Make It: First, gather buttons in various shapes, sizes and colors. Then, starting at the center of a three-inch foam sphere, attach the buttons by inserting a tailor's pin through one hole of each button until secured. Continue this process around the entire sphere, covering it one row at a time. Once the entire surface is covered, add a second layer of buttons to any sections where foam is still visible. Finally, tie ribbon into a loop, attach to the top of the sphere with a tailor's pin and hang on the tree.
This holiday advent calendar is full of traditional charm and vintage style, keeping the Christmas anticipation alive for both kids and adults. Marian Parsons of Mustard Seed Interiors printed 24 different vintage images onto fused linen and freezer paper and painted a number onto the bottom corner of each. Each linen image was then assembled to form a pocket to hold candy or small gifts for the little ones. After attaching ribbon, the pockets can be draped around a Christmas tree or along a banister.
Native trees are often trouble-free beauties, and serviceberry is no exception. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Amelanchier x grandiflora) is the result of a cross between two native serviceberries. It delivers white flowers in spring that fade to form edible blue-black fruits (terrific in jams and pies). Birds also love the fruits. Fall color is outstanding with shades of orange-red. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ typically has multiple trunks and a pretty structure that’s especially visible when snow lies on branches. Size: 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Explore this city of trees with a walk or bike ride through Alpharetta's Big Creek Greenway. Tote along a gourmet picnic lunch from Wildflour Cafe and gem-like pastries from Collet French Pastry Cafe or rent an electric bike from Pedego Alpharetta, a great way to keep older and younger riders on an even keel. The beauty of an electric bike, beyond the thrill factor, is you can go further and last longer, tackle hills with ease and then reward yourself with a stop at a local brewery along the way.
Take time to wrap shrubs and small trees with a winter coat of burlap for protection against cold temps. Plants at risk include those with borderline hardiness and evergreens prone to winter burn. Spray evergreens with an anti-transpirant before wrapping in burlap. Before adding the burlap, protect trunks against chewing rodents by tossing mouse bait that’s enclosed in a protective container near the base of the plant.
Birch logs can be used for many different upcycled purposes, including on a Christmas trees as ornaments. Cut birch logs into 1/4-inch discs, then use a drill bit to add a 1/4-inch hole along the top. Next, trace shapes onto acetate and cut them out with a precision knife. Add the silhouette acetate to the birch log with double-sided tape or hot glue, then create a hanger by looping ribbon or twine through the hole.
Be creative as you design a trellis for your pea plants. Traditionally gardeners use fruit tree and shrub trimmings to craft a twig trellis. You can do the same thing with twigs that winter has tossed onto your lawn. Simply stick pencil-thick twigs into soil beside peas as you plant them. Another option is to string netting between stakes. This easy trellis (above) supports pea plants with a double row of twine that runs alongside plants. Insert stakes at either end of your pea plant (or every 4 to 5 feet for long rows), and wrap the twine around stakes to create a tight support. The plants will grab one another and the twine for support.
Despite their association with all things American, apples actually hail from what is modern Kazakhstan. The only apples native to America are crab apples, like Hewe’s Crab Apple. Recorded as early as 1717, this little apple was also known as Virginia crab and was mainly grown for making cider. It was one of Thomas Jefferson’s major cider varieties, with trees filling a large portion of the north orchards at Monticello.
Saucer magnolia (M. x soulangeana) is the single most popular magnolia, and it’s easy to see why. Its showy pink flowers steal the spotlight in early to mid-spring. The tree quickly grows to its mature height of 20 to 25 feet. Large blossoms to 8 inches across exude a beautiful perfume. In regions with lingering late spring frosts, don’t plant it near the southern side of a structure because retained heat might trigger early flowering, which frost can quickly wipe out. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Since holidays often attract more guests to the home than other times of the year, be sure to keep walkways brightly lit. An easy way to do this is to take advantage of any smaller trees or shrubs along or around the walkway and outfitting them with just a few strands of lights. Although they may be too small to properly read from the street, the subtle glow cast onto pavers, trails or concrete walkways will help guests make their way up to the house safely.
Trees may not be the first places homeowners think of hanging holiday wreaths, but in this natural setting they can serve triple duty as yard decorations, wind chimes and bird perches. Pick up a twig wreath and crafting bells from the craft store. Attach bells around the perimeter of the wreath with fishing wire or twine, then suspend the wreath from a branch with rope. Sprinkle some bird seed onto the wreath to attract birds throughout the season.
Evergreen Norfolk Island Pines aren't just fun houseplants; they also make great Christmas trees. Their after-holiday care is no different from their daily care. Give these tropicals high humidity and protect them from drafts. They prefer bright light, such as from a south-facing window, and should be watered when the top of the soil starts to feel dry. Don't keep them too wet or let them dry out completely. Feed with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer in spring and summer, following label directions.
This highly-anticipated repeat-blooming rambler rose has sprays of fragrant blush pink flowers and grows up to 10 feet to 15 feet tall, depending on growing conditions. It has long and slender flexible stems bearing large sprays of semi-double flowers. Each bloom is approximately two inches across, with an open formation set off by a nice boss of golden stamens. There is a lovely, fresh citrus fragrance. This is a healthy rose that will repeat flower regularly throughout the summer and will be suitable for growing on an arch, wall, trellis or small tree.
Whether you’re tending traditional shrub and tree foundation plantings or your version of a Victory Garden vegetable patch, you need a wheelbarrow or garden cart. This two wheel wheelbarrow updates the classic single-wheel version with a no-tip design that’s still a breeze to maneuver. The polyethylene tub never rusts, no matter what you let sit in it for however long. In addition to a wheeled cart, invest in basic buckets, trugs or tip bags. When you garden, you can’t have enough containers to carry things like soil amendments, water, tools, prunings or harvest. Food grade buckets are often free for the asking from bakeries, donut shops and restaurants.
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a classic native vine heralded for its vivid red fall color. ‘Yellow Wall’ takes the native to a new place with leaves that turn a striking gold in autumn. This is a fast, easy-growing vine that does well in part to full sun. In the wild, Virginia creeper often scales trees as vines reach for the sun. In the garden, give it the sturdy support of a pergola or well-anchored arch. Avoid planting ‘Yellow Wall’ against a building, because it attaches directly to surfaces with organic holdfasts that are tough to remove. Plants grow 20 to 30 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.
Apple cider vinegar brings natural healing to skin cells, helping to prevent break-outs and reduce acne scarring (thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities). It has antibacterial properties that help eliminate acne-causing bacteria. For a simple toner, steep fresh curly parsley in boiling water for roughly 10 minutes (parsley helps boost collagen production). Mix one-quarter to one-half cup of cooled, drained parsley water with ½ teaspoon unpasteurized ACV and up to 20 drops of tea tree oil (antifungal, antiviral). Store in a cool, dry place for daily use. Stash in the fridge for long-term storage (several weeks). Apply with a cotton ball, or use a spray bottle to spritz on skin.
Crape myrtle is a Southern classic, beloved for its endless show. Summer flowers, fall color and beautiful winter bark earn this beauty a place in every Southern yard. Flower colors vary, including ruby red, pastel lavender and snowy white. New varieties also offer wine-red foliage. Look for semi-dwarf varieties to find ones that qualify as small tree size. Examples include ‘Acoma’ (white, to 10 feet), ‘Delta Jazz’ (ruby red, to 10 feet), ‘Rhapsody in Pink’ (pink, to 12 feet), ‘Zuni’ (lavender, 6 to 10 feet) and Early Bird Lavender (6 feet). Semi-dwarf size: 6 to 12 feet tall by 3 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 7-10.
When Ohio was opening as a frontier in 1792, settlers could earn up to 100 acres if they homesteaded in the wilderness. A homestead required 50 apple and 20 peach trees. John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, was an enterprising businessman who traveled ahead of settlers planting and tending apple orchards on land he had purchased. He later sold the orchards to homesteaders. The last apple planted by John is rumored to be a ‘Rambo,’ which continues to grow in Nova, Ohio.