Turn Your Garden Into a Get-Away

A garden full of beautiful plants and flowers is hard work. No matter where your home is, a garden is always a great decision to make the yard a more interesting place to spend time. For large gardens and yards, garden furniture and accessories can take your garden an extra step and make it look like a heavenly getaway.

The garden is always a great place to start before deciding on a theme for the yard. Depending on how elaborate you want the garden to be, there are many pieces of garden furniture and accessories which will help give your garden some personality.

Just like anything in life, purchasing garden furniture and accessories should start with the little things. A good place to start is with garden planters, deck rail planters, and pot stands because they will bring the garden and the deck area together in harmony. Planters and pots can be found in all different materials, each giving off different feelings and themes. For a more country and classic feel, wood planters are a good addition. Plastic garden planters come in a variety of styles and shapes so they can be purchased to fit in with whatever theme you had in mind. Plastic planters are also the easiest to care for. Ceramic planters are usually handmade, artistic, and made with unique colors and these are great for unconventional gardens or for simply a splash of art.

Garden benches are also great items in the world of garden furniture and accessories. Benches are simple but they can be turned into a beautiful centerpiece in the garden. They are also great pieces because they can be used both as a decoration and a seat.

For those individuals purchasing furniture and accessories for a yard with a pond, dress it up with accessories to make the most of it. Garden furniture and accessories like bridges and fountains can turn a lonely looking pool into a beautiful getaway area. Bridges can also be purchased to be placed in the garden rather than over a pond as well, also making an eloquent centerpiece. Fountains can also be purchased to sit in a garden rather than in a pond and can even water your plants for you.

Animals always add a touch of comfort so they should be given a place to enjoy it as well. Garden accessories such as bird baths, bird feeders, and bird houses will be attractive and useful pieces in the garden.

Turning your garden into an enchanting place out of storybook is also possible with accessories like stone statues and decorations. Garden statues do not break easily and usually last for a long time. Garden statues also comes in all different types from people, animals, or objects. Old-fashioned thermometers, gazing balls, and weather vanes are also great pieces of garden furniture for that classic look.

The world of garden furniture and accessories would not be complete without garden arbors. These pieces of garden furniture arch over the entrance to the …

You Can not Water a Garden With an Empty Bucket

Self-Care for Women

Women who are around me hear me say this all the time – 'You can not water a garden with an empty bucket.' What does this mean to you? I use it as an illustration to get the point across that women are taking care of work and everyone else and fitting themselves into the little, tiny cracks of time that are leftover – if there are any. So how lush and gorgeous is the garden that gets watered with an empty bucket? Not! How well can you take care of the important people and tasks in your life when your energy bucket is bone dry? Not well, at least not for long. When you are considering your own energy bucket it's important to know what fills it up and what depletes it. Read on to learn the 5 questions to ask yourself so you know how to fill up your bucket.

1. What brings you joy? How much
of what you do during your day brings you joy? How often do you purposely add
joy to your life? For some, work is joy, but for most it's far from it. Make a
list of what it is that brings you joy – a child's smile, dancing, coffee with
friends, sex. Keep it handy, so if you get really overwhelmed you can have a
quick reminder. Joy puts energy in our bucket.

2. What's your natural energy
level? For a woman who is more active in her energy, having a lot of quiet down
time may actually depleted her bucket. If you think of it like a spectrum, with
naturally low energy as a 1 and naturally high energy as a 10, where do you see
yourself? Answer this question as you really are not how you want to be.

3. What
is your current pace? Now that you know your natural energy level, evaluate the
pace of your current energy output. Use the same 1 to 10 scale. Are you a
natural energy 4 going at the pace of a 9? Or are you a natural energy 9, going
at the pace of a 4? Work on getting your face oriented towards your natural
level of energy. We talk a lot about women being way to busy in our world (which
is true), but you can also get too bored. Neither extremes put energy in your

4. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does being around people
energize you or deplete you? If it energizes you then you essentially are an
extrovert. Extroverts fill their bucket by being around people. Introverts
generally recharge by being alone or with one other person. So, if you're an
introverted women who works with a lot of people all day, getting some serious
alone time will help to fill your bucket.

5. How are you maintaining your
machine? Not your car, your computer, or even your IPod – but, your body! Your
body is a big part of …

The Best of Golden Triangle Tours-Agra

On the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra is a medieval city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Sultan Sikandar Lodi was founded the city in 1506. The city features many Moghul wonders, many of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are the major tourist-pullers in India, since making it the best of the Golden Triangle Tours – Agra, Delhi and Jaipur.

Agra is located 27.18 ° N 78.02 ° E on the bank of river Yamuna. On the north it is borders Mathura, on the south it is bounded by Dhaulpur, on the east by Firozabad, and on the west by Bharatpur.

Agra was one of the most authoritative cities under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of monumental activities. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty placed the first formal Persian garden, Aram Bagh on the banks of Yamuna. His grandson Akbar raised the towering Red Fort makes the city a center for learning arts, commerce and religion. Akbar also built Fatehpur Sikri. Jahangir had a fascination for gardens and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Laal Kila. Shah Jahan brave Agra its most prized monument, The Taj Mahal, in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in 1643.

Golden triangle tours includes three places Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Delhi agra and jaipur tours forms a triangle as per their physical and geographic location in India, that's why it is called Golden triangle tours.

Places of Interest

-Taj Mahal

One of the most famous buildings in the world and has been declared a World Heritage Site. Closed for visitors every Friday.

-Agra Fort

It is a dominant structure built by Akbar in 1565. At one time it was the palace of Shah Jehan who reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. The main buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque, the Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas, Jehangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Musamman Burj.

-Fatehpur Sikri

It is 35 km away from Agra, primary built for military by Akbar. There are many eggs inside Fatehpur Sikri.

-Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb – The Baby Taj

Nur Jehan built this monument for her father Ghias-ud-Din Beg, the Chief Minister of Emperor Jahangir. It resembles The Taj in many respects.

-Jama Masjid

It is a large mosque in memory of Princess Jahanara Begum. Built in 1648, notable for absence of minarets and unusual dome.

-Chini Ka Rauza

It is tomb dedicated to Allama Afzel Khal Mullah, the prime minister of Shah Jehan.

-Sikandra – Akbar's tomb

It is the mosque of Akbar and reflects the complementeness of its personality. The vast, carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb is set inside a lush garden.

Tip for Tourists

The best time to visit Agra is on weekdays as weekends get crowded and getting into Taj Mahal becoming a tedious job.

From Delhi, the capital of India, there are hundreds of travel operators who will guide the tourists to Agra. There are several trains …

Composting is Living in Harmony with Nature

It is that time of year when the leaves will soon begin to fall. If you prefer to not allow the leaves to naturally decompose on the earth then what can you do with them? Instead of filling bag after bag and setting them on the curve to head out to the landfill is there an alternative?

Living in rural areas most my life there was never any question as to what to do with leaves, yard waste or kitchen scraps. It was just part of the natural process to allow the leaves and yard waste to go back into the earth. Kitchen scraps were often taken out to the wildlife or composted. It never really occurred to me how important this was until a couple years ago when I found myself in an urban living situation. It seemed that I Could no longer give back to Mother Earth in the same way. People raked their yards and bagged up the leaves to send to the dump.

There is an alternative you know, even for the urbanites. Of course there are many rural folks who may not be taking advantage of the benefits either. These are the benefits of composting. Composting is the natural process of decaying organic matter and using the modified material for fertilizing. Composting is natural. Mother Nature has her own system of composting that we can learn from. By not living in harmony with nature we upset natures balance.

By beginning to compost our kitchen scraps and yard waste we can help enrich the soil, help keep nature in balance and have an amazing free organic fertilizer for gardens, flower beds, trees and lawns. When the natural balance of your soil is healthy this helps pests to stay away from the plants and they become healthier too. You can garden organically without using chemical fertilizers, growth enhancers and "stay away bug" dusts. You will also be saving space in the landfill because the organic waste will be converted into something so useful.

Even people in apartments or various urban living situations can compost. The benefits are huge. The kitchen scraps that you will add are raw fruit and veggies, egg shells, coffee grinds and tea bags. You want to keep meats, fats, pastas and cooked food out of your compost making to keep it in balance. You can also add outdoor leaves, lawn clippings and plant cuttings that have not gone to seed.

You can learn more about composting at your local library or the internet. There are a variety of different styles of composting crocks or compost buckets that can be used in your kitchen to contain the scraps until you are ready to add them to your outdoor compost pile. Some are stylish and others are simple buckets with a lid and carbon filters to contain the smell. You can add the scraps every few days or so to the outdoor pile.

For the outdoors you will need a compost bin or spinning composter …

Interior Design Ideas – Conservatory Living

Can you imagine the joy of spending late autumn afternoons warmly lounging in the mid of your garden, of growing and harvesting your very tropical fruits and of twilight summer suppers that are guaranteed rainproof? No, this is not a description of life on a faraway tropical island, but a glimpse of the bliss to be had when you own a conservatory.

Yet another inspired Victorian concept that we are reviewing and appreciating anew, despite the disparity of lifestyles between then and now. A conservatory gives life a new dimension. It allows us to enjoy a garden year-round and stretches the living areas of our homes. All age groups can benefit: it provides an ideal space for a toddler to play in (the semi-outdoor finishes should stand up well), for an elderly person to relax in out of season, and for people of any age to enjoy atmospheric dinner parties.

Should you be on the brink of deciding to construct a conservatory, be sure to pin down your ideas well in advance;

How much do you want to spend? A finished conservatory may cost more than you imagine and such extras as heating, lighting, wall and floor finishes, furnishings and plants can add considerably to an initial estimate.

How will the finished conservatory look from outside? Do you wish its style to reflect the architecture of your home?

Which direction do you wish your conservatory to face? A southerly orientated conservatory will be full of sunshine, but without a good ventilation system it is installed and shade provided (by blinds or by painting the glass), it is likely to overheat in summer. A north-facing glass house will receive little sunshine and so will require an efficient heating system for cooler days.

To what purpose will you put your conservatory? Is it to be a place for indoor gardening, relaxing, dining, cooking or playing?

Do you wish your conservatory to become an integral part of an interior living area and / or to open up to and become one with your garden or territory? The larger your opening on to either or both of these areas, the more linked they will appear. Double, sliding or folding-back doors will help to achieve the connection you desire.

Because the conservatory represents a link between the house and its exterior, the most appropriate furnishings will be those reflect this connection. Well-designed garden furniture, softened with table cloths, cushions and upholstered seats, will help blur the line between inside and out, as will rattan, wicker or cane furniture.

A floor of flagstones, scrubbed wood planking or terracotta tiles will underscore the connection. Accessories can provide a similar link – garden statuary, urns, plants and terracotta pots are all particularly suitable.

The best window treatments are ones that do not detract from the view or interior planting. Tailored blinds or curtains of muslin or calico in a simple style are ideal.

When it comes to selecting a color scheme for your conservatory, the choice is yours …

DESTINATION: Au NatuRaw, An Organic Garden Eatery, Great Food in Good Places

When I heard there was a new vegetarian raw food restaurant opening up in the Artists Village of Downtown Orange County, Santa Ana, Ca., I literally had to book it right over there. The Santa Ana Artists Village has been one of my hangouts for several years, plus the fact that I am a vegetarian since high school, made it a must to visit “Au NatuRaw,” Organic Garden Eatery. I particularly wanted to learn how they presented healthy natural raw foods in a tastier way than I might prepare at home. Simply because raw can be very boring, just exactly how much raw broccoli can you eat? However, preparing food in a tasty, healthy and stylish way is exactly what the owner, Chef Marchell has achieved at her new downtown restaurant with dishes like Island Time Thai Coconut Soup and Coconut Key Lime Pie, delicious.

Chef Marchell commented, “My work in public education was cut in the downward economy of the last few years and my health was suffering.” This is a situation that so many talented people have experienced and all can relate to the stress in life that it creates. Fast forward quickly, Chef Marchell realized that this provided her the inspiration and perfect opportunity to share her passion for delicious raw foods, so she dug in and opened her natural foods restaurant. Chef Marcell stated, “I wanted others to know just how healthy and delicious raw food could be.” This vibrant, smart and intuitive woman really knows how to cook with some very unique and interesting raw food dishes. Many of the dishes are served hot, not cooked higher than 118 degrees. This is the official cut off for maintaining raw food and its nutrients.You will find hot soup, veggie burgers and many delicious dishes such as Pesto Pizza, Cucumber Wheels and Romaine Tacos. I particularly enjoyed the raw Classic Guacamole Burger with mega-healthy ingredients including nuts, hemp seeds, mushrooms, “grilled” onions, spices and kale. And it’s served with tasty sesame and herb natural crackers and freshly made salsa. The menu is culturally interesting with popular dishes such as Buddha Bowl, Pad Thai and Hole Mole Enchiladas. You will also find many fresh and tasty beverages including a Green Tropic Smoothie with spinach, orange juice and mango.

Au NatuRaw is unique in that they prepare hot DoMatcha green tea Japanese style. Complete with a tea bowl and bamboo whisk, they whip up a hot cup of tea or latte right at your table. Fresh, green and good, the hot frothy tea is an excellent way to finish a meal. I haven’t seen another place in Orange County, that prepares this special tea right at your table. Chef Marchell also adds the tea powder to desserts such as her key lime pie.

The environment is extremely pleasant and is located at 206-A North Broadway, Santa Ana, Ca. in the heart of the Artists Village downtown. With high ceilings, a hanging garden, art, natural colors, quaint tables and fresh …

Adorn Your Home Exteriors With Garden Bridges

Garden Bridges are one such feature that lends not only creativity to your garden, but also shows your sense of appreciation towards architectural skills that go into building one. Contrary to the popular belief, garden bridges are ideal for any garden size and can be custom-made to suit virtually any kind of requirements specified by the owner of the home. You can make the unique features of your garden more exquisite and attractive. For instance, small ponds in the garden can have pond bridges to make it easily accessible as well as lucrative.

Cedar or Redwood water garden bridges give a unique look and style to the most visible feature in your home exterior décor. Just add some pebbles to the water feature and watch the clear waters shimmying over the pebbles from the water garden bridge for a fantastic view.

For best results, consider custom-made garden bridges for effective garden treatment. It's common for people to add their own creativity in the gardens. Therefore, at times, readymade garden bridges may not be available for the specific measurements. In such a scenario, just call a garden bridge expert to take the measurements and build bridge according to your requirements.

  • Cool Video about Redwoodbridges.com
  • It's not essential that you need to have water feature for a garden bridge. Even in the absence of any water body in the garden, water garden bridges spell an excellent mirage effect on the onlookers and visitors. Any land area with certain amount of depression – natural or manmade – can be made to look like a dry riverbed where water once flowed. This can have illusory impact on the admirers and the family members.

    The posts and rails lend an identity to the garden bridges. Thus, it makes sense to choose the posts and rails that complement the overall theme of your garden. Rope rails, wooden rails, or steel rails are the common options you have, but it's the design that is a deciduous factor in making your garden bridge stand out.

    The weight holding capacity of the bridges, especially pond bridges, should also be verified with the garden bridge maker. Ideally, your garden bridge should be easily able to support the weight of a small tractor, or between 350-400 lbs, as water garden bridges also serve the purpose of connecting the land across the water bodies, including being ornate features.

    Make sure your garden bridge maker prepares a weather resistant bridge. Ideally, the wood or steel or plastic should be treated with chemicals to keep stains, rust and fade away from the effects of weather phenomenon at bay.

    And finally, make sure the artisan is an expert in making garden bridges at affordable cost. …

    Tips For Lawn and Garden Weed Control

    The thought of attempting to keep your lawn and garden free from invasions of weeds without blasting them with noxious chemicals might be a lofty ideal, but probably conjures up visions of sore backs and aching knees. However, kneeling in the garden and snatching weeds by hand is not the only way to avoid using chemicals to kill the unwanted plants. In fact, there are some great ways to accomplish this end by working smarter, not harder.

    The first big change needed to begin controlling the weeds in your lawns and gardens without chemicals is to properly prepare the soil for the areas in question. This would be considered laying the proper foundation where you will be growing your plants. It is best to implement the following ideas before doing your plantings so that you get your chemical-free weed control project off to a great start.

    One of the best ways to avoid having weeds sprout up in your gardens or patio lawn is to kill the weeds though a process called soil solarization. This is a preventative approach and a completely organic way of eliminating weeds before they even have a chance to sprout. However, soil solarization does require a good bit of work, and is only effective if you can start planting the area with a clean slate.

    Installing landscape fabrics is another terrific way that you can significantly reduce the occurrence of weeds in your lawn and garden. Using them also eliminates the need for toxic weed-killing chemicals. These fabrics made for use in landscaping are for this purpose and can even be considered a hi-tech way to battle weeds without introducing chemicals.

    Utilizing garden mulch is another very beneficial approach to protecting your lawns and gardens from an invasion of weeds. While landscape fabrics work from below the prepared planting area, mulch is applied to the top of the soil, around your plants and can effectively smother a weed trying to break through to the surface. Mulch can also be used in conjunction with the anti-weed landscape fabrics for a one-two punch strategy of organic weed control.

    Another added benefit of using mulch is that it also has the ability to provide insulation to your plantings. This insulation value is particularly helpful in the summertime and can help to keep the underlying soil both cool and moist. This will reduce the watering requirements and will also protect the root systems from damage caused by sever heat.

    While some people have chalked it up to an old wives tale, vinegar can also help you control weeds without chemicals. It is the acetic acid in the vinegar that delivers an herbicidal dose to weeds. But, you will need a stronger variety than what you probably have in the cupboard and you can look for super-strength vinegar in weed and feed stores.

    However, if you want to use vinegar to organically kill the weeds in your lawn and garden, then you must apply it carefully and only to the …

    Photo Opportunity: A Photographer and a Woman

    In the interval after the dancers sat back in their chairs and before the Master of Ceremonies regained possession of the microphone, a woman in manageable high heels walked briskly across the hall, with a photographer following not far behind.

    The woman stopped in front of a propped-up music speaker, turned to her side, and swiveled her head forward to look at the photographer, who in turn had taken a professional position.

    Everybody watched as time ticked by. Three minutes later the photographer was yet to take a picture. The woman shuffled her high heels back and forth, patted her scarf at the back, rebalanced the wad of wrapper hung around her right shoulder and returned a bland look at the general audience.

    Soon thereafter the woman began to explore reasons for the delay. If the photographer weren’t too tall, and too huge, and old, he would have taken a few pictures by now.

    Getting ready for a photograph and not immediately proceeding was what annoyed her about taking pictures at a public event. Younger people can tolerate such an ordeal, but not her, not when in nine months she would become a grandmother.

    In a sudden disdain for the photographer, the woman’s gaze swung down, exposing the whites of her eyes. Displeasure conveyed through two scorching eyes is more direct and more stinging than that conveyed through mere spoken words, no matter how acidic.

    The offending camera, a Sony, was skewed to the left where it had hooked with the flashlight appendage. The photographer pulled the flashlight out and scowled at it close up, the way African fathers glare at naughty boys, before reattaching it to the side of the camera.

    He reassured himself that everything was fine. Just because he hadn’t taken a picture yet didn’t mean he was inactive. Credit, he knew, only goes to those who show results, never to those who show activity. However, he had expected better treatment from the woman, who – had he married early – was young enough to be his daughter.

    Another idea flew into the woman’s head. If the old man, like many men at this age, was short-sighted and unable to read her eyes, she might at some point scream at him.

    But screaming, she decided, would not only mess up her perfect picture body but might further irritate the old man. An action once taken can produce a myriad of unpredictable reactions. The photographer might feel threatened and resort to taking her picture when she was looking at her worst. Preserving her beauty by staying still trumped any delay caused by his inefficiency.

    Over his camera, the photographer gazed at the woman. She was a statue of bright color in a garden full of colors. Her pink scarf tied around her head still held up high. The sheet of folded blue wrapper hung over her right shoulder draped down to her hip. But her perfect picture face had begun to melt a little at the edges.

    Then …

    The Slow Motion Game

    Recently, a friend invited me to stop and slow down. Just for a few minutes.

    I slipped off my shoes and felt the cool stepping stones in her garden under my feet. In a few short minutes, with all systems slowed to the moment in front of me, I felt like Alice in Wonderland-one moment staring up at the giant, waving leaf of a tropical banana tree and the next moment bent down, in awe at the mini, star-shaped moss tuft peeking out between a crack in the stones.

    Ten minutes later, as I finished up this walking meditation in her garden, refreshed and ready to go about with my busy day, I knew it was something I wanted to remember to continue as a regular practice for myself and share with my favorite seven year old.

    “Hey,” I said to the curly haired boy, “Wanna play The Slow Motion Game with me?”

    “What’s that?” he responded, with the keen skepticism of a seven year old who has been around the block and played a zillion games or two in his lifetime so far.

    “Well, it’s a kind of discovery game. We slow dooooown.” I started talking in slow motion speak. “And when we look aroooound we see things that we’ve neeeeeverrr seeeeeen beforrrrrrre.”

    I could see the spark of interest lit in his eyes now.

    “And whoever finds the most cool stuff is the winner?” he yelled excitedly.

    “Sure, something like that.”

    Five… Close your eyes

    Four… Slowing down

    Three… Your mind is going to sleep

    Two… Your body is getting very relaxed

    One… You are in slow motion mode. Open your eyes… And GO… s l o w w w w w w w w…

    Our bare feet made their way slowly through the back yard. The dirt felt good sinking between my toes. I watched out of the corner of my eye as the boy did his best slow mummy walk and then presently crouched down.

    Between the two of us, we discovered treasures galore in our familiar backyard space.

    An army of ants coming out of tiny hole in the flower bed, a bright green arrowhead-shaped sprout shooting out ninety degrees from a tree branch, a baby fly sunning its translucent wings, a baby bee buzzing. We discovered the glossy, tightly curled leaf of a waxy flower pushing its way upward, and crystalline water drops sitting in the very center of a regal succulent. A family of pincher bugs scurried away as we studied the natural, hieroglyphic markings on an old tree stump.

    Long after we finished playing, the curly haired boy was still bent over, looking at potato bugs curled up in tree hollows or looking up through tree branches, discovering many more unseen treasures in the garden.

    I didn’t mention to the wild-haired one the part that we would feel ourselves coming back to ourselves during this game.

    I didn’t mention that by slowing down our spinning minds, we would enliven all our …