I used to have a green thumb...and then it turned brown...and then I realized it was because when I first started gardening, I used the RIGHT products, like those from Miracle-Gro, to nurture and feed my plants. Well, now that I have kids who are interested in growing flowers and vegetables, I want to teach them how to do it right with the proper tools and products so they can enjoy gardening success, as well as be proud of what they create!
Of course being a clever mom, I am not only teaching my kids how to garden, but they are also helping me spruce up the house...because it is for sale...and everyone loves a pretty garden! Products like the Miracle grow LiquaFeed All Purpose Plant Food Advance Starter Kit help us grow our garden by watering and feeding in one shot!
We have a water shortage in this area, so any product that can help retain moisture and feed my plants intrigues me! The Miracle Gro Moisture Control Products such as Shake’n Feed All Purpose Plant Food and Moisture Control Potting Mix have "patented technology formula enhances water efficiency and improves moisture in the soil, providing a better growing environment for your plants. Helps save water by allowing moisture to penetrate the soil, reducing run-off." - Miracle Gro website
My kids are I are doing some container gardening to bring the front porch and back deck to life. Our first project is simple...very simple...we love using unusual containers for potting. For this project we used some old bakeware with drainage holes drilled in the bottom, plants, Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix and I could not resist trying the Miracle Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food (my daughter is obsessed with watering cans- and this is perfect for that!)
To promote the love of growing and all things green, Miracle Gro has started The Gro Project. Be sure to visit The Gro Project for some fun garden projects like a Toyrarium, a Ukulele Gardne or an Origami Garden to squash summer boredom for yourself or the kids!
We should all create something beautiful everyday!
If you need inspiration on how to create some beauty and magic of your own,
This is a crazy easy and super fun project that (almost) anyone can do...and it is pretty cheap (and I have shared this before here...but it is too good not to share again!). I first did this project with my son when we moved into our house 8 years ago. I had quite a few of (single) fence
pickets left over from our "keep the doggie from jumping the fence project," and we knew no one in the neighborhood yet so my imagination was the source of entertainment for my son.
We loved being outside in our garden, so we grabbed our fence pickets, paint, and all sorts of other objects and goodies and made garden angels.
This is a more recent recreation of that project!
(I was not a crazy blogger back then)
5 continuous days of summer sun in Pacific Grove - almost unheard of! We have been playing outside long into the night and soaking up all the outdoorsy-ness we can. My daughter has been wanting to have her own garden - something she could take care of herself.
She also has a thing for butterflies and when she saw my Patio Paint Reusable Stick On Stencils from DecoArt she was smitten! I decided we would paint some small pots and use the stencil to start her little garden. The pots are small enough for her to move around and just too cute with the stencil!
Now, we had some disagreement…she wanted her pots to be pink, purple and yellow…but I stepped in and we went with a color scheme that “matches” our house (we are about to sell this place and we need "have some serious style!").
Thank you to California Grown for encouraging me to connect with California growers and encouraging California consumers to "Choose California Grown" when they can.
I am a born and bred Californian. I have had the pleasure of living in Southern California for most of my life and now currently I live on the Central Coast. When I moved 6 years ago, I drove back and forth between Los Angeles and my new home about 6 times a year. These drives always made me fall back in love with California. The land is rich and fertile and driving Highway 101 shows off a rich farming and agricultural base here in the Golden State. Driving through the hills and fields just before sunset is magical...
everything is golden.
As we drive we try to guess what crops are growing along the highway (If you drive Highway 1, they make it easy with signs!). It is a fun little game and really makes the kiddos understand and hopefully, eventually, they will truly appreciate where their food and other important products are coming from.
I want my children to grow up in this wonderful state and realize the potential California not only has already discovered but still has. This is something that has become more and more important to me. It seems in this modern age, there is a disconnect between how things get from A to B to C. I want to show them how to support our state and our farmers by purchasing locally and CA Grown products, produce, and flowers.
Learning a little more about CA Grown products was a huge plus... That cute CA license plate logo signifies CA Grown products, but did you know you can always ask your grocer which products are CA Grown?
For a native, and hopefully lifelong Californian, the mission of the CA Grown campaign is especially near and dear to my heart.
"California Grown" reminds all of us how important it is to look for and purchase agricultural products grown and produced in the Golden State. The campaign is a true public-private partnership. It is supported by the state and federal governments, as well as by the hundreds of growers who provide Californians with food, clothing, shelter and fiber. The campaign is also working with hundreds of stores throughout the state to promote California products"
I am lucky to live in a region that is abundant with fresh amazing CA Grown products. In fact the area I live very near is referred to as the "Salad Bowl of the World." Have you ever seen how gorgeous the rows and rows of different varieties of lettuce are...it gives you a whole new appreciation of lettuce for sure!
That said, my first true love is flowers. I pretty much never met a flower I did not like. When I was a wedding planner, I was once talking to a very difficult client about flowers...this client ended up saying something to me that I loved. "How can a flower not be pretty?" I celebrate the beauty in every flower...
but I especially love roses...big gorgeous blooming roses!
I recently received a dozen roses from California Cut Flower Farmer Janet Louie- now that is a good way to start the day, right? I was giddy...I opened the box to find a beautiful assortment of pink and blush roses that I fell in love with right away.
Here is a little about Janet talking about the varieties of flowers they grown and the history of the company.
It is also a very good reminder that buying CA Grown flowers supports CA families.
I was excited to use these roses to create an pretty arrangement for our guests that spent the weekend with us. Fresh flowers just light up a house!
I actually like to keep things simple when I buy flowers for the home. Often I accent with greenery, like rosemary, from my own garden, but these roses were just so beautiful I wanted to display them on their own. I used simple thrift store jars and one tall bud vase to show off these beauties! They needed nothing else to make them sparkle...they were just gorgeous!
I clustered them together, with one of the pink roses that were in full, gorgeous bloom - they were begging to be the star of the show.
Of course, the blush and red roses were not content to be left on the sidelines, they are just as beautiful and starting to really open up themselves.
I have been conscious of where my produce and other products come from for awhile, but in recent months have made a conscious effort to really, really know what I am buying and where it is coming from, as it truly does impact our lives.
Thank you again to California Grown for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about all of California Grown growers. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #CleverCAGrown #spon
Perhaps because I am a native California girl, and have always
been spoiled with good weather year round.
Where I live now, Fall is actually the best time of the year.
So we are soaking up every second of our gorgeous Fall weather, and also taking this opportunity to "gussy up" the backyard so we can enjoy
our little piece of heaven a lot more.
(I wish this was my house and garden..its not...it's Dan's work!)
Now, while I love the outdoors, and live in an area blessed
with amazing weather...I am guilty of neglect.
I just keep telling myself I like that
natural overgrown look...but NO MORE!
I was already anxious to begin the process of transforming our backyard and deck into our personal oasis, and then I was presented with the unique opportunity to interview Garden Designer and HGTV.com contributor Dan Berger. Dan's unique and creative approach to garden design has landed him appearances on over 25 episodes of HGTV's "Landscape Smart." He has also worked with This Old House and been featured in Sunset Magazine, in addition to numerous features in newspapers and other publications. Dan, a fellow Californian, is the owner of LandPlan Landscaping.
After chatting with Dan, I am even more inspired to get my own plans in action. He has some great advice for everyone because no matter where you live there are steps you can take to enjoy the great outdoors this Fall - in any way you choose, from gardening to reading under a canopy to relaxing in a hammock - you can create a personal oasis.
The questions I asked Dan were definitely inspired my my own "issues," BUT they can help us all! Dan was great and so full of information. We covered everything from some very basic plant do's to creating a fabulous space in your own yard...or deck...or patio.
Some of you may be saying I don't have the money or the time to create a new space...but the space does not have to be entirely new or cost a lot of money. You do not have to cut down the trees to make way for a new patio or build a waterfall or redesign the entire property. You just need to create a space that feels warm
and inviting not only to you but to your guests.
In fact, one of my favorite things Dan said was "It is about the people not the money."
Now let's get to it!
Oh yeah, and enjoy the GORGEOUS photos of Dan's work along the way!
WHY CREATE A FALL OASIS?
An outdoor room or oasis is special. It connects you and your guests
with nature and each other. As you create your space use natural elements - gorgeous
cedar, water features, etc. to facilitate that connection to nature. Make
your space inviting and people will be drawn outside and you will
create a sense of camaraderie.
WHERE and HOW TO BEGIN?
Create a space for you...for something you enjoy all the time. If you
read, create a magical place to read, if you knit, do the same...if
sitting and listening to the birds or the waves crashing helps you relax
after a long day...if hosting dinner parties al fresco is your forte...do it - make the space work for that and your life.
2. Find and determine a good spot in your yard/deck/patio...then decide what it needs...a fire pit, a covering, "walls" for privacy, etc.
3. Start small and let it grow. You do not have to tackle the entire project all at once, especially if it is a major transformation. If you do, the whole process can be overwhelming and an oasis should bring joy...not stress.
Decide on the type of space you want: Is it for the kids (if you can
call that an oasis!), is it for entertaining, is it a private space for
you (or you and your spouse to relax)...for you to paint or create? Once
you make the distinction of the type of space you are trying to create,
your plans and the space will come together.
Define the function of the space and determine how it relates to what is happening
inside the house. Select a spot that has a relationship to that. Think
of the outdoor area as a room - an extension of the home, but don't
forget about practicality. If your entertaining space is 200 yards from
your kitchen, will it make a lot of sense (or be easy/practical) to serve
a meal there regularly. It does not mean you can't but maybe it make more sense to serve lighter fare (coffee/cocoa and pastries or mulled wine and cheese) in the space.
MUST HAVES FOR YOUR FALL OASIS
this season, as the air begins to chill, comfort is key...and that means warmth is essential. If you are cold or
uncomfortable you will be distracted and not enjoying the space you
Warmth can come in a simple form...a cozy blanket or comforter or it can be a beautiful fireplace or even a portable fire pit.
Support that feeling of warmth with the food and drink you serve as well as the colors, music, and decor you add to it.
BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE!
colder weather, you may need to consider some type of an enclosed structure
to protect yourself from the harsh weather and temperatures. At first it
may seem a little "much" but when you think about the peace and joy
that space can bring you it may be well worth it in the end.
Additionally, you may be thinking there is no way my guests are going outside...it's
cold. Entice them...draw them out there. Create a space so inviting and magical they simply cannot resist. They can't help but
venture outdoors to explore your oasis...and then they may not even want to leave!
you are thinking what I was thinking...here's your answer. I am a
mom...I have a play house a play structure..most of my outdoor area is
for the kids...BUT I should be able to claim a space for myself. As a
mom (or dad) we need a spot for us...stake your claim.
FULL OF PERSONALITY
Think about what you do and who you are and use that to inject personality into your space. Dan emphasized, ""Whatever you can do inside to distinguish and differentiate your space you can do outside."
example one photographer created a wall..and in essence it was a gallery wall. He blew up some of his photos and hung them outside. It
was beautiful, enticing, and he could easily change out the art when he
wanted. What a unique way to display art and bring yourself into your
If you practice a particular craft, such as beading or pottery, decorate the outdoors with your work.
you are not a "creative" person, add a collection to the space - bring
your milk glass collection outside for awhile. Create a nook to show off
your tea pots and serve up some fancy teas! Create vignettes to showcase pieces that are so very you and make your space an extension of that.
If you are a cook/baker/chef - whip up your special cookies and make your signature coffee beverage and serve it in the oasis. An amazing afternoon treat.
things like this will bring your energy and personality into the space
and guest will feel the warmth...and they will know it is yours.
TO PLANT OR NOT TO PLANT
My first thoughts when we scheduled this interview was to grill Dan on plants. (This may not be my strong point) So, for
those of us with a black or brown thumb, I had to ask what type of plantings we should be looking for. Here are some GREAT tips.
Dan suggests to look for low maintenance plants. The trick to is
get them established, but once you do that, you will have success.
Be sure to also make sure you purchase plants suited to your climate.
Create seasons with your plantings (especially in a place like CA where the seasons are not as distinct).
Use the colors and type of plants that are available to create a new look and palette for each season.
Buy varying heights, widths, and varieties.
Concentrate on perennials. Perennials are an easy and inexpensive way to spruce up the outdoors - you can grab small containers for about $2.50 each.
Many perennials also flower and do well in shaded areas.
Remember it is OK to buy a plant for a season. Let it bloom and thrive and when it is done compost it.
Sometimes getting the plant to grow and flourish is a matter of soil - the right soil is a must, and plants can fail just because of the soil! Take time to use the right soil mixture, and do not overlook the use of pots and containers grouped and placed through the yard. You can even dig a hole and plant the entire pot - this is a great way to ensure the plant has the right soil and it blends right in. (I LOVE THIS!)
DAN"S BIG TIP!
When you purchase plants/flowers, look for plants that have buds or are just beginning to bud. The full gorgeous blooms may entice you but the plants life cycle is shorter for you to enjoy when you purchase a plant in full bloom. "Everyone at the nursery may have already enjoyed the plants best moments. Instead buy that plant that has yet to flourish and get the most out of it. (DUH! I never even thought of that!)
CREATE "People Space"
plants are not a strong point for you (or you cannot grow them at this
to weather) concentrate on elements that are not plants/living/growing
in the outdoors. A non plant/floral focal point is the key. Let the
plants be the backdrop not the attraction. Wood structures, water elements, iron ornaments - whatever you love helps define the space as well.
I have to say a BIG thank you to Dan for taking time to talk to me
So...what do you think?
Are you ready to create your oasis?
I took Dan's tips to heart as I designed my Harvest table the other day
and I am so inspired to get in the yard, and enjoy every minute I can outside with the waves crashing and the birds chirping and the squirrels playing in the pines.
All photos are copyright and property of Dan Berger.