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DO-IT-YOURSELF STRING GARDENS

Some call it string art, some call it Kokedama and some just call it unique. Whatever you call it, these interesting moss-covered gardens held together with string find their roots in the century old art form called kokedama. A form of bonsai, the Japanese have enjoyed moss balls for centuries and just recently the West has caught on to this unique art.

Loosely translated, “Ko ke” means moss and “dama” means ball. Its history began, as a poorer mans bonsai due to its inexpensive requirements and easy to do technique. The simplicity of these moss balls are what makes them so interesting and you are not constrained by a pot. We recommend any small sized plant around 4-inches that has an interesting shape. We especially love using orchids, ponytail palms, rabbit foot ferns and succulents.

What You'll Need:

  • Clear Fishing Line or Twine
  • Orchids, Ponytail Palms, Rabbit Foot Ferns and Succulents
  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bucket of Water
  • Scissors
  • Shallow Container or Hanger
  1. Soak sphagnum moss in water. We do suggest that when working with sphagnum moss you wear rubber gloves.
  2. Remove the root system of the plant from its container.
  3. Surround the root system in a mud cake of sphagnum moss.
  4. Once the roots are completely covered, wind fishing line or twine around it to secure the moss in place.
  5. Once your are finished, hang your string garden or place it in a shallow container. Enjoy!

String gardens are not exactly maintenance free, but if you use the right plants then watering shouldn’t be a problem. We recommend watering once or twice a week depending on the plant.

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DO-IT-YOURSELF LIVING VALENTINE

This year, give your Valentine a living gift made by your own two hands. All you need are just a few materials and some beautiful blooms. We designed our living Valentine using primrose - a flower that says "I can't live without you!" These little flowers make a big impact with mega color making it the perfect Valentine gift.

The primrose is an unusually vivid spring-blooming perennial flower. Unlike the faint pastels associated with spring, primrose shout out in bold yellows, reds, pinks, blues, oranges and white. Their flower stalks sprout up from low, ground-hugging rosettes of lush green leaves and stay in bloom for weeks. By forcing these blooms in our greenhouse, we can get them to you well before spring sets in. These flowers make a cheery houseplant this time of year, so dig in and create your own living valentine!

What You'll Need:

  • Heart-shape container -- Be sure it has drainage holes.
  • 3 to 6 primrose plants or any low-growing flowering plants -- We also love using succulents.
  • McDonald potting mix
  • McDonald Greenleaf fertilizer
  • Spanish moss
  1. Fill the heart-shaped container with soil and drop in your plants as desired.
  2. We recommend planting your flowers as low as possible to keep the heart shape.
  3. Be sure to sprinkle in an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf to promote optimum performance.
  4. Tuck Spanish moss in any spaces to cover soil and top off the look!

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DO-IT-YOURSELF CHRISTMAS CONTAINER

Creating an outdoor arrangement of fresh greens in an urn or other container is a wonderful way to add holiday cheer and life to your front steps, porch or walk. Even if you’re not using other outdoor holiday decorations, a festive container arrangement at your entryway is a beautiful way to greet guests. Red and green are traditional Christmas colors, and they look fantastic together to convey that festive spirit. Best of all, those colors can be found right in nature, maybe svn in your own backyard.

To create the basic container, we used evergreens and annuals. Evergreens add the thriller to a container and can be kept and maintained through all seasons. Annuals add seasonal color and can be swapped out each season.

To decorate the container, we incorporated seasonal greens to give it that Christmas feel. We like starting with fresh greens like Fraser Fir for the first layer. Then search around your yard to find other fresh items that will work such as juniper, magnolia, nandina, holly, spruce, boxwood and berries.

What You'll Need:

  • Large Container
  • Ornamental Kale - this low grower, offers a unique texture
  • Pansies - these tough little flowers are availabe in tons of colors and are some of the longest blooming flowers of the cool season/li>
  • Sky Pencil Holly - with dark green foliage, this evergreen grows in a narrow, columnar shape -- a perfect thriller for your container
  • fresh-cut greens such as firs, juniper, magnolia, nandina, holly, spruce, boxwood and berries
  1. Fill the container with soil and plant the evergreens and the annuals. Be sure to add an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf.
  2. Then add the first layer of greens. The fraser fir greens can just be stuck in the container to make for easy removal after the holiday season.
  3. Continue adding additional greens and berries to the container.
  4. Add ribbon, picks or shatterproof ornaments for extra pizazz.

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