Minis and Markets – This Weekend in East Windsor, CT

Leave a comment

Happy Friday Everyone,

Looks like an amazing weekend coming up with the weather predicted to be beautiful and sunny – and tons of summer related events to enjoy.


Two on the agenda this weekend for ContainerCrazyCT is a Miniature Gardens Workshop hosted by Cathy T with guest speaker Rhonda Niles of Gardening Inspirations.  It is scheduled for June 28th, Saturday, 11:00 am to 1 pm, in Broad Brook/East Windsor, CT.  Want to join us?? – You can!  Lots of details have been posted on Cathy T’s Facebook page, and links on this blog.  See Cathy T Classes above for more information.

For more inspirations and ideas of what you could potentially create at this workshop, check out my Pinterest Board:


And on Sunday, June 29th, Cathy T will be joining other vendors and guests at the East Windsor Farmers Market on Opening Day at the Trolley Museum grounds.

This is the second year for this market – if you are local, please support this market so it will grow for all of us.  Lots of good fresh food, BACKTRAX BAND providing musical entertainment, and Cathy T will be presenting on “Incorporating Edibles in Mixed Container Gardens.”  This talk also includes interesting details about how EDIBLES are hotter than ever and growing in popularity now and for the past six straight years.

Edibles Mixed Planter with Tomatillo in Center as Thriller

Edibles Mixed Planter with Tomatillo in Center as Thriller


And at the market, Cathy T will have select succulent plants for sale, this is your last chance to get some to fill in your planters at home too.  From tiny and adorable Sedums to big and chunky cacti.  Succulents are perfect for planters in the sun, requiring minimal watering, can be left alone when on a vacation, and last for years indoors as houseplants during fall and winter months.  Come learn about them, and edibles on Sunday at the East Windsor Farmers Market.


Don’t forget to also check out the upcoming “Walk and Talk Home Gardens” day in July on “Pondering Ponds.”  See the menu bar above on this blog for all the details. The one in July will showcase an homeowner’s amazing pond creation in Enfield, CT.  Note the date now so you won’t miss this:  July 19th, 10:00 am.  The walk and talks are free to attend.

Planter with succulents by Cathy T

Planter with succulents by Cathy T

Enjoy your weekend everyone.  Hope to see you soon.

Cathy Testa


Use these all-natural preventives and remedies to lower your risk for contracting Lyme disease

Leave a comment

A few weeks ago, I was working in my garden, and when back in the house, I saw a tick crawling up my shirt. Fortunately, I had a white shirt on – a color often recommended to wear outdoors, including for your socks, so you spot ticks easily should they creep up on you. This article by a local Broad Brook CT Blogger gives very helpful advice on how to deal with bites including some photos of tick bite signs. Thus, with Renee’s permission, I am reblogging her post here for my CT readers. Cathy T

The Mind-Body SHIFT

Tick sizes/Src: CT Department of Public Health Tick sizes/Src: CT Department of Public Health

Living in northeastern United States, summertime means warmer weather, less clothing and more time spent outdoors. Unfortunately, all the time spent walking, hiking and biking in the woodsy areas coincides with an increased presence of ticks. As a result, the months of June and July see the largest numbers of confirmed cases of Lyme disease by far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The disease us caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through bites of infected blacklegged ticks, AKA deer ticks—and on the Pacific Coast, by western blacklegged ticks.

Who Is At Risk for Lyme Disease

The CDC reports that 95 percent of Lyme disease cases from 2012 were reported in just 13 states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Pennsylvania reported the largest number of cases…

View original post 1,371 more words

Five Reasons Why You Should Click Like, Share, or Comment on My Blog Posts


If you are not familiar with the world of bloggers and blogging, you may not realize why it is so important to click the like button or share an interesting post with your friends.

One obvious reason is your click is a form of validation of the hard work put forth by the blogger to provide you with information and share a story about a particular passion, such as gardening.

Another reason is, for professional bloggers, your sharing, liking, and commenting increases their chances of gaining a few bucks from the online advertisements included on their blog site.

However, there are many other reasons why clicking those little icon buttons on a blog post are important to a blogger, such as myself.

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should do so, and how it benefits you:

See Photo Attributions Below

See Photo Attributions Below

#1 – Because my blog posts are FREE

Personally, I find it irritating when I’m reading an interesting blog post and a pop-up window displays an online ad directly in front of my text.  It interrupts my concentration just as much as an annoying mosquito buzzing around my magazine would when I’m reading an article.

Now granted – there are many, many blogs out there with online pop up advertisements which help fund the associated costs of blogging, and potentially generating some income.  And for the seriously popular mega bloggers, blogs make some substantial money.  Just check out this list of top earning bloggers on

For example, Life Hacker, a blog offering tips and tricks, money saving strategies, and uses for household items, earns almost $5,000 a day.  Do the math, this is a millionaire blog site.  They get there because of their amazing talents and wealth of information shared, but also because they have a strategical setup to their blog to gain revenue.

On my blog, affectionately titled, ContainerCrazyCT, only the ads automatically posted by WordPress, which I have no control over unless “I” pay a fee to make them go away, are included.  Otherwise, everything else is completely free for you the reader and blog visitor.  I’ve chosen to leave those buzzy ads out.

See Photo Attribution Below

See Photo Attribution Below

#2 – Because sharing my blog will fill me with DELIRIOUS joy

Sharing, liking or commenting on a blog post of mine will make me wild with excitement and enthusiasm.  And, you do want to make me feel filled with delirious joy, don’t you?  After all – happiness is contagious.

When you take the time to like, share, or comment on my blog post, it makes me feel the time I took to write it was worth my efforts, and that you found the information useful.  It also indicates I should continue to blog for you, and anyone else out there interested in sharing our passions of plants, container gardening, and combining nature with art.

If not for any reason, please click LIKE immediately after you finish reading my posts, or better yet, share it with a friend, because you want to make me happy today, right now, and keep me happy so I can keep blogging for you for free and with a big happy face.

Please help to keep me on my blogging high.

See Photo Attribution Below

See Photo Attribution Below

#3 – Because information you get on blogs is HONEST and REAL

What I mean here, is I find blogs are far more personal and real compared to articles or information written on websites designed specifically to promote or sell something in particular.

Blogs are written by real people with amazing and ambitious passions.  Generic websites maybe written by someone wanting to get you to buy something from them, and some sites are being paid to promote a product, whether they truly like it or not.

Let’s take travel related websites for example.  They give you information because they want you to visit their location and help fund their economy by spending some time and money in their state.

But blogging sites provide information on travel based on real experiences by real people just like you and me – it tends to be more honest – especially if the blog is free of ads or other gimmicks to get some funds from you as a reader.

A travel blogger will blog about travel because it is their passion, based from their own unique experiences.  They give you the true scoop and perspective – AND they take the time to write and post it just for you out of the pure love of what they do and willingness to share insider tips with you, even if they don’t know you personally.  Bloggers are generous souls.

They are creative as well, showing you all sides of people and their interests.  You get a window from a unique perspective, and I think it is honest.  In many cases, they are not being paid to review a product or place.

For example, last winter, I was looking for information on Stowe, Vermont.  Instead of searching the topic via Google by entering, ‘Things to do in Stowe,’ — I added the word ‘blog’ to my search field with Things to do in Stowe.

Many different blogs written by real people were provided via my search.  Blogs are not websites.  They are web logs, more like personal diaries by people willing and anxious to share what they know and love.

One post I found was written by a gal who lived in Stowe, Vermont for nine years, and it shared her top things to do in town and things nearby – adding her own real personal tips of where to park, some insider stuff – I felt like I was reading a “real experience” by a “real person.”  Basically, I believed her account and trusted her list of things to do in the area more than a generic unreal entity.

And in my blogging searches, I also found a blogger who travels solo and gives her accounts of places she has visited on her own – kind of a unique perspective.  She also offers encouragement to people wanting to travel alone or for those who must travel alone, so you don’t feel alone.  There is an emotional connection with bloggers, especially if you share the same interests or passions.

Her blog, called Solo Friendly, provides travel information in a different way – and supports those who don’t want to wait around for a travel partner.  She didn’t have a list of 10 things to do in Vermont – but a list of 100 things to do in Burlington, Vermont.  That’s homework, which took time, and again, based on her true experiences.  And that’s pretty cool.

One last thing, good bloggers also take risks.  Because they are honest, sometimes they may be controversial on a particular topic – but I admire this, and it is just another bucket of why bloggers are a great source of information because their opinion or critique is coming from an honest place, whether you agree with it or not.  They blog about things that matter to them, and it comes from things they love – or hate – otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth blogging about or mentioning.

See Photo Attribution Below

See Photo Attribution Below

#4 – Because you become part of a bigger NETWORK

When you like a post, others who liked it too will see who you are and share a conversation about the same passion with you – and thus, you become part of a bigger network with the potential of making new gardening friends.  You will establish great connections of your own by participating.

Blogs not only show you who the blogger is, but shows who you are – and what your likes, interests, or questions may be — and you may find common enthusiasts to share your love with.

Many other very good gardening bloggers have liked my blog posts from time to time – and some are people from other countries or states, and because they share the same passion, it feels rewarding. It makes you feel like you are part of something bigger – more than just your gardening self.

Bloggers want to connect with those sharing the same passion, especially those sharing plant passions because gardening in particular is a form of entertainment – we love to talk about our plants any chance we get.  It is pretty cool when you see someone has created something similar to your creation – you are not alone – we all have creativity.  So become part of the network, join in the conversation by commenting on my blog – pretty please.  Thank you – I truly appreciate it!

See Photo Attribution Below

See Photo Attribution Below

#5 – Because blog posts link you to other sources of VALUABLE information

Within every post I publish, I include links to other sources of information on that particular topic.  And at the bottom of the post, a list of Useful Links is provided for you in many cases.

This is another reason why you should click like, share, or comment.  It will drive me to do more of this sharing of other sources of information because you appreciate it, and because it helps you to find an answer to a particular question you may have about a plant or it leads you to a valuable source or reference which you did not know exists.

Looking up something in a book or on the web can be time consuming if you don’t know where to look.  Some of these sources linked on my blog took me years to find – believe me – no one handed them to me automatically, I had to research, learn and search them out – and I love sharing this with you!  Because I know I struggled at times, and I don’t want to be that person that didn’t help a person interested in learning about plants – you know, I’m stopping the pattern, so I share everything I know freely here on this blog.

As a blog follower, you automatically get notified of new posts with these links.  Don’t forget to also check out my Twitter feed or business Facebook page where I share every interesting gardening tip or unique find I’m researching as often as possible.

A Special Thank You

My current blog follower count has reach 590.  This is small potatoes compared to many blogs out there –but each and every follower is important to me, seriously.

Thank you for being a blog follower.

For friends, blog guests, visitors, and fans that have liked, shared, and commented on my posts recently or for a few years now – I’m sending “Virtual Hug” to you right now.  Thank you.  You encourage me to continue, and have a special place in my bloggin’ heart.

Bottom line, the more followers and shares, quite frankly, the more powerful I may become to help YOU with offers, information, and resources.  You are the reason I work at this – and you are the key to helping me improve.

And oh, by the way, when you Follow My Blog by using the side bar Follow button on the right page of, you are eligible for surprise prizes and gifts at upcoming Cathy T Classes.  Don’t miss out!

See also the Garden Talks and Classes menus at the top of this blog – we have some more good stuff upcoming from Miniature Gardening Workshop in June, and a Walk and Talk date on Pondering Ponds in July.

So click away, my friends, click away.  Hope to meet you here or in person at the upcoming Cathy T Events.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa

Photo Attributions:

Photos are courtesy of as follows:
Free photo by Stuart Miles
Happy Veggies by AKARAKINGDOMS
Honor Trust by Stuart Miles
Join us by Stuart Miles
Lady and Guy by jesadaphorn
Books stacked by surachai

Upcoming Miniature Gardens Workshop – Details Posted for June 28th


Hello Everyone,

The next fun class on the Cathy T Class Series list is a Miniature Gardens Workshop by Rhonda Niles of Gardening Inspirations.  It will be held on Saturday, June 28th, 2014, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Miniature Garden by Rhonda Niles of Gardening Inspirations

Miniature Garden by Rhonda Niles of Gardening Inspirations

Nothing is cuter than a mini-garden creation on your patio table top outdoors during the summer season.  Just think – Your’s could be ready in time for the 4th of July weekend – because we are holding this session a whole two months earlier than last year’s workshop which was held in late summer – so attending and making your creation can be enjoyed even earlier this go around!

About Rhonda Niles, Our Featured Guest Instructor:

Rhonda is a horticulturist, accredited nursery professional, and advanced master gardener.  She has worked in various nurseries and garden centers, growing and selling plants.  She also has grown organic herbs and vegetables in her greenhouses for farmers’ markets.  For the last several years she has focused on miniature gardens in both New England and Florida.  She creates unique and artistic “dreamscape” gardens and miniature accessories for local craft shows, and especially enjoys teaching workshops for others.  She owns a business called, “Gardening Inspirations.”

About this Workshop

In this hands-on workshop, you will learn the secrets of designing, planting, and maintaining a miniature garden.  And you’ll have fun making your own endearing miniature garden for yourself or as a gift for a friend.  The best part is picking out your own plants and miniature accessories, the style of which are smaller, adorable versions of what you can realistically find in larger landscapes.  Plants used are low-maintenance and low light, including ferns and succulents.  You may wish to make a beach, serenity, woodland, or garden/farm scene, fairy garden, or your own creative vision.  New this year are healing stones and candles, which you can incorporate into your gardens. Photos of workshop can be found at

Prior Attendees

Here’s a photo of a prior class.  We held the class on the deck, but due to a construction project, the class will be held on the driveway with tables and chairs provided.

An Attendees Works on her Miniature Garden

Attendees Works on their Miniature Gardens at Last Year’s Session

Classroom Location:

Cathy T’s Classroom is located at 72 Harrington Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016.

The class is held outdoors on a driveway in classroom format with tables/chairs provided.  If sunny, wear a gardening hat, use sunscreen, and note: some patio umbrellas will be setup for shade.  If raining, it will held in large garage on same day (no rain date).

Class Fee and Included Materials

Cost is $49 per person for the class, which includes three plants, instruction and all basic miniature garden supplies for your container such as soil, drainage rock, mulch, weed block, glue, as well as a materials credit for optional plants and miniature accessoriesRepeat attendees receive an automatic $5 off of the Class Fee.

Additional miniature materials may be purchased if desired, depending upon how elaborate you’d like your personal miniature garden to be.  There are plenty of materials to choose from with a wide selection of plants perfect for your mini creation.

New Feature:  This year’s workshop includes a new feature of “Healing Stones.”  Learn how these stones work at the class.

Plants by Gardening Inspirations for the Workshop

Plants by Gardening Inspirations for the Workshop

You Pick Your Theme

From fun farm animals to pool side umbrellas in mini style, you will have many creative options as you selecting a particular theme in this hands-on workshop.  Rhonda does an excellent job of providing lots of materials and explaining design layouts to achieve a great look.  She will cover the steps to care for and maintain your miniature gardens creation.

Creates by Gardening Inspirations and Attendees

Creations by Gardening Inspirations and Former Attendees

Bring Your Own Container or Purchase One at Class:

Participants are encouraged to bring their own container (a 10-12″ wide bowl, oval or rectangular pot, 4-6″ deep) to match their décor and tastes, although appropriate containers are also available for purchase.

Surprise Prizes!

As for all of Cathy T’s Upcoming Classes, when you sign up as a blog follower, you are eligible for Surprise Prizes given out at the class. Sign up today to join the other 590 Blog Flowers of  See the menu bar on the right.

Miniature Gardens Workshop by R Niles_0003

For more information, see Cathy T Classes on this blogs menu bar above.  A class flyer has been posted with all the details.  Register today before the seats are sold out – See the Contact Form below to sign-up.

Looking forward to seeing you.  For any questions, contact Rhonda Niles or Cathy Testa.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa



Walk and Talk Home Gardens – This Saturday, Wethersfield, CT


Have you ever walked around with a friend or family member in their yard to check out their gardens and plants?  Next thing you know, you shared a tip, something valuable you didn’t know, or a funny story about your gardening and plant adventures!

This experience of walking and talking home gardens can be rather rewarding.

In an attempt to get this “gardening conversation” going – Cathy T is kicking off a Walk and Talk Home Gardens event, featured once a month at home gardens by volunteers.

Anyone may volunteer to host an hour – and the rule is – its all informal yet informative.

You do not need a “showcase or perfect” garden.  Any small plot is of value in today’s world, and everyone’s experience with gardening always offers something to learn.

The Urban Vegetable Garden

This Saturday, June 7th at 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, the first “Walk and Talk Home Gardens” hour is scheduled at a garden in Wethersfield, CT.

We titled this one, “The Urban Vegetable Garden,” because the property is surrounded on each side by other homes and property lines, yet this homeowner, Louise, has not only a nice vegetable garden – she raises chickens and shares the eggs with her neighbors too.

Louise talking to brother in law and her Dad about the garden

Louise talking to brother in law and her Dad about the garden

When Louise told me she was going to get chickens, I thought on her small lot – what will the neighbors think?!

Her response was, she already asked them – and they were fine with it.  She built a very nice chicken wagon – you have to see it.

Her Chickens

Here’s a photo of her chickens when they were relatively new at her home.

Chickens in the Wagon

Chickens in the Chicken Wagon

Growing Her Own

Louise has an intolerance for corn syrup, a common ingredient in foods.  So she thought, I’m going to grown my own food. This was part of the reason she began her urban style vegetable garden.  Like 47 million Americans growing their own food, she wants her food to be safe for herself and her family.

Louise has a passion for organics and heirlooms.  She spends as much time as possible in her gardens. I have witnessed her expand her knowledge about vegetable growing – I feel like she fits the Master Gardener personality.

When I took the program myself, I met gardeners who loved to be “in the garden” 24 x 7.  This is Louise.  She also began sharing information with me I didn’t know myself. And she plans to share these tips on Saturday with our Walk and Talk group.

One day, I told her she better watch out – she reminds me of a Master Gardener so much that she will be squishing bugs between her fingertips soon. Her response, with a laugh, was, “I already do.”

The Magnolia Hunt

One year, a treasured and huge Magnolia tree in her front lawn got toppled over from a storm.  It was devastating to Louise because she adored the tree so much, and it was one of the reasons they bought their house.

The tree was so tall, its blooms could be seen from her bedroom window on the second floor of her house.

We searched out various sources, nurseries, and special places to find a replacement for her mature Magnolia.  It was an adventure one afternoon on a very hot sunny mid-summer day when we went to a private stock on a property.  She found her replacement and it was dug, balled and burlapped, and delivered to her home as a replacement.  To hear more about this adventure, join our walk and talk on Saturday.

A Hot Day when we Searched for a Magnolia Replacement

A Hot Day when we Searched for a Magnolia Replacement

It is Free to Attend and Registration is Not Required

We hope you will join us – registration is not required, it is free to attend, and we will even offer up some lemonade and some miscellaneous plants will be available for sale, or you can bring a plant to swap with another attendee if you wish.

Let’s get walking and talking.

Oh and by the way, Louise is my sister.  She is a professional soprano, teaches private music lessons, and more.  Maybe we will get a solo out of the day.

Address for Saturday:

23 Stillwold Drive
Wethersfield, CT 06109

Parking is on the street.  Look for Cathy T’s Sign in the front yard.

Written by Cathy Testa