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Southern Gardens

Since Spring has sprung and we’re in the midst of showers and sunshine, what better time to chat about Southern Gardens than now. I have extensive photos of my Great-Grandmother {Nana} and her rose gardens in our family collection, and have been so inspired by the beautiful, white climbing roses at Serenbe where we got married. That will be the next garden I tackle, however this year I decided to replant my herbs and go a little further with my vegetables this year in the tiny, square container garden my husband built for me a few years back. I’ve been busy posting photo updates on my Instagram, and pinning some of my favorite garden inspiration as well for ideas!

Southern Gardens

Southern Living has long been a staple for our Southern home {as I know it has for yours} and Senior Gardens Editor, Steve Bender {aka The Grumpy Gardener} is joining us to chat all about the essentials for growing a Southern Garden today!

As I planned for and planted my own herb & vegetable garden this year, with little thriving success over the past few, I got the chance to ask Steve a few questions, tips & pointers. Here is what he had to share …

 

Steve Bender Southern LivingWhat are your favorite plants & flowers to grow in the South?

Native azaleas, angelonia, coleus, oakleaf hydrangea, clivia, Japanese maple,  Lenten rose, daffodils, crepe myrtle.

What are your favorite fruits & vegetables to grow in the South?

Blueberries, figs, Japanese persimmon, sweet peppers, lettuce, okra, basil, rosemary.
What epitomizes a truly Southern garden?

A garden with plants well-adapted to the region that expresses the personality of the owner as well as Southern gardening history.
Tell us your top tips for a successful garden in the South?

Give plants what they like — sun or shade, dry soil or wet soil, mild winters or cold winters. Don’t mix plants that have different likes.

What is your favorite thing about gardening?

My favorite thing is it helps you relax and forget about everything else going on in the world. Your garden is your refuge.
What are some of the most creative garden containers or elements that you’ve seen?

There are so many old junky things that make really cool containers — like boots, colanders, bathtubs, suitcases, coffee pots, etc. Last year at P. Allen Smith’s place in Arkansas, I made a beautiful mixed planter out of a bedpan.
When is the best time to plant your garden?

The best time to plant is when it’s right for the plants and right for you.
What is the best way to prepare your plot for planting?

Good soil is everything. Before planting, loosen the soil to a foot deep and mix in lots and lots of organic matter, such as chopped leaves, ground bark, composted manure, garden compost, and sphagnum peat moss.
Who inspired your love of gardening?

My Dad. He was a big gardener and I followed in his footsteps.
How are you carrying on the tradition of gardening?

My garden has lots of pass-along plants given to me by family, friends, and complete strangers. Every time I see one of those plants, I remember the time I got it and the person who gave it. I share my plants too.

 

#southernchat:  Southern Gardens (Monday, 4/29/13, 9:00 pm edt.)

Q1: What elements truly epitomize a Southern garden?

Q2: What are your favorite plants, flowers, fruits & veggies to grow in your Southern garden?

Q3. Who or what inspires your Southern garden?

Q4: What are some of your favorite pots & creative containers for growing a Southern garden?

Q5: What tips & tricks have been passed down to you for growing the best garden?

 

Images via Shabbiness to Fabulous, KaraRosaLund, Pinterest, Flora & Fauna, Garden Artistry, Williams-Sonoma, Crush Cul de Sac

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Jars & Canning

If you know me well {or .. not so well} you know that jars are simply one of my favorite things! When I was little, I loved playing in my grandmother’s pantry because she kept nothing in it’s original packaging but instead transferred everything to be stored into various sized glass jars, which were labeled and reminded me of a candy store – it was beautiful. And today, I do the same with many of my baking ingredients. And, of course I package my own IceMilk Aprons in their very own jars as well as a nod to this special fondness I have.

Funny story. So, I get preserves jars by the truckload from a small town grocery store or from our local hardware store to hand pack each of my aprons. My husband is kind enough to go there and load them up in his pickup truck and bring them home for me. The folks at the store are certain we are moonshiners. It makes me laugh every time, though I have kind of gotten into the Moonshiners show {anyone else?} …

Jars

products in jars

Jars & Canning

Canning and preserving is on the list as one of the top 10 trends of 2013 and is oh-so-chic! With farming and farmers markets being so popular these days, I’m not surprised! Williams-Sonoma has a special section on their agrarian site just for Canning & Preserving. Mason jars are being used on everything from weddings to packaging to entertaining. Blackberry Farm has a preservationist on staff. So, whether you love Ball, Mason, Kerr, Weck or other jars, take your pick and jump right into this fun, southern-inspired craft. Some of my favorite things come in jars and I included them above for you to enjoy, but I’d love to know what else you have that I haven’t yet discovered! I hope you’ll join in our #southernchat this week to talk about all things  jars, preserving, canning & more!

southernchat

#southernchat: jars & canning (Monday, 2/18/13, 9:00 pm est)

Q1: When you think of jars, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Q2: What kind of jars are your favorite? Brands, shapes, sizes & more!

Q3: Have you ever tried canning & preserving? If not, would you give it a try? If so, any tips to share?

Q4: I shared some of my favorite things in jars, so what are your favorite things in jars?

Q5: What are some of the most creative things you’ve seen done with jars?

{ If you’re interested in sponsoring the southern jars & canning chat, or to learn more about #southernchat, to be a guest or host another giveaway, click here to learn more!}

Jars + Canning:
Phickles Pickles, Emily G’s Jams, Bella Cucina pesto, IceMilk Aprons, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Sea Salt, Blackberry Farms Grain and Nut Granola for Williams-Sonoma, Canning for a New Generation book.

I was lucky at last to have a free momento this weekend to pop into the fabulous Artisan Market that Williams-Sonoma hosted here in Atlanta.

I wanted to see what the market was all about, as they included some of my favorite local artisans – including Sweetgrass Dairy and Bella Cucina – but also, some friends that I’d not had the chance yet to meet in person. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the delightful Angie Tillman of Phickles Pickles, as well as the lovely Virginia Willis, author of Bon Appétit, Y’all! Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking. Both just as Southern and charming in person as online, as you might have guessed!

I snagged up a jar of tasty Phickles Wedgies { I have yet to resist green tomatoes of any variety …} along with a package of Virginia’s Heirloom Grits, which were yummy as can be without an ounce of anything to enhance their flavor.

I hope you’ll have a chance to pop into the next Williams-Sonoma Artisan Market. I’m quite certain you’ll enjoy the trip as much as I did.

ws-alton-flatwareI previously shared my absolute love for the line of Match pewter that reminds me of service that would be found on a beautiful Southern plantation.

While perusing for holiday gifts, I came across a most fabulous line of pewter flatware at Williams-Sonoma – their Alton Flatware. It is wonderfully heavy and has a fabulous distressed antique look to it.

Perfect to adorn any table setting – but even more perfect for cherishing generations down the road. Another heirloom item that can take you from “everyday” use to treasured timepiece later in life.

Interested to hear if anyone else has any fabulous pewter finds? Seems to be making quite a comeback these days …

Generally, an heirloom is defined as a family possession that is passed down from generation to generation. But, as I blog about “The Passing Down of Heirlooms,” I will speak to “heirlooms” not only as family possessions, but also as skills, knowledge, or stories that have been passed down.

Today, I want to highlight a way that you can partake in one of these non-traditional heirloom moments!  Williams-Sonoma has brought us a wonderful on-going calendar of culinary events – where we can learn (or brush up) on the basics of cooking.

Everything from “Blender Basics” to “The Secret to a Successful Sauce” and more!  Pass down the basic skills of cooking, click here to view the remaining classes for September and visit a nearby store to enjoy.

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