Free Container Designs From Better Homes and Gardens

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You don’t have to have a green thumb or endless container garden know-how to create an impressive pot of blooms, all you have to know is the right place to look for inspiration! Better Homes and Gardens website is a great place to start looking for ideas when you hit a mental roadblock.  They have a rotating slide show of 30 recipes for beautiful container gardens ready for your perusal, with names and labels on each plant to help you.  The recipes feature plants that are tried and true, and that work well together in a container garden. The pictures can be printed out and taken with you to the garden center for easy matching, or a rough idea of what textures and heights to mix together.

Next time you need an idea or two check out their site for a little inspiration, I know I do!

How To: A Recipe To Clean Mineral Deposits From Terra Cotta Pots

266212408 e63d265846 300x225 How To: A Recipe To Clean Mineral Deposits From Terra Cotta PotsSpring seems to take it’s time coming every year, but there are plenty of seeds to buy, and pots to ready in the interim before you can begin the all important planting process, so grab a scrub brush and an empty spray bottle to concoct your eco-friendly flower pot cleanser in, and let’s get started!

What You Need:  

  • Scrub brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Vinegar
  • Tap water
In your spray bottle combine equal part water, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Gently agiitate the mixture for 20 seconds, and prepare to spray your pots either outside the house, or inside a deep kitchen sink.  Thoroughly spray the entire pot inside and out, and scrub gently, the white residue should flake off easily.  Allow the pots to dry before filling them with dirt, and they will look like new!
 
Your Thoughts:  This has worked well for me, what do you use to spiff up your pots?
  
Photo Courtesy of: vosta

Baking Your Pumpkin The Colonial Way

1314249 75484d8c22 b 300x225 Baking Your Pumpkin The Colonial Way

Ready to try something different with your pumpkin this year?  Grab your family pumpkin and prepare for a dessert that will have you visiting the local pumpkin patch for second helpings! 

Long before pumpkin pie was a twinkle in the eye of colonial Americans, the original dessert of choice in fall and winter was a variation of this baked pumpkin recipe!  An unusual party dish, this dessert is served scooped from the hollow center of a whole pumpkin, and looks as good as it smells on  your fall table. I was privileged to try this for the first time at a work function recently, and can’t wait to bake my own ASAP!

What You Need For This Recipe:

  • 1 pumpkin, 5 – 7 pounds
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Check out the link above and add this great treat to your fall repertoire. I’ll add pictures of my own dessert as soon as I prepare mine.

    Your Thoughts: Have you tried baked whole pumpkin? Are there any tricks to doing it that perfect this type of recipe?

    Photo courtesy of: Teo

    10 Different Uses For Rosemary

    rosemary flower 300x199 10 Different Uses For RosemaryMost of the garden plants we use today owe their popularity in the past to their centuries-old usefulness in the home, and in the medicine chest.  While I won’t try and pass myself off as an herbalist, I have found some great, and creative uses for Rosemary that you might want to know about, to rejuvenate your outlook on this common garden plant!  Here are my top 10 ideas that anyone could try!

    1. Cooking, and Garnishes.  Rosemary can be grown in the kitchen window, or in the yard, and is a common herb used in thousands of recipes. The plant can be grown outside year-round in areas where the winter time temperature averages above 20 degrees.
    2. Repelling Mosquito’s from yard. This is a great plant to grow in gardens or planters especially around areas you use to entertain guests!  The oils in the leaves of the plant repel Mosquito’s, and that is never a bad thing!
    3. Hair Rinse, and Tonic. Rosemary boiled in a few cups of water can be used for a moisturizing hair rinse that has been linked to hair re-growth, and dandruff elimination. Use Half a cup of Rosemary boiled in 2 1/2 cups of water.
    4. Tropical Christmas Tree. Hearty bushes can be pruned into Christmas trees in warmer areas, where pine trees are on Short order.  The plant originally came from the Mediterranean, so it thrives in warmer climates, and does well when pruned regularly, seasonally, or into a particular shape.
    5. Flavorful Skewers, or Grilling Pins. Woody stem trimmings can be turned into scented kabob skewers, for meat or veggies. Leaves can be pulled off the stems for use in other recipes, or frozen for later use.  The stems also double well as ‘grilling pins,” with recipes featuring meat stuffed with cheeses, veggies, or grilling sauces.  Substitute one or two firm rosemary twigs in place of toothpicks, to hold added ingredients inside the meat while cooking on the grill.
    6. Cat Repellent. Most cats detest the smells, and the oils associated with Rosemary plants, especially when it gets on their fur.  Clumps of this plant in your yard can repel feral cats from leaving their business in your garden, and freshly trimmed branches left on furniture, or carpet areas that you would like house cats to keep them away from, will work in redirecting your cat to better locations in the house. This herb has worked like a charm with my own cat!
    7. Memory Assistance.  The ancient belief that Rosemary assisted memory, has been proven by modern science!  Whether eaten with food, used in oil form on pulse points and temples, or simply smelled, Rosemary has been linked in several studies to increased cognitive performance, it is currently being examined as a possible pharmaceutical ingredient in future drugs that will battle Alzheimer’s  and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
    8. Gift Accent. Spring and summer weekends inevitably fill up with weddings, graduation parties, and baby showers, so why not make your gift stand out with a ribbon tied bundle of Rosemary attached to the top of your gift with your card.  Not only have Rosemary bundles been given with wedding gifts for thousands of years, but the bundles can go in water afterward, to scent the house for days to come.
    9. Aromatherapy, and Romantic Fire Bundles. Rosemary oil, used lightly in baths, and oil burners can stimulate the senses, and relax the body.  Dried Rosemary can be bundled up with twine, or ribbon, and kept with your indoor firewood, and hearth tool set, to be added with wood as a fire-starter, and as a romantic mood setter.
    10. Steam Treatment. Inhaling boiling water with rosemary in it can assist in treating bronchitis, and the congestion associated with colds, and flu’s.  The oils in the plants gently soothe sore throats and lungs, and open up air way temporarily, providing natural relief of common symptoms.  Herbalists also recommend using the oils of the plant in chest rubs for nighttime relief.  Consult an herbalist for details.

    For a great entertaining idea using Rosemary, check out this great recipe for Rosemary Herb Butter!

    Your Thoughts: What uses have you found for Rosemary?

    (Photo credit: Charlie & Clint)