Plant Fashion Week at the California Spring Trials

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Last week I was invited to attend the display gardens at the California Spring Trials. The California Spring Trials can best be described as Fashion Week for plants: growers put on elaborate displays to present what?s new and notable in their upcoming plant lines. Ball launched the upcoming 2017 innovations in their many brands including and .Ball Spring Trials 2016

I was welcomed at the Ball Spring Trials by the California sun and beautiful pergolas filled with blooms. After a quick orientation and a chance to meet the team, we started the tour of the plants.Ball Spring Trials

At Burpee Seeds I met a truly passionate gardener and foodie who vibrated with excitement over the three new vegetable seed lines and some of the amazing edibles. Admittedly, after I heard about them I was vibrating too! Amazing plants that solve a host of problems for the home vegetable gardener, vegetables created specifically for small spaces AND high yields, plus some delectable edibles designed with the creative foodie in mind. I found so many new varieties that I want to share, so I?ll write more in a follow up post all about what?s new for Burpee for 2017.Burpee Home Gardens Display at Spring Trials

Next, we visited some of the ornamental plants from the BallIngenuity line, first-to-market and high-demand plants from independent suppliers around the world.Rex Begonia

Look for Jurassic Rex Begonias, vibrant Celosia ?Twisted Orange?, and Sweet Kiss strawberries, an ever-bearing strawberry that yields large, dark-red fruit from June until frost. Sweet Kiss has reportedly won blind taste tests for flavor, making it an even sweeter plant choice!Celosia Twisted Orange

A stop at the Cyclamen display gave me some more ideas on how to use Cyclamen in hanging baskets and I learned the proper way to care for them. Tip: they love air! So to keep them blooming, remove all of the spent stems, not just the blooms. Keeping the soil line nice and neat is the best way to keep these air-loving beauties happy.Cycylamen Planters

Next there was a tip toe through the petunias from Selecta, a global horticultural company owned by the Klemm family in Stuttgart, Germany, that brings excellent genetics of vegetatively propagated annuals to the North American market. While I?ve never been overly excited about old-fashioned petunias, these Night Sky Petunia?s speckled blooms stole the show. The colors change based on temperature and, like fingerprints, no two blooms are alike. Hot days and cool nights will turn the flowers white; while a high day and night temperature will turn them purple. From paint-splatter to star-shaped, these petunias have quite the following, just Google them and see!

Petunia Night Sky

In my garden I?m always on the hunt for some great perennials and there were many to be found like the variegated Heliopsis helianthoides ?Sunstruck?, tidy Lavance Deep Purple English Lavender, and UpTick series of Coreopsis, which boasts bigger flowers that bloom longer.heliopsis helianthoides sunstruck

I loved the Rhythmix Perennial Plant combinations, instant gardens for those who are just getting started. Perennials are combined in containers to suit different gardening tastes. With names like Boogie Blues, Fiery Foxtrot, and Cheery Charleston, you can see that these containers are a full of rhythm!Rhythmix Perennials

Those who love hanging baskets would have been blown away at the lush, cascading Cool Wave Pansies and Wave Petunias. Cool Wave
There was a long list of innovations for these beauties, which can best be seen over on the . If you are looking for tried and true annuals for mountains (or waterfalls) of color, the Wave brand is the one you should be looking for in stores. These guys really know their stuff!Yellow Cool Wave

The displays at the Ball Spring Trials were so well done and worth a mention. From Burpee?s Small Garden and Foodie display to living walls, stunning containers, and unique plantings, there was a feast for the eyes.Burpee Home Gardens Small Spaces

The little details like painting the stands under a begonia the same color as the blooms and the elaborate decorative backdrops made it a very enjoyable show to attend.Color Rush I?m grateful to the Ball Horticulture team for inviting me to California to tour the Ball Spring Trials and I can?t wait to get some of those goodies for my home garden!Mix Master Display

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It may be raining day in, day out here in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn?t stop me from with this fun hanging clay planter project. I spent a few dreary afternoons making these air-dry clay planters to display a few of my favorite indoor  and I must say my home is a little more cheery now that these little guys are hanging in my window.DIY Air Dry Clay Planters

This was my first time working with clay (since I was a kid) and I must say that I?m now addicted! This project, though a little time consuming due to drying times, was both simple and fun and would make a great rainy day activity to do with kids or grandkids too.

DIY Aqua Hanging Clay Planter

Materials:

  • Air-dry clay (or oven-bake)
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • X-acto knife
  • Ruler
  • 3? circle cookie cutter
  • Small shape cookie cutters
  • Wooden skewer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Braided chord or string

Make It!

Cover your work surface with parchment paper and roll out the clay to ?? thickness.

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (1)

Using a ruler and x-acto knife, cut clay into a 10? x 3.5? rectangle.

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (2)

Then cut out a 3? circle using a cookie cutter or pint glass.

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (3)

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (4)

Next, roll out some more clay to 1/8? thickness and cut out some small shapes using cookie cutters. You can also cut shapes free-style using an x-acto knife if you wish. Arrange the smaller shapes onto the rectangle piece. Use a little water to wet one side of the shape and press it (wet side down) onto the rectangle (this will help the clay shapes stick to the clay rectangle).

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (5)

Carefully wrap the rectangle around the circle and press the ends together to create the sides of your planter. Then roll out some thin ?snakes? of clay and press one into the inside bottom of the planter (where the walls meet the circle base) as well as where the ends of the rectangle meet to create the sides. Use your fingers to smooth the clay snake into the cracks to create a watertight seal.

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (6)

Use a wooden skewer to poke four evenly spaced holes near the top of the planter. I also added a drainage hole at the bottom. Allow planter to dry completely (at least 24 hours).

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (7)

How to Make Air Dry Clay Hanging Planters Step (8)

Paint the planter with acrylic paints and thread braided chords (or string) through the holes of the planter for easy hanging.

Painting clay planters

Making hanging clay planters

Note: I made my braided chords using embroidery floss and the .

Finished Green DIY Clay Planter

DIY Hanging Clay Planter Blue Moon

Pin it!

Easy and Fun to Make Hanging Clay Planters with Succulents

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