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How To Start a Garden



There is nothing more beautiful than a lush garden with all it’s different colors and fragrances. It is not difficult to achieve a beautiful and productive garden, Jen’s Reviews has a great and informative step by step article to help you with your gardening:


I have gardened for many, many years and have many, many books ranging from communing with nature spirits to controlling pests with their natural enemies.

What are the most important lessons I have learned over the years? How would I advise someone to begin for guaranteed success? Continued Here…


Mediterranean Herb Pot Idea



An interesting and creative idea for your garden is to plant herb in containers that have a distinct Mediterranean style instead of ordinary plant pots. Italian tomato paste, sauce, puree, whole and crushed tomato cans make great small to medium sized pots. For larger pots you can use Greek and Italian olive oil cans. They can be found in supermarkets and specialty stores.

Another good idea is to use cans of stuffed grape leaves, a Mediterranean specialty. These cans also come in different sizes. You can find the smaller ones in regular supermarkets, but Greek specialty food stores carry larger sizes.



A collection of these various colorful cans in their different sizes make a really creative and attractive Mediterranean herb garden. And they don’t even require that much space which is great if you don’t have a large backyard. The cans can be arranged on patios, balconies, and even window sills for a charming little Mediterranean flavored garden. Even with limited space, I had a cute little arrangement of Mint, Oregano, Basil, and Rosemary in an assortment of stuffed grape leaf cans and tomato paste cans on my window sill in my apartment in New York. Mediterranean herbs are both fragrant and delicious. They give wonderful flavor to sauces, marinades, salads, fish, poultry, pastas, etc., and can even be used to flavor butter, oil, vinegar, teas, and other beverages. Some of the most popular Mediterranean herbs are Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Bay Leaf, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Marjoram, Parsley, and Mint. I planted Oregano in my crushed tomatoes can in the photo above.

To use them, empty out the contents, remove the tops with a can opener and wash them out. Punch drainage holes on the bottom with nails and a hammer and put in your soil just as you would a regular plant pot. You can apply clear varnish to the outside of the cans to prevent them from rusting and also to protect the pretty and colorful can labels. Be very careful of the sharp edges after you remove the top of the cans, especially when you’re washing them out and also planting your herbs. For protection, you can try putting heavy duty masking tape on the inside edges of the cans to cover those sharp tin edges.


How to Make Fragrant Potpourri


Now that your summer flowers are blooming and your herbs are bushy, you can collect them, dry them and make wonderful potpourri blends out of them to enjoy long after the blooming season is over. If you’re not sure how to dry them, see our posts: How to Dry Flowers for Crafts, and How to Dry Herbs for Crafts. If you don’t want to dry herbs and flowers yourself, you can buy them at crafts stores, aromatherapy supply stores, potpourri supply stores, florists, and even some health food stores.

A potpourri blend consists of dried herbs/flowers, essential oils, and a fixative. You can also add pods, berries, spices, and dried fruit slices. What exactly is a fixative and why do you need it? Since you’re going to be adding essential oils to your potpourri, you don’t want the smell to evaporate quickly and that’s where a fixative comes in. It’s a porous substance that literally absorbs the essential oils and retains them and makes the smell last longer. Some of the most popular fixatives are orris root, vetiver root, calamus root, sandalwood bark, gum benzoin, vanilla pods, and oakmoss. Orris root comes powdered or chopped, if you’re going to display your potpourri I would recommend the chopped version because the powder is going to make your potpourri blend look crumbly, but if you’re going to put it in a sachet, use the powder. Some spices also make great fixatives like cinnamon sticks, nutmeg (whole and powdered) and allspice. A good rule of thumb is to use about 2 Tablespoons of fixative per 4 cups of dried flowers and herbs.

When preparing your blend, make sure that your flowers and herbs are completely dry because any moisture is going to cause your potpourri to become moldy.  Some flowers that dry well are: roses, yarrow, hydrangeas, marigolds/calendula, geraniums, strawflowers, artemisia, ameranths, baby’s breath and sunflowers. Herbs that dry well are: lemon balm, rosemary, lavender, mint, sage, chamomile, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaves. Dried fruit slices like apples and oranges will also add color and fragrance to your potpourri blends. You can dry them yourself or buy them from crafts stores and potpourri supply stores.

Dried flowers and herbs have different lovely shades of yellows, oranges, blues, reds, pinks, and whites, and you can make a beautiful and stunning display by choosing combinations that complement each other. If you want a rustic country display, you can add whole pods and spices to your blend. With your essential oils, you can add a single scent or even make a combination of your choice.

To make your potpourri, gather together all of your dried materials and fixatives and add 6 to 12 drops of your essential oil onto the fixative, depending on how strong you want the scent to be. Stir your blend gently trying not to bruise or crush the dried flowers and put your potpourri into a brown paper bag and store it in a cool dry place for a few weeks until the fragrance is absorbed well into your potpourri. Every few days shake the bag to evenly disperse the fragrance and check on how strong the scent is. Once you’re satisfied with the result, pour your finished potpourri into decorative jars, bowls, trays, or any display container of your choice and enjoy.



How to Dry Herbs for Crafts


Many herbs retain their beauty, color, fragrance, flavor, and beneficial properties even when they are dried. Not only are they used for food recipes, but they are also widely used for beauty recipes. They make wonderful additions to soap, bath salts, body scrubs, face masks, potpourri, sachets, and much more. They can be combined with dried flowers and dried fruit slices and peels to make truly beautiful and fragrant crafty creations.

Since most dried herbs retain their strong fragrances, they are used in aromatherapy as well. They also retain their vibrant color and they make great additions to potpourri blends, dried flower arrangements, wreaths, etc,

Herbs that dry well are Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, Mint, Sage, Chamomile, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Bay Leaves. These herbs also retain their strong flavors so they are very good choices to dry not only for crafts but also for cooking.

You can buy dried herbs but the good news is that you can save money and dry them yourself if you have an herb garden. Just like drying flowers, there are several easy ways to dry herbs.

Visit these helpful links about drying your own herbs:



How to Dry Flowers for Crafts


The beauty of flowers can be preserved so that they can be enjoyed even after their “vase life” after they have been cut. Dried flower arrangements are just as beautiful and colorful as fresh ones, and they can also be used in a variety of creative fragrant crafts like potpourri, soap, bath and body recipes, pressed flower crafts, wreaths, nose gays, etc.,

Dried flowers can be purchased at craft stores and florists but it is also fun to dry them yourself. You can use fresh flowers from your garden or from a florists bouquet and experiment with different sizes and colors to create wonderful aromatic crafts.

There are several ways that you can dry your own flowers, you can choose the one that is best and easiest for you. Click the links below for detailed instructions and tips on drying flowers and getting the best out of them.




Drying your own flowers is a fun way to get creative and you don’t even need a large space. In the past, I had turned a hanging closet into a flower drying rack and it worked great. You can experiment with your flower choices and be creative and most importantly, have fun!



Theme Garden: Plant an Herbal Tea Garden


Another great idea for a theme garden is to plant an herbal tea garden. There are many herbs that make delicious and relaxing teas and you can plant them together into a wonderful herbal tea garden. And if you’re a tea lover you can have fresh herbs available from your own garden instead of buying them from a store.

Some of the best herbs to make teas are chamomile, lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, and sage. These are just a few of the great variety of herbs that you can grow and even combine to make delicious tea blends to suit your taste. These herbs are also very fragrant so your tea garden will also smell great too.

A lot of these herbs are easy to grow and as I mentioned in a previous post, they don’t require too much space, as a matter of fact you can grow a gorgeous little container herbal tea garden. When I was in my NY apartment I had my window sills filled with these fragrant little herb gardens. I loved experimenting with pots too so I did the Mediterranean garden pot cans that I discussed in a previous post and I also planted some of my herbs in baskets which was really fun to do.

Follow these links for more information and tips about growing an herbal tea garden:




Theme Gardens: Butterfly Gardens


A fun and creative way to spruce up your garden is to plant specific theme gardens. You can plant certain flowers and herbs together to create a particular theme. One of the most popular and fun themes for gardeners is to create a lush butterfly garden. You can plant flowers and herbs that will specifically attract these beautiful insects to your garden

Butterflies are attracted to specific host plants where they lay their eggs and also feed, the host plants vary according to the specific species of butterflies. There are a few things to keep in mind in order to plan your garden. Butterflies thrive in the sun, so make sure that your plants will be in a spot that will get plenty of sunshine during the day. They need to sit in the sunlight and warm themselves, so placing rocks and twigs in your garden for them to land and rest on is a good idea. They also need a source of water.

It is also a good idea to look into what species of butterflies are native to your area and what particular plants attract them. There is a lot of great information about butterfly gardening in the links below.




* The pic I took of the butterfly above was on a Hyssop plant.