DIY

  • How to Create Your Own Floral Dish Garden With Seasonal Plants

    dish garden

    Designing dish gardens brings the outdoor lush greenery into the home for a natural décor and stylized statement. But creating these artistic pieces involves more than just picking random plants and flowers and planting them in any old container. A dish garden should accessorize an area and add ambiance to the home.

    Choose a dish or bowl that accentuates and complements the room’s design and color scheme. Dishes that create a pop of contrasting color immediately command interest and direct attention to the garden. Patterned pots or dishes work well, but just be sure they don’t clash with the existing style of the room. Many also choose dishes that blend with earthy undertones as a means to allow more colorful flowers and plants to serve as the focal centerpiece of a room or table.

    The plants and flowers chosen are just as important as the dish that nurtures them. When taking greenery indoors, the seasons still provide the direction as to plant type selection. Choosing tulips in fall dish displays or adding Holly or winterberry in summer dish gardens would look completely out of touch. In-season blooms and shoots must direct the garden’s composition—even indoors. And, yes, please mix greenery with bold flowers!

    Fall Foliage

    dish garden

    Autumn officially begins in less than a month. Selecting plants and flowers for fall dish gardens should begin as soon as possible. For fall décor, choose in-season plants that also feature blooms in bold and rich autumn hues. Think oranges, reds, warm yellows. Stay away from any hues that reflect warmer months—like pastels or tropical inspired arrangements.

    Unsure what to select for fall? Bold orange and red mums echo the colors of fall leaves. Mix in a few hearty succulents. Chinese Lanterns are an unusual and amazing centerpiece plant—but beware, the berries are poisonous.

    Snapdragons also are a great fall choice, but like many larger plants, these need to have a large pot for thriving. But large dishes and creative containers may easily be discovered at flea markets, thrift stores or even local discount stores for reasonable prices. Larger dish gardens and the plants within look best as corner pieces in a room. The bigger and bolder choices aren’t designed for tabletop décor!

    For those thinking on the smaller end of the garden size, plant a succulent centered dish garden. These plants come in all sizes, so pair up small and medium chubby succulents for a green masterpiece.

    Winter Wonderland

    dish garden

    Not much blooms outdoors during the cold winter months, but indoors has fewer limitations. With the climate controlled environment, there are many more options to create an ideal and beautiful dish garden.

    Succulents, again, reign supreme. However, these plants aren’t all about the greenery. Some succulents offer beautiful flowers during the winter. Try incorporating the Christmas Cactus or the Crown of Thorns for a little touch of color to your winter garden. For a festive holiday dish garden, plant holly berries next to succulents or plant poinsettias (which are part of the succulent family) with other succulents like the Snake Plant. And integrating small evergreens like the Norfolk Island Pine create an extra festive display.

    Want to ‘go green?’ Choose succulents like the Aloe Vera plant matched up with vine-inspired succulents like Burro’s Tail. When pairing plants together during the winter months, make sure you match up varieties that need the same amount of water and light. Don’t pair a light-loving plant like Poinsettia with a plant that needs more shade.

    When selecting dishes for winter month gardens, don’t be afraid to embrace the holidays…especially if a garden is themed for this festive time. Opt for bold red, blue and silver dishes and include decorative elements within the dish for a touch of whimsy.

    Spring Splendour

    dish garden

    During springtime, many choose to take their dish gardens outdoors to create an amazing backyard bounty of plants and flowers. Large dishes and pots give backyard porches and patios an instant decorative update. But if you’re taking the arrangements back into nature, be prepared to plant appropriately.

    Where you live dictates what you plant. For areas of the country that are experiencing a typical spring, this is the ideal time to plant traditional spring flowers and greenery. Succulents are hearty additions to almost any dish garden—indoor or out—but this season pair them with flowers…or let them shine solo.

    For a succulent-centric spring dish garden, we love Hens-and-Chicks. This type of succulent looks like flowers and flourish with leaves that resemble beautiful petals. Hens-and-Chicks come in many varieties—and colors—to create an amazing outdoor dish garden. Feel free to add in small aloe vera plants, too.

    For flowers, plant mums and daisies in various colors for a beautiful vibrant mix. Or choose other spring favorites. There are so many available, but just make sure that your pairings have the same light and water needs. Even for spring dish gardens, partnering plants requires a bit of research.

    Indoor gardens also can bring spring into the home. Yes, you can plant tulips for an indoor bloom. Add lovely greenery alongside these popular spring flowers. And spring tulips look amazing in baskets.  With Easter traditionally celebrated during this season, baskets are a suitable—and festive—planter option. Remember a dish can be whatever you choose! Baskets, bowls, large oversized mugs, heavy planters…anything goes.

    Summer Sensations

    dish garden

    Summer, like spring, offers many beautiful choices. But if you’re living in a dry climate, we say embrace the dry heat…with cacti. These need very little maintenance and are a sleek and unique plant for indoors or out. They pair well with most other succulents.

    Bonsai gardens also add an Asian beauty to the home. Beware, though, bonsai trees can be a little fastidious and do require tentative care. Plant these tiny trees in stone dishes or planters, and keep bonsais together. Don’t interject other plant types. Embrace a meditative vibe for this soothing garden by integrating touch stones with optimistic messages.

    For gardeners keeping their potted beauties outdoors, select flowers in hot summer hues. Bright pinks, purples and fiery reds showcase the season. Also, remember to feed the bees by planting many flowering beauties that attract their buzzing attention and urge them to visit your garden. Bees love daisies and marigolds! However, bluebells and lavender also make lovely bee magnets.

    DIY floral dish gardens are an ideal and easy way to add colorful and natural beauty to your home. During fall and winter create colorful gardens indoors that reflect the seasonal colors and festive traditions. But spring and summer months allow gardeners to take their dish décor to the patio or deck for an amazing lush ambiance.

    No matter where you choose to place your dish garden, always make sure to pair plants and flowers with similar water and light needs--the right amount of water and sunlight is key to any plant’s survival and optimal beauty.  Choose a container for your garden that complements your room décor or pops against the interior’s hues…however, there are no rules for what containers to choose. Bowls, dishes, baskets all make unique garden choices. What you choose to house your plants in is limited only by your style and imagination.

  • How To Turn Your Summer Flowers Into Dried Flower Wreaths

    dried flower wreaths

    Summer ending doesn’t mean your summer flowers have to go with it! Dried flowers are a popular material for crafts, and you can use crafting techniques to keep them lasting through any season.

    Dried flower wreaths aren’t just for Christmas, either. While many people think of poinsettias and evergreen when the word “wreath” comes up, wreaths have been used to decorate for every season and with every type of flower conceivable (check out this tropical flower wreath). Seasonal flowers make beautiful wreaths that can last year round.

    dried flower wreaths

    Summer Flowers to Use

    It is important to know exactly which flowers you are going to be drying for your wreath. Some flowers can be dried more easily than others, so knowing which flowers you want to use will help you research what techniques you are going to need in order to dry them for preservation. Here are some summer flowers that are really great for drying for crafts:

    • Gomphrena: this round flower offers a variety of colors, from reds and yellows to lavender and white. What a wide variety of colors to use for your wreath!

    • Celosia: there are a lot of different types of celosia, and a lot of different colors to choose from. Whether the more floral appearance of Cockcomb celosia or the more wispy look of Flamingo Feathered celosia, there is definitely a look that will give your wreath flare!

    • Statice/German statice: this floral bud comes in many bright colors, and the German bloom looks like lace!

    • Artemisia annua: this plant is more of a garnish than a flower, but can be easily used to compliment the flowers on your wreath!

    • Victoria blue salvia: these tiny flowers grow in a spike and really are blue, adding a flash of unique color to your wreath!

      dried flower wreaths

    Drying the Flowers

    No matter what kind of flower you are trying to prepare for your wreath, it will take time and planning ahead to do so. Drying flowers in the bulk required to make a wreath takes time! Hardier flowers can be dried using simpler methods, but the more fragile the flower, the more complicated the process can get. If you are willing to take the time for these more easily broken flowers, they can be used to make beautiful wreaths!

    • Some flowers can simply be bundled and air-dried; this is best done by hanging them from an overhead rafter or some kind of rack. The flowers need to hang freely, and the room should be well vented to prevent mold and dust from gathering on them as they dry.

    • Other flowers are more delicate and require more intricate techniques.

      • Sand can be poured around flowers laid bloom-down in a container

      • Desiccants, such as silica gel or cornmeal, can also be used on more delicate flowers to keep them from being damaged.

      • Glycerine absorbed through the stem can dry and preserve the flower from the inside.

      • Cat litter is absorbent and used for more than just the kitties. Mechanics use cat litter in their shops to clean up oil spills, and it can also be used to help dry your flowers one at a time in the microwave!

        dried flower wreaths

    Other Materials

    What will you use for a frame? Many craft stores sell plain pre-made wreaths for decorating, which can be used as a base. Some people get creative with their base, either making it themselves or using a base of an untraditional shape, such as a picture frame.

    Time is important to consider. Even if you get your dried flowers from elsewhere, actually assembling a wreath might take a couple of hours. Depending on your flowers or other materials, it could take longer or need to be finished in one sitting.

    Other materials might include a glue gun and sticks for it, decorative items such as glitter, tinsel, and non-floral garnishes (toys, ornaments, or even key fobs), and your imagination!

    dried flower wreaths

    Tying the Wreath

    The most common method of making a wreath is by tying the flowers onto a frame. This is accomplished by affixing them with yarn, twine, or wire, but the technique varies based on what sort of frame and flowers you choose.

    Some frames are made with wire, while others are made from hay, styrofoam, and even other plants. This video suggests using a hay one, which takes up a lot of the space that would otherwise be used by flower stems; the advantage of this is that you don’t need as many flowers. In contrast, here is a video that uses wire frames, which is great if your stems are thick or you have a lot of flowers.

    As you can see from both videos, tying the flowers onto the wreath is done in small bunches, one bouquet at a time. Yarn makes a very good material to tie flowers with because it is soft and won’t damage the flowers. Whether you use one long piece and wrap it around the wreath incrementally in the first video, or use separate pieces for each bunch like in the second, this method takes a lot of time and patience. It pays off, though, with a beautiful floral wreath!

    With some flowers or frames, you may want to consider glueing rather than tying. This is especially true for larger flowers that are harder to tie on, or have stems that don’t dry well. Flat flowers like daisies and odd-shaped flowers like dahlias may need this treatment to stay on the wreath, and flowers dried using the glycerine technique may also need glueing due to their weight. The frame should be smooth enough for glue to say, and all you need is a hot glue gun.

    dried flower wreaths

    Garnishes for the Wreath

    Garnishes might also be tied or glued on, but consider the flowers you are garnishing in this decision. Some flowers might get damaged by the glue, while others might get damaged from heavy items being tied on.

    During Christmas, we see ornaments on wreaths, but seasonal wreaths might have berries, autumn leaves, nuts, little toys, candies (or faux candies) or anything else you want. Fourth of July wreaths might have little flags on them while a dried flower wreath for a classroom might have pencils, school busses, and other back-to-school items. Whatever the theme of the wreath, be as selective of how you affix any ornaments as you were of how you secured the flowers.

    Making your very own dried flower wreath is really easy! It’s a great craft to do with kids, with friends, or by yourself, and it gives you another use for all those beautiful flowers.

    Got more flowers than you need? Dried flower wreaths can also make a thoughtful gift or a great decoration for a party or gathering. Making it yourself gives it that personal touch that makes us all feel great!

  • Fun Flower Crafts: What to Do With Pressed Flowers

    what to do with pressed flowers

    How can you remember the beautiful blooming flowers that you came across this summer? Photos only capture a fraction of the beauty of Mother Nature, so instead of taking photos, preserve your favorite flowers by pressing them. Then, you can incorporate them into fun arts and crafts projects. Here’s what to do with pressed flowers so you can hold onto them forever:

    what to do with pressed flowers

    Photo by Clare McGibbon, Etsy.com

    Phone Case

    Carry your favorite pressed flowers with you wherever you go by using them to create a unique phone case. All you will need for this project is a plain white iPhone case and a few other supplies that you can pick up at a local crafts store. Then, choose which pressed flowers you want on the back of your case. You don’t have to cover every inch of the white case with flowers, so don’t feel the need to cram as many flowers as possible onto the case. Stick with one type of flower to create a bold, textured case, or use an assortment of different flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors for a more eclectic look.

    what to do with pressed flowers

    Photo by Pearl Blay, BeadingGem.com

    Jewelry

    Wear pressed flowers around your neck by making your own necklace. Finding the right pressed flower to use for this project is important. It’s best to choose a smaller flower with a bold color so it will stand out from afar. If you only have light colored pressed flowers, consider dying the resin before placing the pressed flower inside to create a better contrast between the resin and the flower. Don’t try to use multiple flowers within the same necklace or both flowers may end up looking squished inside the necklace.

    what to do with pressed flowers

    Photo by Marianne Koo, Brit.co

    Coasters

    Even if you don’t have a need for them in your own home, these coasters with pressed flowers make a great gift for your loved ones. If you’re planning on making these for someone else, incorporate some of her favorite flowers into the design so she knows that you put a lot of thought into the gift. Each coaster doesn’t have to be exactly the same—in fact, it actually looks better when they’re all slightly different—but they should still be cohesive. Stick to the same color scheme or choose one type of flower that will be used in every coaster and switch up the rest.

    what to do with pressed flowers

    Photo by Rachel Beyer, Adventures-in-Making.com

    Candles

    Flowers will not smell as strongly once they have been pressed. However, you can still remember their sweet smell by incorporating pressed flowers into a scented candle. Choose the flowers that you use for this project carefully based on the size of the jar. If you choose a tall, narrow jar, look for longer stemmed flowers that will fill up the space more appropriately. Creating a candle is actually much simpler than it may seem, however it’s important to remember that the wax is unscented. If you want it to smell like your favorite flowers, you must add your own scent using an essential oil of your choice.

    By tackling some of these projects, you can hold onto your favorite flowers and the summer memories they carry all year long!

  • How to Make Bouquets of Flowers

    bouquets of flowers

    So, you need a bouquet of flowers? You can always find beautiful, prearranged bouquets at many top quality florists. But sometimes, it’s just fun to make your own! Making your own bouquets isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds.

    If you’re going to go the DIY route, the first thing you’ll need to do is purchase flowers.There are a few places you can buy them:

    a) a flower market

    b) an online wholesaler

    c) the supermarket/grocery store

    d) a professional florist

    If you’re looking for something particular or want the widest range of choice, it’s probably best to head to the flower market or talk to a professional. But if your local grocery store is full of beautiful flowers, then go for it. There’s no rule for where you have to buy flowers -- as long as the flowers are beautiful and fresh, choose the option that’s easiest for you.

    bouquets of flowers

    When picking the blooms for your bouquet, you should keep a few things in mind. Most importantly, don’t forget seasonality (this is a hot button word for florists). Be aware of what flowers are in season and choose those for your bouquet (or be prepared to pay steep rates for imported blooms that will be more likely to die in unseasonable climates).You can always go with a bloom that thrives at all times of year, like hydrangeas.

    Lastly, consider color, shape, and size when selecting your blooms. If you’re making a bouquet to go with wedding or bridesmaids dresses, select a color that pops with the gown (if you select a bloom of a matching shade, it will fade into the dress). Pick a color sequence of no more than three colors when arranging, so, for instance, shades of red, white, and pink. Any more than that and the bouquet can become overwhelming and clash. If you want to make multiple bouquets using coordinating colors, select a base flower, such as a large white bloom, that will help tie them all together. Lastly, consider cost and try to select larger blooms – they go further because they take up more space in an arrangement which means you don’t require as many of them.

    Building a Bouquet

    Now that you’ve got your flowers, it’s time to arrange them. There are several steps to making the perfect bouquet.

    bouquets of flowers

    Prep

    First, you must prep your flowers to be the ideal selection for your bouquet. This means trimming any excess leaves, thorns, etc. and pruning petals that are dead or dingy.4

    Next, fill a bucket with cool water and holding the stems under water, cut them at an angle about 2 inches from the bottom (if you have flowers of varying lengths, you will want to end up with stems that are all equal). You’ll likely want to work with longer stems while arranging and cut the tips to their final desired length once the bouquet is complete. Be sure to use a sharp knife or stem cutter rather than scissors – it gives the flowers longer life. And never cut straight across, always at an angle. When you’ve finished cutting, allow the flowers to drink in some of the water before moving on to arranging.

    bouquets of flowers

    Assemble

    Now, it’s time to arrange your bouquet. There’s really no science to it – simply pick the blooms and color arrangement you think looks best. You’ll want to build a base of anchor flowers – select 2 to 4 flowers, bunch the stems together to create a square with the blooms and wrap with floral tape to create a strong base.

    You’ll want 4 to 5 inches of exposed stem on the bottom and at least one to one and a half inches to the start of the tape on the top. Now, start adding flowers around your anchor blooms to begin creating a “bunch.” Add elements one by one building from the center to create a dome shape. If you have heavier flowers or particularly flimsy stems, you may want to have floral wire on hand to wrap around the stems and secure them against other flowers.

    This is where your creativity comes into play – mix and match colors and textures with your various blooms, fillers, and greenery. Remember to keep the eye of a photographer while arranging – if you’ll be carrying the bouquet, don’t build it so big that it will overwhelm you and become the focal point. You may want to stand in front of a mirror while arranging to keep an eye on what the bouquet looks like in your hands.

    Secure and Finish

    Once you’re satisfied with your arrangement, you must secure it. You can secure it at both the top and bottom with two rubber bands or floral wire. But, we recommend you also wrap the bouquet with floral tape, starting about 1 to 1 ½ inches from the flower heads and leaving anywhere from 0-4 inches of stem exposed on the bottom. After you secure your blooms, cut the stems one last time to ensure they are all the same length.

    Next, you’ll want to beautify the arrangement by covering the tape with a ribbon. Cut a length of ribbon three times as long as the stems. Start by tucking one end of the ribbon into the top of the binding and wrapping in a spiral down the length of the stems and covering the floral tape. Once you reach the bottom, wrap back up in a spiral and tuck the end of the ribbon into the binding. Secure the ribbon along the stems with pins and cut a separate length of ribbon to tie around the bouquet if you want a bow.

    bouquets of flowers

    Preserve

    Now that you’ve made your bouquet, you want it to last as long as possible. Wrap the bouquet in tissue to protect the blooms while transporting it. Store it in the refrigerator until you leave for your event. It’s best to build a bouquet the morning of the event and to leave the flowers in water before binding them as long as possible.

    bouquets of flowers

    To Keep in Mind with a Florist

    If all of them seems like too much for you, you can always hire a florist, but keep some things in mind. First off, don’t wait until the last minute to decide you can’t handle a DIY bouquet. If you need a florist, hire them with plenty of advance warning.

    You’ll still need to take care of your blooms to make them last, so don’t expect your florist to be a miracle worker (for instance, if you have your bouquet outside in a hot climate for many hours, it will wilt). Remember that you’re hiring them because they’re a professional and be open to their suggestions and ideas – most likely, they know more about blooms and arranging than you do. It’s better to come with color schemes, tones, and a notion of look and feel than to be wedded to very specific flower selections.

    And lastly, don’t be afraid of more expensive flowers – they may be pricier, but often they’re bigger and have a more significant wow factor than cheaper options. In the end, they could result in a smaller bottom line.

    Whether you DIY your bouquet or hire a florist, be kind to your blooms and enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

  • What Gardening, fishing, and playing golf have in common

    What Gardening, fishing, and playing golf have in common.....It has been said that a lot of golfers are also avid fishermen.  What connects those two activities is very similar to gardening. We bet you never noticed just how much these activities have in common. We didn't either until we came across this gem...

    Fishing in Golf Attire

     

    Image courtesy of (Flickr)

    • It is solitary.
    • The results are entirely up to you.
    • Much of the enjoyment comes from the “doing”.
    • It is only done when the weather cooperates.
    • Mother Nature plays a part in your success.
    • It can be done by all skill levels, all ages and all economic levels.
    • Watching how others do their things is appealing.
    • It can be very costly or done for very little money.
    Golfer teeing off

     

    Image courtesy of (Flickr)

    The efforts of gardening can be most appreciated by simple results such as the single rose that blooms in the spring. This is right up there with catching the “big one” or having a career round. While you can certainly garden, play golf, or fish as a group, it is not necessary to the act or the outcome and often can be just as enjoyable all by one's self.

    Garden plants along walkway

     

    Image courtesy of (Flickr)

  • Decorate Your Home With Cut Flowers From Your Own Garden

    As you have seen in all furniture ads, home magazines, and anyplace where our living areas are displayed, flowers are added to make the space inviting, more attractive, and as recent research has shown better for our well being. Summer is a great time of the year. You can go out to your garden, no matter how small, and bring in a little color. Summer garden flowers are plentiful enough that they are a great value to purchase as well. The varieties range from ageratum to zinnias. The flowers you purchase have probably been grown locally and very fresh. We grow our own at our greenhouses in Churchville and often are in our customers’ homes the same day they were cut. To get the maximum enjoyment out of these summer flowers there are a few things you should know.

    Cutting and Collecting Garden Flowers

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Planning your arrangement Flowers and foliage will instantly improve the ambiance of a room. Select a spot that will catch your eye, pick out a container that seems to be the right scale for the spot, and roughly measure how high and wide you would like the arrangement to be. The container could be something as simple as a glass jar. Then go out and find the materials that will fill the space with the right colors and shape. Don’t limit your imagination to any specifics. Dead or dried branches could be great for height, as could be tall grasses. Broad leaves like hostas could fill a vase in a mass design. Even rocks could be used as accent pieces. But of course, the flowers will usually be the main event. As different varieties come into bloom, take advantage of their beauty by bringing some inside.

    Cut lilacs and tulips in vase

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    When and how to cut

    It is best to cut in the morning or at least when it is cool. During the heat of the day, flowers are already in stress and this stress shortens their vase life. Cut the flower with as long a stem as possible but above a node. This is the point on the stem where leaves join the stem. This will allow the plant to send out more shoots for more flowers in a few weeks so don’t think that you will be losing the outdoor beauty. Your actions will actually stimulate more flowers later. The plan will also look better for there will not be any unsightly half stems sticking out.

    Purple garden flowers

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Care and handling Probably the single best hint is to take a bucket of warm water with you and put the flowers in water as soon as they are cut. It would be best to use a plastic bucket with water that includes flower nutrient. The commercial flower foods interact with metal and that would harm the flowers. Warm water is used for it goes up the stem more quickly. This first drink by the flower is very important. This is the time that the flower is hydrating and the stem will stiffen up. Many times people cut the flowers, bring them in the house, lay them on the table and don’t arrange them for some time. During this period, the stems soften, the flowers wilt as does the enthusiasm of the flower arranger. When you buy your flowers this first conditioning step has been done for you.

    Cut zinnias from the garden

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Arranging tips Be certain the container you are using is squeaky clean. The least bit of residue will contaminate the water and dramatically shorten flower life. Use flower food here as well in the dosage prescribed for on the label. With flower food, too much is just as bad a too little. If you are using Oasis brand flower foam, soak the foam in water that has the nutrient added. Either group the flowers by color or variety. A mixed bouquet of one variety of flowers is stunning. A few black-eyed susans in a small pitcher is easy and very effective. If the container has a large mouth, first add foliage or branches, ivy is a great choice. Re-cut the stems and take off any foliage that would be below the water line and insert the stem into the container. As a general rule, put larger flowers or those with darker colors deeper in the arrangement. Most flowers have a face. That is a side from which you would view them. Design the flowers in a way that the faces are aimed in a way that the viewer can best see the full beauty of each blossom. If you need to visualize something, think of the garden; a natural look will certainly show off the flowers. Be sure to keep the arrangement away from the sun or heat. For instance, do not put the flowers on the TV. Every day or two fill the container and if the water becomes discolored, change it. Your flowers should last at least 5-7 days.

    Cut sunflowers in vase

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Hints for selecting purchased flowers When buying summer garden flowers, you should check the foliage and stems. They should be firm and a healthy shade of green. The flowers should not be bruised and usually fully open. Most varieties, like zinnias, will not open in water. Buy the flowers from someone you trust and if they do not last at least 5-7days, take them back.

  • How to Grow Apple Trees At Home by Kremp Florist

    Apple

    Photo by Elise (Flickr)

    Have you always wanted to grow your own apples, but weren't sure where to begin? Even if you don't have the greenest thumb, it's easier than you think! Whether you want to start from apple seeds, or plant a full grown one in your yard, here are a few things you need to know before you get started.

    If you are going the replanting route, then going to your local nursery should be your first step. Learning which apple trees grow best in your area is important because not all will flourish in every climate, so it's good to know which ones work best in your neck of the woods. It is also important to realize that apple trees do best when they are planted in the early spring, so deciding when you want to start planting is a key factor in how well your trees will do.

    Most apple trees must cross-pollinate in order to bear fruit, so grabbing more than one type of apple tree at your nursery will be necessary in most cases. While bees and other plants can help to pollinate your apple tree, its best to have two types to be sure your tree will bear fruit. When deciding what size or age apple tree to buy, remember that replanting a younger tree such as a dwarf or semi dwarf will be easier and will have fruit quicker than a normal size tree. Keep in mind the amount of space in your yard and the amount of light they will get; most apple trees need to get 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

    Once you have gotten your trees, you will need to prep your soil by getting rid of weeds and other plants that may interfere with your trees growing. You don't want to plant too close to forests or wooded areas, because animals will more likely get to your apple trees and cause damage. In most cases, digging a 2 foot deep hole and making the hole about two times the size of the tree's root ball (or container it was previously in) should be sufficient. Also remember that in order for your trees to cross-pollinate, they must not be more than 100 feet apart when you plant them. Keeping all this in mind will give you a better shot at having a healthy, fruit-bearing tree. After planting, be sure to add mulch to your newly planted apple tree. Be sure to never fertilize your young fruit tree. Fertilizing too soon can burn and damage the roots of your young plant. By adding mulch to the surrounding area of your plant base, your tree will retain water and moisture better. Watering your newly planted tree will be vital during the first and second growing season. Making sure to water your trees twice a week, without drowning them and just making the soil moist is important. If you see your leaves wilting or looking dry, watering more often might be necessary.

    The last thing you need to remember is maintaining your trees once you've planted them in the ground. Although there isn't a laundry list of care instructions, there are still a few things you need to do to keep those apple trees kicking! Adding a trellis, or putting a post alongside your trees in the dirt, can be helpful as they grow to give them stability. After a few years it might be unnecessary, but in the beginning, having some extra support can be helpful. Until your tree has matured, doing minor maintenance will be your best bet. Getting rid of dead branches or fruit is fine, but don't begin cutting branches or doing any intense pruning until your trees have been growing for a few years.

    If you are looking for an easier, kid-friendly project, then planting apple seeds at home is a fun activity for the family! All you'll need are a few apples, paper towels, a sandwich bag, and potting soil with pots. First, cut the apples down the center and get as many of the seeds as possible, leaving any that have been broken. Then, place the seeds on a plate or somewhere for a few days so they can dry out. Next, wet a few paper towels and stick the seeds inside them. You'll want to place them in a sandwich bag and put them in the refrigerator to allow the seeds to germinate. This part will probably take a few weeks, so keep an eye on them. Once the seeds have begun to sprout, the fun part begins! You can finally plant your baby seeds in pots. Be sure to water them daily and place them in a sunny area of your home. Once your seeds have grown to be about a foot in height, you can transplant them to your garden or yard and admire what you grew!

    Choosing a Tree

    Preparation

    Planting your Tree

    Apple Tree Maintenance

    Growing an Apple Tree from a Seed

  • 7 Totally Awesome DIY Flower Vases

    Do you have a cabinet full of dusty humdrum vases and jars? Well, it is time to give them a makeover; plain glass vases and jars can become just as pretty as the flowers they hold. If you are creative and frugal and enjoy upcycling items, then I have some ideas that you are going to love. The following tutorials will show you how to re-invent the ordinary vase, wine bottle, or glass jar with some paint and things that you probably have laying around the house. Although you may want to keep them all for yourself, these upcycled jars and vases make great gifts.

    Chalkboard Paint Vase

    Chalkboard Paint Vase

    Photo by Jordan Johnson (Flickr)

    Continue reading

8 Item(s)

Flowers to get you out of the doghouse

Dried Flower Wreaths

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