#southernchat: Southern Gardens.

Southern Gardens Since Spring has sprung and we're in the midst of showers and sunshine, what better time to chat about Southern Gardens than now. I have extensive photos of my Great-Grandmother {Nana} and her rose gardens in our family collection, and have been so inspired by the beautiful, white climbing roses at Serenbe where we got married. That will be the next garden I tackle, however this year I decided to replant my herbs and go a little further with my vegetables this year in the tiny, square container garden my husband built for me a few years back. I've been busy posting photo updates on my Instagram, and pinning some of my favorite garden inspiration as well for ideas!

Southern Gardens

Southern Living has long been a staple for our Southern home {as I know it has for yours} and Senior Gardens Editor, Steve Bender {aka The Grumpy Gardener} is joining us to chat all about the essentials for growing a Southern Garden today!

As I planned for and planted my own herb & vegetable garden this year, with little thriving success over the past few, I got the chance to ask Steve a few questions, tips & pointers. Here is what he had to share ...

 

Steve Bender Southern LivingWhat are your favorite plants & flowers to grow in the South?

Native azaleas, angelonia, coleus, oakleaf hydrangea, clivia, Japanese maple,  Lenten rose, daffodils, crepe myrtle.

What are your favorite fruits & vegetables to grow in the South?

Blueberries, figs, Japanese persimmon, sweet peppers, lettuce, okra, basil, rosemary. What epitomizes a truly Southern garden?

A garden with plants well-adapted to the region that expresses the personality of the owner as well as Southern gardening history. Tell us your top tips for a successful garden in the South?

Give plants what they like — sun or shade, dry soil or wet soil, mild winters or cold winters. Don't mix plants that have different likes.

What is your favorite thing about gardening?

My favorite thing is it helps you relax and forget about everything else going on in the world. Your garden is your refuge. What are some of the most creative garden containers or elements that you've seen?

There are so many old junky things that make really cool containers — like boots, colanders, bathtubs, suitcases, coffee pots, etc. Last year at P. Allen Smith's place in Arkansas, I made a beautiful mixed planter out of a bedpan. When is the best time to plant your garden?

The best time to plant is when it's right for the plants and right for you. What is the best way to prepare your plot for planting?

Good soil is everything. Before planting, loosen the soil to a foot deep and mix in lots and lots of organic matter, such as chopped leaves, ground bark, composted manure, garden compost, and sphagnum peat moss. Who inspired your love of gardening?

My Dad. He was a big gardener and I followed in his footsteps. How are you carrying on the tradition of gardening?

My garden has lots of pass-along plants given to me by family, friends, and complete strangers. Every time I see one of those plants, I remember the time I got it and the person who gave it. I share my plants too.

 

#southernchat:  Southern Gardens (Monday, 4/29/13, 9:00 pm edt.)

Q1: What elements truly epitomize a Southern garden?

Q2: What are your favorite plants, flowers, fruits & veggies to grow in your Southern garden?

Q3. Who or what inspires your Southern garden?

Q4: What are some of your favorite pots & creative containers for growing a Southern garden?

Q5: What tips & tricks have been passed down to you for growing the best garden?

 

Images via Shabbiness to Fabulous, KaraRosaLund, Pinterest, Flora & Fauna, Garden Artistry, Williams-Sonoma, Crush Cul de Sac

#southernchat: The Southern C Summit.

Like many of you, I am gearing up to head to beautiful Jekyll Island for The Southern Coterie Summit on May 1st thru 3rd. I have been trying to decide which conferences I would attend this year, and many of them just don't make sense for me, but when I learned of The Southern C, I knew it was a perfect fit. And, some of my favorite friends will be there too to enjoy the gathering, mixing & mingling. The ladies behind Summit, Cheri Leavy & Whitney Long, are also the founders of The Southern Coterie, an online Southern social community. And, I am thrilled they agreed to join us this week for our #southernchat to give us a little preview as to what's to come at the Southern C Summit!

Southern C Summit founders

If you haven't had a chance to check out the line-up for the Summit, take a peek at the presenters which range from Southern authors, writers, designers, small business owners to bloggers and beyond. And, you know the hospitality will be top-notch coming from the South!

#southernchat:  The Southern C Summit (Monday, 4/22/13, 9:00 pm edt.)

Q1: What do you find most exciting about the idea of a "Southern" conference?

Q2: Are you attending The Southern C Summit this year?

Q3. Who are some of your favorite Southern bloggers or friends on Twitter?

Q4: Which presenters do you find the most interesting on this year's agenda?

Q5: What Southern speakers or topics would you most love to hear from beyond this year's agenda?

Chat Perk this Week: Our special guests Cheri & Whitney have a special treat for you this week! You can be their guest at this year's Southern C Summit for just $300 when you enter #southernchat in the "Where Did You Hear About the Summit?" question during checkout anytime today (4/22/13 by 12 PM EDT)  to sign up! Click here to snag your ticket and we'll see you there!

#southernchat: The Southern Home.

I have always had a passion for interiors, architecture and designers with a clearly defined signature style. I believe in the South we have a simplicity in home design. Yet, in the simplicity there is a rich and thoughtful detail that helps give nod to the care and craft that went into each selection. I love the craftsmanship of a wooden door and the inclusion of a farmhouse sink. Ellen & Portia Elle DecorSouthern Homes

This week's #southernchat is focused on the Southern Home and all the goodness and richness that goes into our Southern style. I am so thrilled to have a special guest, M.K. Quinlan, Senior Style Editor at Garden & Gun Magazine. When I asked her if there was an approach she'd like to take to the Southern Home concept, her answer was so much more thoughtful than I could ever have hoped...

MK Quinlan Garden & Gun"Lately I’ve gotten stuck on this idea of "slow-style.”  It’s a play on the slow-food movement, a way of considering your personal style - whether in your home or your wardrobe—in a manner that is authentic to the person you are and the place where you’re from. There’s no science to it, but I think combining heirloom pieces with new purchases that have meaning to you is a good place to start.

My least favorite thing in the world is walking into a home that has been "designed”—each piece of furniture new, fabrics perfectly color-coordinated, family photos stuffed in drawers. It doesn’t tell me anything about the people who live there. This is the danger of hiring an interior designer and not including your personal tastes and opinions in the design process.

In the South, I think we're able to rise above this more than most because of the value we place in our personal history, and because the home is about so much more than "looking pretty" to us. It's about entertaining and letting people into your life."

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I have never thought of the Southern Home in such a way, but it truly describes the Southern way and my own personal approach to decorating. I have been collecting and curating pieces for as long as I can remember to slowly build my home into the unique interior it is today. The story behind each piece is truly inspiring, when you step into someone's home, being able to learn the history behind an item is even further rooted in our art of storytelling. And, if you know me well by now {or if we're friends on Pinterest ...}  you know my own personal Southern home style is most certainly barn chic.

I know you'll enjoy chatting with M.K. as much as I have on this topic, so be sure to join us Monday 4/15/13 at 9:00 PM EDT for this week's #southernchat! Also, be sure to follow along with M.K. on Twitter at @GGBelleDecor and on the Garden & Gun Style Blog - Belle Decor - that she pens.

#southernchat:  The Southern Home (RESCHEDULED TO: Monday, 5/6/13, 9:00 pm edt.)

Q1: What key elements define a Southern Home (interior & exterior)?

Q2: What elements in your own home are Southern-inspired?

Q3: Who are some of your favorite Southern designers, architects, or artists for the home?

Q4: What home accessories & furniture companies are your favorite to shop for curating your Southern home?

Q5: What questions do you have for M.K. about about "Slow-Style," Garden & Gun or her Southern home?

Images: Garden & Gun / Elle Decor / SJP Home

#southernchat: Southern Sweets.

southern sweets Southern Sweets

Join us for this week’s #southernchat as we talk about delicious Southern sweets from Goo Goo Clusters and Red Queen Tarts to marshmallows and shortbread cookies.  I look forward to hearing everyone’s favorites and sharing a few of them myself!

I love the history of the products from Chattanooga Bakery, the maker of Moon Pies and wish some of them were still around today! And, we even had a special chat just for Southern artisan chocolates. I loved stumbling across Sir Francis, who pairs such Southern ingredients as bacon & peanut brittle to make their boxes of confections.

To help further the Southern sweets discussion, we will be having special guest Jenny (@SweetSixCandy) who began Sweet Six Candy Co,  Using a recipe from her mother, Jenny spun her own versions of the six ingredient recipe and reeled people into her Sweet Six brown sugar candy. You can get to know more about this sweet company from our post yesterday to get an inside look.

Jenny also recommended I check into Wondermade marshmallows - and if they taste half as amazing as their packaging looks - I'm 100% sold! With flavors like bourbon & lavender, there is no doubt these fluffy wonders were made right here in the South. She also said I should look into  Jane's Short Sweets, a company that not only makes sweets but is also sweet-as-can-be by donating all of their profits to charity!

Despite the size of your sweet tooth is, I hope you'll join us this week for #southernchat!

#southernchat

#southernchat:  Southern Sweets (Monday, 4/8/13, 9:00 pm edt.)

Q1:  When you think of Southern sweets, which confections come to mind?

Q2:  What local sweets in your town do you want to share?

Q3:  What makes sweets in the South unique?

Q4: What Southern ingredients to do you love to see in sweets?

Q5:  If you could pick one family recipe for sweets to pass down to your children, what would it be?

Q6:  If you could pick one flavor of Sweet Six Candy to try, what would it be?

Giveaway: Our friends at Sweet Six Candy Co, have kindly offered up one 8 oz. bag of their candy, and you get to choose the flavor! Just join in the chat using the #southernchat hashtag and you're entered to win!

Southern Artisan: Sweet Six Candy.

There is nothing I love more than finding other Southern artisans, designers & business owners that are passionate about their business. I believe the cultural and craft of the South inspires companies and products that are truly meant to tell a story, and Sweet Six Candy Co. is no different. I have loved meeting Jenny DeWitt on our weekly #southernchats and really have enjoyed watching her business grow. This week's Southern Sweets #southernchat will feature Jenny as our guest, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Her beautiful candies are family recipe inspired and I just love their round tin packaging, too. I hope you enjoy sitting back and reading more about Sweet Six! Sweet Six Candy Co

How did you come up with the name of your business? I was actually gifted the domain name sweetsix.com and wondered whether it might work for a candy. When I realized the original recipe had six ingredients it just made sense. Also, if someone happens to be searching online for sweet sex and misspells it, I think that gives me a fair chance of making a sale. You just never know.

What inspired you to go into the business of sweets?

Last year, I started a personal home economics journey. I taught myself canning, started a small vegetable garden, learned to make cheese, bought a sewing machine, and finally got my mother to share her secret candy recipe with me. It's a recipe she invented back in 1956 and had never written it down. We worked on it for about a month to get the measurements just right and I started giving samples and small batches away to friends. Everyone said I should start selling it. So, I worked on a label and branding with a designer friend of mine and opened up an Etsy shop back in September. The response has been great.

What do you love most about being in the sweets business?

Honestly, I love that look on people's faces after they take their first bite of Sweet Six. It's as if they light up with happiness. I also love the experimentation part of the research and development process. Testing new flavors and combinations is really interesting. Sea salt was a complete failure, while the newest flavor, ginger, was so much fun to figure out.

Sweet-Six-No1_Original

Are there any characteristics of southern sweets that stand out above the rest?

I'd have to say dependability and creativity. You always know it's going to be good and a little bit different than anything else you've tried. Southern cooks are not afraid of sweets. In fact, I don't know a Southern cook who is afraid of anything in the kitchen. Whether they follow the spidery handwriting of their grandmother off of a hundred-year-old recipe card or fly by the seat of their pants, southern cooks are fearless. That comes out in the dishes they makes and most definitely in the desserts.

What are your most popular candies?

Right now I have eight flavors of Sweet Six and the most popular flavor has been No.2 Espresso. I know people who buy it to use in their coffee as sweetener or as an after-dinner treat. I make it with a locally roasted espresso beans. It's pretty intense. During the winter holidays, No. 7 Pumpkin Spice is really popular. It's great crumbled on top of Sweet Potato Pie or ice cream.

What can we expect from you next?

I'm excited to start adding new types of candies to my repertoire this summer. I'm working on lollipops right now. I'm playing with flavors like rose and saffron. I've started doing custom wedding favors which is a lot of fun. I think it would be amazing to come up with a unique and exclusive flavor combination for someone's big day or event.