Hot Day, Sweating, Tired – But Still Smiling

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Cathy Testa on a Hot Summer Day; Photo by DebutCinematic

Cathy Testa on a Hot Summer Day; Photo by DebutCinematic

This photo of me was taken on one of the hottest summer mornings this year.

Karen of Debut Cinematic Life Style Photography arrived very early, but even so, it was already hot and humid as the sun was rising that day.

We had no choice but to pick this day because my schedule was packed and Karen’s was too – plus, she was about to move to another state the very next day!

When I showed the photos to Steve, my husband, he asked, “Why do you look so tired in this photo?”

I guess this is true, and I had to laugh when he made that comment.  And although I do look a little tired, I still love this photo – the reason for looking tired was the combination of the heat and the fact my schedule keeps moving in the hort world.  It’s all good, but sometimes keeping up leads to some wear and tear on the face and body.

My planting season was filled with activity – from holding garden talks in early May through the end of this season, and continuing into February of 2015.

It was also the year when the first “Big Container Garden Party Class” was held at Cathy T’s location in Broad Brook, CT.

And, I also invited special guest speakers to hold classes, such as Rhonda Niles of Gardening Inspirations, and Jim for the upcoming class by Jim of Ancient Gardens Hypertufa on October 4th.  Reminders for this class have been emailed to attendees – don’t forget you need to get a small plastic pot for this class, but there’s still plenty of time for that.

In addition, we kicked off the first year of the Garden Walk and Talk Events at hosts’ homes – Thank you again, Louise for your Urban Veggie Garden tour, and Rhonda for your Pondering Ponds, and Lisa for the Sunny Hill Side Garden.  More tours are already on the schedule for 2015.

Finally, the big cap off of the summer was the designing and installing of container gardens for a very special outdoor wedding event.  A total of fifteen pots were assembled, delivered, positioned, and featured for the day. Phew – I get tired just thinking about how much running around I did – but I smiled throughout it all – yes, every minute – because it is my passion.

In the background of the above photo, you see some of the container gardens created and maintained for the wedding event.  The plants were in the beginning stages of growth and had a way to go when this photo was taken.  To see more of the container gardens created, check back in here again on this blog.

A Hypertufa Round Pot with Hens and Chicks

A Hypertufa Round Pot with Hens and Chicks

In the meantime, next on the agenda is the Hypertufa Making Class on Saturday, October 4th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  The class is already full but we have a waiting list, if interested.  Jim of Ancient Hypertufa Gardens is an expert at making these earthy pots.  I’m thrilled he will be our next guest speaker as part of the Container Crazy Cathy T Class Series.

Blue was the Theme this Season

Blue was the Theme this Season

I’m not exactly sure how this happens – but every year, a theme seems to naturally evolve – and this year, it was all about blues.  Here you see another photo Karen of Debut Cinematic took for me.  The blue cloth is from Rockland, Maine – a wrap I purchased and adore.  I added it to the table to dress up the scene before her photo shoot.

The blue hand-blown wine glasses are from a place in Vermont.  They are so beautiful, I treated myself to a pair – and added them to the table too.

Also displayed is the miniature garden, which I created during Gardening Inspirations’ class on Miniature Dreamscapes by Rhonda Niles, held here in the early summer. And lastly, I recycled a baby chicken feeder to hold some Hens and Chickens plants.  Why? Just because it was fun.

The color blue also appeared on my list by way of the wedding client.  The bride specifically requested cobalt blue in her container gardens, preferably in the flowers, along with whites and lime greens.  How was this achieved, well – more will be posted on that later.

Time to hit the road to my new TRX exercise class – which was also a new item on my 2014 agenda – and this core building class has helped me get stronger, making the constant lifting and bending to work on containers and pots for my projects a bit easier.

Oh also – coming up, an Advance Master Gardening class.  To see more, check out the Cathy T Classes menu above, click to locate drop-down menus with all the details.

Cathy Testa

Minis and Markets – This Weekend in East Windsor, CT

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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


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