New Weeknite Date: Tuesday, Oct 9th, Succulent Topped Pumpkin Centerpieces

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Just a heads-up.

We moved the Wednesday session to Tuesday to accommodate attendees’ requests.

Maybe a Tuesday is better for you too?!

We still have seats available at both workshops coming up in 3 weeks.

Here’s a flyer to share!

flyer succ pump 2018 Updated

We will have a mix of beautiful and fresh succulents for these workshops along with instructions on all. We hope you will join us. See www.WORKSHOPSCT.com for workshop information, registration, and details on what you need to bring with you.

In the meantime, I’ve been potting spring bulbs (daffs and tulips) and putting them in a fridge to force in December, prep’ing materials for talks coming up at autumn fairs and markets, and getting ready for our workshops in Broad Brook, CT – while disassembling my home container gardens to store for the winter.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

 

How many Fridays until Christmas?

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Do you ever see that question posted on Facebook about how many Fridays until Christmas?

I have recently, and I’ll be honest, I will think, “Ugh. I don’t want to see those types of posts yet.”

However, I am guilty as charged of making my first holiday related social media post yesterday, when I announced the 2018 dates for my Annual Holiday Kissing Ball & Wreath Making workshops.

They are December 1st and December 5th, 2018, which is only 12 Fridays until our 9th Annual Event.

greens by Cathy T_0014

All of the links to register and confirm are on WORKSHOPSCT.com.

And guess what, the minute it was posted, people signed up. This event fills quickly every year, so please, if interested, visit the site and get your name on the list.

And that is ALL I will say on that for Christmas and the holidays for now.

Faux Pumpkins Grouping

On to autumn, as noted in the prior post, is all about making Succulent Topped Pumpkins and other Autumn inspired decor.

We have seats remaining for the first session date on October 6th and many seats available on the weeknight session date, October 10th.

Details on our autumn workshops are here. We make gorgeous tabletop centerpieces using real or faux pumpkins with fresh, live succulents. Come join the creativity of our workshops!

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
Broad Brook, CT 06016

First Cool Fall Day – Get Ready to Craft

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Yesterday, my sniffles and sneezes would not stop. It got to the point my eyes were red from rubbing them. Yes, the cool fall air arrived and it made me go into fall allergy mode.

But today, it is going to be warmer and humid. It seems mother nature and the fact hurricane winds hitting the North and South Carolina coasts are shuffling up the air here in CT, it will be a bit warmer today, but still wet.

Most of us are probably looking forward to fall cool air and are ready to welcome it. But with that comes some gardening chores, like disassembly of our patio pots before frost in October, and putting things away. Alas, it is time to take down my many tomato plants in my pots and grow bags on the driveway, but it was a good season for eating them. I am thankful for a good summer season.

For me, because I have so many plants outside to take care of and put away, I will start slowly and keep working on it every day until October gives us a fall freeze. To try to do it all in one day is too difficult for me – now that I’m in my 50’s. But it is always worth it – my deck was “jungle style” with many tropical plants and my bigger pots in the yard have huge plants in them right now to take down but all is so rewarding – it gives me so much joy and relaxation to watch my plants grow and provide a living environment all around us in the summer, I just love it. I think the animals, birds, and bees love it too.

In between these fall gardening “chores”, I also get crafty and have been showing some prototypes on my Instagram feed of succulent hanging dish plates (a new trend spotted on Instagram), and I made a Spooky Halloween Terrarium prototype (kits are for sale now), and I also been playing around with decoupage to put natural leaves picked from the yard’s plants on white pumpkins, and I even tried out some turkey feathers on another small white pumpkin, which I thought gave that pumpkin a “spooky” feel to it. It has been fun getting crafty as we wait for the full fall weather to be here permanently.

In addition, I want to pot up some bulbs (daffs and tulips) and chill them to have them forced early in the spring for inside the home. They bulbs are stocked in the nurseries now and it is time to pick them up. You may plant them outdoors now anytime until the ground freezes. But I also want to test them out in small pots, put in the fridge for the required weeks, and then take out to grow and bloom in early spring or even in late winter. I will let you know how that goes. If successful, that could be another new workshop to offer next fall season.

Mothers Day Copywrite CCC_0001

Despite the humid heat of this summer, which was brutal and increased the critters on plants (ugh), I did finish up a big project I really wanted to do this season, which was stain the boards inside my greenhouse which support the clear panels of the roof. This was a big job. I would start early in the day like 6 am, and stop by 11 am because of the summer heat being too much. Imagine how much hotter it is on a ladder staining at ceiling level in a greenhouse. I must be crazy – but it is done and now the wood will be preserved for more years to come in my most favorite place in the world.

Succ Pumpkins copywrite Container Crazy CT_0001

So, back to autumn and fall, here are some things coming up:

New Events and Workshops

A demonstration at Ellington’s Farmers Market on Sept 29th – Look for me in the small round gazebo. I am usually in the larger gazebo but a band will be there and of course, all their amazing vendors are at the market, and lots of pumpkins, I am sure. To learn more, visit their website.

Two workshops at my Broad Brook, CT location on Succulent Topped Pumpkins on Oct 6 and 10th – Sign-up now. We have seats still available but the first workshop is starting to fill up. I am SO LOOKING forward to this workshop. We will be making our gorgeous centerpieces again using real and faux pumpkin with live beautiful succulents. Each year, the tips and tricks get better – This is year 3 of offering this seasonal workshop. $15 to register, plants for sale at the workshops, and all details are on my WORKSHOPSCT.com site.

flyer succ pump 2018

A day at the Strong Family Farm Harvest Festival on October 20th – Mark the date. This a historic farm with so many new updates and a beautiful barn. They will have many vendors in their large field, and fun things to do with kids – so mark the date. I love this place. It is located in Vernon, CT.

Faux Pumpkins Grouping

Garden Talk at the East Hartford Garden Club on Oct 22nd with succulent sales. I really enjoyed speaking to this club last year, and they asked me back. You guessed it – we will be talking Succulent Pumpkin Centerpieces. Contact the club if interested in attending.

spooky terrarium copywrite photo C Testa_0003

New Items – Spooky Kits:

I am now offering “Spooky Halloween Terrarium Kits” for sale – see www.WORKSHOPSCT.com. I had so much fun making a prototype with a skull embellishment on the glass and adding cacti. Kits are available now. The glass bowl is embellished with a skull applique which makes it super cool for the Halloween season. The internal components, 2 cacti plants, and instructions are part of the kit.

spooky terrarium copywrite photo C Testa_0001

9th Annual KB Workshops

My 9th Annual Holiday Kissing Ball & Wreath Making Workshops will be opening by end of September for pre-registrations. Stay tuned. We are offering Advanced and Beginner sessions this year. We absolutely love offering this quality workshop with fresh live greens – and this year is year 9. OMG. That means, next year, it will be a decade of a holiday event I truly cherish and love offering. It takes a lot of work and coordination and I’m thankful to have my elf helpers – so stay tuned – it is coming.

BBPOTS Container Crazy CT_0007

Hope to see you soon.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
Broad Brook, CT

 

Heat and Humidity Great for Tropicals, but Not So Good for Tomatoes!

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Tropical Cont Gardens Cathy T_0003

This is a big pot at the front of my home exploding right now with tall Canna lilies.

Who doesn’t like Canna lily plants, right?

They are easy to grow, get big and lush, and may be overwintered by storing their rhizomes (tubers), which must be dug up after the tops of the plants are blacked by frost – or just before frost.

Growing them in big pots makes it easier to pull them out by October, thus, why I am going to show the process in early September so you may learn it if desired. (See dates below on that if interested.)

They also thrive in the heat, humidity, and rain, which we are getting all week. None of these weather conditions are harming their attitudes at all – they love it.

tomatoe 2018_0002

My tomato plants, however, are a different story right now.

They started off great, but a fat chipmunk has damaged some of the lower specimens, and well, that is the ugly side of gardening.

To see a tomato half eaten on the ground is discouraging, but it forces us to shrug our shoulders, cry, or become determined to try a new technique to combat the critters. Because in the end, it is worth it to bite into a fresh, juicy, flavorful home grown tomato.

On top of the chipmunk problem – the foliage on my tomato plants started to look bad just recently. I should share a photo here, but why depress myself more?

I think it is Septoria leaf spot. The leaves developed small, dark spots and it started from the bottom parts, and eventually got on many of the leaves throughout the plant.

This type of problem, the leaf spots, occurs more commonly, from what I’ve read, during heat and humidity, and lack of air circulation contributes to the issue as well.

Yesterday, I took pruners out and cut all the damaged foliage off. It took some time, but I just couldn’t stand looking at the terrible foliage.

Fortunately, it does not affect the tomato fruit. Thank God!

Next year will be a new strategy. That is the name of the game, keep trying, don’t give up.

Mikado Tomato Plants

By the way, in the photo above, that is a Mikado tomato. It is an heirloom and I grew plants from seed in April.

I transplanted them into 15-gallon fabric grow bags around Memorial day (which was the first time trying grow bags – more on that later).

They mature by August – as in now, and are indeterminate (keeps growing taller).

I should have given the plants more air circulation by spacing them out more – next season, they will be put in different places too.

Yesterday, I took that photo (above) of one Mikado tomato that is nearly perfect.

Then, I begged the gardening Gods to not allow it to get attacked by a critter, crack, or whatever. I’m scared to go look this am – as I decided to not quite pick it yet. Being hopeful.

vegetables 2018 cathy T_0004

Of course, tomatoes like sun, warmth, and as much good air flow as can be provided. I think I did well with the sun, warmth, but my mistake was not spacing them out enough. They grew very large and needed more space – so lesson learned.

tomatoe 2018_0003

Yesterday, while out pruning the nasty damaged foliage from the leaf spot (noted above), I spotted this cluster of tomatoes on another plant, called Stone Ridge (Solanum lycopersicum).

Stone Ridge Tomato Plants

As stated on the seed packet, they are dense, bottom heavy, and have sweet fruit – so true based on my experience so far.

vegetables 2018 cathy T_0005

What I found with this type is the cracking seemed to happen more on the tops (like they are that heavy and dense enough to weigh them down) but no matter, they are freaking delicious – and they are SWEET tasting.

The Stone Ridge tomato plants have weird various shapes to their fruit.

Some are pear-like (above) and some are just goofy and flatter or fatter. I like viewing the stages of them. When you touch them or hold them, they are heavy.

They must be started earlier from seed, which I did in late March.

As far as the tomato plants go, the Fox Cherry Tomato is my absolute favorite. And apparently is for my fat chipmunk freeloader too.

Fox Cherry Tomato Plants

The shape and size are just perfect for skewers, or cutting in half, because they are more like two bite-sized than one-bite sized. They are plump and perfect. And the plants are vigorous growers. Staking, twining, and supports are needed but worth it.

vegetables 2018 cathy T_0002

Every day, I go out and grab many and put them in little farmers market baskets (used for raspberries or strawberries which I saved) and set them on the kitchen island.

And every morning, my husband takes a bag full to eat as snacks at work. That is the most rewarding part of it – how much he loves them.

Usually the heat and humidity is good for tomato plants, but it can help to introduce some problems, such as leaf blights, like the Septoria leaf spot, I believe was the problem on mine this month.

vegetables 2018 cathy T_0001

I won’t let it stop me though – just keep improving the process next year.

In the photo above, there is the Bumble Bee Mix cherry tomato next to the Fox cherry tomato, to compare.

Bumble Bee Mix Cherry Tomato Plants

These are fun to grow as well. The have a unique striped patterns, are mild sweet, and smaller than the Fox variety.

They turn various colors,  either yellow, purple, or just mixed. Sometimes it is hard to know if they are ready, but I still love them.

Both the Fox and Bumble Bee will be on my growing list again in 2019.

tomatoe 2018_0001

Another plant I grew this year is called, Matchbox Pepper (Capsicum annuum), and I LOVE these for the ease of growing and plant size.

Matchbox Pepper Plants

Why are they so great?

Because they are absolutely perfect for hanging baskets.

The peppers are tiny (and supposed to be spicy but we haven’t tasted one yet – probably will this weekend as they are reddening now), and they are decorative.

vegetables 2018 cathy T_0003

But the fact this plant stays compact makes them just wonderful in hanging baskets.

They, like some of the tomato plants, had to be started early inside. They mature 75 days from transplant. They just started to turn red last week.

Now, I just have to learn how to dry these hot peppers, or make some chili this weekend.

And another bonus about pepper plants is that critters tend to stay away from the hot ones. And the fact the plant is in a hanging basket keeps them up high and potentially away from critters looking for a tasty treat.

Upcoming Workshops

tropical cont garden 2018_0008

If you want to learn my process on how I overwinter my tropical plants by storing root bases, tubers, rhizomes, corms, etc, the dates have been published on WORKSHOPSCT.com for early September.

I am scheduling it early so people may prepare ahead of frosts. Sign up is requested for headcount but it is a simple ‘pay at the door’ setup for this session.

I’m in love with the big foliage of the tropical plants (canna, elephants ears, and red banana plants) which, as I noted, is flourishing in this heat, humidity, and rainfall.

Tropical Cont Gardens Cathy T_0005

Another bonus about tropical plants is they remain gorgeous all the way into October, and tomatoes for that matter sometimes continue into early October as well.

Well, that’s all for today – I have to get busy again.

I’ll let you know if that juicy Mikado tomato made it – and if yes, it is my lunch today.

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy CT
Location: Broad Brook, CT
www.WORKSHOPSCT.com
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Tropical Cont Gardens Cathy T_0002

Succulent Pumpkins or Succulent Skulls

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Hi Everyone,

Just another heads-up!

We posted our second autumn workshop of the season and it has a groovy and spooky option in addition to the traditional succulent pumpkins centerpieces we have made in the past fall workshops.

We will be offering two options at our October workshops!

Succulent Pumpkins with Words

Swing on by to www.WORKSHOPSCT.com to learn more and get signed up early.

Here’s photos of what you may elect to make at our October workshops.

Skull with words

Skull Upfront Container Crazy CT

New this year – SUCCULENT SKULLS

Succ Pumpkins copywrite Container Crazy CT_0002

Succulent Topped Pumpkin

Pre-registration is required. See www.WORKSHOPSCT.com for the details of what is included, what you need to bring, and dates. We setup our workshops for flexibility on how many you want to make and how elaborate you want to make your creations. Contact me anytime for questions.

Thank you – Cathy T.

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy CT
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
Located in Broad Brook, CT

 

Shop Small Saturday – November 25th

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Hi ya’all!

Just a quick heads-up, if you wish to participate in my online FACEBOOK raffle to be held on my business Facebook page, Container Crazy CT, in honor of Shop Small Day, be sure to swing by there on Saturday, November 25, 2017 between 8 am and 5 pm to enter.

The rules are posted there. A photo of the Holiday Prize with entry instructions will be posted early Saturday morning. Note also, the lucky winner must pick up the prize by appointment; no deliveries. We are located in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT.

This is being offered a a special thank you for all the local support of my local small business. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, wherever you may be with friends, family, and loved ones.

Thank you and Good Luck,

Cathy TestaCC Logo black Wkshp
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

 

I predict you won’t need to pack any clothes when you travel in the future.

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Wacky thought, right?

You won’t need to bring ANY clothes with you when you travel to a vacation destination in the future – except for the clothes on your back.

Imagine a hotel, resort, or heck, a glamping site that provides your wardrobe for you in your hotel room (or in your glamping camping tent).

This has been in my head for a few years.

And this is how it goes:

You arrive at your hotel, there is a nice long closet in your hotel room, and you open it up – and before your very eyes, you see all the outfits you need for the week while visiting your vacation destination.

They are neatly pressed. Professionally dry cleaned. They are in your favorite colors and size. And heck, the jewelry to match is sitting in a jewelry box on the dressing table near the closet.

This would be heaven to me.

It would eliminate the need to go thru the grueling task of packing the suitcases, which is always a challenge, at least for me.

Will it be cold? Will I need formal wear? Will I have enough room in the suitcase? How much will the suitcase weigh? Will it fit in the overhead?

Oh, and talk about benefits to this idea – no bringing heavy and bulky luggage on an airplane. How exciting does that make you feel right now? I’d be jumping for joy and talking to all my friends about how I only need the clothes on my back. I don’t have to pay for extra suitcases at the airport, wait in line to have them checked in, or feel panicked after a long flight when it doesn’t show up in the luggage claim area.

How could this whole concept be accomplished?

Easy – just have a hotel partner with a clothing store – and then setup an online link on your hotel web site to click your clothing preferences before your departure date.

You log in to the hotel web site – click their wardrobe link, and then enjoy the process of entering your size preferences, and of course, there should be photos to pick outfits from – where you easily click the outfits you want to be placed in your hotel room closet.

Let’s face it – we usually want a comfy pair of black pants (because black goes with everything), one or two dressy outfits for any formal dinners, a set of comfy hiking shorts, some tank tops perhaps, and a pull over for the night it is cool on the beach. Throw in some flip flops, and you are one and done.

Imagine the possibilities with this concept, my friends.

Could LL Bean be your fav clothing line for hiking gear, while visiting a destination like Sedona, Arizona?

Ok, I don’t have any idea what the latest hot trending clothing lines are – but I do know you may buy clothes online today, easily – why not make it available at your hotel too?

Or perhaps, LuLaRoe leggings, which are extremely popular in my area – everyone and their sister is selling their women’s line of various leggings at host parties – imagine your favorite Minnie Mouse leggings when you visit Walt Disney already in your hotel room when you arrive?! With matching Minnie Mouse slippers of course.

This concept would save time on everyone’s part – no more hotel staff having to lug your luggage to your room. No more need for space in the back of taxis or van shuttles from the airport to your location. No more replacing damaged suitcases. Not to mention, no more scanning luggage at airports for hidden, potentially dangerous weapons.

And, imagine the marketing side for clothing companies. They could offer some of their styles for people to try while visiting their vacation destination and this could lead to a traveler becoming a new fan of the company’s clothing line – and here’s a thought, add the option to buy the wardrobe to hotel guests before they depart. Hmm, I totally think I’m on to predicting a really great idea for the future.

Last night, we watched The Fifth Element – one of our favorite movies. Do you remember the scene where Bruce Willis shows up at his hotel room and they roll out a whole set of black tuxes – I think it was tuxes – for him to pick to wear at the evening’s big event where the Diva was to perform on stage?

When that scene of the tuxes rolling out on a rod showed up – I said to my husband, remember when I said hotels should fill your hotel closet for you with pre-selected clothes as a service? Well, look – they were doing that in this futuristic movie. That movie was made like 20 years ago – catch up people.

I don’t know if this concept exists somewhere already? Maybe for the rich – but anyhow, I predict this will be a thing of the future, or better stated – should be a thing of the future.

We are a society that likes one and done. We like to click and buy. We like to not have hassles. We love our smart phones and the flexibility to get what we want when we want it – or to see it on our phones before we decide to buy it at our pick up location or delivery location. We want this done easily and quickly. If we see it and we want it (and then click it) – we want it there when we arrive.

The ownership would be on the hotel companies and clothing lines, I suppose, but aren’t those entities (hotels and travel) one of the hottest things still popular today? Meaning “travel” is popular, thus hotels are popular, and cloths are popular – and still the type of activities or things people will continue to use, and pay to do or use.

What does this have to do with my passion of plants and offering workshops? Well, probably not much directly – however, I feel offering all for you as an attendees in one location is a valued service, so you don’t have the hassle of lugging soil, or bringing all the other components needed to make a beautiful creations at my plant related workshops with you. I make it easy for you. Have it all here already for you. I try to make it one and done.

And yes, there are still those personal items you may prefer to bring on your own, and that’s okay. Say for example, uh, underwear – true, I’d have to think about that one.

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
www.WORKSHOPSCT.com

P.S. If you know of a vacation destination that offers this service – update ME!

 

 

Do you still want emails?

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Hello world!

How’s everyone doing today?

I was thinking this morning, I wonder if my friends, clients, and attendees still want emails?

My stats on distributed emails shows a lot of un-opens from the past few updates sent out to my distribution list.

Is email out of favor?

My website is always here for updates as well, on what is coming up for workshops and educational sessions on plants, so hopefully, if you prefer no emails, you still like coming to read the blog and website updates.

It seems views continue to occur on my sites per my stats, so I hope if you need information and want to know the latest, you are looking here, and on www.WORKSHOPSCT.com.

And, I find my Instagram account is being viewed.

I’m kind of obsessed with Instagram these days. I may be considered a spammer of plant photos at this point – not sure.

I just can’t help but take pics of my plants. It is an addiction of mine. They are like my kids. You never stop loving or enjoying them – and sharing news about them.

Well, if you are visiting my websites, then you will get my latest updates – I hope!

As you know, I completed my very first try at what I called a pop up shop at a bookstore this year – it was a “fast” seven months with many lessons learned and new friends gained.

I, obviously, keep having that dream of having my own plant shop – but alas, we all know the costs of that scenario – and well, I hope to have another opportunity to do another pop up somewhere – will keep you posted when it and if that happens.

For now, know that:

I continue to offer what I feel are “quality workshops” at a “great value.” Hopefully, as a regular (non-newbie) attendee, you know this! As a newbie, you will know. 😉

I sell plants always, and I coddle my plants – meaning I treat them like a newborns.

If you have a plant need, don’t hesitate to ask.

Right now, I have beautiful bird’s nest ferns, rubber plants, rabbit foot ferns, African mask alocasias, other houseplants, and, of course – amazing succulents in stock. Perfect candidates if you wish to dress up the indoors during the fall and winter.

In fact, my first session for the “Succulent Topped Pumpkin” centerpieces is this Saturday.

Get ready to learn, create, and enjoy. We will be covering a great deal of information. And the succulents are so ready for you!

The second session, at the Stafford Springs Cidery, is sold out. However, I think I may offer a mini session the week of 10/16. Or – if you have a group of 4 or 6 you think you can round up – contact me! We may be able arrange a session.

Other things coming up – my “overwintering demo” which is scheduled on 10/14, Saturday – and right now, we are having warm weather with beautiful sunshine. I hope this weather lasts, cause my plants and I are enjoying it.

But, if you want to learn about how I overwinter plants and propagate some, and deal with the houseplants we used this year, sign up soon. This session is good for those who wish to “see” how I do my process. However, you are always welcome to email any questions on overwintering too.

My schedule is so busy right now, cleaning up my workshop spaces.

You may find it hard to believe, but it can take me a full week just to set up.

AND, also, for the succulent pumpkins there is some pre-work done with the succulents to get them ready – so in all total, it takes me a month!

Yup. I think it is important to know this.

So, if you are an attendee, you know that Cathy T does a great deal behind the scenes – cause, well, I care. About you, and my workshops, and especially my plants (a.k.a., babies).

It won’t be long before I place my order for the holiday workshops in December. That is also another event which requires “pre-planning” and lots of it.

I wanted to you to know also, if you want a one-on-one private session to make any creation you see on my www.WORKSHOPSCT.com site – ask.

Or if you think you want to arrange a small group – ask too. But timing is key. Because of the planning, working with “live” plants, etc.

And in November, the enjoyable and fun Shop Small day, held for our small business customers to say thank you, will take place again.

I will keep you posted, but you probably want to note the date – which is November 25th, Saturday. I’m pretty sure I will be participating at a place with other vendors – stay tuned.

If you have any questions on overwintering, feel free to reach out too – as I know not everyone can make the demo.

Here are some I’ve already been asked about handling plants this time of year:

Can I use the same soil for my container gardens to re-pot my houseplants?

Yes, if you purchased quality soil mix from me – you can. Remember, if you decide to re-pot your houseplants from your combo planters we did in May, to pick a pot size that is “NOT” large. Remember what I told everyone about houseplants and the roots. You shouldn’t pot them up into a pot that is too large, etc.

Should I spray my plants before moving them into the house?

It is “very” important to inspect your plants.

IF your plants had bug issues, that were not bad, yes, spray them if you think critters exist. I have good spray in stock if interested that is organic and attacks the pests in their various stages (eggs, larvae, adults). I can tell you more if interested, but now is a good time to get the spray.

Also, if you had a problem with a plant where it seemed infested, it is not a good idea to bring them inside when you have other healthy houseplants.

As hard as it may be, a badly infected plant should be tossed if they can not be cured. Otherwise, those critters will find their way to you other plants. However, I am hoping if you got plants from me, you were able to keep them healthy and thriving.

Look under the pots too – sometimes critters hide there. Just a tip.

Can I still keep my plants outside right now? The weather is great.

We are having a spectacular week. Sunshine, blue skies, etc. Some of my Canna plants are still blooming – and yes, many plants may be kept outside. It is when those night time temps start to dip into the 40’s – keep your alert up.

Many tropicals (Canna, Elephant Ears, Red Banana Plants) may stay out till frost – IF you are going to dig up the tubers, rhizomes, etc to store those in dry peat in your basement, which I show how, but heads-up on that.

Because our weather has been so great though, it is also a great time to want to work outside to get your overwintering clean up done before it is cold.

It is a GREAT time to wash pots, inspect your plants, pull any weeds out of the containers if they got in there, and get prepared.

So, if you want to do your storing early, I don’t think it would harm anything.

I divided that big Alocasia, which I mentioned in the last post. I re-potted a few and will store the tubers of the others. That plant got so large, I got 13 plants out of it. It sure was easier to do on a sunny day on my driveway rather than a cold day where my hands froze.

Ideally, some division is better done in the “active growing season”, but I still do some now because I can move them into my greenhouse. Better late than never.

Oh, and yes, if you still enjoy getting the emails, let me know your thoughts. I don’t want to bombard people, but also don’t want them to miss out.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa
containercathy@gmail.com
860-977-9473 (texts welcome!)

 

July 27 – Just sharing some photos at the end of the month

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Hi everyone,

I’m at the bookstore today, where I have a small plant showcase as a premier vendor, and just finished talking to a customer who was here to see what I had that is “new.”

She’s become a regular visitor – and new plant friend. She likes my inspiration and then she shows me all of her plant creations via her photos on her phone. We could talk for hours!

It has been so much fun showcasing and selling my plants here – and the best part is meeting new people and making new connections. Without my venture here, I would not have met many new plant enthusiasts as well as avid book lovers.

I could write a book on my experiences here – you see, I’m not a huge book reader myself (shh-don’t tell anyone!). Well, let me correct that – I DO read books, but most of the time, actually probably 99% of them, are related to plants, gardening, propagation, succulents, cacti, houseplants, garden tools, tropicals, gardens around the world, bugs, leaves, botanical subjects, etc. My home based office is FILLED with books on 5 long shelves. And, I don’t just “read” them, I use them for my research. The studying never ends in the world of horticulture – it is the name of the game. Learning! But it has been a very long time since I read a novel or love story – LOL.

Many times, however, especially during the winter, when I have spare time, one of my all time favorite things to do is getting cozy in a lawn chair, which I keep in the greenhouse for those sunny yet cold winter’s day, and read. I soak up the sun, warmth, sights, and sounds as I enjoy a good plant book. On sunny days in the winter, you can’t beat the warmth. It can get warm enough to not have your coat on and put on a bathing suit top – and get a sun burn if not careful! But the vitamin D is heaven on those cold winter days. I just love reading my plant books there.

In the summer, the only time I’m reading in the greenhouse is when I’m looking up a plant problem, and even then, it doesn’t happen much (reading that is) in the greenhouse in the summer cause the greenhouse is filled with plants and plant projects. I’m too busy watering or planting, re-potting, cleaning, and repeat.

My greenhouse space is quiet, however, no matter the season. The things I hear are the occasional dried up leaves blowing across the slanted roof top, or a turkey making a cooing sound to his fellow wild friends. Sometimes I’ll hear a hawk – and once, a hawk landed on the top of the greenhouse roof to observe the bird feeder on a tree nearby for his own living tasty treats. He swooped down over to the feeder from the greenhouse roof – what a sight to behold as I was sitting quietly reading, looking up and seeing the span of wings. And, lastly, sometimes I hear a faint meow from my cat walking by, or hear tons of birds chirping in the brush behind the greenhouse – they love that stuff.

Anyhow, my point being – I do read, but it seems always to learn about plants – Plants! Plants! Plants! How did this planting thing become such a crazy (as in Container Crazy CT) obsession? Well, let’s not go there – that is another LONG story.

This year provided me with MANY new challenges and ventures. I decided to try my hand at houseplants – and WOW, was that ever a fun new gig. I met a wonderful grower, who truly supports me and treats me with respect. I feel this is a gift. A plant connection friendship formed and little did I know – I would learn a tremendous lot about houseplants – by observing, growing them, caring for them, and asking questions when I didn’t know the answer – it’s been all good. And now, I’m fond of them more than ever before. However, no worries, friends. I will continue to offer my other usual too, from perennials to wildly large tropicals. I just like to mix it up every year. It helps us all to grow as plant lovers. Plus, it is fun.

Now – for photos – let’s go so I can stop rambling, and do what I set out today, which was to share some photos…

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Ah, this was fun – making a circular pattern with my BEAUTIFUL succulents!

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My friend Terri came in to make a big terrarium – one-on-one style – which I offer by appointment at the bookstore on Tuesdays and Thursdays – did you know?!!

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My big Staghorn Fern – This was a new workshop offered earlier this year – what fun! I’ve expanded this whole process to mounting other plants to boards. I even painted one board in red-white-blue colors for the 4th of July, and I made custom theme boards for customers. It was the year of “wall-art!”

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Alocasia African Mask – I LOVE the look of this plant – and it is a new one for me this year – it does really well indoors in bright indirect light. I also found it has been thriving in a situation where I have one in very organic soil as an under-story like plant (below bigger leaved plants). It does not take full sun well at all – it needs shade. Also, it prefers “moist” soils, but not water logged. I give it a little water every time it is dry to the touch on the top but not soaking water.

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Oh God – This Canna ‘Cleopatra’ is ga-ga-ga-gorgeous. I scored a few BIG pots of them – full enough to last you a life time if you overwinter the storage organs (as I refer to them), which I teach how in my “Overwinter Plants” workshops – but back to this plant! It is soooo beautiful; the dark toned striped patterns in the leaves and it blooms, not only red, but also yellow flowers! How can a plant offer so much? Those of you who bought a plant at my workshop or from me at the bookstore – congrats.

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Here, I was showing an elephant ears tuber (bulb, corm – whatever you prefer to call it – although technically they have different names) – no matter, this was a big one! I potted up many this season and sold quite a few elephant ears of my own. One can not have a container garden thrill (or thriller) without one, in my opinion! They last into the fall, bob in the wind, and are easy – they prefer shade but can take sun if you water – a lot!

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Ah, this photo is showing moon flower seeds. This is another “new” offering by me this season – selling seeds by Hudson Valley Seed Co. All 100% certified organic seed and open-pollinated. Well, I had to sow some of my own of this plant which get huge, tubular, white flowers at end of summer. In fact, my plants are growing in a pot and I trellised them up to the light on my garage with garden twine which they freely accepted – the plant’s vines finally reached the light fixture – and I think it may go as high as the gutters of the garage. Because the seeds are open pollinated, any seed I collect from my plants will be true-to-type for next year’s round. Bonus! You buy one seed packet and you can keep it going on for years if you harvest your seeds from the plant.

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I’ve been offering so many terrariums workshops – I’m becoming known as the “terrarium lady” – and one day, a customer came in with a terrarium she had owned for one year – a gift from a friend, and it was so overgrown, she asked me to renew it – which I did – and I made up 3 terrariums for her. That was a fun project. BTW, our next TERRARIUMS workshop is on a Monday, August 21st, 6-8 pm at the Stafford Cidery! See http://www.WORKSHOPSCT.com for all the details.

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And to finish off today’s “picture post” is a flash back of some of the containers created by attendees from my May Container Garden Workshops. I hope everyone’s creations are doing well. Now, it is time to stay tuned to the fall and winter workshops, after you finishing enjoying our summer vacations and the rest of our summer months! We have a few coming up:

8/21 – Stafford Cidery – Terrariums
9/15 – Book Club Bookstore – Overwintering Plants
9/20 – Stafford Cidery – Microgreens Growing
9/27 – Container Crazy CT’s BB location – Overwintering Plants Early
10/7 – Container Crazy CT’s BB location – Succulent Topped Pumpkins
10/16 – Stafford Cidery – Succulent Topped Pumpkins
10/14 – Container Crazy CT’s – Overwinter Plants (timed for fall frost)
12/2 –  Container Crazy CT’s – The 8th Annual Holiday Kissing Ball & Wreath Making
12/6 – Container Crazy CT’s – Weeknight Kissing Ball & Wreath Making Workshop

Enjoy! July is almost over!

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
www.WORKSHOPSCT.com
http://www.CONTAINERCRAZYCT.com
www.CONTAINERGARDENSCT.com

If you are an Instagram fan – I’m there under ‘containercrazyct’ – look me up – I am constantly posting photos!

Thanks, Cathy T.

Other services:

Plant Refurbishments
Garden Talks
Demonstrations
One-on-One Private Sessions for Workshop topics
Plant Deliveries – coming soon

 

Next Up: Container Workshop in Vernon, CT at Strong Family Farm, Sat. May 20th

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We had a great time at my workshop last Saturday – and we didn’t get rained on, thankfully! But, if you missed our session, there is another opportunity to join us on Saturday, May 20th, 10 am at Strong Family Farm in Vernon, CT on West Street.

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As noted on www.WORKSHOPSCT.com, where you may read all the details, our plant theme this year is indoor air purifiers and flashy fancy foliage houseplant style! Don’t let that word “houseplant” fool you – the design arrangements you may create at this workshop are GORGEOUS and at a great value. Get them while they are hot!

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My workshops are set-up so you have everything needed at your finger tips – you show up and have all the fun. You only need to bring your pots – and, this year’s pots are smaller to medium sizes because of the type of plants which we are using in this year’s theme (10″-12″-15″ in diameter and depth not deeper than width). Get creative – someone brought a soup tureen last weekend, which made a wonderful centerpiece with these plants. The pots should have drain holes or we will drill them for you.

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There are many types of pots you may use. Just take a look at my Instagram feed or Container Crazy CT page for inspiration.

Saturday – May 20th – Strong Family Farm – 10:00 am 

And, the weather is predicted to be gorgeous on Saturday. We most likely will be holding this session outdoors by the farm’s big historic barns on Strong Family Farm’s property (BTW, they have chickens to see, and also a nice farm stand which opens in the summer.)

This is one of the few historic farms standing in the Vernon area. You can feel the history’s energy when there. A portion of your registration fee ($20) is donated to the farm to help support their renovations and events.

The morning will be a great creative day where you learn a lot about soil types on the market (I know they can be confusing!), various fertilizers, tips for success at growing and maintaining plants in your patio pots and container gardens, and more. I hope you will join us. Handouts for reference are provided for all attendees.

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The Plants

Again, these are low-light, bright-light, (shade or dappled sun outdoors) type of plants, and we have some flowering candidates too, along with started elephant ears – and all are foliage fantastical in my book. Lots of texture in these designs. Plus many of these tropical style houseplants do wonderfully in our summers outdoor here.

We also have a stock of mixed succulents if you prefer to create a sun loving design with these perfect drought tolerant candidates.

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Cost

$20 to register plus cost of plants you select at the workshop. You may purchase professional soil mix at the workshop or bring your own bag. We will have other amendments available for purchase as well. CT Sales Tax applicable.

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Easy Registration:

You may text me at 860-977-9473 if you want in. If you prefer to prepay by credit card, please visit www.WORKSHOPSCT.com site to pay online via EventBrite.  Or email me if preferred to indicate your interest in joining us. We’d love to have you do so.

Thank you – Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

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