Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I thought that, with all you crazy love bugs out there getting ready to pop the big question, a post about wedding florals might come in handy real soon.

© 6 of Four Photography

I did the florals for this stunning wedding at Lake Burton last July. With the hot, hot heat of summer all around, the white, cream, and champagne color palette could not have been more refreshing.

© 6 of Four Photography

I just love how the greenery looks extra lush against the light and airy backdrop it provides.

© www.haleysheffield.com_0071

And just look at that classic table setting! Who doesn’t love Royal Crown Derby Blue Aves?

Weddings, though wonderful, can also be extremely stressful. However, deciding what and how and where to arrange your florals doesn’t have to be. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you plan and prepare florals for your big day:

1. Pick Your Palette – Work with 2-3 primary colors, playing off each one.

© 6 of Four Photography

2. Plan Your Placement – During a wedding, especially the reception, guests tend to gravitate to certain “hot spots.” These are the areas you want to highlight the most. When choosing where to place arrangements also consider what will look best in photos. After all, photos are how you will remember your special day.

© 6 of Four Photography

3. Repurpose Your Bouquets – After the ceremony is over, your bridesmaids are going to want to free up their hands for all of the eating and dancing and toasting that’s about to go down. Don’t let those beautiful bouquets go to waste, though! They transition perfectly into tabletop bouquets during the reception, and they always look great around the cake table or near the food.

© 6 of Four Photography

4. Choose Your Florals – Hydrangeas are my go-to suggestion for wedding florals because they cover more space–and look great doing it!

© 6 of Four Photography

5. Surprise Your Guests – There is nothing sadder than a dumpster full flowers. Trust me, there isn’t. At the end of the night, surprise your guests by giving your arrangements away instead. Use zip ties to keep smaller arrangements together throughout the day.

Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to sharing more tips for wedding day florals with you all very soon. A huge thanks to the Patterson’s for allowing me to surround them with beautiful flowers on their wedding day.

Photos: 6 of Four Photography

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As promised, here is another quick and easy solution for your holiday decor. If you thought the citrus topiary was a cinch, just wait until you see what I have planned for the day of love. I know what you’re probably thinking, ‘Valentine’s Day is today! I don’t have time to decorate now. What’s the point?’ I am here to tell you that you do have time and that the point is to celebrate those you love. It just so happens that I have the perfect plan for some last-minute decor.

All you need to do first is find a nandina bush…

Quick and Easy Plant Decor: Love Letter Topiaries  by Carmen Johnston Gardens

So,where do you find nandina berries? Just get in your car and drive around. I happened upon these beauties in a Walmart parking lot. Finders, keepers. (Tip: Always be on the look out for berries and blooms wherever you go. You never know when free foliage will fall into your lap!)

Quick and Easy Plant Decor: Love Letter Topiaries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Simply insert the berries into the base of your plant to create a skirt of vibrant color.

Quick and Easy Plant Decor: Love Letter Topiaries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

For a touch of whimsy, I borrowed these little love birds from my kitchen. (Tip: Before buying anything new, always look around your house first.)

Quick and Easy Plant Decor: Love Letter Topiaries by Carmen Johnston Gardens

After dressing your topiary up in it’s Valentine’s Day best, put it on a tray with some sweet treats for your guests. This popsicle display was a total happy accident. The popsicles looked extra sweet in the shape of X’s and so I added some heart-shaped candy to keep them in place. It was super easy and incredibly cheap. Finally, to turn this display into a station for writing love letters, simply put out some blank stationary and let the sentimental feelings fly!


P.S. Don’t toss out those nandina berries just yet! Hang onto them and stay tuned for more DIY decorating solutions soon.

Container: The Home Depot
Tray: Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart
Valentine’s Day Cards: Anthropologie

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

If there is one gardening staple that I think everyone should have it is the ivy topiary. I have had mine for a few years now and no matter how hard I try–for instance, forgetting to water them in the summer heat–they simply refuse to die.

I have two topiaries, one on each side of the sink in my potting shed. Every now and then, I like to take them out and dress them up for a party. These plants are perfect for any last minute decorating you need to do. You don’t even have to purchase anything new! With a trained eye–or, a little help from me–you will be surprised at what you can find around the house to decorate your topiary with for an instant centerpiece.

I want 2015 to be all about inspiration and innovation. No more spending way too much money on decorations that you only use once a year. Starting with today’s post, I will be sharing easy decorating tips for every occasion. The holiday seasons are busy enough without having to worry about how to decorate your home. With that being said, it gives me great joy to introduce you all to the 5-minute centerpiece… citrus topiaries!

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

I can’t think of a better way to begin the year than with a colorful ring of citrus fruit! Everything is still so dreary outside, which is why God created citrus for this time of year. The bright colors bring instant happiness to anyone who sees them.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

We had a lot of citrus left over from the holidays and I thought, why not? So, I sliced them up and created a citrus skirt around the base of my topiary. To keep some of the citrus in place, I simply used bamboo skewers.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Who says we can’t live like the French? This citrus topiary is basically like having a little Versailles Orangerie all to yourself.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Warm up your winter decor with these simple ivy and citrus topiaries.  Carmen Johnston Gardens shares just how to created this quick and easy plant decor.

Don’t let all that citrus go to waste! Once your guests are gone, have a little after party for yourself. Slice up some fruit and make a Mixed Citrus Liqueur or some Citrus-Infused Vodka, Gin, and Tequila for later.

Mixed Citrus Liqueur

You can purchase your own topiaries online at The Garden Gates right now.

Quick and Easy Plant Decor: The 5-Minute Centerpiece  10

My topiaries in the potting shed where they stay for the majority of the year.

If you are looking forward to warmer weather… I just know you will also like this simple centerpiece idea

Simple Centerpiece Idea

This post is for those of you out there who love to give and receive beautiful things and thoughtful gifts. I can’t wait to share with you eight of my very favorite gift ideas for Valentine’s Day. The Green Thumb Gal’s Guide is back and you won’t want to miss these fabulous ideas!

The Green Thumb Girl is back with her top gift ideas for Valentine's Day.  You won't want to miss these fabulous ideas from Carmen Johnston Gardens!

1. This Custom Floral Heart Print by Rifle Paper Co. will make your special someone’s heart skip a beat. A personalized gift like this is as creative as it is thoughtful. This would also make a great gift for any newlyweds you might know.

2. Give your gal something sweet that she can feel good about. Justin’s peanut butter cups are made with all natural ingredients. If she doesn’t like milk chocolate, Justin’s peanut butter cups come in dark chocolate and white chocolate too!

3. Show the ladies in your life how much you appreciate their hard work. This Caldrea Hand Balm is great for soothing hardworking hands. There are a ton of great scents to choose from!

4. Maybe you’re not known as Mr. Romance, maybe the right words don’t always come out at the right time. If so, “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda may be just the gift for you to give this year. You can personalize it by looking through the poems beforehand and marking any pages that make you think of your special gal.

5. Nothing sweeps a woman off her feet quite like a little help around the house. These “You cook, I’ll Clean” dishtowels at Anthropologie are every gal’s dream. But don’t forget your half of the deal! As far as this gift is concerned, it is NOT just the thought that counts. Those dishes aren’t going to clean themselves!

6. If you know of someone who really appreciates handmade jewelry, this Adobe Spike + Daphnes necklace by 31 Bits is just the gift for them. Every piece of jewelry is handmade in Uganda and the beads are all made from recycled paper. How cool is that?

7. A gal can never have too many mugs! This Cactus What You Preach Mug from Modcloth will make a great addition to your sweetheart’s growing collection. Throw in some of her favorite tea and her heart is yours forever!

8. Don’t bore your lady to death with a dozen roses. Be original and give her this Forget-Me-Not Garden in a Bag from Shop Terrain. This is a great gift for any gal, green thumb or not!

Looking for more inspiration for Valentine’s Day? Plan an Indoor Valentine’s Day Picnic!

Take A Chance With Romance.Still028

You simply must check out this sweet video, too!


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I have been so blessed in my business, but one of my favorite things about getting to do what I do is meeting all of the fun individuals along the way. Today I am especially thankful for Amy Norton who I met last summer at the Southern Living Idea House. I was beyond excited when Amy asked for my help in sharing 5 simple steps for hosting an alfresco dinner party on Style Blue Print today. If you aren’t familiar with alfresco dining or Style Blue Print, I suggest you head over there now and get acquainted with both.

Here is a sneak peak!


photography by Sara Monty alfresco 2br0011

Amy, thanks again for having me as your guest today! It has been an absolute pleasure. Happy summer dining, everyone! Make the most of this wonderful weather while it lasts.

My childhood was full of great memories of my dad. Not only was he an amazing chef, making the most incredible meals for our family, but he also took great pride in making our lawn look its very best. During the summer, we would go spend the day at the pool, but not my dad. He would stay home and spend hours working in the yard, cutting the grass and trimming the shrubs. He was extremely frugal and all about taking the natural approach to aerating our yard. Every year my dad would order a box of worms for us to scatter throughout the yard. Our garage became some sort of smelly, scientific lab where he would make his own organic lawn supplies. It was a huge, hot mess! Once the yard work was done, he would immediately start making dinner on the grill. He worked a lot so the fact that he would spend his days off making sure we had a nice yard to come home to meant the world to us. When we got back home from the pool, we would eat dinner out on the deck overlooking the impeccable-looking lawn.

My memories may be completely different from that of your own dad. Maybe your dad worked long hours in an office to help pay for your education or extracurricular activities. Your dad might have been the one staying home, washing your clothes, and yelling at you to make your bed. But aren’t all dads great in a similar way? They all teach us about hard work and they show us how make sacrifices for those we love. One of the greatest gifts my dad ever gave my sister and myself was our work ethic. That’s why once a year we like to shower him with gifts that, hopefully, remind him that he too deserves to be happy, to enjoy himself, and to have a life that he absolutely loves. Here are 6 gift ideas inspired by my own dad.




















How does that one saying go, Come on in, the water’s fine? Well, the spring sun is shining and all I can think to say is, Come on out, the weather’s fine! I am the kind of girl who loves to celebrate any and every occasion year round, but there is just something about the sweet season of spring that deserves a celebration all of its own. How does one celebrate spring, you ask? With a fabulous patio party, of course! While fresh air and warm weather lay a great foundation for your spring celebration, there are a few other must-haves that will make for the perfect patio party.

1. The Perfect Pitchers – While the warm weather does feel nice, you will definitely need something to help keep your cool. Whether it’s fruit infused water or an Arnold Palmer with a twist, you will need a pitcher that puts the “fun” in functional in order to serve your guests.

2. The Perfect Playlist – Mood music is also a must! And with one of these stylish, portable record players you can dance the night away to any decade. New or old, anything can be found on vinyl nowadays, from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours to Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience.

3. The Perfect Posture – Comfortable seating is key! Make sure your guest can sit back and relax while soaking up the sun. The more reclined, the better!

4. The Perfect Pop of Color – Part of what makes spring so fun is all the bright bursts of color! Make your patio pop with a couple of colorful accent pillows.

Easter is such a fun, family-friendly holiday that I look forward to every year. It has recently occurred to me, however, that Easter is a holiday that is all about the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching kids search the yard for the eggs they worked so hard to paint the night before; I love seeing their faces light up when they crack open a plastic egg filled with candy or a five dollar bill; I love the funny photos of children sitting in a giant bunnies lap—I love it all and it all makes for a great time spent with family and friends.

I truly appreciate the fact that parents work so hard trying to make this holiday a memorable experience for their kids every year—planning egg hunts, scheduling a visit to see the Easter Bunny, and picking out or arranging the perfect Easter basket for their little ones. While some parents continue to make these baskets for their children through college, the loving tradition eventually stops. But I don’t believe it has to!

If you are anything like me, you love giving gifts on any and every occasion. I think that Easter is another great excuse to show your loved-ones a little extra love. I have come up with a few ideas for creating alternative Easter “baskets” for some grown-up gals—the homebody, the beach goer, the frequent shopper, and, of course, the gardener. These “baskets” are created with a specific person in mind and are personalized to meet their specific interests.


Sources | Canvas basket: Anthropologie; Tazo Tea: Available at Starbucks; Tea Cup: Anthropologie; Cashmere Socks: J.Crew

Beach Goer

Sources | Beach Bag: Sole Society; Sunglasses: Bonlook; Burt’s Bees: Available at Target; Water Bottle: Target

Frequent Shopper

Sources | Canvas Tote: Alphabet Bags; Coin Purse Wallet: Target; “What Would Audrey Do?” by Pamela Keogh: Modcloth; Infinity Scarf: Forever 21; Essie Nail Polish: Available at Target


Sources | Garden Trug: Shop Terrain; Straw Hat: Forever 21; The Flower Recipe Book: Available at The Paris Market (Online)

If you have a different grown-up gal in mind—an artist, a chef, a stay-at-home mom—you can create your own alternative Easter “basket” just for them.

Here’s the basic formula:

Bag + Beauty + Book + Bite

  1. The grown-up gal doesn’t want some cheap, pastel basket that will end up in the attic, or worse, the trash. Give her something she can use again like a stylish tote or a garden trug.
  2. Also, the grown-up gal likes to look her best no matter what the occasion, whether she’s at home on the sofa or soaking up sun at the beach. A comfy pair of socks or a new pair of shades is exactly what she needs.
  3. While not all gals are book lovers, there seems to be a book for just about everything. Find a book that will be of interest to her, like fashion or flowers.
  4. The one thing about traditional Easter baskets that everyone can appreciate—especially, the grown-up gal—is the treats. Not every girl is interested in jellybeans or chocolate bunnies, though. Give her something special, something she will really enjoy, like her favorite snack food or maybe even a bottle of wine.

Happy Easter, everyone!

If I had to jot down a list of a few of my favorite things, you can guarantee that somewhere on that list you would find planting flowers, birthday parties, and happy, smiling children. Katie’s 10th Birthday Bash had all three! Katie absolutely loves to plant so when her parents, Jamie and Melissa Keating, told me that she wanted to have a planting party I was super excited to help out. Katie’s love for planting combined with her great sense of humor led to the party’s quirky theme: “I Mustache You to Come Plant.”


How did we pull this off, you ask? Easy!

All you need in order to have a planting party of your own:

1. Pots (We drew faces on ours—complete with mustaches, of course!)

2. Plants: Red Geraniums, White Bacopa, and Bright Green Creeping Jenny

3. Soil

4. Worms (The kids love it!)

5. Mustaches for all of the guest

6. The birthday girl’s favorite desserts: milkshakes and root beer floats!


I had an absolute blast and I know that the birthday girl did too! How could she not with the lovely Sara Monty on her team creating all of the super fun place-mats, signs, photo-booth, and all of these fabulous photos. Also, you know the menu is going to be insanely perfect when your dad is the owner of EPIC, which for Katie, just so happens to be the case. In other words, this mustache bash meets planting party was a definite day to remember!

Happy Birthday, Katie! Thanks again for letting me be a apart of your special day!