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Get the Inside Scoop on Miniature Gardens
It is December and in the Northern hemisphere most gardens are sleeping but a child’s dream of being outside is still very much awake. So how can you make tiny gardeners dreams come true? Simple, bring the outdoors indoors. Keeping little hands busy and keeping their minds active is easy when you put them to work on their own indoor garden projects.
1. Making a miniature garden that kids can tend is as simple as purchasing a few small pots of indoor plants and flowers and clustering them together in one area, African violets, cyclamen, hibiscus and orchids are great choices and have color and yummy aromas which kids love. Choose a container and fill it with succulents, add pebbles and rocks for a southwestern feel that will definitely bring some sunshine into a winter home. Avoid prickly cacti or little hands could get hurt when looking after their garden, stick to aloe plants and smooth leafed desert cacti; the great news about succulents is that they are hardy, low maintenance and look interesting, a triple whammy of miniature cool.
2. Growing a garden from a seed is always a winner with kids and can be a magical experience; it opens up a wonderful opportunity to teach kids all about where food comes from and the importance of looking after our planet. Make a sign with their name on their mini vegetable patch and you could put a miniature scarecrow on it to add to the fun. As the plants grow, so will the joy that kids get from tending to their indoor plot. An indoor herb garden is a great idea as well and all you need is a window ledge and some light and you are in the miniature gardening business, which means big fun for kids.
3. Fast growing plants are a fun choice for kids as they love to watch things unfold before their eyes, so plant some fern and ivy and see some big happenings in their mini indoor plot.
4. Growing a mini tropical garden is as easy as picking a coconut. Plant some miniature bamboo, miniature palm trees and aromatic orchids to make a tropical jungle garden; add some toy monkeys and parrots to make your jungle come to life. What better way to cheer up a cold, winter day for a kid than visiting their own tropical paradise.
Miniature gardens mean giant fun for kids and winter will seem a little warmer as you watch joy grow.
The Ever Lovely Narcissus is December’s Flower
Narcissi are beautiful and beguiling flowers and one of the world’s most popular blooms; they are also December’s flower of the month. Maybe the mythology surrounding the Narcissus has added to its glamour as it is said to have come to life in the spot where its namesake, Narcissus, died while obsessively gazing at his reflection in a pool of water. A flower with this much drama surrounding its beginnings has every right to be beautiful and thankfully it does live up to its legend. It has also been said that Narcissus gets it name from the narcotic properties it contains as its bulbs are toxic and so are the leaves; So, it is dangerous and beautiful; an alluring combination.
Narcissus belongs to the Amaryllis family of which the Daffodil is also a member. There are spring flowering and fall flowering blooms, which makes them a versatile addition to any garden. Narcissus has a trumpet like flower with six surrounding petals around the center trumpet making a very dramatic show. It has a heady fragrance and that is why it is often brought indoors as it fills the house with its gorgeous aroma.
There are many different varieties of Narcissi, Narcissus Poetica, Narcissus Tazetta, narcissus Bulbocodium, but the most popular member of this family is the Narcissus Jonquilla as it is the most fragrant narcissus of all and is often used in floral arrangements.
Narcissus is easy to grow, making them a gardener’s delight. Bulbs are the most efficient and popular way to grow Narcissi; they do well in most soils but make sure that it is well-drained. When choosing the area in which to plant your bulbs select a spot that will receive sunlight or at least only moderate shade; Narcissi like to be in the limelight or they don’t do well. Plant your bulbs between August and November depending on how cold your region gets in late fall. The earlier you plant the bulbs before winter the better, as this will give them time to take root before the frost comes. Try to plant at least eight to ten bulbs together as this will create a stunning effect when they bloom and also look more natural and easy on the eye.
When the flowers have bloomed it is important to deadhead narcissi as this will encourage future growth and more prolific blooms. An important tip: do leave the leaves on the narcissus after they have bloomed, even if they’re yellow and unattractive. The leaves have nutrients that the flower needs to re-generate. So leave the leaves alone for about six to eight weeks and then you can cut them back.
So bring Narcissus indoors this December and enjoy its beauty. Create a tabletop garden that Narcissus himself would gaze at longingly or give a holiday gift of these fragrant and stunning flowers that everyone can enjoy. Narcissi have earned their right to be considered a flower of vanity, well they are gorgeous.
this is a quick and easy recipe with little fuss and lots of flavor
recipe by chef andre
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ¾ cups (16 oz. can) pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ cups (12 oz. can) evaporated milk
1 store bought pie crust
Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, eggs and milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F, then bake an additional 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Cool. Serve with whipped cream.
2 lbs (medium) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
¾ cup 2% milk
¾ cup chicken broth
4 tbsp butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, minced, roasted
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large pot, cook potatoes in 2 inches boiling water, covered, about 10 minutes until tender; drain thoroughly.
Mash potatoes with potato masher or beat with an electric hand mixer. Add milk, broth, butter and garlic to potatoes and mix ‘til nice and fluffy. You can add additional milk or broth if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
8 carrots, large, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1½ tbsp. clove honey
In a large pot of boiling water, place carrots. Cook until tender.
When carrots are done, strain and place in an electric blender, add ginger and honey.
Blend until creamy, stopping to scrape down sides so that all is blended well. Enjoy!
Makes about 2 cups.
Patrick Dockry of Healthy Beauty Life, meets the one and only- Kathy Ireland. As supermodel, mogul and CEO of kathy ireland World Wide. Next, Kathy and Patrick visit Chef Andre as he opens up his kitchen for simple yet visual dishes for any event and last but not least, one of the world’s most accomplished garden designer’s Nicholas Walker shares his personal touch in floral presentations for weddings and more!
From the book, True You. get this book >
this tasty fall soup is fill with Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C
recipe by chef andre
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
5 medium carrots, chopped
1 small yam, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper
Soften onions in a large pan with oil. Add the chopped carrots, yam, stock, whole springs of rosemary and juice.
Bring to boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
When carrots and yam are very tender remove rosemary, puree the soup in a blender or food processor, (you may need to do this in halves) return soup to pan and season to taste.
Heat through again, sever with a wonderful warm whole-grain bread.
|Serving Size 105 g|
|Amount Per Serving|
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
|Nutrition Grade A-|
|* Based on a 2000 calorie diet|
Fall Fun for Kids
Cooler days, falling leaves, a vibrant landscape of gold and orange and Halloween lurking just around the corner; Fall has arrived with all its magic and there are so many things to do in the garden that fall will cast its magic spell on the young and the young at heart alike.
There is nothing quite as enticing as a pile of fallen leaves for a child, the urge to jump, kick and disperse them is something instinctive. But before they begin playing in the leaves get those little gardening hands on a pint sized rake and let them help rake the leaves, gardening is mostly play and some work, at least it is for tots. Here are some great ideas for fall gardening fun:
Fall is a magical time of year and if seeing is believing just watch your kids become bewitched by autumn, that’s the enchantment of nature.
Chrysanthemums, otherwise knows as mums, add a splash of color to any garden during the cooler months of fall. Their blossoms come in a wide range of colors, from the brightest of yellows to deep reds and purples, and even pale pink. When other plants are beginning to draw within for fall and winter, the final burst of color from a mum compliments the rich golds and oranges of other fall foliage and lifts the spirits of any garden dweller. I, myself, have always made sure to have at least one or two corners of my garden designated for mums just for that reason.
September through Novemeber is when garden mums are in their glory, but late summer is when they actually begin to flower. Cooling night temperatures and extended hours of darkness are what call forth the blooms of the mum, which typically last from 3 to 6 weeks.
The plant itself ranges in size and shape from small tight mounds which are perfect to dot around the landscape like little pillars of radiant color, to taller, leggier plants which are more majestic in stature but often need to be staked to avoid toppling over.
Mums are not very particular about the type of soil they prefer, but they should have good drainage because of their relatively shallow root system. In poorly drained soils, soil-borne diseases may injure many plants during wet summer periods.
I suggest fertilizing your mums 4 weeks after planting and later again in the season if they are not growing vigorously. However, keep in mind that excessive fertilizer can cause leggy growth and fewer flowers. Mums develop best when they receive full sun all day, as plants grown in shady locations tend to grow tall and leggy as well, have weaker stems and smaller flowers, and bloom later in the fall.
If your goal is to treat your mum as a perennial, special attention must be paid to the foliage and roots to help ensure the plant’s survival through the harsh winter months. New shoots must be pinched during the spring and summer to help the plant grow laterally and concentrate the plant’s energy in the branches making it sturdier and more compact. Cover the crown of the plant with a thick layer of cover mulch, and make sure that any depressions that might collect water are leveled off as death to the plant is likely if water stands around crowns during occasional winter thaws.
Some varieties grow well year after year without re-setting. Others should be divided and re-planted every year to maintain strength. On the average, re-setting plants every other year is a good practice, and expect your garden mums to last 3 to 4 years maximum before they will need to be renovated. By separating the clump into two root balls and re-planting the new plant in a separate space, you can expect the beautiful bright flowers of the mum to enliven your garden for years to come.
kathy ireland Worldwide® (kiWW®) is the design and marketing firm, founded in 1993 by CEO and Chief Designer, Kathy Ireland.
Kathy's initial mission statement,
"...finding solutions for families, especially busy moms™", allows her company to expand and include, "...finding solutions for people in love™" and, "...finding solutions for people in business™".
In 2012, a cover story in Forbes Magazine reported that kiWW® sells, "...some 2 billion in retail..." and calls Kathy, "Supermodel...Supermogul". Licen Global Magazine names kathy ireland Worldwide®, the 25th most powerfully licensed brand. According to Fairchild Publication, Kathy Ireland is one of the 50 most influential people in fashion.
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