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Posts from the ‘Gardens & Outdoors’ Category

Adirondack Chairs ~ The Generation Line

We have been lounging on our eco-fabulous Adirondack chairs by C.R. Plastic Products every day possible this spring.  These ergonomically designed chairs are as comfortable as they are stylish.  The Generation Line is plastic, but not the flimsy, lightweight, stackable chairs that are seen on most decks.  They have reinvented the classic wood Adirondack chair into a green product crafting it with solid “plastic lumber” that will last for decades.  Of course this just isn’t any plastic being used, it is unwanted material that is destined for a landfill, but instead being recycled into a sturdy plastic.  This also means that the end-user doesn’t have to worry about splitting, cracking, rotting, or peeling wood that the elements would have on traditional Adirondack chairs.

You can choose from an array of 15 different designer colors and you don’t have to worry about them cracking, peeling, rotting, or splitting.   We chose the gorgeous bright orange that is not only my favorite hue, but it pops against the green garden.  It was easy to assemble with two people and the You Tube video the company posted to assist makes it even more simple.

C.R. Plastic Products has been creating beautiful, functional designs from recycled  plastics since 1994. Their eco-friendly operation has expanded from a small family business to selling their eco-friendly products worldwide. Creating new goods made from recycled materials helps to conserve finite resources and lessen our waste.  As we, at Living Aware, have advocated to our faithful readers, if we all purchase recycled products we all keep the green cycle turning.   We are elated that C.R. Plastic Products shares our same ideals.  We appreciate their quality, hand-crafted, maintenance free, durable, environmentally friendly products and their chic, classic design.  If you’re in the market for outdoor furniture, this is the place to go.

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The French Laundry Garden ~ Yountville, CA

Napa Valley attracts visitors year round for the spectacular vineyards and wine tastings. A must-see that may not be on everyone’s radar, but should be, is the very large and impressive garden for the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant. The garden is directly across from Thomas Keller’s establishment and is open to the public. The farm has everything from herbs to strawberries to chickens and brings ‘farm to table’ to a level above the rest. The garden is gorgeous and will inspire the most novice to start growing their own edibles.

Weed Remover ~ Fiskars

20120513-122352.jpgWe are elated to have found the perfect weed remover for our yard. The Fiskars Weed Remover makes it so easy to pull weeds from the lawn  without the use of harmful and toxic pesticides. The stainless steel claws do an amazing job of pulling the entire plant with the root to ensure they don’t pop back up in the future. There is no bending over or kneeling with this light, easy to use garden tool. I did my entire yard barefoot in less than 10 minutes! This is the best $38 you can spend for keeping your lawn looking great without harming the environment.

A ‘Green’ Potted Garden

As many of you know, I prepped and planted several vegetable and herb pots this past weekend to prepare for our first small edible garden.  I picked up our organic veggies and herbs from Swansons Nursery and  planted them in dark,  nutritious 100% natural compost and potting soil from Cedar Grove.   Over the past couple days I have been admiring them getting stronger and established in their new home.  It makes me smile every time I see our new container garden.  I hope everyone decides to grow an edibles this year, even if it is just a small pot of basil in the kitchen window.  Here are some tips for getting your own potted garden started.

  • To get started we reused terra-cotta pots that were going to be thrown out of a building downtown for our containers.  Shop Goodwill, Habitat of HumanityEarthWise, or any other second-hand yard store.
  • First, if your pots don’t have holes on the bottom you will need to drill holes with a power drill so the water can drain and the plant roots won’t rot. 
  • Then scrub them with Full Circle’s Grunge Buster scrub brush and an ecofriendly, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner like,  BioKleen.  This removes any pests and disease from the pots so your plants start off healthy.
  • Fill  each pot halfway with Cedar Grove’s nutrient rich compost.  This will help retain moisture  in your container so the plants don’t dry out.  Some gardeners add a bit of organic perlite to their mixture, however we chose not to and kept it simple. 
  • Next organize your organic herbs and veggies from Swansons Nurseryinto groups based on their needs for sunlight, water, as well as texture.  The goal is to make sure that you have like with like so all the plants that need sun are in pots with other plants that need sun.  I also like my pots to look as great as they taste.  By adding different colors, textures in leaves, and heights it will make your pots visually interesting too.
    • Tip:  Always buy the smallest plant available at the nursery, they are often drastically cheaper and grow quickly.  Afterall, the goal is to watch them grow.
  • Start planting each pot spacing them according to the directions on the tab and fill in around the roots with Cedar Grove’s 100% natural potting soil. 
  • Water your fabulous new potted garden to help the roots start establishing in their new home.
  • Lastly, enjoy the “fruits” of your labor.

Herbs ~ Lesley Bremness

Dk Handbook: Herbs (Dk Handbooks)Herbs, by Lesley Bremness came highly recommended by a very knowledgable gardener as the bible of not only herbs, but spices too.  Purchase it new or used on Amazon or request a hold on this gardening tool from your local library to explore the 700 herbs it touches on.

Mowing the Lawn ~ Fiskars

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, plants are blooming and your lawn is out of control!  On my afternoon runs I can smell the fresh-cut grass on every block and you know spring has arrived.  With that being said, here are some tips for saving time and money on keeping  the lawn up to par with your Stepford neighbor.  First, make sure you are using a Fiskars reel mower or if that doesn’t work with your pocketbook you can check out Amazon, Craigslist or Goodwill for one that has been gently used and looking for a new home.  I personally refuse to buy anything Scotts because of their association with RoundUp, but that is me.  With Fiskars reel mower you never have to worry about refilling the gas tank, you are without the nasty fumes, the incredibly loud annoying noise and it allows you to grasscycle easily. 

If you aren’t familiar with grasscycling it simply means leaving your clippings on the lawn to break down and nourish your soil.  This will improve your lawns rooting depth, provide resistance against drought and disease and provides free fertilizer.  This means you will save money on water, fertilizer, gas, and time to have the clippings dragged and bagged on the curb.  Don’t worry studies have shown that grassscycling doesn’t cause thatch; mowing too high, over watering and over fertilizing does (gag, not ecofriendly at all).

If you have an electric mower or heaven forbid a gas mower you can still be green and grasscycle your lawn easily by leaving the bag off the mower.  When the clippings drop the earthworms in your yard will recycle them.  Remember to mow the lawn when the grass is dry and keep the mower blades sharp.  You will notice that you will be watering less and using less organic fertilizer with this method.

 

Composting ~ The Office

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to composting at the office is that no one composts soiled napkins.  Kitchens and kitchenettes are stocked with paper towels (that are hopefully made with recycled content) and are wasted like water.  Too add injury to insult they are then thrown in the garbage, GASP!  People after you wipe up your coffee spill or the mess you made making your bagel put your paper towels in the COMPOST!  If you don’t already have an existing compost program please start one today!  It saves money from operating expenses and it is great for the environment.  Remember it is Earth Month, celebrate the planet we live on and find more tips and products on how to be green here, by Living Aware.

Outdoor Living ~ Pottery Barn

If you must buy new furniture for your outdoor space this year, after exhausting every post on Craigslist.org and every secondhand store, consider the Chesapeake Collection at Pottery Barn.  Their sectional is made out of solid eucalyptus wood that has been FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified  and rustproof stainless steel hardware that is a must for the outdoors.  The box cushions are constructed from water repellant polyester and come in several colors that are sold separately.  We love this piece for its ecofriendly wood and sleek, simple, and timeless design.  

Price for a 6-Piece Sectional $2,799

Native Plants for the NW Garden ~ Swansons Nursery

For those of you in Seattle tomorrow, Swanson’s is hosting a Native Plants for the NW Garden seminar.  The classes are free and fill up fast so get there early if you’re interested.  Here are the details from their website.

Sunday, March 25th, 11am – 12pm
Native Plants for the NW Garden
Join Alex LaVilla, Swansons Perennial Buyer, as he discusses the exceptional ornamental and habitat producing qualities of the most popular native trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers for the Pacific Northwest.


Tips For a Healthy Yard

Below are tips I have collected and use for my home and buildings to create a healthy, safe, and natural environment.

  • Go Natural:  Use compost to augment your soil and fertilize your plants. There are many types of compost available and some cities or counties offer their own products. If you must, use slow release organic fertilizer in late September and/or early May.
  • Plant a Tree: Increase the number of trees to help intercept rainwater.  Check with your City Arborist or Parks Dept. about tree give aways during their dormant season.  It will save some money and help beautify your yard.
  • Let the Rain Soak In:  Slow storm water runoff by directing downspout into lawns, beds or rain gardens.  For drier climates use a rain catchment system to reduce runoff and save your plants.
  • Build Healthy Soil:  Supplement your soil with mulch, compost and other all-natural soil amendments. Healthy soils lead to robust plants that are more resistant to disease and insect problems, which means you’ll not need harmful herbicides and pesticides.
  • Clean Up Troublemakers: Remove diseased plants and compost the dead ones.
  • Refuse Chemical Sprays: Try traps, barriers, fabric row covers and repellants instead of harmful pesticides.
  • Plant Right for Your Site: Select pest-resistant plants and put them in soil mixture and sun conditions they like. Consult a garden expert for advice on the right plant for your conditions.
  • Water Smart: Water deeply and infrequently. Most plants do best if the soil partially dries out between watering. One inch a week is the rule of thumb.
  • Test Automatic Sprinklers: Test, repair and adjust your sprinklers annually, and install a rain shut-off device.
  • Get the Neighborhood Involved:  Instead of spending money on harmful pesticides see if a local teenager needs a summer job weeding or mowing lawns, with parental permission of course.