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I enjoy growing vegetables in both my garden and in containers.  While some of my containers are rather traditional, one of mine is not.

 
This was one of my favorite projects because it was an unexpected sight for visitors to my vegetable garden.
 
While you would expect to see leaf lettuce poking up from a grocery bag – you certainly don’t expect to see it growing inside of one.
 
This is a very simple DIY project, which are the kinds that I like best.
 
 
You can grow many different types of vegetables in a grocery bag.  Would you consider doing this in your own garden?

Do you love tulips?


How about daffodils, hyacinths or muscari?


Now, if you live in the desert like me, you probably only see these beautiful, flowering bulbs when you are traveling to cooler climates.


So, I was excited when I was contacted by Living Gardens and asked to try growing their Deluxe Dutch Garden.


Imagine different types of flowering bulbs grouped together into one basket.  It is like having an entire garden!

These bulbs have been ‘forced’ into blooming early by refrigerating the bulbs before planting them in their containers and mailing them to you.


I was so excited when my Deluxe Dutch Garden came in the mail.


The bulbs had begun to grow already.  They were yellow because they hadn’t been exposed to sunlight.  Rest assured, once they get some sun, they will green up very fast.


Believe it or not, there are six different varieties of flowering bulbs for a total of 16 bulbs in this basket container.

The blooms will not appear all at once.  Flowers will appear in succession, which will give me a long time to enjoy their beauty and fragrance.


In 2 weeks, flowers were already starting to appear.

These small white flowers are from miniature ‘Star of Bethlehem’.  


The muscari are also beginning to bloom.  I love their delicate beauty.

I can’t wait to see what else starts to grow and bloom in my Deluxe Dutch Garden basket – especially tulips!

Living Gardens imports bulbs from all over the world, many from family-run farms.  They offer many different types of bulb gardens, sure to please anyone who wants a bright spot of color to enjoy indoors during winter.

So, whether you live in the desert where these flowering bulbs can be hard to find OR if you live in a cold climate and are desperate for some sign of spring – then a container filled with flowering bulbs is just right for you.

I recommend visiting Living Gardens and seeing all that they have to offer.  I am sure you will enjoy your container garden filled with forced bulbs as much as I do mine!

**I was given a Deluxe Dutch Garden, free of charge to review.  My opinions are my own.

Yesterday on Facebook, I showed you a photo of my latest project and encouraged you to guess what I was going to do next…


As you can see, I have two pots filled with potting soil.  In front of the pots are a head of garlic (grown in my garden) and onion sets (not grown in my garden 😉

So, what do you think I will do with the garlic and onion sets?

Hint: I am not planning on harvesting the garlic and onions in spring.


I am growing the garlic and onions in order to use the ‘green parts’ to flavor my favorite dishes.

Garlic ‘greens’ like a mild form of garlic while onion ‘greens’ have a mild onion flavor.

You can dice them, much like you would chives and sprinkle them onto garlic bread, on salads or on your favorite Asian or Italian cuisine.

After you snip off some greens, they will grow back.


You can grow them in pots in front of a sunny window or out in your garden.

In my zone 9a garden, I can grow them outdoors if I wanted to, but I like having some food crops growing on my kitchen windowsill in winter, where there are easily within my reach.



Other food crops that I like to grow in front of my kitchen windowsill include basil, parsley and chives.


When planting the garlic and onion sets, be sure to plant them with the pointed side upward and then cover with 1 1/2 inches of soil.


I like to use a regular spoon for planting small things like this.

Now all they need is some water.  *An easy to tell when to water them is to stick your finger into the soil, up to your first knuckle.  If it feels dry, then water.

Of course, you can steal out into your vegetable garden and snip off some of your onion and/or garlic greens now and then.  But, you don’t want to do that too often because these green leaves make the ‘food’ for the garlic and onions growing underneath the soil.


**Last winter, I had a real garden growing on my windowsill, using what most of us would call ‘kitchen scraps’.  You can read more about that gardening adventure here.


*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*
Have you ever seen a miniature garden?  They are becoming very popular and are sometimes called ‘fairy gardens’. I must admit that I’ve been quite intrigued by them and so I was very excited with the publishers of “Gardening in Miniature” sent me a book, free of charge, for my honest review.
 
If you aren’t familiar with miniature gardens, it is helpful to think of them as large gardens shrunk down in size into a tiny world that fits into a single container.
 
If you like to peruse Pinterest, you have undoubtedly seen some great examples of miniature or fairy gardens.
 
I came upon a collection of miniature gardens for sale at an antique shop in upstate New York a couple of years ago.
 
 
They were planted in old enamelware pots and bowls.
 
As you can see, there is a pathway delineated by the larger pebbles, small fiber optic grasses, and a yellow viola in this garden.
 
This garden has a tiny shovel and watering can in it.  
 
For some people, the accessories are the most enjoyable part of creating a miniature garden.  I would probably be stuck in my local Michael’s or Hobby Lobby trying to decide what small accessories to include in my little garden.
 
I must admit that I have been thinking of creating my own miniature garden.  Imagine a tiny world neatly contained inside of a pot.  For those of you who experience cold winters, you can enjoy having a little garden indoors all winter long.
 
Have you considered trying to create a miniature garden?
 
Well, if you have – then I have a great book for you to read…
 
 
Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo is a visual feast of beautiful and unique little gardens.
 
Of course, there is much more than miniature garden photos.  The book has all the information you will need to create your own tiny garden.  From container selection, a list of plants, soil type and how to care for your little garden – this book covers it all.
 
A beautiful garden is well-designed and small gardens are no different.  Gardening in Miniature offers helpful advice on how to design your tiny garden using plants, pebbles, water features and adding small furniture or figurines.
Have you ever created your own miniature garden?
 
*I was given this book, free of charge, for my honest review.
Last week, I decided to get rid my older pots that I have in my front entry.


Years ago, I received these plants from a client who decided that she wanted fancier pots.  So, I took them home, painted them bright colors and installed them by my front entry.

While they have served me well for the past 13 years, they weren’t very big, which limited what I could plant in them.


For quite some time, I have wanted to get some nice, large glazed pots.  I realized that it was finally time to practice what I preach to my clients…

 “Choosing colorful, glazed pots is a great way to add color to the landscape.” 

So, my husband and I went out searching for three pots for our front entry.

I was thrilled to find all three at our first stop – Home Depot.  The price was good and they even gave us 10% off for a small chip we noticed.  No one will see the chip since it will be on the back side.

I had my plants all selected and was ready to go.

My son, Kai, offered to help.  So I told him to raid the recycle trash can and get an empty milk carton,  soda/water bottles and empty jars.

Kai looked at me like I was a little crazy, but he did as I asked.

He then put them into my new containers…


Can you guess why I had my containers filled with ‘trash’?

I’ll let you know why you’ll want to start collecting plastic containers for your next potting project in my next post…

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Today, my daughter, Rachele, is on a plane to Chicago.  She has joined the Navy.

I am so proud and happy for her!

But, I must admit that part of my heart has left with her. 



I remember being sad when I held her by the hand and took her to her first day of preschool.  She had her pretty dress on and her curly hair was short and cute.  I stood outside her classroom for over a half hour, just watching her through the window.  


Then I went home and cried.



I have done my best as her mom and it’s time for her to stretch her wings and make her way into the world. 
This family photo was taken yesterday, just before Rachele left.



I just wish it didn’t have to hurt to let her go…

I’d love to share with you the latest addition to my desert garden…


I am now the proud owner of two new apple trees.

It’s hard to believe that you can grow apples in the desert, but you can!

Okay, I must confess that the photo above, is NOT from my new apple trees.  It is a photo of one of my mother’s apple trees that she grows in her Arizona garden.

‘Dorsett Golden’ Apple Tree
I realize that my apple trees are a lot smaller then my mother’s, but it is healthy and will grow beautifully in my garden.

You might have noticed that I mentioned that I bought two apple trees.  You may be thinking that I planted two because I wanted a lot of apples and you would be right.

BUT, there is another reason that I planted two apple trees.

**Most apple trees cannot ‘self-pollinate’ themselves.

So, what does the term ‘self-pollinate’ mean?

Remember way back to high school biology class…

Plants need to be pollinated to produce fruit and seeds.  Some plants can self-pollinate themselves, but some plants need a little help from another plant.

The majority of apple trees need help in this area.

Thankfully, the solution is easy…

“Plant at least two different apple trees near each other.”

What this means is to select at least two different varieties of apple tree.  In my case, I planted a

‘Dorsett Golden’ apple tree 

and a 

‘Anna’ apple tree

These trees will pollinate each other and I will get lots of delicious apples in a few years.


Now, some apple trees can self-pollinate themselves but they will produce more fruit if there is another type of apple tree nearby.  

**Both my ‘Dorsett Golden’ and ‘Anna’ apple trees are considered self-fertile, which means that they can pollinate themselves – but they won’t produce as many apples as they would if planted next to a different variety of apple tree.

Both of these varieties are great for growing in warmer climates.

Apple trees should be planted in winter, before spring.  They are available as bare root or in containers.  If you are planting in March, then buy an apple tree in a container.  Bare root fruit trees are best planted January – mid February.

Again, not my tree – it’s my mother’s apple tree 😉
I do have a couple of apple blossoms on my trees.  In a few years, they will soon look like my mother’s trees.

A couple of months ago, the new Burpee seed catalog came in the mail, which is always an exciting event in my world.


You see, I have been reading through their catalog since I was a little girl.  I would go through the entire catalog and read the descriptions of flowers and vegetables and circle the ones that I would plant in my imaginary garden.


Now that I am all grown up, I actually buy the seeds I like and plant them in my ‘real’ garden.  


One of the seed descriptions caught my attention.  Corn that you can grow in a container – yes, you heard me right…in a container.


Well, I have been a recent convert to growing vegetables in containers, so I knew that I had to try these out.

They came in the mail a few weeks ago and I had wait very patiently (not!) until my local gardening calendar said that it was okay to plant them.  The official date to begin planting corn on my zone 9a garden is March 1st.  But, I decided that today (Feb. 23rd) was  a good time to plant them, even though I was a week early.  

Did I mention that I am a patient gardener?

I found the perfect container for my new container corn….a half whiskey barrel that I found at our local Home Depot.


The barrel still smelled like whiskey, which I think makes it just that much cooler.  It didn’t have any holes, so I drilled some holes on the bottom.


Then my wonderful husband added the soil for me.  I like to think that I am able to pour big bags of soil and I can, but not without a lot of ‘huffing and puffing’ followed by a bit of a backache the next day 😉

Now, it was time to add my precious new corn seeds…


Originally, I was going to place the container of corn plants next to my vegetable garden located in the side yard – but, I am already planning on growing ‘regular’ corn in that garden and you have to keep different types of corn separate from each other or they will cross-pollinate and the resulting corn will be different.

So, we placed the corn next to my smaller vegetable garden just off of the patio where it will get full sun.

The seeds should take 7 – 14 days to germinate and then I can harvest ears of corn in 63 days.

I can’t wait to see how they grow.  If they turn out well, I may plant them again in August.

If you want to try this new type of corn – clink the link below:

One of the joys of gardening, is sharing it with others.


I have shared it with my kids and am now starting with my first grandchild, Lily.


Last week, we made a Valentine’s Day present for her mom and dad.


We started with a trip to the nursery…



We bought two types of flowers for a fragrant container – Stock and Alyssum.

I already had the pot, the potting soil and slow-release fertilizer – so we were good to go.


When I had planned to do this with Lily – I had counted on my husband being there to take pictures of us.  But, he had to leave at the last minute to take the dog to the vet (abscessed tooth – he’s okay now).

So, I had to take the photos myself, while making sure that Lily didn’t fall off the bench – hence the picture, above, of her sitting in my lap.

She seemed pretty steady on the picnic bench, so I let her sit by herself for a few seconds for this picture…


She did just great, but I did have to teach her not to pull the flowers off – I think that is first lesson that I have had to teach each of my kids.

When my daughter came over to pick her up later that day – Lily had a pretty container of flowers to give to her mom.

Lily is 15-months old and at a great age to start letting her accompanying me in the garden.

Next week, I think we will pull some carrots from the vegetable garden for her to take home.

My two oldest daughters, don’t have any special interest in gardening – although I did try my best.

My 15-year old daughter, Ruthie, loves the vegetable garden.  I hope that she will continue to enjoy gardening as she grows up.


How about you?  Do you like to garden with your kids or grandkids?

For those of you who are kind enough to take time to read my “ramblings”, you know that I absolutely love to grow vegetables.


So, when I heard of a brand new book called, “The Speedy Vegetable Garden”, I just knew that I had to read it.



The publishers at Timber Press, were kind enough to give me a copy of the book to review and I must say, that I have already dog-eared more then 15 pages of things that I want to try in my garden.

What I really like about the book is that its focus is on growing vegetables and harvesting them within a relatively short time frame.

For example: I love to grow carrots.  But, I often get impatient and harvest a few carrots when they are still rather small.  Well, according to “The Speedy Vegetable Garden”, very young carrots are sweet and delicious.  

So, I went out into my garden and harvested some young carrots and enjoyed their delicious sweetness in my dinner salad.  I love this idea because I can spread out the harvest of my carrots – I can enjoy some while they are about 6 weeks old and the rest later.

Another project that I am anxious to try is making sun-dried tomatoes using cherry tomatoes, which ripen much more quickly then large tomatoes.  


I also learned that very young radish leaves make great micro greens for salads.

I was also inspired to start another gardening project – growing potatoes in containers.

If these potatoes were in your kitchen, you’d probably throw them out.  But, seed potatoes are supposed to have sprouts growing 😉
The last time I grew potatoes – I was a college student and we had each been given a piece of farm land to plant vegetables.  Since french fries was among my favorite foods at the time, I made sure that I included potatoes in my vegetable plot.


This time, I bought an inexpensive container with holes on the bottom for drainage, some seed potatoes and potting soil.  I filled the pot with 4″ of potting soil, added 3 seed potatoes (they are really small potatoes), and then added 4 more inches of soil.  


I must keep them well-watered, but not soggy.  I will apply fertilizer as well.  Soon, green leaves will appear and I will cover them with more potting soil.  This cycle will repeat itself (adding more soil once leaves appear) until the soil reaches the top of my container.  In just 8 – 12 weeks, I will be harvesting my own potatoes.

I can hardly wait!

I encourage you to read “The Speedy Vegetable Garden” by authors Mark Diacona & Lia Leendertz.

Maybe your copy will become as dog-eared as mine 😉

One of my favorite memories as a child was visiting antique stores with my mother.  We usually did this whenever we went on vacation.  My dad would stop the car whenever she saw a store that looked promising.

Now that I am an adult, my mother and I have fun visiting antique stores when we travel together.  I don’t have a lot of antiques myself, but I do have some special pieces.

Last summer, our family traveled to Prescott, which I blogged about back then in “Antique Junk for the Garden“.


 One of the pieces that I got was an old, antique watering can.
I had a vision of seeing it full of flowering annuals.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t plant in the summer because it was too hot for plants to survive in the container.  (It can be very hard to grow plants in smaller containers in summer because the outer 6 inches of soil is often too hot for roots to grow.
However, once fall arrived, I was ready to plant my new (old) container.  
First, I had to make some holes on the bottom for drainage.  Then I filled it with planting mix and then my annuals…
    
 I planted alyssum, violas and lobelia.  The watering can is now sitting in the middle of my vegetable garden.  I added a drip emitter, so my new container is watered whenever my vegetables are.
I must admit that I am quite pleased with how it turned out.
Have any of you used old, antique containers in the garden?