Mango spacho features a host of garden-fresh produce and some tropical fruits. Ingredients include (clockwise from bottom center): mango nectar, mango, lemon, lime, cucumber, sweet red pepper, green onion, orange juice, basil, tomatillo, salt and pepper, and cilantro.
Good Bones host Karen created this hydroponic planter using 5" PVC post covers to contain the nutrient-rich growing solution. A 4" hole-saw was used to cut holes in the container for the plants to extend through, and the front is covered with hex tiles left over from the new bathroom. Plants include bibb lettuce, red-leaf lettuce, basil, mint and tarragon.
Start your own seeds indoors with a windowsill propagation kit. This type of kit includes everything you need to sprout a crop of basil or chives for a windowsill herb garden. The covers for the containers provide a greenhouse effect, but also offer the option of venting open to prevent heat and moisture build up.
Since many kids are picky eaters, it’s easier to present their favorite foods in fresh ways than it is to encourage them to try something new at a party. Put a clever twist on the classic meat and cheese tray by creating sandwich kabobs with meat, cherry tomatoes, basil, cheese and white bread. This can also be turned into an activity by setting up a kabob station and letting each child create his or her kabob.
Blue cheese is certainly an acquired taste that not all your guests may love. Try these toppings to please all palates. Offer a pizza-style crowd-pleaser of mini pepperoni, fresh mozzarella balls, black olives and marinara sauce (left). Use up fresh produce with this flatbread that calls for ricotta, basil and butternut squash (middle). For even more fun, allow guests to create their own flatbreads by offering a variety of toppings at their disposal.
Beloved for its ability to beckon bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, bee balm (Monarda) also earns rave reviews for its mosquito-repelling qualities. For many insect-deterring plants to work, you have to crush leaves or blooms to release the plant’s volatile oils. Bee balm is an exception to that rule. As it grows and blooms in your garden, it releases fragrances mosquitoes dislike (so does basil, by the way). Bee balm is a perennial that flowers in a variety of colors and plant sizes. This beauty is Balmy Rose monarda, which is a compact type growing to 1 foot high. It’s a great choice for edging beds or tucking into containers.
Cater to all of your senses as you craft your retreat. By including fragrant flowers and herbs in the mix, you’ll discover the joy of breathing in rich floral aromas or spicy tones, which enhances the whole outdoor relaxation experience. Container gardens don’t have to be boring. Tuck plants into crates, baskets, buckets or your old garden boots. Plantings give you a chance to express your creativity and give your retreat a true signature style. This scented retreat includes two types of English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Blue Spear and Avignon Early Blue. Other herbs that offer a nose-pleasing bouquet include mint, basil, rosemary and thyme. For fragrant flowers, try dame’s rocket (Hesperis), Oriental lily, moonflower vine, rose or daphne.