Search Terms – A Look at Last Week’s


I thought it would be fun to share some of the search terms which were received last week on Container Crazy CT’s blog. Search terms are words or phrases people use on search engines like Google to find posts on my blog. The terms are not visible to the general public but can be seen via stats and such on the blog’s background pages by the blog owner only. I would never reveal anything private and luckily all of the searches are directly related to plants and, as you can see, decorating for the holidays which is appropriate for this time of year.

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People are definitely searching for holiday decorating ideas, and many are asking about how to use mesh ribbon. Then there are the plant related searches, and last week, people were looking for information on Kalanchoe ‘Fantastic’ and Petasites japonicus, for example.

Some were looking for information on gardening techniques, such as “how to dismantle a garden” or “where to find Gingko trees in Connecticut” and information about “overwintering plants in the basement.”

Hopefully, they found what they were looking for, but if not, I thought I’d add some additional information here on some of their specific search terms:

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The “mesh ribbon” search

As you can see, many folks are looking for information and ideas on how to use mesh ribbon.

Mesh ribbon has become super popular for its ease of use in the decorating world. It can be used to make a big, puffy, large show on a variety of crafting projects. With a couple of twists and turns, mesh ribbon makes quite the festive creation as it is added to wreaths, arches, and anything you can think of. I love using it.

I think the only downfall with mesh ribbon is when exposed to sunlight over a long period of time it fades. Otherwise, it is perfect and reusable each year so it doesn’t get wasted or tossed out – it can be disassembled as easily as it can be assembled and stores well in boxes after the holiday season is over.

Mesh ribbon comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and can be found practically anywhere. It comes in every color imaginable. I’ve used it on the Fourth of July, Halloween, St. Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day – it is easily attached to container gardens to add some bling.

4th of July Succulents ContainerCrazyCT_0001

One person searched the question on “if you can cut mesh ribbon?” And yes, you certainly can but be sure to use a very sharp pair of scissors.

For assembly to wreaths, I use zip ties to gather and pinch sections of the mesh ribbon together or you may use green florist wire. You may see how I did this on the following posts:

Three Easy Ways to Use Mesh Ribbon

This post above has been viewed quite a lot this month. People new to mesh ribbons are searching on how to use it, how to attach it, and looking for creative ideas.

You should also check out how I use zip ties to attach mesh ribbon to various crafting projects. Remember to use green or a dark colored zip tie so it doesn’t show between your decor, etc.

Using Zip Ties to Attach Mesh Ribbon

This post shows how I attached the ribbon on wreaths and other holiday decorative items. I find gathering it in spaces between each puff is easily attached when using zip ties. They are so handy on crafting projects and I attempted to show what I mean in the post above.

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The “overwintering plants in basement” search

I hope the person looking for this information was able to locate it on my blog because I’ve written and spoken about how to store tender tropical plants many times, but I think maybe the general nature of the search term words used implied they may be looking for what is needed in a basement to keep your plants there over the winter?

For starters, most basements are dark with very little natural light, so for plants that go dormant naturally in pots, a basement is a well suited location to move your plants in the winter. Canna and Colocasia (elephant ear plants) may be allowed to go dormant in their pots, and may be moved to the basement if your basement is frost free, stays cool, and you have some space to put them.

If you have plants which require a period of dormancy in order to bloom, along with some darkness and reduced watering, such as Clivia (which comes to mind because a nurseryman gave me one recently) or Amaryllis (Hippeastrum species) which is sold around this time of year and forced into bloom in time for the holidays, the basement is a good place to place them for their resting/dormancy period.

In addition, some bulbs, corms, tubers store well in dark, dry areas of the basement. It is important to note some underground storage organs like conditions a bit on the damp side, while others like it dry. Look up your type of storage organ (Dahlias, Canna, etc.) for which you are storing in the basement to determine which they like – dry and dark, or damp and dark.

By the way, Amaryllis do not technically require a resting period in order to bloom, but to control the blooming, many people will bring the plant inside after the summer season and store them in the basement. The plant should not be watered, as is with the case of Clivia, for a period of time before you bring it back out into a warm sunlight area in your home. So basements are perfect for plants like these two examples.

Basements typically remain cool but do not go below freezing which is another reason why they are so handy for plant storage. I put my boxed up Canna rhizomes by the basement door corner area on shelves and they seem to like this spot best (the sweet spot). Also, if you heat your home with a woodstove which is located in the basement, this can make the basement too warm for storing conditions, so bare this in mind. Or keep the boxed up underground storage organs far away from where your woodstove is located.

In the fall, I showed my workshop attendees exactly where I stored my boxed up storage organs so they got a feel of what I mean – each home is different, so you need to determine what you have and work with that (such as a cool basement, a cool closet or room in the home that is not heated fully in winter, a sunroom that is not heated, maybe your garage, garden shed, etc.). They need to be a place where it does not go below frost but is not too warm for growth.


The “how to winter a maurelli abyssinian banana” search

Oh gosh, I hope the person searching this topic found what they were looking for on my blog because I’ve documented the steps I’ve used which have been successful for many years on storing the Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ plant (red banana). Here are the links where you may find this information:

Storing My Big Red Banana Plant

This post above has the step by step process with photos. Storing takes place in late October or early November.

Overwintering Red Banana Plants

Red Banana Plant Revived Again

What should I do with my Container Gardens and Patio Pots?

In the fall season, workshops on the ‘how to’s’ are offered in my area of East Windsor, Connecticut. Each steps is demonstrated and step-by-steps workshop handouts are provided, especially useful for the attendees of my May Container Garden Workshops as a follow-up when the season comes to a close.

Plant Searches

It was interesting that Kalanchoe ‘Fantastic’ showed up twice in the same week. I’ll have to look around to see if the nurseries are offering it right now – This could be why there has been an interest in learning more about this plant known as a paddle plant. This variety has a fantastic coloring pattern to it of light green, creamy off white, and pink. Maybe folks are seeking it out because it is so pretty inside the home, and this plant makes a nice houseplant because of its look, easy care, and light watering routines, especially this time of year in winter.

Other plant searches were on Petasites japonicus, which is one I’ve written about due to its huge round leaves which are very showy in container gardens, and by the way, it can be overwintered in a shed. I’ve done it many times by moving the pot with a Petasites in it into the unheated shed before winter with success. This is a perfect plant for container gardens because they are a nuisance in the ground – aggressive spreaders. So in containers they are contained and controlled, plus their tough nature makes them easy to overwinter – they make it in an unheated shed every year. See Troublemakers Turned Stars post for more about aggressive plants which are stars in containers and patio pots.

The other plant searched for was a Salix (willow) which I don’t believe I’ve written extensively about on this blog – looks like it is time to do.

Of course, as I mentioned above, I would not share any searches which seemed private in nature. There was one odd one, and let’s just say, I’m glad it was not about me! It had the words: Crazy + Cathy. I’m crazy alright but only crazy about plants, container gardens, art, and of course – holiday décor this time of year. It is time to deck the halls…

Enjoy your week everyone,

Cathy Testa

The Complete Search List from Last Week as typed by the searcher:

  • How to transport a tree in a pickup
  • Salix purpurea ssp. Lambertiana
  • Cans recycle garden
  • How to use mesh ribbon
  • Meshribbonrubanemaille
  • Dismantling a garden
  • Christmas decorating with mesh ribbon
  • Kalanchoe thyrsiflora fantastic
  • Can you cut mesh ribbon
  • Uses for buffalo snow
  • Christmas mailbox swags
  • How to assemble a fresh herb wreath
  • How to decorate with mesh
  • How to decorate a Christmas wreath
  • Instead of a traditional Christmas wreath
  • Overwintering plants in basement
  • How to make barbed wire wreaths
  • Fantastic kalanchoe
  • How to winter a maurelli abysinnian banana
  • Decorating with mesh
  • Nurseries in CT that sell ginko trees
  • Petasites japonicas
  • 20 facts about the coneflowers
  • What is the herbal plant that can cure
  • Decorating with wide ribbon
  • Petasites japonicas

Using Zip Ties to attach Deco Mesh Ribbon to your Decorating Projects


Mesh ribbon is incredibly easy to use and attach to your mechanics by using zip ties (a.k.a., cable ties).  You can use pipe cleaners (as an alternative) instead of the zip ties, but zip ties secure the ribbon tightly at each puff or bunch, which makes the pulling and tucking more efficient as you work to create your design for a wreath or swag.

The zip ties also work well for attaching ornaments because they slide easily into the ornament hooks.  The size you want to get is at least a 3-4″ length for the zip ties, or you can go longer, and just cut the tail ends off at the end of your project.

Zip ties will last for years, where I think pipe cleaners can wear a bit over time.  And if you want to take apart your project later (for whatever reason), zip ties are easily cut with sharp scissors or pruners.

PROJECT No. 1: Wreath with Candy Cane Mesh Ribbon:

  1. 13″ Round Wreath
  2. Zip Ties (3-4″ lengths, white colored)
  3. Deco Mesh Ribbon (rolls usually come in 20″ widths and apprx. 20-30 ft.)
  4. Sharp scissors or pruners
  5. Ornaments (3 red holiday ornaments used with a snowman head for this project)
  6. Another type of ribbon if you want to add more to the design

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The key here is to bunch the starting end of your ribbon by gathering it, and then using a zip tie to secure it to the wreath.  In this first step, you want the bunched starting end to be “tightly” secured to your wreath frame.  Pull the zip tie closed and then move down the ribbon to gather your next attachment point.

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Bunch the starting end first tightly.  Then grab another zip tie and attach it to your wreath frame.  When selecting your zip ties, consider the color of your ribbon.  Since this is a white and red, I used white zip ties so they won’t show.

Decor Mesh Ribbon_0003At regular equal length intervals (about 4 or 6″ apart), gather your next bunch.  You do not need to cut the ribbon at any point as you are working from your roll.  But what is key, is as you move to the next zip tie, do not tighten it as you did with the starting point.  Attach the gathered end in you hand to the wreath with the zip tie.

Attach it, but do not fully tighten the zip tie closed – because you may want to slide other items under the zip ties when decorating with embellishments later.

Decor Mesh Ribbon_0005The photo on the left shows the front of the wreath.  As you move around the wreath frame, equally spacing each bunch and gathering with a zip tie, remember to finish off with leaving “tails” for the bottom of the wreath.

The photo on the right above shows the back side.  Do not cut off the zip tie tail ends until you have completely finished adding additional decorations.

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I decided to grab a finer ribbon to add a little softness of white.  As you can see, just slide the ribbon through the loose zip ties.  This ribbon was a little difficult because it kept catching and snagging on the mesh ribbon, but I managed to get it done all the way around the wreath.

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Next was adding some bright red ornaments and a snowman head I picked up from a craft store.  Use a zip tie to connect 2 of the red ornaments together, then attach the 3rd ornament to the two.  The reason to do them this way is if you bunch all three with one zip tie, and then tighten, it can pull apart the ornament hook.  It fits better when you put two ornaments together with one zip tie, then add the third to your bunch.  Grab another zip tie and attach it to your wreath at the base.  The snowman head was attached by using a zip tie to attach the tip of his hat to the wreath.  After all done adding your preferred decor, go around to tighten every zip tie and cut off the tail ends of them.

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Decor Mesh Ribbon_0007Much more could be added to this wreath to bling it up or add more whimsy, but I decided to just keep it like this for now.

PROJECT NO. 2:  Swag with Big Bow using Mesh Ribbon

Next was creating a bow with a stick swag, using 3 zip ties and one piece of the deco mesh ribbon at about 3 ft. length. You can literally use any kind of stick, vine, or metal mechanics to attach mesh ribbon easily.  The product is pliable, bunchy, and showy.  I still haven’t figured out how to fix the frayed ends where the ribbon is cut, but I saw recently that using a lit candle to lightly burn the ends of a ribbon may help this problem – this is to be tested later.  I will let you know how it works, but I imagine you have to be super careful – mesh ribbon product is flammable.

Decor Mesh Ribbon_0009This is the stick swag I decided to use to attempt a bow creation with the mesh ribbon.

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Basically I did a big puff first, smaller one in the center, and then big puff again.  It came out rather “who-vill-ish” and I wasn’t sure if I liked it – but my husband said he did, thus it got hung up on the wall in the same room with my other candy caned themed items.  When start to feel crafty again, I may add more bling to these but this is how I started them.

P.S.  You don’t need a 30 ft roll of this material to do these two projects, but I guarantee, you will end up using the rest of the roll as you learn to create with the mesh ribbon.  Give it a try!  For more ideas, click HERE.

Decor Mesh Ribbon_0012Cathy Testa