Every year thousands of flowers are used in weddings around the world. What most people do not know is that most flowers used are flown in and are not local. That is not the case with local shop Make it Pretty as they truly work hard to use locally grown flowers and greenery from the environment.

At this time of year, colorful summer salads are a staple at the dining table at home. There’s nothing simpler and more gratifying than creating your own palette of vegetable greens, reds and yellows in containers of all sizes. And don’t forget to spice up those nutritious salads by tapping into the bounty of home-grown herbs.

HOME---OpenerWhen nature lovers of the All Saints Garden Tour arrive at the Rose Hill home of Alex Kasten, they’ll soon discover that this art lover has taken his discerning eye for line, form, and beauty and turned it into a backyard masterpiece drenched in Mediterranean appeal. He calls this deep emerald temple “Elysian Gardens.”

With landscape designer Patrick Judd, Kasten has surrounded his home with small elements of visual punch, curved walls that guide the eye from one botanical wonder to the next, and an oasis of peace and tranquility that would make the Gods jealous.  

Getting your patio or deck ready for the spring season is just as important as attending to any room inside of your home. The proper attention now could make the difference between “pretty” and “pretty ugly.”

The 4 Rs of prepping your Lowcountry patioRECLAIM YOUR SPACE

Consider your patio or deck as you would a room in your home. What’s the first thing you’d do to an interior room? Clean it. Reclaim that space with a deep clean of the whole area. Getting in there andcleaning out your patio now will ensure that when the weather gets warmer, you can focus more on relaxing and entertaining and less on mold, clutter and pollen.

Start by moving everything — grills, flower pots, outdoor décor and patio furniture — and clean underneath, sweeping away everything you find there, from leaves to pollen to spider webs to old bugs — it is the Lowcountry, after all. (If you’ve got more winter sludge than usual, you may want to consider a power wash.) Clean all exterior windows of your home that surround your patio, and check for any damage on the surface of your patio that might be a structural or tripping hazard — such things can happen when you’re not looking.

Lowcountry homes: The accents of springThis past winter was an especially cold and dreary one for the Lowcountry, but take heart, because the payoff has finally arrived. Spring is here, the time to usher a sense of warmth and energy into your home by thinking about personal styles, 2011 trends and how you can revitalize your sanctuary with some fresh ideas and a little imagination.

Seasons change and trends come and go, but the basics of our personal style rarely shift. We all have our own ideas about what makes us feel safe, secure and healthy, and it’s important to remember that our home is our sanctuary — not a place to continually keep up with ever-changing trends, but a place where we can indulge in our personal style.

When planning for spring, the first rule is to identify your own style. There are three basic design principles: traditional, eclectic and contemporary. And within each style lies the chance for personal expression and individual choice.

Looking for a quick, tasty way to go green this spring? Start outside your window.

Grow your own edible container gardenMarch in the Lowcountry can be a magical month, as the life cycle begins again and our coastal landscape awakens. I love to watch this time of year as our marshes begin their gradual shift to green, our trees take on fresh chartreuse tones and our lawns begin to re-emerge after a long winter.

But green is more than just a color, of course — it means a gradual evolution in the way we live and do business. And one of the newest trends in our area’s evolving green industry is the “edible landscape.” That’s a fancy term for growing your own food, a practice that reconnects us Mother Earth, delights our children and is rich in health benefits.

The sun is shining and the ground it’s warming; it’s time to begin laying the groundwork for your spring garden. Here are four ways to get started.

Is there anything sweeter than March in the Lowcountry? The air fills with the sweet scents of wisteria, the land begins to send out lush new growth and the nurseries brim with fresh, colorful new offerings. But March is also a busy month, one filled with a long list of planning, planting and maintenance tasks. Knowing where to start in this seemingly overwhelming “to do list” can be a great help; here’s a quick primer to get you started:

How to Green your houseSo you're already doing your part to protect the planet by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, using low-energy light bulbs and looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle every day. Here are even more tips and tricks to live so “green” you’d swear it was always St. Patrick’s Day — many of which will even put some green back in your wallet.

Let the light shine bright

Next time you’re dusting, give those light bulbs a good onceover — you can coax 50 percent more light out of your bulbs just by dusting them regularly. Turn off the light, let the bulb cool down and clean with a dust-grabbing dry cloth. (And, of course, when a standard light bulb burns out, replace with an Energy Starrated bulb.)

This vigorous hyacinth bean thrives in Bill Moss’ garden, one of seven featured on the garden tourSeasons come and go — and gardeners’ aspirations come and go with them — but nothing is more firmly implanted in a gardener’s psyche than the phrase, “Wait until next year!” Fortunately, the Lowcountry Master Gardeners Educational Garden Tour is here just in time to sustain and nourish that longing. The third annual tour will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 16.

The tour will feature seven exceptional local gardens from Moss Creek to Sea Pines; plants will be labeled and Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions at each. The tour gardens, which have all been cultivated by Master Gardeners, are those of Linda Muller, Moss Creek; Susan Robacker, Windmill Harbour; Vicki Reilly, Windmill Harbour; Nancy Hildebrand, Indigo Run; Bill Moss, Hilton Head Plantation; Sherry Wojtulewicz, Palmetto Dunes and Mim Jacob, Sea Pines.

Canna lilies, especially the bronze-leaved cultivar ‘Arizona,’ will take on a renewed vigor this fall.With a brutal summer finally winding down and the beginning of cooler weather on hand, it’s a good time for looking both forward and backward.

We’ve had great success with a number of plants this year, especially our pentas and angelonia.

Both want plenty of sun — especially angelonia, which will grow thin and wispy if deprived of it. But pentas, which can be bloom in colors ranging from pale pink to lavender to cerise, will outbloom and outlast everything else in your garden.

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