Posts Tagged gardening

Sunday, December 13, 2009 Puttering In Helen’s Haven

This week has been cold, too cold for my liking.  No much going on in the garden – not because it is cold, that wouldn’t stop me, but rather, I’ve been busy getting ready for the holidays.  Going to parties, parties, and more parties, for and by everyone, it seems….plus another chapter in my book.

There is still maintenance to do in the garden, if you are so inclined, This Month in the Garden – December

When it is this cold, a little December Inspiration goes a long way.

This piece shot in Raleigh with Beth Jimenez and Amalia Lane with Lasting Impressions Making a Hypertufa Trough – Better Homes and Gardens finally came out.

Spoke to the Wake Forest Garden Club.  Lots of fun.  From that preparation, I wrote a couple of blog post that will show up this week and next.  Here’s the kick off. Book of Six © Six Easy Pieces to Create Awesome Christmas Decorations.

Here’s another How to Create a Boxwood Topiary for Your Holiday Decorations.

If you need to be reminded how to choose a live tree, these tips are for you Book of Six © Six Tips When Choosing a Live Christmas Tree.

And finally, my  friend Kathy Jentz, published and editor of Washington Gardener Magazine got me to do this Honest Scrap Award, Honestly Who Cares?

I made it to the Farmer’s Market and was happy to see the apples are still plentiful. Picked up 2 big bags of Pink Ladies.  While I was there a chocolate croissant met with $3.00 from my wallet, passed through my lips, and landed happily in my belly. I look for this baker every time I’m at the NC State’s Farmer’s Market and I don’t know their name.  I am ashamed of this.  I will make a point this week to get their name and place of business.  I do know they are in Durham, so I’m grateful they come to Raleigh to sell.  They make the best croissant outside of France…in my humble opinion.


Friday night, I went to the preview party (and sale) at Goldbug Studio in Raleigh. They are a wholesaler with the most interesting wares selling to places like Anthropologie.  I make no secret that Anthropologie is my favorite store in the whole wide world.  Ashley’s art is exactly what you would find at Anthropologie, so I’m not surprised.  Even the studio she works from could be the back drop for an Anthropologie’s catalogue photo shoot.

Goldbug opens to the public 2 times a year.  I am already waiting for the next opening.  I wanted to get so much more, but I was over stimulated on Friday night. The next morning, once recovered,  I went back only to be disappointed to find, what I dreamed about all night was already sold.  That will teach me.

I passed this opening to my girlfriends at The Bloomsbury Garden Club.  A few went and emailed me their thanks for turning them on to it…summed it by saying, “Magical.”  Magical indeed.  Part vintage, part fashion forward, part nostalgia.  I wish I could have spent the night.

The ones that got away.

I did bring home a gold bird, a silver bird, a gold pumpkin; and of course, a gold bug.  I now regret, I didn’t get a blue bird and a green bird, and…..

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Book of Six © Six Tips When Choosing a Live Christmas Tree

Here are six tips when choosing a live Christmas tree and how to keep it beautiful throughout the holiday season.

  1. Measure the space.  Know your ceiling height – 8′, 9′, 10′, etc. Also know if the space will support a fat tree or if you should consider a tree more narrow.
  2. Ideally, the tree will fill the desired space to the max.  Half a foot below the ceiling height including stand and topper would be perfect.
  3. Some needle loss is natural.  Excessive needle loss is not.  Look at the branches, they should be full of needles and have  a good green color (for the species.)
  4. Resin is an indication of a heathy tree.  Grip your fingers along a branch and pull forward.   Sufficient resin will cause your hand to become sticky.
  5. Before you bring the tree home, have the stem re-cut.  Ideally, this would be done at home so that  you can put it in water as soon as possible.  For most of us, it isn’t.  As such, have it cut where you buy it and soak the fresh cut in water when you get home.
  6. Keep watered and away from drafts.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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How to Create a Boxwood Topiary for Your Holiday Decorations

Now is the perfect time to prune boxwood making good use of these snips to create a beautiful holiday decoration.  Creating a boxwood topiary is easy to do and long-lasting.

Gather materials:

  • A topiary form purchased from a craft store.
  • Cranberries purchased from the grocery store.
  • 4 inch snips of boxwood from a bush in your garden (or a friends’.)  It always seems to take more than you need.  Snip generously.  Any left over can be discarded into a wildlife brush pile.
  • An ice pick is helpful tool to “pre-drill” holes for the boxwood topiary.
  • Terracotta pot.

Topiary form

Filling in the form with boxwood

"Pre-drill" holes with an ice pick helps allow box to enter form easily

Almost complete

Because of the generous size, the box ball makes,  the base become out of scale.  As such, slipping this base into a larger pot balances the design.


Finished!

Box dries nicely so nothing is needed to keep your topiary looking good.

Top with cranberries and voila!

Enjoy.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Book of Six © Six Easy Pieces to Create Awesome Christmas Decorations

Conditioning greens before use

Greenery conditioning prior to use

The Wake Forest Garden Club invited me to speak at their December meeting about decorating for the holidays.   That was my only charge.  I got to talk about anything on the subject, so I choose to base the topic on what was typically growing in our southern backyards.

Being a gardener, this will always be my bent.  I’m not a florist.  Using what is available in the garden rocks my world.

Walking around your garden, the neighborhood, or when visiting with friends, note the greenery, sticks, berries, pods and cones.  With a little guidance, snips from these sources will decorate your home in no time.

Boxwood

Chamaecyparis ‘Golden Mop’

Cryptomeria ‘Green Dragon ’

Deodar Cedar

English Ivy

Eucalyptus

Hemlock

Holly –  Nellie R. Stevens, Savannah, Winterberry

Hydrangea heads, dried

Juniper especially with Berries

Leyland Cypress

Ligustrum Berries

Magnolia

Nandina berries

Poet’s Laurel

Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood

Rose hips

Smilax

White Pine/needles and cones

Plus Cones, pods, seeds heads and Christmas tree cuttings

For the folks in Wake Forest, I made several arrangements

using very little variety. Yet, they were all different and

unique. Add in a little spray paint and what can be found

at the grocery store, and your designs can be complete

without ever tieing a bow.

Most of these types of decorations can be made with six

pieces or less.

  1. A base form or chicken wire formed to use as a floral frog.
  2. 1 – 3 Greenery
  3. Paint
  4. Cranberries

Boxwood topiary

The boxwood topiary uses clippings from an English boxwood and cranberries from the grocery store.

Birdbath

Birdbath detail

The birdbath uses ‘Winter Red’ holly, magnolia, Leyland, and Fraiser fur.

Painted magnolia in a hose pot

Painted magnolia detail

The hose pot uses painted magnolia, unpainted magnolia, and Leyland.

So you see, little is needed to create awesome Christmas decorations.  My next post will give step-by-steps instructions for creating each of these three designs

Shelia and others from the Wake Forest garden club, thank you for having me.


Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Making a Hypertufa Trough – Better Homes and Gardens

Modeled after ancient stone troughs once used to hold water and feed for livestock, contemporary troughs are made from hypertufa.

Hypertufa troughs are easy to make, cool containers for use in any garden style.

Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane, owners of Lasting Impressions, in Raleigh, NC, will show you how to make your own inexpensive hypertufa troughs at home.

Once you learn the secret to making these containers, you may not want to stop at just one; a grouping of containers of various sizes makes a striking garden collection.

For the full story, visit Better Homes and Gardens – Making a Hypertufa Trough

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sunday, December 6, 2009 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

Weston Farms design

We finally had our killing frost – in the front gardens.  The front gardens are lower than the back by 16 feet.  As such, it is not unlikely this could happen; but it always amazes me when it does.

It was a quiet week in Helen’s Haven.  A cold kept me stuck inside most of the week, although I did get a chance to mow.  I even missed the launching of my friend, Bobby Ward’s new book, Chlorophyll in His Veins: J.C. Raulston – Horticultural Ambassador.  I still got to post about it and Bobby brought over a copy for me on Friday.  He was wise to stay 10 feet back.

For maintenance tips for the month of December, please visit This Month in the Garden – December

If working in the garden isn’t inspiration enough, try this as a pick me up – Fine Gardening – December Inspiration – ‘Tis The Season for Evening Lighting

At the Farmers Market, I visited Weston’s Farm store to see their Magnolia wreaths.  I hope to get to the farm next week or so.  Erin Weston does very good work and I like her style.  While there, they shared with me their  secret to keeping the Magnolia wreaths fresh looking.  I forgot to ask if I could share her secret.  I guess I better keep it to myself until I get permission to share it…in the meantime, I plan to try it,

Weston Farms design

I’ve been snipping greenery around Helen’s Heaven and around the neighborhood, with permission of course, to have conditioned prior to use in clients homes and businesses.    On Tuesday, I get to demonstrate creating holiday decorations for the Wake Forest Garden Club by using just snips from the garden.  I’l show uses with Leyland, Magnolia, holly, red-stemmed dogwood, and more.

In keeping with teaching how to create natural decorations, I have begun to post tips to decorating for Christmas around the home.  Here’s a tip Number of lights and ornaments for your Christmas Tree.

We have some cold weather now and for next week.  I’ll dress in layers and try not to complain…but just for the record, I don’t like cold weather.

Frost Angel

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sightings – Frost Angel

Frost Angel


Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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