Author Archives: Avant Garden Decor

About Avant Garden Decor

Avant® Garden is the premier brand of innovative outdoor living décor. From stylish coco planters and baskets, to flower boxes, plant stands, and fire pits – it’s the one stop brand for all outdoor décor needs. Avant® Garden also offers garden helpers, such as garden stakes, accessories, and various plant saucers that meet the demands of both gardening hobbyists and enthusiasts alike.

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ALL ABOUT SQUASH: Squash Varieties

Squash Varieties

Originating in Mexico and Central America, people have been eating squash for more than 7,500 years. Native Americans shared squash seeds in different varieties with European explorers, who then took the new crop back to their lands to grow. Continue reading

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Growing Gourds

‘Tis the season for collections of beautiful pumpkins, squash, and gourds surrounded by overstuffed hay bales and tall corn stalks. Did you know that growing your own gourds is as easy as growing your own tomatoes? We’re here to walk you through the simple process of growing your own and you’ll have them in time to showcase them for fall!

Before you begin planting, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose a location in the garden with full sun
  2. Make sure your soil is rich and well drained. Check out our composting tips to get your soil packed with nutrients!
  3. Place stakes in your garden for the gourds to grow on. They appreciate having their fruits off the ground.

Time to plant:

  1. Gourds grow best when planted directly from seed. You’ll want to group about four seeds and plant them 1-2 inches deep in the soil. Space these little groups about 5 feet apart to form a row. If you want to plant multiple rows, space the rows about 6-8 feet apart.
  2. When leaves begin to develop you will want to thin the seedlings to about 2 or 3 in each group.
  3. Gourd plants can end up overtaking your garden, so employing stakes such as Gardener’s Blue Ribbon Ultomato Tomato Stakes helps to keep the plants from spreading throughout the garden bed and grow vertically.
  4. Keep plants watered according to the seed package you used. Squash plants will need more water than usual during periods of dry and hot weather.
  5. Protect bug infestation on your gourds by keeping an all-purpose insect killer handy, like Safer® Brand End ALL Insect Killer. You will be able to kill bugs on contact before they take over your plants.
  6. Harvest gourds when they are hard to the touch and have developed their color. Small gourds tend to dry and preserve better than large gourds.

Get creative:

Gourds, like other vine plants, are awesome for growing on stakes, trellises, fences, and other tall supports. Check out the photos below to see how some people used outdoor spaces to grow gourds!

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/237213105345006596/

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/237213105345006596/ 

http://pinterest.com/pin/226446687486558231/

http://pinterest.com/pin/226446687486558231/

Herbed Macaroni and Cheese

Herbed Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 pound macaroni (regular or whole grain)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • About 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chives, cut into small bits
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided

Continue reading

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Great Holiday Gifts from AvantGardenDecor.com

Do you have an outdoor entertainer or gardener on your holiday shopping list? With the holiday season moving quickly we thought we’d give you a hand and tip you off to ten great gift options. Check ‘em out!

CobraCo® Embossed Leaf Copper Hose Holder – The CobraCo® Embossed Leaf Hose Holder with Copper Finish decoratively holds a garden hose up to 150 feet in length. Drain holes are situated at the base of the holder to prevent leftover water from making a mess. Embossed leaf design and powder-coated copper finish.

CobraCo® Canterbury Basket Plant Stand - The CobraCo® Canterbury Basket Plant Stand has three curved legs to give it sturdy support.  It comes in an all-metal textured black finish and includes a coco liner.

CobraCo® Diamond Mesh Fire Pit and Bench Set – This all-inclusive set features a sturdy CobraCo® fire pit with a 39” black, steel-meshed bowl with an attractive diamond pattern. This fire pit has a convenient 5” wide table edge, and is seated on pit base with integrated air flow risers that maximize airflow to your fire.

CobraCo® Plant Sitter® Water System - The CobraCo® Plant Sitter® Water System is an automatic watering system that provides a healthy well-balanced diet of water & fertilizer for your plants. The CobraCo® Plant Sitter® provides drip irrigation for a houseplant up to 3 weeks, so it’s ideal for when you are away from home on vacation.

Gardener’s Blue Ribbon® Rolling Plant Caddy - Gardener’s Blue Ribbon® Rolling Plant Caddies are sturdy, durable and so easy to use! With four heavy-duty castors, they give strong support when you move heavy potted and container garden plants, while they protect your carpet, rugs, and floors.

Stocking Stuffers:

CobraCo® Ceramic Watering Sensors – The CobraCo® Ceramic Watering Sensors provides automatic watering of house plants.  The sensors come in a 3-pack and will work with any container of waters.  The drip time is approximately 6 to 10 hours per water sensor.  Keep your plants at the proper moisture level with these ceramic water sensors.

Gardener’s Blue Ribbon® 12″ Cork Mats – Twin Pack – Gardener’s Blue Ribbon® Cork Mats prevent surface stains and scratches on your furniture, counters, and floors. These tough, durable cork mats have so many uses in your home.

Safer® Brand Sticky Whitefly Trap – The Safer® Brand Sticky Whitefly Trap is ideal for use in the home or garden. This trap offers an economical and convenient solution to the annoyances of whiteflies, aphids, thrips, leaf miners, gnats and fruit flies.  This natural pest control product is fully disposable.

Gardener’s Blue Ribbon® Sturdy Vine Supports – Twin Pack – Gardener’s Blue Ribbon®sturdy vine supports are perfect for training and supporting all of your climbing vines. The kit contains 25 6” plastic-coated wire twists, 16 plastic discs and a tube of adhesive.

CobraCo® Fire Pit Chef’s Kit - Make cooking dinner a fun, family activity on your CobraCo® Fire Pit with the CobraCo® Fire Pit Chef’s Kit. This kit includes two 36” galvanized steel CobraCo® S’Mores Forks, that will allow you and your family to easily cook food on your Fire Pit from a comfortable distance.

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Plant of the Month: Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum)

Commonly known as a mum, the Chrysanthemum is a hardy plant has become the standard fall flower for many gardeners in cooler climates. The mum’s ability to be winter-hardy in zones 5 and up, and, with a little extra care, in zone 4, makes it a very versatile and reliable addition to any garden. However, make sure to plant your mums in the spring to ensure that they are well-established, in order to have them survive the winter. Mums even work well in container gardening!

Mums typically are anywhere from 2-4 feet high, and are available in a large variety of different colors. Choose blooms in bright reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and pinks! Exhibition varieties of chrysanthemums can also be found in a variety of different flower types as well, but these may not be has hardy as the the non-exhibition type, so be sure to read your label to check zone hardiness. Make sure and dead head these as well so that you can enjoy a healthy plant.

Do you have any experience with mums in  your outdoor living space?

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Fall Flower Boxes

Enhance your fall outdoor decorating and extend your gardening season with fall flower boxes and hanging planters.

The first brisk fall evenings crash through summer’s warmth and abruptly awaken our senses to the season’s arrival. It seems like one day we are enjoying long days and cookouts, and the next day it’s football and early morning frost. Those crisp nights also tend to foretell the end of our gardening season.

Fall mumsThe thought of all your hard work disappearing steadily with each falling leaf, though inevitable, is a disappointing end to the summer. So don’t let it be the end of your garden season! Take back the fall with your flower boxes and hanging baskets, because they are a great way to extend your gardening season past Halloween and even continue to have garden color into Thanksgiving. Once your summer annuals are done blooming, its time to start to research some plants and flowers that will last a little longer in your hardiness zone. Don’t forget that there are some plants that will look great in your flower boxes even after the first frosts, and will provide color late into the year.  Less hardy plants start to wither up and die and your garden starts to turn brown.

Chrysanthemums, or mums, are a very common and colorful fall flower. There are many different variety’s available to today’s gardener, including some very hard plants that can be perennials all the way in to Zone 5! Mums also make excellent container plants, and will work superbly for a flower box. Select 2-3 different colors to provide a nice, diverse showing. If you prefer, use a palette of fall colors like orange, yellow, and dark-red. They match up superbly with your traditional Halloween and Thanksgiving decorating.

Pansies

Pansies are an excellent way to add some vibrant color to your fall flower boxes. While pansies are not hardy enough to last as perennials in winter zones, they thrive in the cooler weather that fall provides, with some varieties even being able to survive light snow. The incredible color variety that is available with pansies make them a great option for filling in empty spaces in your flower boxes or hanging baskets.

Ornamental cabbages and kales provide nice leafy centerpieces to build your fall flower boxes and hanging baskets around. There are a handful of different varieties, all with different shapes and sizes. As the weather gets colder the color in the center of these plants become brighter and really provide a nice base of color for fall flower boxes and hanging baskets.

Don’t let fall be the end of your beautiful gardens. With a little research, and a little extra care, you can have flower boxes and hanging baskets that will extend your growing season, and give your outdoor decorating an extra touch of color and beauty at a time of the year when most people have given up.

designinggardens

Designing Gardens for Small Spaces

Designing on an angle tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger by creating an illusion, while setting your area around straight lines is seen immediately by the eye.

A small garden is seen as much larger when set-up diagonally because the hypotenuse is the longest distance between opposite corners. A diagonal design will draw attention and intrigue. In addition to these benefits, you will also have much more space for plants!

Here are a few great less-expensive ideas on how to slant your garden without having to rebuild your small outdoor space!

• The floor – gouge a plain old concrete slab by using a saw cutter to create a decorative diamond pattern, or overlay the cement with tiles.

Slant everything – slant every element in your small space to the angle or direction in which you choose to slant your design too. Walkways, structures, and flower beds.

• Square things up – use square and rectangular planters to outline seating areas. This will further emphasize your slant work.

• Go up – plant taller shrubs to make the eye look upwards. This will also help to create some seclusion by forming a ‘green wall.’

• Use stripes – get a rug with a striping effect and then place it on a 45 degree angle. Align your furniture on the same slant to maximize the effect.

• Deep space or corners – lighten up or draw attention to deep corners by incorporating a focal point such as a fountain, or large trellis covered with plants.

• Heat things up – use a fire pit to create some night- time glow and to go along with your slant appeal.

Get some great décor items for your new small space design at
avantgardendecor.com!

Get more ideas on everything from plants to outdoor entertaining at
avantgardendecor.com learning center.     See More Articles »

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Backyard Entertaining for Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is right around the corner… the perfect end-of-summer, beginning-of-fall weather for campfires!  Perhaps you have been traveling all summer long and are ready for an extended weekend at home without any travel plans!  Here are a few tips and ideas for getting the most use out of your backyard this weekend:

1.  Incorporate a Fire Pit in your Backyard

Relatively inexpensive and easy to move around, a fire pit or fire ring can bring an extra element of excitement to your backyard, bringing friends and family together without all of the technology and toys you may be used to throughout the day.
Shop Fire Pits

2.  Use your Backyard for Family Camping

Family camping can be one of the best ways for families to bond while having fun in the backyard. Pitch a tent, light a fire in a fire pit or campfire ring, and enjoy some treats under the stars before bed.
More Camping Ideas
Expert Camping Tips
Backyard Camping FAQs

3.  Have Dinner (and Dessert!) in your Backyard

Instead of the typical family dinner indoors, take your meal time outside!  Try a new recipe on the grill, and get the kids involved with dessert by making S’mores!
Grilling Out FAQs
Expert Tips on How to Make S’mores

Still need some more inspiration?

Check out these two blog posts from blogger GOODeness Gracious who recently used an Avant Garden Decor Fire Pit for some family fun!

GOODeness Gracious: Ring of Fire
GOODeness Gracious: The Great Marshmallow Debate

What are your plans for this Labor Day weekend?
Will you be spending time outdoors around a campfire, perhaps?

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Maintain Plant Moisture with Ice Cubes

With this squelching hot weather, it’s natural to want to hibernate away indoors with air conditioning or lounge in cooler, shaded areas… but what about your plants? Finding it tough to keep up with watering your container gardens in this heat or keeping your plants from drying out too quickly?  Try adding ice cubes!

Adding several ice cubes to the base of your plants will allow your hanging baskets or container gardens to be watered slowly, as the ice melts into the soil.  This nifty little trick helps to keep you from overwatering your plants and allows the soil to retain moisture over a period of time.  Plants don’t like to be shocked by the cold, though, so be careful to keep the ice away from the actual plant, just resting on top of the soil.  It is important to pay attention to your plants when you first start watering with ice cubes, to know how many pieces of ice to use per plant, being cautious to not overwater them when all of the ice melts.

If you are looking for a more long-term solution to maintain a proper routine of watering your plants while you are at work all day, or plan to leave town for a few days on vacation, check out our CobraCo® Plant Sitters for your plants! The CobraCo® plant sitter system provides a healthy-well balanced diet of water and fertilizer for your plants. With busy work schedules, family activities, vacations and business trips, life can get rather hectic. That doesn’t mean your plants have to wither from infrequent attention… take advantage of today’s innovative plant sitter systems. Plant sitters take the guesswork out of nourishing plants, giving you one less thing to worry about. The ceramic plant moisture sensors fit inside virtually any planter and irrigate plants for up to 2 weeks from our 1-quart reservoir (duration depends on plant size).  No more wilting plants with brown edges from under watering and no more oddly light-colored leaves from too much water; just healthy, happy plants!

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Eggplants: Grow ‘Em, Cook ‘Em, Eat ‘Em!

These plump, often purple, veggies are believed to have originated in India and are known for their meaty texture. They are used throughout the world in various dishes from China, to Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Oddly enough, folks here in the U.S. and Europe once thought they were poisonous plants belonging to the nightshade family (Solanacae). Thank goodness they were wrong!

Eggplant seedlings can be difficult to start, but you do have a larger variety to choose from. If you’d like to buy a transplant, you’ll need a spot with at least 6-8 hours of warm sunshine. Transplant eggplants at a temperature of at least 70 degrees F during the day, and at least 45 degrees at night.

Fertilize your soil well and plant them 2 feet apart. Water them weekly. Remember to mulch the surrounding area properly to prevent weeds, and to maintain soil temperature.

Once eggplants begin to grow and mature you will need to stake the plants or cage them for added support and proper growth.

Beware of beetles, common pests of eggplants – fabric row covers can help with this issue. Spraying the plants with water in the morning can help with mites and aphids, or you can try an organic insecticidal soap.

What eggplant variety should I grow in a container or in a smaller urban area? Try ‘Hansel’ and ‘Gretel’ – these varieties are perfect for smaller spaces. For common, western varieties, try ‘Black Beauty’ or ‘Florida High Bush.’

Have fun and happy gardening!