Written on July 3, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
Happy Fourth of July! Are you hosting a pool party or backyard cookout this year? Don’t forget to add a red, white, and blue container garden to your outdoor landscape. Here are a few suggestions for red, white, and blue plants to include: red caladiums, white euphorbia diamond frost, white petunias, and (a great blue stand-in!) purple scaevola. Plus, a blue container looks really nice with the bright green foliage.
Written on June 27, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
I love the vintage vibe of this covered porch, what a great place to relax during the summer with a book and a tall glass of lemonade. It’s a neat combination to create this vintage feel with the antique birdcage, traditional shapes, floral pillows and striped cushion.
To recreate this look, I’ve rounded up a few items that will have you enjoying a lemonade on your porch in no time! I love the mixture of colors and patterns in pillows and throws from Lacefield Designs and Dwell Studio. The addition of pretty blue containers and plant life will really make your space feel cozy and refreshing. Enjoy!
Written on June 20, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
These days, when I walk down the stairs and around my garden path, I am greeted by the loveliest smell coming from my August Beauty Gardenia. The blooms are the purest white I’ve ever seen and the smell is just out of this world.
I planted two gardenias in my backyard a few years ago where they get just a couple of hours of morning and mid-morning sun. They’ve had a bit of a rough time. Smashed by a falled tree during a tornado-like storm and then bitten by an odd freeze the following winter. They came back, slowly but surely, and I’m glad to see they are bursting with green growth and dozens of buds this year.
Gardenias enjoy moist, well drained soil in a shady environment with some indirect light. I picked the brightest spot in my shady backyard! They’re hardy to zones 8-10, but after one frost that claimed almost a whole shrub, I sometimes cover with a sheet to be safe. (More info here!)
It doesn’t hurt to plant them close to the house too, so you can enjoy the sweet smell. I can’t help but clip them and bring them inside. It’s unbelievable how much smell can come from such a small flower.
Tip: To remember the variety of this particular gardenia, I had to reference my garden journal, where I keep tags, notes and a general history of my garden. If you’re just getting started with your green thumb or even if you already have an established garden, start a record of plants and make notes of your successes and failures! I use mine all the time. Plus, it’s a little bit nostalgic after you’ve been at this gardening thing for a while.
Written on June 13, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
When I first ventured into my backyard garden with a shovel and a bag of dirt, garden accents weren’t really on my To Do list. I could barely wrap my head around the placement of my hostas! Now that my garden is a little more established, I’m taking the time to add accents and non-plant-life interest around my winding pebble path. A couple of birdhouses, a bright green birdfeeder, a blue birdbath and a hopefully (soon!) a DIY obelisk. Here are some ideas for colorful and interesting birdfeeders and birdhouses you can add to your garden!
Written on June 6, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
I learned quickly when we started working on our backyard, that small gardens and winding paths don’t exactly mix well with high-energy, long-legged dogs. Our vizsla, Birch, hurdles over shrubs and flowers every day, stands smack dab in the middle of my Solomon’s Seal, or tramples on my hostas. It usually doesn’t bother me, except when he sprints by my hydrangeas. Oh boy. I always cringe, hoping he’s not too close. I follow behind him, picking up the hydrangea twigs that snap off. Here’s what I do to take advantage of the broken branches!
1. Use new, green growth – not the woody area of the stem, it’s older and won’t produce roots.
2. Dip the tip in rooting hormone, about an inch or so. (Using rooting hormone is optional, but I think it really helps!)
3. Clip large leaves in half, so the plant will focus energy on producing roots.
4. Plant in healthy, organic soil. Consider adding perlite and/or vermiculite to help retain moisture for the new roots.
5. Water, wait and then transplant to the ground!
I planted two cuttings in the terra cotta pots above last summer. (The plastic bags only stayed on for the first week or so. I didn’t think they were totally necessary, so I didn’t leave them that way for long.) Once I could feel that the plants had put out a few roots (just tug lightly to feel if there’s resistance), I moved them to the backyard to be in their natural elements. They grew a good bit in the fall so I transplanted them to a bigger container for the winter.
As soon as the weather got warm this spring (around April), I planted them in the ground and they’ve almost doubled in size already! Each plant had a really complete root system, which I was pleasantly surprised to see.
Hydrangeas are an easy plant to propagate, so give it a try this summer! I am thrilled with this easy method of expanding my garden. Now that I know I can do it, I don’t mind as much when Birch takes off sprinting through the garden. In fact, I kind of hope for a stray branch I can take care of.
Photos from my Instagram
Written on May 30, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
One of my favorite sweet-smelling vines is in bloom in my Atlanta, GA garden right now: Confederate Jasmine. I started it a couple of years ago over a corner of the fence where I wanted to cover the fence wire and it quickly filled out over a 5 ft x 5 ft area. Confederate Jasmine is a great climbing option for a full sun spot and mine happens to get a few hours of afternoon shade. With the potential to grow up to 20 ft wide, I’m hoping mine will cover a whole side of the fence!
You can see behind the fence here how quickly my garden gets shady – it is dark back there! I’m happy to have a few areas like this one where I can enjoy the flowers and smells that come with full sun!
Confederate Jasmine will tolerate almost any soil type, judging by the soil here. It wasn’t great soil to begin with, despite my soil-amending attempts, but I also planted the roots right next to the concrete footing for the fence post. Rookie gardener alert! Lucky for me, this confederate jasmine forgave its inexperienced gardener-mom and produced a great show of fragrant blooms from the start!
Novice gardeners, if you’re in need of a sunny climber, treat yourself to a Confederate Jasmine. You won’t regret it.
Photos by Whitney of The Curtis Casa