Check Me Out On Planet Green!

2090207379 33f1c04801 b Check Me Out On Planet Green!

Photo Courtesy of: pasotraspaso

I had the privilege of working with writer Virginia Sole-Smith of Planet Green this week to put together a few articles about common garden problems. This week’s tip tackled watering.  When to water, How to water, Why in God’s name do I have to water….You get the idea.

Virginia’s got a very engaging style of writing, and tackles the topic of struggling with her first yard with humor, and charm. I can absolutely relate to her, and I bet you will too!  If you aren’t already reading her articles, make sure to start, and while you’re at it why not start with our article “The City Girl’s Guide to Country Gardening Lesson 6: Watering.”

The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra:The Austrian Way To Use Extra Vegetables

The Viennese have found a new use for their spare vegetables, and they’ve been making music with these hand made instruments since 1998. The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra has gone on two world tours, and believe it or not they have two CD’s to show for it!

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The House That Federico Built

IMG 2464 The House That Federico Built

This is the house that Federico built.

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What A Difference Three Weeks Makes

This is one of my Bluebird boxes in February

Blizzard Birdhouse What A Difference Three Weeks Makes

This is the same Bluebird box in early March

IMG 2407 1024x790 What A Difference Three Weeks Makes

We missed you Spring.  I’m glad you’re back!

My El-Cheapo Easter Update

I’m a bit spartan in my decorating habits, and the number of knick-knacks I allow to lie around the house.  Most of the time I rarely notice the lack of photo’s, paintings, and decor, preferring to point my furniture toward the windows and enjoy the view of my roses and suet feeders.  Winter’s lack of daylight encouraged me to install these shelves two years ago over my television (situated between two windows as well), and this spring I decided the all-season display I lay across them through most of the year was looking a little too boring for the amount of time I spend looking up at it.

Being in a rather thrifty state of mind, here’s what I whipped up to celebrate the spring season, with finds that were all under three dollars! [Read more...]

My Miniature Winter Village

When the snow is both inside and out, ’tis the season for my winter village display to be growing in one of the lobbies at the senior community center. What a great way to cheer people up!  This year a co-worker and I created this sweet mountain resort, and town-scape out of collections new and old. What’s become a work-funded hobby for both he and I these past 5 years has blossomed into quite a collection, which we rotate out each year according to the theme we like.

img 2167 768x1024 My Miniature Winter Village

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My New DIY Front Door Wreath

img 21291 1024x768 My New DIY Front Door Wreath

I love making my own decor!  Not only is it cheaper than buying something pre-fabricated, but it’s much more personal, and means that my accent pieces can say more about my home in general.

This year I really wanted to make a wreath for my deep blue front door, and I wanted something that I could feel comfortable leaving out in the cold, without fear of anything breaking.  Since I wanted the wreath to have blue tones in it, and also make a pleasant statement to my guests (think cinnamon scents) as they walk through the door, I hit my local Michaels crafts store, and found just what I was looking for.

I bought two rolls of blue wired ribbon, large navy jingle bells, wooden 2-D snowflakes, a bag of cinnamon scented pine cones, and some shatterproof Christmas balls.  I like to use one full roll of ribbon for HUGE bows on my wreaths, and used a large part of the second roll for weaving around the wreath.   I hot glued the other decorations onto the wreath to make the placement of everything permanent, and hung it on the door with a giant suction cup hanger.

Here’s the final product!  It wafts a warm cinnamon scent around you as you open the front door, and looks really charming, and winter-y from the street.  Since the colors are blue and white, I may leave it up longer than some of my other Christmas decorations.

Happy Holidays!

img 2133 725x1024 My New DIY Front Door Wreath

My Take On The National Parks

arizona desert My Take On The National Parks

I’ve been tuning in with many of you these past two weeks to enjoy director Ken Burns series  “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”  From my own perspective they were not only one of the best ideas, but one of the greenest, preserving the North American ecosystem for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

I’ve been enjoying unwinding at the end of the day and watching each of the episodes in the mini-series, so I began calculating how many of the National Parks I have actually visited.

Where I’ve Been:

  • Saguaro National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Acadia National Park

I’ve been to numerous State Parks and National Monuments, but I have to say I’m surprised at how few National Parks I’ve actually been to.  I’ve got traveling to do!

My favorite place to see and explore to date was Saguaro National Park, which I visited several April’s ago in time to see the desert just starting to burst with wildflowers.  Nothing on the East Coast could have prepared me for the size of the Saguaro Cacti, and the peaceful beauty of the Southwest.  It made such an impression on me that I’ve been unable to decorate my kitchen in recent years with anything other than the colors and themes of terra cotta mountains, and bright green cacti.

Your Thoughts: Where have you been, and what have been your favorite National Parks to visit?

Photo Courtesy of: Rennett Stowe

Pictures of My New Urban Water Garden

img 18841 819x1024 Pictures of My New Urban Water Garden

I live in a big city, but I’d like to think that my yard is my own personal oasis no matter how much noisy traffic passes by!

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April Showers…Don’t End Until June!


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img 1632 300x225 April Showers...Dont End Until June!

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Casa de Gardenista has been so swamped with rain this spring and summer I’m almost ashamed to show you the healthy growth of weeds and grass I’ve allowed to co-habitate  with my flowers until this point. Suffice it to say that this weeks afternoon and weekend projects will all involve lots of weeding and mulching. The bonus I suppose to all of this rain has been unusually large flowers and shrubs in the garden.  My Bee Balm is about four feet tall instead of the usual two feet tall, and close to outgrowing my forsythia bush.  Mums, which have always grown to mammoth proportions in my yard have had to be pruned back into respectable shape to keep them from completely overtaking their tinier garden cousins.

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My forsythia has leafed out completely this year, and it’s hard to believe that only three years ago it was a collection of three sticks I received as a housewarming gift.  I began pruning it immediately as it sent out it’s first shoots to encourage more growth. Over the past two years though I’ve trained it into the mini-tree form that it is now, which I think looks particularly cute from the road. I still hold out hope for the spring when the whole bush blooms yellow and looks like a giant lollypop. Hopefully spring 2010 will be the year for that!


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My side porch has become “vegetable central” this year, as I added peppers, carrots, lettuce, and spinach mustard to the canteloupe and strawberry containers. 



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In the past I planted two large containers on each corner with strawberries surrounding one pepper plant in the center.  This year I may repeat that late in the season, or in the fall, but for now the fruits and veggies remain segregated and out of the reach of “Confucious,” my city ground hog – who is happily eating the clover blooms in the backyard for now.  Regardless of the weeds thus far, we have had several handfuls of home-grown strawberries to eat with our breakfast pancakes, so all in all, rain or shine, it’s been a great summer thus far here at home. 


img 1610 1024x359 April Showers...Dont End Until June!