Who says that flowers are reserved for Valentine's Day? With a variety of green-tinted blooms to choose from, St. Patrick's Day is prime for sending a sweet token of luck to a friend or filling your home with vibrant fresh florals. Read on to learn how to create a fun leprechaun garden, sweet DIY paper flowers, a lush vase of romantic fresh blooms or a unique fruit and vegetable arrangement from a variety of seasonal green florals.
One of the fastest ways to drop an edge between lawn and planting areas is using concrete edger or paver stones set upright, on edge. Cast from concrete, these stones create the most effective edging if they’re dug into soil so the base sits slightly below lawn level. Keep an eye out for grass creeping around or under concrete edgers. Hand pull or spot spray with grass killer. Look for concrete edgers in a variety of shapes and colors. They give a garden a more formal flair, which looks nice whether it’s lining beds full of flowers, herbs or vegetables.
Straw is a more utilitarian mulch typically used in vegetable gardens or strawberry patches. Straw is simply the stalks of grain plants. Ask your local straw supplier if their product is clean (doesn’t contain grain heads) and weed-free. Prevent weed seed issues by spreading three sheets of damp newspaper under straw. Some gardeners let straw bales sit a few weeks so weed or grain seeds germinate. This leads to moldy straw—plan to wear a dust mask if you have allergies. Expect to get one to two growing seasons out of straw, depending on how thickly you spread it.
Skip the frozen bagel pizza bites and let your children customize their own mini pizzas using healthier ingredients. Set up a pizza bar with mini whole wheat bagel halves, marinara sauce and toppings like chopped vegetables, ground beef, diced ham, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella cheese and feta cheese crumbles. Once your child creates his own personal pizza snack, bake for around 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic are some of the more common root vegetables cooks use everyday but there are plenty of other less common but equally delicious varieties you can try such as Salsify. Some people call it the oyster plant due to its flavor. Sow the seeds in early spring when the soil temperature has reached 40 degrees and expect to harvest the salsify in 120 to 150 days. Add it to soups and stews or serve it mashed with a little butter and cream.
Rollins' highly aesthetic potager is conveniently located right outside her kitchen door for quick and easy access to her edibles. She grows a variety of heirloom vegetables and fruit and herbs, but is as focused on design here as in every other aspect of her Atlanta garden. "In a busy world, there is something therapeutic about digging in the dirt," says Rollins. And it's a democratic pursuit too. "People can't decorate on their own, but people can garden. It's so accessible."
An outstanding mulch that’s free for the taking, shredded fall leaves provide a great alternative for informal planting beds, vegetable gardens and shade gardens. As leaves decompose, they add fantastic organic matter to soil. Slugs tend to like shredded leaves, so use caution applying them around slug favorites like hosta or leaf lettuce. Expect leaves to last from one to two growing seasons. Always shred leaves with a mower or leaf vac before using them as mulch.
Deer can wipe out a garden overnight, nibbling prize flowers, vegetables and plants. Telltale signs of deer feeding are torn or ragged leaf edges. Deer lack upper incisor teeth, so when they grab a plant, they jerk their heads up to pull a leaf free. This creates torn stems and leaves. Keep deer away from your yard with repellents (Plantskydd works well), an extra-tall fence (8 to 10 feet tall) or a double fence (3 to 5 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet apart). Toss plastic netting over individual plants or flowers you want to protect from browsing.
This modern Tuscan-style kitchen pays homage to the traditional details associated with the design through its use of color, architecture and accessories. Wood rafters help enclose the kitchen, while exposing the cathedral ceilings and intricate, artistic murals along the walls and ceilings. Simple wrought iron fixtures showcase Old World appeal with a contemporary edge. With massive wooden beams, terra-cotta tiles from Italy and hand-painted frescoes of Italian vineyards — this kitchen cooks up Italian flavor from floor to ceiling. But it's the bread warmer and wine cellar that stores up to 1,800 bottles that make this an Italian paradise. Appliances include two Miele dishwashers, a vegetable steamer, a built-in espresso machine and a five-burner Thermador stove.
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.
Also called landscape fabric or weed cloth, this type of mulch is usually woven polypropylene fabric. It suppresses weeds while allowing water and air to pass. It’s often used under inorganic mulches, such as stone or landscape glass, but also under shredded hardwood bark to help extend its lifespan. Landscape fabric comes in different grades; the label should state how long it will last. This is a commercial grade fabric that’s woven and needle punched with a 20-year warranty. The colored lines are 12 inches apart, which helps with spacing plants, especially in vegetable gardens.
If there’s one secret to having a beautiful, healthy garden, it’s healthy soil. Devote time and energy to improving your soil on a regular basis. Add organic matter, such as compost, bark fines or composted manure. Organic matter improves soil fertility, drainage and water retention and also helps fight pests and diseases that live in soil. How often should you improve soil? Some gardeners do it every time they tuck a plant into soil or after each crop finishes in a vegetable garden. Improving soil once a year is a good way to build quality soil slowly.
Cheerful and bright, marigolds make an easy-to-grow addition to any garden plan—in pots or planting beds. These perky annuals bring terrific color all season long. What you might not know is that marigolds pack a punch to many insects, including mosquitoes, thanks to chemical insecticides they release. That’s why marigolds have such a strong odor when you touch them. Both flowers and leaves release the chemicals, but blossoms deliver the strongest punch. Other insects that marigolds deter include aphid, whitefly, thrips, tomato hornworm, Mexican bean beetle and squash bug. Tuck marigolds into pots on the patio to make summer evenings less buggy. Or use them in the vegetable garden to help repel pests.
Also known as oxalis, this is a versatile weed that grows in sun or shade, moist or dry soil. It’s a clover look-alike, with heart shape leaves and yellow flowers. Blooms fade to form upright seed pods that explode when ripe, flinging seeds away from the mother plant. It also roots from stem pieces. It’s happy to grow in lawns, planting beds, gravel drives or vegetable garden paths. Oxalis is a common weed in nursery pots, so be sure to check before adding plants to your landscape. The best way to beat it in the lawn is to mow high and fertilize to grow a healthy, thick lawn. In planting beds, carefully hand-pull or spray with herbicide.
A leaf rake comes in handy for moving leaves, pine cones, fallen fruit and other tree-related items. Look for an ergonomic design that makes the task an easy extension of natural body movements. Choose a wide head with springy tines to make quick work of cleaning large areas. For raking leaves from around shrubs, select a rake with a small head and shorter handle. Use a lawn rake with thin tines to gather grass clippings or clean up the lawn after winter. A bow rake is handy for soil prep in vegetable gardens and new beds, as well as raking gravel areas. A small hand rake earns its keep if you have planting beds beneath trees. Its widely spaced tines let you remove leaves without damaging plants.
Investigate any unpleasant smells or noises coming from your bathroom sink drain, says Frank Lesh, owner of Home Sweet Home Inspection Company in Indian Head Park, Ill. Gurgling may be caused by a blockage you can remove with a snake or plunger. If a sink is smelly but you don’t use it frequently, the water in the U-shaped pipe underneath may have dried out, allowing methane gas into the room. Try pouring a quart of water down the drain and airing out the room for a couple of hours. If the smell goes away, Lesh has a simple fix: pour a teaspoon of vegetable oil down the drain, which will keep the water from evaporating and should solve your problem.
But if smells or noises persist, call a plumber to investigate your vent pipe. It may have become blocked by debris or nesting animals.