Just a reminder, my Holiday Gift Cards are available again this season, which are applicable to purchase unique custom plant gifts or for seasonal items such as my Seed Starter Kits, or starter plants (tomatoes/peppers) in the spring time. Or perhaps you would love to have someone pick a special unique seasonal gift using their gift cards such as my Succulent Topped Pumpkins in the fall season, or a fresh wreath, holiday kissing ball, or hanging holiday globe in December. And a custom unique container garden or patio pot in summer. The list goes on!
However, please note, my Gift Cards are no longer applicable to in-person workshops. I am not planning to offer workshops in person going forward, but gift cards are usable towards workshop kits or packages where you may do your own workshop with my supply kits and details. How-To Videos are offered for package purchases.
If interested, please email or text me at 860-977-9473. I am located in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT.
To learn more, visit my WorkshopsCT.site and my galleries on Instagram under the handle of Container Crazy CT.
Here are 3 signs it is time to start thinking about moving your plants in:
You closed some windows in your house this morning because the chilly morning air is making your fingers cold as you type on your laptop in your home office or as you reach for your cup of coffee! (ME, this morning.)
You have a cat you allow outdoors, but he or she is screaming to come back in because the temps have dropped outdoors. (My Cat, this morning.)
Your nose is sniffling because the cool air gives you the some fall allergies. (Me! Yes, this morning. Where’s the Kleenex tissues?)
Well, those are definitely 3 signs for me. I feel the cool air this morning. It is 45 degrees F right now as I type this. It is chilly out there, but it won’t freeze your plants (yet). Your tropical plants can take it and so could some of your succulents, BUT, if we got rain with this type of chilly temp drops, it makes all go chilly and damp.
Damp, chilly, cold, and especially wet soils in container gardens or patio pots this time of year in Connecticut usually leads to issues when you move the pots inside the home for the winter.
This is something I’ve been repeating, I think because to me it is intuitive, and difficult to describe in scientific terms. If my hands are cold right now, so are my plants outdoors on my deck. In fact, if you went outside right now, and touched the side of a patio pot, it would feel cold. If they are cold, they are ready to start being moved in soon. But there’s still time.
Yesterday, I spent most of my day packing up items to use at a client’s site later today. I will be starting to disassemble their container gardens and I would rather work in good conditions, which it will be today, and also before all gets cold, wet, and damp. It is way more messy to work on the projects when it is in that colder situation, even though I’d work on container gardening anytime, anywhere. I have worked in rain, cold, wind, you name it. But, hopefully today, I will bask in the sun while I work this afternoon on beautiful container gardens which are now ready for phase two – autumn installs.
Yesterday, I only did a few small things at home for myself, my plants, that is. I decided to move in a small plant of my Upright Alocasia. It is one of the off sets from the bulbs I planted last season of this plant. Called Alocasia macrorrhiza or Upright Jumbo elephant ear. These gorgeous elephant ear plants are a favorite on my list.
Upright Elephant Ear Plants
The bulbs for the upright elephant ears are spring planted bulbs and they are tropical. They can not be left in the container gardens or patio pots outdoors for the winters here because the upcoming freezing temperatures would kill them. They are considered “tender bulbs” of tropical plants.
This time of year, these plants may stay out in the containers or patio pots until they are hit by frost (usually mid to late October) around here. If hit by frost, the foliage will droop, turn black, and die back. But that is okay if you are storing the bulbs inside over the winter. Since the tops of the plants will be cut off and tossed.
I usually take my tropical plants down (cut the tops off and remove the bulbs from the soil) either slightly before or right after a frost hits in our area of Connecticut. I store the bulbs in my unheated basement in various boxes. The place you pick to store the bulbs should never freeze and stay dry. And the place you pick to do this is very important.
For years, I selected a spot right next to the basement door in a corner. I put a 5 tiered shelf there and placed the storage boxes on each shelf. It was just perfect. They always make it and stay dry enough and cool enough there.
However, last fall, I decided to move all the boxes along the foundation wall in the basement, and it was under a big bench. I lost some of my bulbs. The area is only a few feet away from the shelving system, but the boxes were placed on the floor. The condensation created too much moisture in the boxes and some of the bulbs rotted by springtime. This year, they will be placed back in my “safe” storage spot on the shelves.
However, this plant below, is in a smaller pot. I know the chilly air will hit on and off during the evenings this month, and I thought, you know, I can manage to move this one on my own. As noted before, sometimes I ask for the assistance of my husband to move bigger plants.
I grabbed our handy dandy hand-truck to carefully rolled it to my greenhouse and put it in there for now. Usually, I dig these up and store the bulbs, but I am thinking maybe I will leave this one in this pot since the size is not super large like my other Alocasias for now anyhow. It is in a more protected location for the fall. I could work on it later if need be.
In my other two very large pots on my deck, I have more Upright Alocasias that are 6 feet tall right now. The leaves are gigantic (3 feet tall and wide). I will document my take down process and show it here for my followers when I take those bigger plants down from my container gardens. As noted, I can wait on those till mid October. By the way, these bulbs can not be left in the ground either through our winters. They would freeze and die.
I plant these types of tender bulbs in the spring in starter pots and place them in my greenhouse early to get them growing. They take a while to really kick in and get started. I plan to offer some next season. People have been asking, when they see how magnificent the plants have become with their tall upright growth, towering leaves of 3 feet in length and almost as wide, if I will have them for sale next season, and I think I will.
Other types of tender bulbs are Canna Lily, Begonia, Caladiums, Gladiolus, etc. They are planted in containers in the spring and keep growing and showing off right up till our CT frost. This has always been one of the reasons I adore tender bulb plants! They put on a show right to the very end of our growing container season. When we start putting our pumpkins outdoors, they are still showy. In fact, if you have ever attended the Big E (a huge multi-state exposition) near our area (which is sadly cancelled this year due to COVID), you will notice there are tons of Canna Lily, Elephant Ears, and Begonias in the planters areas around the fair grounds. They are so showy in September. I always noticed that when we attended the Big E this time of year.
Later this week or month, I will post lots of photos of my Upright Jumbo elephant ears to show you the size. The plant can reach up to 6 feet (which mine has this year) or 8 feet (probably next year). They like light shade and develop dark green leaves. I noticed on the smaller plants (which were off sets from last year’s bulbs), are a darker green than the larger plants.
I usually let them get hit by frost or take them down right before frost, but for the ones in smaller pots, I may move some into the greenhouse and see how they do (for now). If they appear to be suffering at all, I will dig them out later when I have time for those moved into the greenhouse.
On another note, check out another big plant – my mammoth magenta Celosia, grown from seeds. The first thing I find fascinating about these plants is how tiny the seeds are. They are like a speck, for lack of better wording. Yet they grow to massive sizes from one tiny speck of a seed.
My mammoth Celosia is finally blooming. These are another type of plant, an annual here, which provides a great late season bloom. It is called Celosia argentea var. cristata and shows off deep magenta blooms with green and orange foliage. It grows up to 5 feet tall, and mine is a bit taller than the leaves on my giant Ensete (red banana plant) in the same pot where the Celosia is planted. The stalks of the Celosia are super thick and strong. I have to look up to see the intense magenta blooms right now. It is very pretty.
Ensetes (red banana plants – see the burgundy red foliage to the right) are another plant I store each winter. I don’t move them into the house or greenhouse in tact. They are far too large, towering up to 10-12 feet each year usually. I’ve documented my storing process several times of my Ensete plants. Here are some links to prior posts on that:
My cousin asked me recently, how do you get that big red banana plant out of your huge cement planter? I responded with, “I climb up there into the planter (it is a huge cement planters) and dig it out with a shovel!” Yes, I do! LOL. Seems crazy but I love those plants so much, I use the little muscle power I have to get ‘er done.
Last year, I did a fast motion recording of my work on that particular large cement planter and removal of the Ensete plant and showed it to my followers. I may do that again. Will keep you posted.
As for now, I am going to sign off but I will be back showing as much as possible my various storing methods of my container gardens for those interested.
Note: I will be making custom Succulent Topped Pumpkins this year and will have various “new” succulents available at the end of this month. If local and interested, please reach out (860-977-9473) or email me at email@example.com. Photos will be posted as usual.
Last Saturday was the first time I held a workshop on making botanical wall art and kokedama with staghorn ferns. I think it was a success – Everyone’s piece came out great and we had the best time chatting plants, spring’s coming, and life events in general.
This Wednesday, March 22, I’m offering another session so I’m putting the call-out again. I hope I’m not driving everyone nuts with my Facebook posts, but they are just so amazing to make and my plants are beautiful – I’d hate for anyone interested to miss out!
IT’S SPRING, RIGHT?!
While snow is still on the ground on our first day of spring (officially today), we can create right now to enjoy the coming of glorious days ahead. It won’t be long; we are getting closer to sunny days and warmer temperatures.
THE PIECE YOU MAY MAKE
Kokedama balls are hung from string or twine, and positioned inside the home by a bright window. They are very ZEN and influenced by Bonsai. The Wall Art is a statement piece and also the plant is a bright light (not full sun) lover. If you have a room with some bright light – it will thrive. Both may be moved outdoors after our frost in spring time (what I tell people is move them out when it is safe to plant tomatoes).
THE WORKSHOHP LOCATION AND TIME
The location of Wednesday’s session is at the BOOK CLUB Bookstore, 869 Sullivan Avenue, South Windsor, CT 06074 (bookclubct.com). I have been noting that it takes a full two hours to make the Wall Art option, but the Kokedama balls take less time – yet, are as much fun to create.
The start time is 5:30 pm for this workshop – however, if you are interested in making the Kokedama ball, and can’t get out of work right at 5:30 pm – you may arrive a bit later as this item takes less time to make. Just let me know.
The main thing is I need to know very soon if you wish to attend; please contact me so that I will bring enough materials with me for all attendees. Plus, the wall art board requires a bit of pre-work, and I will do that prior for confirmed attendees.
WALL ART CANVAS BOARD
Speaking of the Wall Art board – My wall canvas board is custom made and heavy duty. Many other places, where you may see classes similar to mine offered, well, I am going to be honest – a cheap board is usually used. I custom ordered my canvas boards – built to “last” because of how these plants are watered. Over time, I want to ensure you have a nice product – and at a nice size too. This is my style. To give it all I can so you enjoy what you create and take home.
The fees are separate based on what you wish to make. Wall Art is $45 plus CT Sales Tax. The Kokedama is $30 pp plus CT Sales Tax. I also have a few other plant candidates in stock if you would like to make the item with a different plant (button ferns, Sanseveria, living moss, and flame plants, etc.) The fee includes the plant, materials, instructions, and more for the item selected.
Just text, email me, or call by end of day Tuesday (tomorrow).
Wow, it has been a busy holiday month – and I am excited it continues to be so festive, fun, and creative!
Here’s a sample of items made by Container Crazy CT (yep – that is me) and samples of items made by our attendees this month at our workshops.
Don’t you just love the horse above? Made by attendee, Dianne T. GREAT JOB!
I will finally be able to do my personal holiday gift shopping next week – which was never my style to wait until the last minute and enter stores void of products, tossed about in piles, or even damaged. But what makes up for that last minute world is the opportunities I have this month creating fresh quality items for orders and offering workshops where attendees make their own beautiful wreaths, kissing balls, and even horse wreaths (new option at this year’s 7th Annual Workshop.)
Smiles on attendees faces, festive feeling when a custom order is picked up, and greeting visitors at pop-up markets has been rewarding. So many people have told me they love what I have been creating and are enjoying my social media feeds, but I sure hope I’m not overdoing it. I guess when you have a passion, you just can’t stop talking about it.
I finally was able to decorate my own tree at our house yesterday. I took a little breather and I feel happy it is situated in the corner of my kitchen area. All lit up – the reflection in the windows is so beautiful. Topped with a burlap bow.
I’m sure everyone is busy as a beaver this week and next – or I should say as busy as an “ELF!” but if you happen to be in the area, please come visit me at the Pop-Up Vendor Event hosted by “Book Club Bookstore & More” on 100 Main St., Broad Brook, CT this Saturday, Dec 17th from 10 am to 3 pm. Don’t let the cold stop you. Swing by for a visit.
Also, there are some very interesting authors who will be there – visit the Bookstore’s web site or Facebook page to see. I’m intrigued and will have the bonus of meeting these wonderful authors and hearing their story. For the book readers in your life, this is a great shop to get books for adults and children. They also have great antique Christmas Cards and other art from local artists.
Happy Holidays Everyone,
Owner of “Cathy T’s Landcape Designs” and “Container Crazy CT”
The term ‘KB’ is short for Kissing Balls which are balls made with fresh evergreens every year just in time for the holiday season. Kissing balls are beautiful when hanging outside on your wrap-around porch, by your entrance, doorway, or even inside the home. They are fun to make and last all the way into February when hung outside – the birds enjoy them too. They will pop by to perch on them which is lovely, especially when snow is clinging onto your freshly made beautiful Kissing Ball.
A Large Kissing Ball
Workshop Every December
Every December, Container Crazy CT offers an early Kissing Ball and Wreath Making Holiday workshop where attendees make large sized Kissing Balls to take home. In addition to the Kissing Balls, you may elect to make a round or square wreath, long styled candle centerpiece, or cross shaped wreath.
In 2016 – We hope to offer the horse head profile shaped wreath option too. Often, Cathy T comes up with a new idea to make every season. To register for the workshop, visit www.WORKSHOPSCT.com. Look for the Eventbrite links to the right side of the site, or mail payment to confirm your pre-registration.
10 Reasons Why Making Your Own is Best
Fresh Evergreens – fresh, fresh, fresh – not old, old, old
Mechanics included – You cannot find the Styrofoam ball used for less than $6 retail and wreath frames are costly too – all is included for your one item of choice.
Mix of Evergreens – You select the ones you want in your creation – up to 14 varieties of very beautiful evergreens.
Fun Gathering – The socializing factor, time for you with the ladies, food, festivities!
Holiday Beverages included – A special themed drink to enjoy, and in 2016 – Pizza will be included. Attendees also contribute light apps as desired.
No Cleanup – Cathy T does ALL the setup and cleanup – You have ALL the fun
Early Décor – You put up your decoration to enjoy all month instead of waiting
No Risk – Cathy T takes all the risk for you – You just show up and enjoy
Originality – It is made by you with your special touches and you learn all the special tips and techniques. Every year, you will learn something new.
A floral type item is included every year – last year it was variegated Holly and seeded Eucalyptus – what will it be in 2016? You have to register to find out!
This workshop fills up very quickly every year, so signing up early is helpful to pre-register to hold your seat. To “confirm” your seat, payment is due in advance. We currently have 21 people pre-registered as of this posting – so don’t wait. Later, there is a wait-list if you missed this year’s chance, and note that workshop appointments the week of December 5th are available for one-on-one style sessions. For a quieter option, we offer a Weekday Workshop on December 7th, 2016 at 5:30 pm.
Location of the workshops is the East Windsor section of Broad Brook, Connecticut.
Workshop Fee 2016:
In 2016, the price is one size fits all of $40 pp for any one item you elect to make. It includes tax and many benefits – so don’t miss out – We make “quality” items at larger than normal sizes you would find in retail environments. You may submit payment via mail or via Eventbrite on our WorkshopsCT.com site.
Any cancellations one week before the workshop dates are non-refundable since we work with pre-ordered live greens. Cancellations have special policies – You may elect to send an alternate the day of, or use the fee towards another workshop within one year of the workshop date. See WORKSHOPSCT.com for the details.
Cathy T of Container Crazy CT and Cathy T’s Landscape Design takes custom orders for wreaths, candle centerpieces, kissing balls all month in December. See the following links for details under Holidays. Also, batches of greens may be picked up for purchase if you wish to make something special at home, such as a container filled with a mix of evergreens and your own special touches. Batch pick-ups begin the week of December 5th.
Sorry for all the posts this week, but I feel the Claus energy and need to share this workshop as it is the last chance to attend one of my workshops this season until next year.
Workshop is this weekend, Saturday, Dec. 12th, 2015 if you wish to make your own holiday creation with a wonderful mix of greenery including variegated holly, berried eucalyptus, yew, boxwood, juniper, red cedar, fir, coned cedar, and more.
To attend, text/call: 860-977-9473 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost: $37 pp + sales tax
Location: Broad Brook/East Windsor, CT
Included: Greens, mechanics, hooks, and florist picks, etc. There are a few items you will need to bring based on item you elect to make (florist wire for wreath makers).
Options to make are a kissing ball, round or square wreath, candle centerpiece, candy cane wreath, swag, or garland.
Time: 11 am is official start time but if you prefer earlier in the day to have time to do your holiday shopping, please ask. It is doable.
Payment at class, but let us know if planning on attending for head-count. (No credit cards, sorry. Cash/check only.)
Another gardening year has passed quickly. It was filled with lots of plant-loving activity, including garden talks for garden clubs and farmers markets, ‘walk and talk’ home tours of friends’ special gardens, and several classes hosted by guest instructors and Container Crazy Cathy T related to combining nature with art. And along the way, I had many moments of thankfulness.
Now arrives the week of Thanksgiving. A day approaches when we share time with our families to count our blessings – and enjoy home cooked meals. We may say a few words during these events to express our gratitude or a hug may suffice as you welcome your treasured family members and friends to your home and table.
As this fourth Thursday of the month approaches, I reflect upon many opportunities for which I am grateful. Some may seem minor in the scheme of life, but each is something which helped me along my way and thus, here it goes, my “Give Thanks” List:
My, My – What a Beautiful Summer
We were blessed with an amazing summer where almost every weekend provided sun and comfortable temperatures. I know this because I pay attention to the weather forecasts, especially for weekends where garden events are scheduled. And, on every single summer weekend, the weather cooperated for my special events – how lucky am I! Even on the only day when I had my family over for a summer picnic and pool time, well – that day was the warmest of all – it was perfect timing.
There were so many summer weekends when I looked to the skies and said, “Thank God it is beautiful out this weekend!” So, thankfulness prevails for cooperative weather. Hopefully, one more blessing will happen for good weather at my annual holiday evergreens class on December 6th to cap off the year. Please, no big snowstorms.
Supportive Gardening Friends and Family
As I look at the history of growing my small business, many times, it is friends and family members suggesting ideas to help improve processes and my classes. And, it IS mostly friends and family members attending my gardening events. However, each new season brings new faces too – and thus, new gardening friends. One of the best parts of working with plants is communication is almost universal in the gardening world – you don’t need to speak the same language or have the same gardening style to appreciate the beauty of nature and how to bring more of it to your surroundings. Thus, I am very grateful and thankful for all supportive people, new and old, and how they help me along the way. Each and every client is appreciated as well – and many are treasured friends and family members. Thank you for hiring me this gardening season and attending my events.
Healthy Me and Healthy Parents
This year, Thanksgiving Day falls one day before my big 50th birthday. Sure, I have more aches and pains than I did in my 30’s, but I am really thankful there have been no big health problems. Truly a blessing – and good health becomes more important as we get older – the importance of health – not only for ourselves, but for our family members is of the utmost priority in life. And, for those who have struggled with tough health issues this year, I pray they are always getting better and feeling healthy once again. I’m thankful for when those prayers are answered.
As for my parents – gosh, they are elderly, yet both very healthy and still with us – Every single moment I spend with them, I thank God for sharing these two beautiful people with me. And to be spending the upcoming Thanksgiving Day with them warms my heart and soul. They, along with my extended family, are a blessing for which I am grateful – and glad I can continue to have them in our lives to share special moments.
Small House with a Big Yard
The home I share with my husband (he is another blessing in of itself) may be somewhat on the small size, but it is cozy with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. I’m so thankful for the day we were told of this home being for sale, and that we snagged it up over 20 years ago. I’m thankful for a solid roof over our heads, and a large outdoor space we enjoy with our animals, plants, and trees. Years ago, when we stood on our former small 4 by 4 deck to toast the purchase of our new home, we knew it was what we wanted, because it had a big yard – but we had no idea how it would grow into so much pleasure as our personal daily destination – right in our backyard. When we sit to admire our space around us filled with plants and nature – we always think about how thankful we are for our own little place on earth, and how we love to share it with our friends and family.
Chicken Coop Pen at Cathy T’s
Thankful for Likes
One day, my niece told me how happy she was when someone liked her drawing on an artwork related social site, and, I thought to myself, “Do we give too much stock to the “likes, shares, and positive comments” of social media?” But in the end, yes – sometimes it is important. As we share things we are proud of, often helping to inspire others, we are thankful when someone hits like or share. For the followers, sharers, likers in my social world – thank you so much for taking the time to notice and for appreciating my efforts.
The Sun’s Rays upon My Face
Lately, I’ve been taking time to sit in the sunniest place available at my home to face the sun during the mid-afternoons before the sun sets. Especially during winter, this is a much needed therapy activity for me because the winter blues has potential to creep upon us as the days are darker and temperatures are colder.
Each time I feel the sun’s rays upon my face, I give thanks for the sun and all it offers to our world. It is such a powerful force – giving life to us, our plants, and our surroundings. Without the sun, we would have nothing, so thus I say, thank you Sun. You are my Goddess, and I worship you.
Just a quick FYI, I’ve been updating my blog with new menus and sub-menus. Click the links below or visit my blog to take a glimpse. Click on the menu bar to see new drop down menus! They are works in progress and will be updated with more information daily.