, I understand that not everyone shares this passion. My goal is to show you a variety of simple, cost-effective ways to create tablescapes for those rare, special occasions or, if you’re feeling ambitious, for your very own Sunday’s table.

Sometimes, a simple centerpiece makes all the difference and this Sunday’s Table is about as simple as it gets. Find a container, something you already have lying around the house, and then fill it with heirloom pumpkins and tomatoes from your garden. Don’t let words like “decorate” or “design” fool you; sometimes it’s just that easy! Now you have a simply stunning centerpiece for any and every occasion this fall.