I’m thrilled to announce that I will be participating in this year’s Home Depot Patio Challenge with a slew of talented bloggers (more on that soon). As spring approaches, I’m eager to start giving my dad’s patio a makeover to kick-off a season of outdoor living and entertaining. With the great garage doors in his back room, the whole back of the house opens to a concrete patio, which I’m hoping to transform into a lush outdoor living space with the help of Home Depot. I’ve gathered some inspiration with specific elements I want to incorporate into the new patio design. Let me know what you think of these spaces – do you have an outdoor area of your own to decorate?
Pea pebbles are a classic terrace element, but look great with any style furniture and decor. They add a hint of European influence – like the loose pebble terraces of country homes and châteaux. I’m imagining a layer of gravel over the existing concrete, which will prevent them from sinking down to keep a deep layer across the area. Read More
One of the greatest parts of my dad moving to his new house at the beginning of the year (besides having the opportunity to decorate it) is the backyard. In the spring we built two raised beds and planted seeds, and by the start of July the beds were crowded with vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The transformation was astounding, and it has been so much fun to pick the ripe produce right in his backyard. What is most exciting to me about our summer garden is the amount of produce we were able to grow from two small beds. For some of the plants, the harvest was so plentiful it was too much to eat! It just proves how powerful even a small garden can be in a household, or a community, and I’m so excited to be part of a generation that is reconnecting with the way we grow and use food.
When I first found out about Edyn, a new crowd-funded technology that gathers information about your garden and sends it to an app on your smartphone, I knew that it would change the way I worked in the garden. Understanding water, humidity, and fertility levels and how they translate to your plant’s well-being often takes trial-and-error, and in many cases, results in brown plants. The Edyn garden sensor is simple and solar-powered, so there are no batteries to change, and comes with a beautiful and insightful app. It even suggest plants that are well-suited to your garden environment. I love keeping track of current statistics in the garden, and I hope this new technology empowers beginning and experienced gardeners alike to grow more in their garden!
I really can’t tell you how deep my love affair with herbs goes. I really love anything herby, and therefore we use a lot of herbs to cook with in this household! We always plant a new selection of herbs each spring, but late frost this year really shocked our plants and they’ve been slow to recover. So we brought some herbs inside, to create a potted kitchen garden that can sit in a windowsill or on the counter, and can be planted in the ground later in the summer when the plants get big. I’ve included the essentials in this post: basil, parsley, mint, and oregano, but sage, rosemary, and thyme are also top players as well! Keep reading for tips on keeping your herbs happy and alive while inside…
Make sure to put your herbs sit in a window that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day, with well-draining soil that remains moist (but not soggy)! Once your plants reach 6 inches tall, pinch of the top pair of leaves to prevent the plant from becoming leggy. For parsley and mint, cut lower to the ground to stimulate stronger new growth.
WHEN TO FERTILIZE
Fertilize your plants around every two weeks with a carefully mixed solution to prevent the herbs from burning. The easiest way to do this is with the Miracle-Gro Liquafeed Universal Feeder, which you can attach to your hose to ensure an even application of fertilizer that you can use on any plant. Just bring your plants outside and water your herbs with the rest of your garden, then let them drain completely.
WHEN TO TRANSPLANT
After a couple of months, check the bottom of your herb pots to make sure the plant roots are starting to show up in the drainage hole. This is a sign that your plant is becoming root bound, and you’ll want to either move them to a larger pot (two in. larger so they’re not overwhelmed), or outside in your garden. Otherwise, keep your herbs trimmed down to ensure that they don’t get too big!
If it waters, now it feeds with Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed Universal Feeder. It’s a great tool to help you reach your gardening goals by providing the essential nutrients your plants need to thrive all season long.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro®. The opinions and text are all my own. Thanks for supporting that brands that keep Thou Swell running!
When planting a window box you are faced with the dilemma of form over function as water-loving plants are going to take more water (which window boxes struggle to retain). Even after lining the boxes (throwback to one of my very first posts on this blog), water evaporated so quickly that anything we planted had to be watered almost everyday or else it would shrivel up and die. So we turned to succulents, and they’ve found a happy home in the dry conditions! They love the bright sun on the front of the house. Also our little white house desperately wishes it lived in L.A. (major home inspiration right over here from Jessica Comingore), so the succulents tie into that dream-aesthetic perfectly!
Since it’s a super long box, we split it up with three taller agave plants with crawling vine succulents and some rose-shaped friends flanking the centerpieces. For a finishing touch (and to keep the dirt in place), add some gravel on top. Now we can forget about watering and let these succulents stretch out!
Every changing of the seasons has its own particular energy, but the transition between winter and spring is the most exciting for any type of plant lover. It feels like as all the plants wake up, so do we – the weather stays right in the “just right” temperature range and for a couple of weeks all I want to do is sit, eat, and garden outside. Here in Atlanta we’ve been getting some sweet tastes of spring weather although our last frost date isn’t for a couple of weeks. Despite this bipolar weather, I have definitely been dreaming up gardening plans, and I can’t wait to see our perennials shoot back up. I’ve decided to create more gardening content on the blog (as well as alfresco dining and entertaining posts) throughout the spring and summer, and I’m excited to kick off the season with a collaboration from Monrovia! Since it hasn’t quite greened up outside, I decided to bring home a blooming forsythia bush to brighten up the house and remind us of what’s to come! I popped it into a pretty blue pot and spread some preserved moss around the top to keep things neat while it lives inside.
Yessir, spring has sprung in the O’Gara household! Although it doesn’t look like it outside, this pop of yellow sure keeps things bright in the living room. Some tips for care: the air outside is getting pretty humid, so I’ll be misting the forsythia a couple times a week as well as watering it two to three times over the next couple of weeks before I can get it in the ground. But really, it’s so cheerful I don’t want it to leave the house!
This post is sponsored by Monrovia. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Thou Swell running!