Snow -Go Away! I want Spring!

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Happy Friday Everyone,

Well – there it is – snow – ugh! After yesterday and Tuesday’s beautifully sunny days, I don’t want snow.

I’m in spring mode already – I have been offering demonstrations on Microgreens this week, setting up my display items at a new venue (BOOK CLUB) in South Windsor – and ordering and planning all for Container Crazy CT’s upcoming workshops.

It is never a totally easy process as one may think. There are lots of steps involved, but so far – all is good. We are ready for you.

So for today – here are upcoming highlights:

FREE PRESENTATION – TOMORROW

To kick off my showcases at the relocated bookstore, BOOK CLUB Bookstore & More, I am offering a FREE presentation tomorrow, Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

This presentation is about “Six Design Tips for Container Gardens” – and it is a slide type presentation which covers tips on how to design large and lush container gardens.

If you struggle with this aspect of your patio pots and want to learn some great tips – come on by. These tips will help you – and the first 10 or so people to arrive receive a free plant catalog.

Following the presentation, browse the bookstore’s offerings and Container Crazy CT’s showcases of Plant Gifts, Succulents, Terrariums, Wall Art, etc.

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BOTANICAL LIVING WALL ART

Speaking of wall art – This workshop is coming up. Registrations are still open but we are nearing the time when we need your confirmations. If you clicked ‘going’ on the EVENTS pages, please click CONFIRM to reserve your seat and items.

This workshop is being offered on two dates. First one is March, 11, Saturday at my Broad Brook, CT location and the 2nd session is March 22, Wednesday at the BOOK CLUB’s South Windsor location (869 Sullivan Avenue in the United Bank plaza).

For the Newbies interested, pre-registration with confirmed payment is required. Be sure to read our guidelines on WORKSHOPSCT.com. Due to a limited number of seats and plants – if you want in – now is the time to confirm.

Greater Hartford womens Conf Microgreens Demo by C Testa

GREATER HARTFORD WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

The conference has invited me to speak on March 28th at 10:30 am. It is an all day conference at Maneeley’s, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor and registration is required.

My topic will be on Micro-greens – and Starter Kits will be available for purchase or order following my demonstration.

Again, my session is being held from 10:30 am to 11: 15 pm. There are many speakers and topics at this conference – a very well-known event packed with information geared towards a theme of, “Focusing on Energy in Your Life.”

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MICRO-GREENS DEMO AT BOOK CLUB

If you can not make the session above, I will be offering my demonstration again on Friday, March 31st at 5:30 pm. Pre-registration is recommended. Fee is $10 to attend. Again, you have the option to purchase Starter Kits following the demonstration.

Everyone loves trying it out after they learn how to grow Micro-greens easily. It is a perfect “wellness” topic – because micro-greens (and sprouts) are packed with nutrition. I highlight this aspect as well at the demonstrations.

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TERRARIUMS IN APRIL

As noted on WorkshopsCT.com, terrariums are on the list of topics – and perfectly timed for showcasing them at your home for the Easter weekend! But Easter is not the only theme you may use, there are many. We plan to have slow growing plants and succulents for this workshop.

Dates are: April 8th at Book Club, and April 12 at Container Crazy CT’s location in Broad Brook, CT.

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EARTH DAY

In honor of Earth Day, I’m offering my second free presentation at Book Club on April 22nd, Saturday at 12:00 noon. It will be on the “5 Must Do’s for Container Gardening Growth Success.”

If you are new to container gardening or have had issues with your patio pots in the past and don’t know why your plants don’t thrive – this session is very beneficial. We hope you will join us.

GRAND OPENING

The Book Club Bookstore is holding a Grand Opening on April 29th. Check out their Facebook page or bookclubct.com for details. Author appearances are in store (literally). And what is even more exciting, is the authors on this date are local South Windsor Authors.

The bookstore has a wonderful selection of new and pre-owned books, and the owner, Cynde Acanto, is very helpful and knowledgeable. I’m in awe of her book knowledge and I have a feeling I am going to be learning so much there from her customers too. My head has been stuck in gardening books so much, but now I’m learning about so many genres. The store has many gardening and plant books too.

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PLANT GIFT CHANGE OUTS

As for my showcases there as a permanent vendor, I plan to “change out” plants regularly – so as you come by for a visit, bear in mind, it will be ever-changing for each season. Expect to see a variety of plants, and creative ideas on how to use them. Special orders may be requested. Grab a pamphlet to learn more while there.

MY HOURS

My regular hours at the store are 10 am to 6 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. – and of course, I am still operating out of my Broad Brook location every day of the week.

Address again:

BOOK CLUB Bookstore & More
869 Sullivan Avenue, Ste. 6
South Windsor, CT 06074
(860) 432-7411
http://www.bookclubct.com
Pre-Owned & New Books – Author Appearances
Book Discussions – Gifts & Cards

Now, snow – please Go Away. I don’t have time for you…

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

 

 

 

Planning for the Unexpected

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This week was kicked off by a sensational Super Bowl game, which I know not from watching it but from reading all the excited posts about the game the very next day on Facebook.

Because I am not a sport’s fanatic, I didn’t stay up to watch the game, but it was very entertaining and inspiring seeing all the comments on Monday morning from friends’ posts, which spurred my interest for sure.

Fortunately, we had recorded the game before going to bed on Super Bowl Sunday.

I have to admit, my motivation for recording the game was to see what Lady Gaga would do for her performance, but Steve also wanted to view the game the next day after work.

Due to all the hoopla on Facebook, we both were anxious to see the final seconds in particular as soon as Steve got home from work Monday evening.

As we were viewing it, however, an unexpected prompt appeared right before the last 3 minutes on our TV recording system indicating we ran out of recording time.

ACK! How did that happen?

The game went into over time and I guess that is why. You can’t imagine how disappointed we were.

What a bummer.

That rule of “what can go wrong, will go wrong” occurred in that moment, and I’m sure we will never record something without considering the over time factor ever again.

I decided to start this blog post with the fact we experienced an after-game excitement, but then a bit of let down, but no matter, the whole event was fun regardless, and we moved on, learned from it, and said well, better planning next time.

This year, I believe, will be filled with excitement at Container Crazy CT because I am offering more new workshops. And lots of “planning” is involved.

My workshops have already begun for 2017 and many plans are underway for more and new ones – from ordering plants, posting updates, letting everyone know what is coming up, and more. There are many steps involved, you can’t imagine. And in the gardening world, factors like climate, plant availability, changes in season – are out of our control, but we do our best to look ahead and consider the unexpected’s.

My workshop offerings start off with this weekend’s, for our second annual “Flower Arranging Workshop” – and all seats sold out. I’m thankful the big snowstorm coming Thursday is before Saturday when we will have a great day learning about floral design and succulents in floral arrangements. But we do plan ahead and have snow plows always ready and a backup date “if” it a big storm was to occur on our schedule dates.

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The next workshop up is my “Botanical Living Wall Art” workshop, which I’m even more excited about and have all planned out – Hopefully no surprises will occur at the last 3 minutes – but we adjust – as we always have, which is often the case in the gardening world. This a new workshop with a living plant and custom made canvas board. The creativity will be happening in this event because there are many opportunities to do so.

Following the March “Botanical Living Wall Art” workshop – being offered two times, one session in Broad Brook and the other in South Windsor, we will have a building “Terrarium Bowls“, and of course, my annual “Container Gardening Workshop” is being held in May again on several dates in Broad Brook, Vernon, and South Windsor.

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To learn more about all of them – and to plan ahead, please visit:

www.WorkshopsCT.com

Be sure to stop by so you don’t run into overtime and miss the excitement or opportunity to be part of it – like Steve and I did with the game. Seats are limited in some sessions so pre-registering early is recommended.

Hope to see you there,

Cathy Testa
860-977-9743 (texts are welcome)
containercathy@gmail.com

Container Crazy CT’s blog is all about combining nature with art, plants, and workshops.

Terrariums for Mother’s Day

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OK, I’m just gonna say it – This week’s weather was crapola! 10 degrees below normal, low clouds ALL week, cool, damp, raw, and wet. We are so looking forward to when the sun comes out to play – which is hopefully today.

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Terrariums for Mother’s Day

Today, from 10 am to noon, I will be offering terrariums for sale at Book Club Bookstore & More for Mother’s Day. When you consider this week’s weather, this actually turns out to be an excellent gift option for Moms because it is too cold to put some plants outside right now. It makes a wonderful centerpiece and is easy to care for – requiring very little watering, and with the unique decor of colorful barn animals, I think they came out just adorable.

Colorful Bunny in a Terrarium

Colorful Bunny in a Terrarium

Each one is layered like a cake with pea-sized gravel for drainage, activated horticulture charcoal to help improve drainage and keep the soil healthy, and well draining soil. Added are slow release prills to feed the plants for months, and of course the adorable, colorful animals as this go-around’s theme. I really enjoyed assembling them for this Pop-Up Event today.

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While in New Orleans for vacation, I spotted colorful wooden hand-painted animals at the French Market held on Sundays in the Quarter. I had to pick out a few with my terrariums in mind. They are so colorful and pop next to the mini-sized plants in the glass terrariums of different sizes – but note, supplies are limited, so if you would like one, come in to see us today at
100 Main Street, Broad Brook, CT 06016.

I’m happy the bookstore invited me again, as well as some other artsy vendors to participate – it is a fun way to spend the morning. There will be candles, other wine related art (can’t wait to see what it is), adult coloring books, and a featured author, etc. It may look like a small bookstore but it is packed with great books and I think I’ll bring a terrarium book along with me to show folks interested in this information.

Cute Cow in a Terrarium

Cute Cow in a Terrarium

Tulips

Last fall, I decided to plant 50 tulip bulbs in to my large cement planter which is a planter I like to do different things with and try out plants. They are purple (tall) and pink (short). They popped up before I went to NOLA and I thought, “Ooh darn! I hope I don’t miss the blooms.”

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Well, there are things I didn’t realize about tulips because I haven’t really planted them before to be honest – they last a LONG time, they enjoy the cool weather (which we had all week), and they close a bit every evening. I am IN LOVE with them.

They pop color from so many views (from my bathroom window, when I exit my basement, when I’m in the yard and can see them from a distance). They have been the sunshine during this cloudy week – the color is so vivid.

The only downfall was the darn squirrels. One day, I saw them with their heads buried into the soil and I yelled, “Hey GET AWAY from my tulips!! Arrr!”

To help reduce their munching visits, I scatted some hot pepper on the soil and that kept them away for a little while anyways. Next year, chicken wire will be laid over them to avoid that scenario, cause now I’m hooked. By the way, I dump my left over soil from the prior year’s container gardens into this cement planter – this why you see perlite in it, etc.

Go Local Magazine

It is finally issued and out in local stores – and friends have been spotting it. I’d like to thank Go Local for featuring me and other local artisans and small business owners. It was great meeting them and having their writer visit before I took off to New Orleans for the Jazz Fest weekend.

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Also, I want to point out – We made an error on the photos of me – The wrong photographer is noted. It was Karen Ladany of Debut Camera Co. who took the pro photos of me on my deck and by my red table shown in the magazine. I think my rush before vacation with lots of emails back and forth, and sharing several photographer’s work, caused an email mix up with the publisher and we both feel badly about that. Other photos in the issue were taken by their photographer as well.

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Debut Camera Co.

Karen’s photography style is one I absolutely love. She captured up-close flowers and the essence of many of my container gardens in a way is hard for me to describe, but my eyes see it. I have some of her photos on my www.WORKSHOPSCTS.com blog site as well – She took photos of my flowers, planters, containers, and even a wild turkey that decided to quickly strut by us as we were doing the photo shoot that day – and it was the hottest day of that summer. We were sweating but she was getting ready to move, and so I had to grab her services before she took off. She’s excellent.

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Enjoy Your Mother’s Day!!!

Cathy Testa

860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

“All About Container Gardening and Combining Nature with Art”

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CT Flower and Garden Show – Spoiler Alert

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Good Morning Everyone,

I’m sharing some of my iPhone quick pics from yesterday’s visit to the CT Flower and Garden Show in Hartford, CT.

But fair warning – If you are the type that doesn’t want to see anything revealed before you attend, this is your spoiler alert!

What I found that was different this year:

  • Some “new” booths/vendors – New faces, antiques, roses, coir, etc. It was nice to see new vendors and visit with them. Especially friendly was Helen at Yoga Unfettered (she may do a workshop for me this year), Valerie at Garden Guardians (amazing head face pots – love them and was very tempted to buy another as I have purchased her pots before), Sam at FibreDust showing coir as a potting soil (I will be showcasing this product at my workshops and discussing them at my garden talks.)
  • Enhanced food court sitting area – Nicely organized with a long bar area, couches, more tables for sitting and relaxing (located by the landscape display areas). It is larger this year, well situated, and relaxing between walking the show floor. Just be careful, if you sit on one of the cozy couches, you may not want to get back up.
  • Rearranged vendor spots– While its helpful to be able to locate your favorite vendors in their usual locations on the show floor, there were some vendors located in new spots which made it feel changed up a bit to me. I liked that.

Show Location:

Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT 06103

phone: 860-249-6000
fax: 860-249-6161

Show Hours:

Runs thru Sunday, Feb 21st. Opens at 10 am each day. Tip: Go early, parking in the garage tends to fill up quickly.

Photo Highlights:

In the back row area – Always enjoy the display by Snug Habor – lots of small hand-made hypertufa pots – adorable, small and unique items.

Plant sales by University of CT (left). If you didn’t know, they sell plants from their greenhouses on North Eagleville Road in Storrs by the campus. The photos on the right are from an area at the show on the back right beyond the landscape displays. They have tons of flowering plants and all in full color right now – I believe this is a group of growers that put these out for sale. All healthy.

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If you like staghorn ferns – wow – look at this show stopper – was in the back area by Snug Harbor’s booth. Beautiful and tempting.

Over in the far left area is the floral and plant competition space. Look at these amazing cacti and the shoe! There were pieces of significance and really enjoyed browsing this area. Be sure to check out the jewelry pieces made with seeds, plant parts, and earthy finds.

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Because of my passion for patio pots and container gardens, I especially enjoyed this piece of art – LOVE how the creator inserted a small pot of a dripping down spiller style plant.

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In fact I spotted this plant in the back area in hanging baskets – what are they called again? I’m having a blank moment, but they are adorable, beaded like plants and fun to use in container gardens – as noted above.

Globes, globes, globes are everywhere. Almost every plant related booth had some. They are hot – hot – hot this year and the admiration of these seems to be growing every year. These above are from Natureworks (middle photo) with the adorable bird’s nest with eggs, and Balleck’s on the left and right. We especially liked the thick glass container (left photo) from Balleck’s – a little different, thicker, heavier.

If you are looking for color – it is not in short supply at the flower show. Art and beautiful plants show them off – just look at this moss basket by Balleck’s – Wow, I “almost” purchased that one – it is popping with oranges and yellows.

And I probably shouldn’t have – but I got some of these yummy cookies by Savor. The ladies standing next to me purchasing some told me they enjoy these cookies and return every year to buy some more. They are a small sized cookie which justifies the guilt of eating the extra calories.

And that is all I will post today – as I don’t want to spoil it for you. You should head there today or this weekend. We are lucky this year – no snow to deal with and the sun is shining today. Go check it out – you will enjoy the show.

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

P.S. Lots more photos on my Instagram feed.