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Tiny teacup garden: Joti Marra helps you connect to nature with this decorative and useful mini-garden.

A bit Alice in, Wonderland, a bit Anthropologie, this month s teacup garden is a whimsical way to bring nature indoors for a beautiful centerpiece. There's something so sweet about fresh, growing herbs lining a windowsill, soaking up the sun and spilling their green and fragrant foliage across the visual landscape. And this project is easy as pie. It also gives you yet another excuse to explore your local junk shops in the name of sustainability! So, take a bit of time to create this mini-garden to brighten your day or serve as a great housewarming gift for a friend.

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1 To start, spend some time picking out a few pretty teacups. Remember not to use anything too precious; you don't want to fret about breaking an heirloom. Think about that old, floral teacup you chipped but couldn't stand to get rid of. If you don't have anything that will suffice, visit any number of antique malls or thrift stores. Believe me, there are plenty of inexpensive options out there, and this step can be a fun treasure hunt!

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2 Head out to your driveway or a nearby river and gather together a small bowlful of gravel. Don't use anything too chunky. Once you have your gravel, place a small handful, think a third of the teacup, in the bottom. This will help with drainage. If you or a friend can drill a small hole in the bottom of your cups, you can skip this step.

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3 Take your herbs (I got my organic herbs at Greenlife Grocery; they also have a stunning collection at most farmers' markets this time of year) and match them with the perfect teacup. Gently remove the plants from their plastic shell and loosen the dirt from around their roots. Place each in a cup and pack the remaining soil around the sides. If you prefer, you can plant seeds instead. Using the above as a guideline, follow the instructions on the seed package.

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4 Water your tender new shoots! It may seem obvious, but the most important thing you can do for your transplants is give them plenty of water. But here's the kicker: overwatering can be detrimental, especially if the teacup doesn't have a hole to drain out the excess. So, pay close attention to the soil and only water when it starts to dry out. Also, mostherbs need a good bit of sunlight, so make sure you place your whimsical creations in a spot that gets plenty of sun.

Joti Marra is a multi-talented, craft-obsessed Ashevillian who has been finding creative ways to make things since she first learned how to hold a crayon. To see more of her work, visit www.forestcreature.etsy.com and www.jotimarrajewelry.etsy.com.

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Title Annotation:HANDS ON
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:468
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