Outdoor Glamour: Lessons From the Garden...

That moment when you realize your grandmother totally had it going on (and still does) when it comes to living the dream. I was always impressed by the time and attention my grandparents gave to their garden.

They were farm-to-table before it was cool. But instead of a farm it was a lush suburban backyard with a decidedly English feel. Ivy, raised beds, herringbone brick patios, wrought iron furniture, sculptures with patina one could only wish for... seriously. Who knew these two dynamos were so cool? Well, I suppose I did on some level, but as the years pass I begin to realize how fully they have always embraced life and daily living. There are millions of lessons to be learned from these two. 

Fast forward to today and I'm trying to channel some of that good green energy of my own into my own patio and yard. We have two enormous rose bushes outside which are in full bloom right now. While I am a bit astonished by their wild and crazy ways, I can't help but be won over by their colorful pink blooms. One favors a delicate pale pink flower, the other a hot pink worthy of a Bollywood hit. Once in a while a wildcard blossom erupts with a flower divided into each of these bold opposites. To see our patio floor dusted in pink petals makes spring a very sweet time indeed. 

MY FAVORITE OUTDOOR ELEMENTS


But now the mission is mine to excel at container gardening. I've decided to add window boxes to a wall and to focus on adding a few gardenias to the mix via large urns. If you're a southerner, you'll know these fragrant shrubs are a favorite around here. They thrive in the heat and offer the most intoxicating scent to your outdoor living area. Those of you more prone to killing a plant (myself included!) might like Southern Living's video with tips on keeping these hearty plants alive. And that, in a nutshell is my plan. 

So... back to my awesome grandparents and those life lessons they offer by example. To this day, they have a robust and thriving back yard filled with colorful blooms are carefully chosen plants. They've gravitated towards far more fuss-free options as the years have passed, but the message is clear: care for the things you love and they will repay you in beauty and enjoyment. I can take absolutely no credit for the roses in the yard. They were here when we arrived and are never my favorite shrubs until spring brings their gratuitous display of wild pink blooms. The rest of the space is up to me. It's time to refill those empty urns and pots and make our covered area a floral paradise. It will be thrilling to see (and smell!) the gardenias in full bloom and turn our plain but ample patio into a private Shangri La. 

HERB GARDENING MADE EASY

But that farm to table (or more accurately, windowsill to pizza oven) concept. I know my girls LOVE the idea of growing their own herbs. A slew of good looking raised beds have cropped up on the market and herb garden starter kits are available everywhere I look. Choose your herbs of choice and get started today. Your meals will thank you and your family will benefit from taking part in the creation of the ingredients. You don't have to veer much further than the classic trio of parsley, basil and oregano. These three will get you going and offer much culinary inspiration! 

DINING AL FRESCO IN STYLE



What about you? What do you love to grow? Are you skilled at raising herb gardens and tending to your plants? Are you a rose aficionado? Is there wisdom you can impart to me? What plants do you love to grow in containers? I'd love to hear and learn from you!   

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