Garnish With Greens: Decorate Your Dinner Table With Plants

herb centerpiece table diy

This spring, bring your dinner table to life. While floral centerpieces make for classic centerpieces, there are lots of fun, creative ways to incorporate plants that are both beautiful and functional. Use them as:

centerpiece plants table

Centerpieces

Whether you’re throwing a small Sunday brunch or a more extravagant event, you can dress it up with beautiful centerpieces made from plants. For a circular or square table, put a larger plant in the middle. (Make sure it’s not so high that you can’t see who is across from you). On a long table, make a row of smaller plants in jars or pots in a row down the middle of the table, like how you might display candles. For a brunch, use simple plant arrangements like our Garden-in-a-Jar herbs or small pots. For more elegant dinner parties, place succulents in glass jars or bowls on the table, or even have them hang from the ceiling.    

plant place setting creative decor diy

Place settings

For a more intimate event, go the extra mile and add a personalized plant in small pots or jars  for each place setting. Affix the guests’ names to a plant label or popsicle stick sticking out of the dirt. Or paint the pots with chalkboard paint and write their name right on the pot. This way, you can erase the names for next time and use them again, and you can also write the names of the plants with chalk. Go one step further and gift it: share the love and send your guests home with their own houseplant. Attach instructions for how to care for their new plant and your guests are on their way to a green thumb and a garden.

 

planter can flower centerpiece diy home decor

Celebration of ingredients

Use the containers from dinner to hold the plants. Reuse old cans and jars from your ingredient lists. If you’re serving something with tomato sauce, use a large can from the crushed tomatoes and put your plant inside for a fun, rustic look. Try the same thing for large jars of salsa or pickles, cans of coffee, and other bulk-sized ingredients. It’s fun to go with the dinner theme and match your meal, plus it’s recycling.

herb centerpiece diy home decor plants

Part of the meal

If you’re serving something that would benefit from being topped with fresh herbs, let guests have a real “garden to table” experience by letting them pick some from your plants. Serving pasta? Your guests can grab some basil to put on top. Hosting taco night? Let them throw some fresh cilantro in. Or, top dessert with some fresh mint. It’s fun to have an interactive meal using the plants on the table.

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Triceratops to Toilets: 7 Awesomely Unexpected DIY Planters

toilet bowl planter gardening creative diy

We love reusing household items (like jars and cans) and turning them into planters.  We found some really creative planters and wanted to share them with you.  From toilet bowls to dinosaur action figures, some gardeners have created some pretty funky places to grow plants.

dinosaur triceratops planter gardening home decor diy
Source: The Plaid Pigeon on Etsy

Dinosaur Planters

Give your old toys new life (literally) by turning them into a planter.  These dinosaur action figures have become a fun way to display air plants and succulents.  

book planter gardening creative diy home decor
Source: buggyandbubba on Etsy

Old Books 

We don’t recommend hacking up your library for gardening’s sake, but old books found at a garage sale or thrift store would work perfectly for this. The hole is shallow so plants with long roots won’t thrive, but a book housing a succulent is a “novel” idea. (Get it?)

toilet bowl creative diy planter gardening
Source: GardenPuzzle

Toilets

A toilet bowl makes a large pot that is large enough to plant flowers.  Your neighbors might usually complain if you stick a toilet bowl as decoration in the front yard, but we think they’ll be a bit more excited if it’s a small garden.   

shoes diy planter gardening home creative
Source: Shelterness

Shoes

This gives a whole new meaning to “leave your shoes outside”.  Small shoes like high heels and sneakers make great succulent holders, while tall shoes like rain boots (that can have draining holes cut into the bottom) are tall enough for larger plans like flowers.

drawer dresser diy gardening planter home
Source: mindbodygreen.com

Old Furniture

Bring your indoor furniture outside and make a whimsical, unexpected garden from items like dressers.  The drawers make small box gardens that can grow taller plants if they are stacked.  Stack different kinds of flowers for a colorful, vertical display.

ingredient container tins gardening planter diy creative home decor reuse
Source: Apartment Therapy

Ingredient Containers 

Put your caffeine addiction on display and grow a plant in your coffee can for your desk. (And remember to use those coffee grounds to grow mushrooms.) Or use any empty ingredient can, from oatmeal, to tomato sauce, to salsa, and grow something new inside of it. It’s fun to grow food in containers that formerly contained ingredients, and these large cans are big enough to grow herbs such as thyme, tarragon, oregano, or rosemary.

gardening diy planter teacup home decor creative
Source: GoMakeMe

 

Teacups

If a teacup gets chipped, the natural inclination is to throw it out. But there’s a way to reuse teacups that have been retired from your cabinet.  These mini planters can sit on side tables, coffee tables, windowsills, and in every corner of your home filled with cacti, moss, or small flowers. Teacup gardens also make a cute gift for birthdays and Mothers Day.  If you don’t have any tea cups, track some down at flea markets.  

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5 Herbs to Grow this Spring

Guest Post by Katherine Oakes of Modernize

We all have the illusory dream of someday planting a lush and thriving herb garden. And even if this isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse—perhaps you have an admittedly black thumb—it is certainly within your reach. Herbs have stood the test of time—they’ve been planted, cultivated, and harvested by farmers for thousands of years only to remain in our gardens, and on our windowsills and our plates today.

There are so many obvious benefits to growing your own herb garden, as well as many fun and unknown facts about their past and where they came from! Other than being delicious in your meals, herbs can also help increase the value of your property by adding curb appeal, something we always love to see.

So to break it down and help you get started, we picked out 5 of the best herbs to start growing, as well as their benefits, and a little bit of history, too.

basil herb garden grow at home spring best

Basil

This well-loved herb has about 30 different varieties that are lesser known than the typical sweet basil you find at stores and in markets. This plant is native to India and travelled over to Europe (Italy) and Asia during the spice trade. A great herb to have on hand for punching up hearty soups and sauces in the colder months, basil grows well indoors, so long as this warm-weather-loving plant doesn’t fall prey to the cold and dry fall and winter seasons. Grow basil for its delicious flavor and versatility in so many dishes, not to mention how pretty and vibrant it can look on the windowsill.

 

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Rosemary

This spindly herb has a distinct piney taste that hails from the Mediterranean coastline. Besides planting rosemary for culinary purposes, this herb can be used for landscaping, too. Due to its sturdy needles and form, rosemary is used for hedges and topiaries as well as great plants to plant on hillsides that threaten erosion or in between stepping stones to prevent movement.

 

 

Lavender

Lavender is known for its soothing and healing aromatherapy properties as essential oils and those cute, stuffed little bags filled with the dried herb. It originated from the hills of the Mediterranean area but is thought to have traveled to England with Romans in ancient times, and now there is estimated to be over 100 varieties. Plant lavender in your outdoor herb garden because it attracts bees and butterflies—the good kind of insects that will help your garden thrive. Lavender is even great when used in recipes like cookies, baked goods, and lemonade to name a few. Plus, you simply can’t beat the beauty of lavender in your yard.

 

Mint

A great reason alone to plant this fast-growing herb is because of how beginner-friendly it is.  It does as well indoors as it does in a garden, without the part where it starts to grow everywhere. So if you are new to this, then mint is a great introduction, as it doesn’t require too much maintenance. Similar to basil, mint comes in many different shapes, forms, and varieties (at least up to 20 kinds) and is also great for cooking. Harvest your mint leaves for tea to cure an upset stomach or muddle it for your mojito!

 

thyme best herbs to grow at home herb garden spring

Thyme

A finicky plant, thyme tends to do better when it is harvested from a fully-grown plant and replanted in a small container. However, don’t let this deter you from growing thyme—like rosemary it can be used to hold up crumbling landscapes while adding some beautiful greenery as well. Plant thyme by mixing it into open spaces in your garden to hold up the structure and offer a wonderful scent as you walk by. It’s also a pretty ancient plant, too, hailing from Egypt and eventually becoming a sacred plant for many uses by Romans and Greeks.

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5 Tips for the Gardening Black Thumbs

KidsGrowPlantsHerbsGardenInACan

We get it — gardening can be intimidating. It’s easy to overwater (or forget to water) your plants, or to start a garden from scratch next to your neighbor’s thriving one. Fear not — with just a few simple tips and a little planning, you and your black thumb will be on your way to growing fresh vegetables and herbs in just a few weeks!

boy kid grow sage plant indoor gardening garden in a can easy

Start Small:

If you’re nervous about turning your yard into a garden without vetting your skills, start small, and start inside.  Container plants that can grow foods such as herbs, mushrooms, and tomatoes can sit on your windowsill in your kitchen, where it’s easier to remember them.  Plus, these can be grown all year, so you can practice in the “off seasons.” Indoor Tip: Not a lot of direct sunlight in your home or apartment? Add a simple grow bulb to one of your lamps to give your plants some extra rays!

CompostFoodWasteGreenEarthBegin a Compost Pile:

Compost feeds your soil and helps provide nutrients to your plants. And luckily, compost is free if you make it yourself.  (Plus, it helps reduce waste.) Start a small compost container in your kitchen next to your trash bin, and collect items such as banana peels, egg shells, vegetable and fruit peels, coffee grounds, and pulp. Learn more about composting here

Be Realistic About Your Space:

If you have a small yard, you can’t grow the same amount as your friends who have farms.  Determine how much space you have and do some research to see how much room the plants you want to grow need. Iowa State University has a great guide for planning your garden space. Tight on space?  Container gardens or small aquaponic systems are a fun and easy alternative.

Know What You Can Actually Grow:

If you live in Maine, it’s going to be hard to grow mangoes. Weather patterns, seasons, and climates impact what grows where. It’s important to know what grows in your neck of the woods by doing some research before you plant. This regional gardening guide is a good start.

basil sunlight grow indoors plant

Pick the Right Spot:

This may sound obvious, but once you’ve planted it’s not easy to relocate so make sure to plant your garden in a place that gets lots of sun. Observe the sunlight in your desired planting area at different times of the day to make sure your spot will actually be getting the recommended number of hours of light.  You should also have healthy, moist, rich soil (this can be aided by your compost or by adding nutrient-rich biochar). If your yard’s soil isn’t ideal for planting, container gardening or a building raised bed is a good idea.  For ease of maintenance, make sure a hose or other water source is easily accessible.

Allow for Some Trial & Error:

Nature may throw some forces your way that you can’t control and may affect the success of your garden (think fruit flies, deer, or frost). Your first crop may not be as perfect as you’d dreamed, but remember that gardening, like many things in life, is a learning process and exercise in patience. (And actually reduces stress if you hang in there!) Enjoy the trials and stick with it—the satisfaction, taste, and health benefits of fresh, homegrown food is worth it!

There is a lot more to know about gardening —explore these resources for more great tips!

Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Videos

Kitchen Gardens International

Home and Garden Television

Buzzfeed’s 23 Diagrams That Make Gardening So Much Easier

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