4 or 5? More Days To Go!

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There are only 4 (or 5 more days to go if you are super last minute) to go until Christmas Day.

Last night, it actually occurred to me that Christmas is not on the weekend, but on Friday, and that means less time to do my final preparations for my family gathering at my home.

The days will be busy for the next four days, even though I did so much in advance.

Decorating (done!), tables and chairs for my family guests (done!), cleaning (good enough!), gifts (wrapped!), food list (prepared!), and confirming attending family members (all set!).

All I really need to do is get my recipes and meal making in order this week, but I also have last minute customers potentially requiring some fresh greens to dress up their table, maybe a custom wreath to make for a customer to give as a gift, and kissing ball orders to hang, or some beautiful fresh greens for a mantel – or a Container Crazy CT Gift Card to give for those who just don’t know what to get the plant lover in their life.

Gift Card in PPT

To see the details of what I have available – this week only – see the PDF document below:

Visual Report Custom Wreaths and Greens for Sale

So, remember, as you rush around, if you happen to be in my neighborhood of Broad Brook, and need one of the above, feel free to text me at 860-977-9473.

And congrats to the 3 lucky winners (Kelley (Gift Card), Lidia (Mini Greenhouse), and Doreen (Wreath)) of my recent raffles posted on Facebook.

Thanks to all for all the shares, comments, and likes.

Cathy Testa

860-977-9473

containercathy@gmail.com

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Boxwood Ball Custom Made for a Customer

Anchoring Holiday Evergreens in Your Patio Pots

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This morning I read a post about collecting evergreens for container garden decorations, and it reminded me of how I once got yelled at for taking cuttings of wild berried shrubs by a roadside. Long story short, check with homeowners, even if the property looks abandoned or vacant!

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Winter Evergreens Touched by Snow and Ice 

However, seeing the post referenced above, and considering the many times I’ve put fresh evergreen cuttings and stems into patio pots and container gardens this time of year for holiday decorations, I thought I’d share the following quick tips on the how to anchor the stems, cuttings, and branches into your pots or container gardens:

Use Last Year’s Soil

Mentioned many times at my workshops and container gardening classes, leave the soil mix in the pots when you disassemble your containers in the fall season. It makes the perfect anchor for inserting your greens in winter. It is a great way to extend the life of your soil.

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Boil Some Water

If the soil mix in the pot is frozen or a bit hard from a frost the night before, pour very hot (almost boiling water if possible) into the soil or over the top. It will soften it up just enough to insert your greens. This can be a bit of a pain, but it works! This is when the soil was moist prior from rainfall or plants, but if the soil is new or dry, the opposite is needed – If you poured fresh dry mix into a pot, you will want to moisten it because it will freeze later and hold in your newly inserted evergreens and stems very well during the winter months.

Spray Foam or Florist Foam

I have not attempted this idea, but saw it last night when browsing Pinterest – and thought, ‘Hmm, perhaps useful.’ Spray foam (the type used for construction gaps and cracks in walls available in spray cans) was used in a pot to insert stems and branches. A test of this will be done – but my initial reaction was, “Will the foam come out after, so the pot may be reused again next season?”

Another technique is using green florist foam blocks in a pot as the anchor base (the type of foam used to create floral arrangements). However, I find this to be an expensive option, and reusing soil mix from the prior season works just as well.

Custom Order

Weight the Bottom

There have been cases when a very tall and narrow pot has the potential to topple over from winter winds. I happened to have some old weights from a weight set sitting in my garage, so I put a round iron disk 3 or 5 pound weight plate in the base of the pot before filling it with soil. It makes the pot very heavy, but let me tell you – it won’t budge during a winter storm. The same could be done by reusing old bricks or stones in the base, however, you will want to remove them come next season if you use the pot for plants as it may clog the drain holes, but in winter, no problem.

Snowman in Pot by Cathy T

Tiki Stakes

Attach Tiki torch stakes at the base of birch branches, thick stems, or poles and insert into the soil to attach a holiday themed decor on the top of the pole or branch. They are available in places like the big box stores, hardware stores, and online – It really helps to anchor and insert heavier items. (Note: It might be a little harder to find them in stores during the winter – get them during the summer months.)

Cathy T Winter Pot

Pot Types

And last but not least, remember not all pots can remain outside – they must be tough enough or made of material to withstand the winter conditions (e.g., cast iron, double sided pots, wood, hypertufa, tin, metal, or frost free pots). See my Page on Pot Types.

Cathy Testa
http://www.ContainerCrazyCT.com
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Don’t forget – Container Crazy CT has Holiday Gift Cards Available!
Email us today to get your’s in time for the Holidays.

Can Holiday Decorations Soothe the Soul?

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Decor for Evergreens_0007I was on a bit of an unexpected natural high yesterday.  I visited my parents for a couple hours where I could pause and spend some time with them in my day.  My Mom and I took a walk and we talked about holiday activities coming up and discussed other general family stuff.

Both of my parents are extremely supportive of any efforts their children take on, and they know I get excited this time of year because of my Evergreen Creations Class. So we were chatting about that too.

As the sun shined on us, and my Mom and I giggled about some of her jokes, I thought, “This is a moment.” We were in a great mood, it was unexpected to have such a nice day to walk outside this time of year, and I guess, just the general feeling of an overall good spirit was with us.

In fact, when I had arrived to the house, my Mom was listening to a tape of French music sent to her by my Aunt Lucie.  And when I heard my Aunt’s recorded voice over the tape speaking well wishes to my Mom, I almost cried.  It was just so sweet how my Aunt did that for her.  I guess the tape was done awhile ago but I had never heard it before.  Aunt Lucie use to live with us when we were very young.  We thought she was our older sister at first, we were so little.

But shortly after we started walking down the path to the land outback my parents’ home, my Dad arrived on his tractor.  He jumped off and joined us for a stroll. I asked him if he had a recommendation on hearing aids for a friend.  His reply was that there are some on the market that are expensive and don’t work well which is great because he can’t hear Mom.  Ironically, my Mom laughed hysterically at this.  This was a good thing.  All three of us were in sync.

So after visiting them, I went home with a big smile and was on a natural high as I was working on activities for my class on Saturday, but when I went inside the house to my laptop, I received sad news of friends having to attend funerals this weekend. And not just one friend, but four had recent losses in their families.

We also had a tragedy in our town where a car accident occurred on Rt 5 this week. The accident held up traffic for over four hours.  We all read in the newspapers that a life was lost in the accident.  These sad moments make us pause and remind us others go through difficult times during the holidays – and to also remember to cherish every good moment we experience in our own lives, for life can be short.

So one moment, I was happy and the next moment reflecting on sadness of others.  It was almost identical to last year.  I was getting ready to head over to the winter farmers market in Ellington to sell holiday decor.  But suddenly, I heard the news over the television of the Sandy Hook Tragedy.  I couldn’t believe my ears that day last year, and immediately, my happy bubble burst at that very moment.  Feeling sad, I proceeded to the market, but I wondered if I should cancel. It seemed odd to be selling holiday goodies when people were suffering as they heard the sad news of losses, great losses.

At the market, there were many children attending with their parents because it was held in a fitness center building with recreation for kids.  This was an unexpected surprise to me.  I didn’t think there would be so many kids there that evening.  Many kids skipped and jumped over to my table, looking over the holiday items, and there were lots of giggles and smiles.  So at that point, I felt a little relief.  The decor was giving them some happy holiday spirit.  Of course, they were unaware of the tragedy which just occurred that day, but I am sure the parents there were well aware, we all were.

While this post was also unexpected, it just got me thinking, can holiday decorations soothe the soul?  I think yes, it brings cheer, but also remembrance of past and present.  It perhaps brightens your surroundings even if you happen to be sad due to reflecting on someone or something you may be missing at this time of year.

In fact, yesterday, my Dad said, “Mom must be in a good mood, she is decorating a tree this year.” In some recent years, she didn’t feel like dragging out the tree and decorations, but this year is different.

This is good, I thought.  Very good.

Then I told Dad, “I’ll come by with some decorations later.”

Decor for Evergreens_0003Written by Cathy Testa