Tag Archives | Rebecca Sweet

25 Top Holiday Nature Gifts For Kids

With each new piece of research that documents how our childrens’ wellness – physical, emotional, and spiritual, is in sharp decline,  you – as a parent – experience a pang of fear.

 Our kids’ addiction to technology and lack of connection to nature is the major cause of why we have such a preponderance of obesity, depression, ADD, anxiety, and a declining happiness among our youth.

You want to help your kids’ become healthier but feel overwhelmed. Don’t we all?

One easy way to put your ‘toe into the water’  is by buying holiday gifts that will help your kids interact and become more sensitized to nature.

There’s such a plethora of imaginative and classic nature gifts for kids that you’d be hard pressed not to find at least a few for every child in your life.

Here is my list for 2013 of the

25 Top Holiday Nature Gifts For Kids

1. Build A Tree House. I can’t imagine a child -or adult- who wouldn’t be thrilled with this gift. Either bring a design for the tree house or sit with your child and start from scratch. And this spring, set aside weekends to build. What a great opportunity to be in nature and working and creating together.

For incentive on how to build a tree house on a limited budget, check out this article on Huffington Post where a family built one for under $300, and an article from Popular Mechanics.

kid's treenhouse in nature

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Succulent Plant-Pot Pairings

What comes first for you, the plant or the pot? For me it’s usually the pot. When a friend presents me with a special pot, it’s a given that I’ll plant it with succulents. But I don’t always know what will look good in it. So I ask the pot what it wants. I take it to the nursery, and walk the aisles with it, trying on plants. What I look for are  good scale and proportion; repetitions of shapes, colors or patterns; and (sometimes) an element of whimsy.

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Above: This was a gift from potter Don Hunt, whose work I collect, and who sells at San Diego’s Cactus & Succulent Society shows. Dots in the glaze, and the fact that the pot seemed to be asking for a trailing plant, inspired the selection of string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus). I added beads for bling. Continue Reading →

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42 Top Seeds for 2013 ~From Some Favorite Gardeners and Seed Sources

I’m a seed-aholic. No matter how hard I try to control myself, each winter I can’t resist experimenting with new introductions. Oh yes, and I must have another variety of amaranths, nicotianas…or whatever. I convince myself that it’s inexpensive ~ after all, another $2.75 spent on what will surely be dozens of beautiful flowers …and as a steward of my piece of land, it’s important for me to do.

What started as a post on my selection of 15 top seeds for 2013 has grown into a list of the Top 42 Seeds for 2013 from some of my favorite gardeners and seed companies .

MY PICKS

Red Giant Mustard -Dan Benarcik at Chanticleer turned me on to what has become one of my all time favorites.

Red Mustard Leaves at Chanticleer Photo Courtesy of Fran Sorin

Red Giant Mustard at Chanticleer
Photo Courtesy of Fran Sorin

Red giant Mustard at Teapot Garden ~ Chanticleer Photo Courtesy of Fran Sorin

Red Giant Mustard at Teapot Garden ~ Chanticleer
Photo Courtesy of Fran Sorin

Red Mustard Leaves Taken at Chanticleer Photo ~ Fran Sorin

Red Giant Mustard
at Chanticleer
Photo Courtesy of Fran Sorin

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Succulent Extravaganza Recap

See the seahorse? It’s sempervivums planted in vertical panels. This was one of many lovely and unusual sights at the second annual Succulent Extravaganza at Succulent Gardens nursery in Castroville, CA last week.

A terrace at the nursery is planted with Agave ‘Blue Glow’ (foreground) and Agave ‘Blue Flame’ (background). Continue Reading →

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New Sunset Western Garden Book Giveaway

Congratulations to our winners! All have been notified by email:

Paul from Palm Springs, CA, whose favorite plant is Justicia california (chuperosa).

Shirley from San Antonio, TX, whose favorite plant is Texas mountain laurel.

Lise from Bonny Doon, CA, who loves hellebores and antique roses, and who dreams of tomatoes.

Candy from Roseville, CA, whose favorite plant is Echeveria ‘Afterglow’

Elizabeth from Aurora, CO, whose favorite is hummingbird mint (agastache). 

P.S. Because so many of you mentioned succulents in your comments, I’ll be doing a similar giveaway when my next book comes out!

Many thanks to Sunset for the honor of giving away to YOU, dear GGW readers, FIVE copies of the 2012 edition of the New Sunset Western Garden Book.

Sunset‘s up-to-the-minute, 21st-century moxie doesn’t end with their appreciation of garden blogs, bloggers and blog readers. The venerable publishing company also exhibits it in a comprehensive, easier-than-ever-to-use edition of this, THE bible of gardening west of the Rockies.

The new edition has photos of plants, rather than illustrations. Not that the previous color drawings were bad, they were excellent. But kudos to Linda Peters, Sunset’s art director, for tracking down photos representative of every single genus—well over a thousand. I like to think there were huge sighs of relief at Sunset’s offices when I emailed Linda back saying yes, by golly, I DO have a photo of Beschorneria yuccoides in bloom. It appears on page 195, in all its pink-stemmed and floppy glory.

Amazingly, over 500 new species or cultivars were added. I don’t know how they did it, considering this edition weighs about the same as the last. Naturally at first I hoped all were succulents. They’re not, of course, but I do know that more succulents are represented than ever before. “How could there not be?” editor Kathy Brenzel asked me. “The plants have never been so popular.” Amen, sistah! Continue Reading →

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