6 Trees to Plant in Your Garden

White-Beam

Whitebeam

When we start planning our gardens, our brains take us to all the flowers that decorate our yards and vegetables that fill out our summer menus. The one thing we sometimes overlook are trees to add a little more color and shade for your backyard oasis. Here are 6 trees to plant in your garden.

Whitebeam Whitebeams grow to be about 40 feet tall and are decorated with white blossoms and bright red berries. Not only are whitebeams beautiful, but they work well in gardens because they are very adaptable and can tolerate heat and wind and different types of soil.

Adirondack Crabapple Crabapple trees add a splash of color to any yard or garden, but the Adirondack crabapple is lovely for gardens because they only grow to be about 18 feet high. The delicate white flowers make it a jewel in anyone’s garden crown, but it’s also a very practical tree as it is disease resistant and drought tolerant.

Weeping Birch The weeping birch doesn’t have colorful fruit or blossoms, but its loose, limp branches bring character to a yard. They only reach heights of about 15 feet, so you can almost predict how much shade you’ll get where you plant you weeping birch. The weeping birch needs a lot of sunshine and does well in acid soils.

Judas-Tree

Judas Tree

Judas Tree If there were a tree to illustrate love, it would be the Judas Tree. They’re small with a maximum height of 40 feet so it does well by the garden, but they also decorate the garden with its bright pink blossoms shaped like hearts. To keep Judas Trees lovable, plant them in well-drained soil with full sun or partial shade. One bonus for the Judas Tree is that it’s generally pest-free.

Carolina Silverbell Silverbells are a little bit bigger — they grow to be about 33 feet tall, but the height doesn’t dwarf the impact of their blossoms for which they are named. The tender petals of the white flowers face down like bells. What makes them great for a yard or garden is they are pest-resistant. To keep Carolina silverbells happy, plant them in moist, well-drained acid soil and full sun.

Japanese-Maple

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple The Japanese maple is popular for gardens because they only grow to be about six feet high, but they are also unique looking. The leaves aren’t like regular maple trees — they’re wispy and almost feather-like. Some varieties produce green leaves but others can have deep-red leaves even in the summer. To keep them thriving, plant Japanese maples in a spot with full sun and sandy, well-drained soil.

It’s time to bloom! There are so many plants and accessories to add to your garden — it’s hard to put a limit on your ideas! But LTD Commodities can help you put your gardening ideas into action. From ideas on how to plan a vegetables to products to keep your herbs thriving, shop LTD for everything to get your garden growing.

5 Tips to Save Money as a Maid of Honor

bridesmaidsIt’s the start of wedding season — and if you’ve been given the privilege of taking on the duties of maid of honor, you have a lot of work ahead of you. The work also includes a sizable amount of money to make every step leading up to your friend or relative’s big day. But there are ways to get around going into debt and still make every event special. Here are 5 tips to save money as a maid of honor.

Budget Expectations Let your bride and the bridal party know your budget expectations before planning starts. This may not cut off over-spending before it starts, but it may put everyone on the same page as you coordinate all of your different obligations. If it helps, set aside the money you can use for all of the wedding planning in one account and only withdraw from that account for your wedding expenses. This makes tracking costs easier.

bridesmaidsBook Travel Wisely As soon as you know the dates of the biggest events, start looking into airfares. Fares fluctuate, but there are websites like Kayak that can tell you if you should book now because fares will go up or if you should wait because the fares are expected to go down.

Share The Load As the maid of honor, you’re responsible for making sure things get done, but that doesn’t mean you have to do and pay for everything yourself. Recruit the other bridesmaids to help you decorate, put together menus and coordinate gifts for the shower and bachelorette party. The other ladies will likely want to help out to make all of the events spectacular.

DIY Put on your craft hat and start clipping, gluing and bedazzling. Turn your bachelorette party and bridal shower into a big DIY project. That sash and tiara your bride is wearing for her bachelorette party and all of the favors and food for the shower can be handmade — it’ll save you cash and it will make your efforts all the more appreciated.bridesmaids

Say No The bride is your best friend/sister/cousin and you want her to celebrate exactly the way she wants to, but how she wants to celebrate may not be what you can afford. You’re allowed to say no to things you can’t afford. But when you do say no, be prepared to offer a reasonable alternative to what your bride wants to do.

You’re going to be part of someone’s most memorable day — it doesn’t have to be expensive to be extraordinary. LTD Commodities has gifts and ideas for every occasion — from bridal showers to Christmas dinner, LTD has products priced for fun.

Gardening Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

It may not feel like it yet, but it’s spring and we’re moving forward as if it’s warm out! Our gardens are almost ready to go, but they’re going to need upkeep all summer long. To maintain the lush green leaves and violet and pink flower petals, we need a few gadgets — some you might not know about! Here are 5 gardening gadgets you didn’t know you needed.Gardening-stool

Wonder Wheels Wheels make the garden green! Maybe not all wheels, but the ones on the Garden Scooter do! Sit comfortably while tending to your flowers and glide along to weed around your vegetables and say goodbye to the aches and pains from kneeling and squatting!

watering-stakesWorry-Free Watering Save your two-liter soda bottles to keep the soil around your plants moist even when you’re not around to water! The Set of 8 Sunflower Watering Stakes adds a little color and a lot of ease to keeping your plants healthy in the summer heat. Fill a plastic bottle with water, and screw it into the flower on the stake’s top. Then, push the spike into the soil to slowly release water into the ground to keep your flowers and veggies green and thriving. Fun and functional to keep your plants looking good.

Squirrel-FeederFun Feedings Need a little backyard entertainment while improving the lives of your furry friends? This Squirrel-A-Whirl Feeder spins with the squirrels’ weight, letting the little acrobats have some fun while grabbing a bite to eat. Attach corncobs, fruit or peanut butter to the 3 dowels. Keep a snack on hand with the Bag of Corn, which includes 12 ears.

Hose-guidesGarden Guidance Garden guidance comes in the shape of frogs, owls or birds at LTD! These little guys protect delicate plants in your yard as Solar Lighted Hose Guides. Drag your hose through the lawn without worrying about damaging your flowers and veggies. That’s just during the day — at night these charming critters sit atop the stake to guard your lawn with a little light powered by the sun! Light shines through cutouts on the creature’s tummy.

Garden-matEffortless Flowers Need an instant flower garden? Here’s your answer to bringing a garden to life with just the roll of a mat with the 3-Pk. Roll-Out Flower Gardens! Each flower mat is pre-seeded with over 1,000 premium wildflower seeds of many varieties. The mat is 100% biodegradable and can be cut to fit window boxes, pots and various-sized flower beds. Blooms germinate in 10-20 days and grow to be 6″-24″ high.

7 Interesting Rules and Traditions of the Masters

golfPeople from all over the country are flocking to Augusta, Georgia to witness one of the most prestigious sports tournaments in the nation. The Masters golf tournament begins this week at Augusta National Golf Club. The tournament has been around for nearly a century and most of the rituals and practices have remained unchanged in that time. Some of those customs are a bit quirky — so quirky, we have to share them. Here are 7 interesting rules and traditions of the Masters.

No Electronics This is one of the newer rules, but it’s strictly enforced. No cell phones, tablets, walkie-talkies or anything that makes noise or buzzes is allowed on the course. Cameras are allowed on the grounds, but only during practice rounds. But that doesn’t mean the Masters hasn’t adapted with the times — it does have its own smartphone app.

golfPrim & Proper Reporting Sportscasters who are selected must stick to strict reporting of the tournament — no sugar-coating, off-beat metaphors or colorful language is accepted. In fact, if a sportscaster deviates at all from straight-reporting, he will be removed from his position. In 1966, Jack Whitaker was banned from announcing at the Masters for five years for referring to a crowd as a “mob.” Nearly 30 years later, tournament officials were as strict with Gary McCord when he likened the 17th green to a smooth bikini wax. He was also banned for five years.

Patrons There are no spectators or fans at the Masters, only “patrons.” It kind of makes sense to elevate the name of a spectator since the badges (not tickets) are nearly impossible to come by. Patrons who already have badges renew them each year and then they’re passed down from generation to generation — the club has not sold a new badge in almost five decades. The club kept waiting lists for brief periods, but the people who want badges each year outnumber the badges the club can provide.

Keep It Classy Patrons are scolded for any number of reasons — leaning too far back, bare feet, running, taking someone’s spot or lawn chair in the patron viewing area. If you go to the tournament, your behavior should match your behavior at church.

golfMembership Membership at Augusta National is different than being a patron. It’s very exclusive — members are senators, billionaires, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies — not your everyday golfers. But it’s that way by design — membership is only granted with an invitation. How to get that invitation is anyone’s guess, but it helps to be aloof. Bill Gates did not make his desire to be a member a secret — in the 1990s, he hobnobbed and golfed with those who have pull, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the club extended an invitation. And, up until a few years ago, it was an all-male club. The first female members — former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore — were admitted in 2012.

Green Jackets The Masters is known for the green jacket that is awarded to the winner every year, and even that comes with rules. The winner can take it off the club grounds, but he has to return it within the year. After that, he can wear it whenever he wants as long as it’s worn on club grounds.

LTD Commodities loves sports for all seasons. Whether it’s watching a golf tournament or an NFL game or playing a pick-up game of basketball, LTD has products for playing on the field or watching from the sidelines.

March Pinteresting Picks

March is coming to an end, which means spring is in full swing — and you can tell by what our Pinterest followers are pinning! With snow still on the ground, we’re getting plenty of extra time to finish up our spring cleaning and get our gardens in order — both themes dominated our pins this month! Here are March’s Pinteresting Picks.

deluxe-smartphone-charging-station

Protect your phone as it charges with this Deluxe Smartphone Charging Station. Designed for versatility, it has 3 standard outlets, so you can keep other appliances plugged in along with your charger, or charge up to 3 additional devices at once. Plus, there are 2 USB ports built into the station for phones and devices that require a USB adapter. The sides of the station pull out to cradle 2 phones or devices charging at the same time. Surge-protected charger means your phones and devices won’t be damaged by sudden power surges or outages. 

adjustable-wall-lamp

Set the Adjustable Wall Lamp at the height you need to fit your space or reduce eye strain. The curved arm holds out the light with a simple white shade. Knobs allow you to adjust the height and angle for the right amount of light for reading or crafting. 

wrought-iron-trellis

The Set of 2 Wrought Iron Garden Trellises displays your climbing plants in an especially attractive way. The freestanding trellises, topped with a decorative finial, add a dramatic accent to your yard. Encourage climbing roses, ivy or other flowers and shrubs to cover the heavy-gauge, rustic-finished bars. When not in use, they nest for easy storage.

graduation-keepsake-frame

Honor the graduate with a Graduation Keepsake Frame. The Then and Now Frame holds two photos: for example, a baby picture and a graduation photo. An inscription reads, “Our Graduate Then & Now…Wherever you go…go with all your heart.” The Tassel Frame holds a photo and the graduate’s tassel. Through the Years Frame has a 2″ sq. opening for each year’s school picture from K through 11th grade and a 4″ sq. opening for 12th grade. Polystyrene frames with acetate protectors. Ready to hang.

ready-to-go-vanity-shelves

This wooden Ready-to-Go Vanity Shelf adds attractive storage and organization. Perfect for makeup, styling tools, accessories and more. The large, open middle compartment has a faux drawer side. Underneath it is a functional drawer perfect for smaller supplies. Three surface holes are sized for curling irons, a hair dryer or other appliances. 

5 Best Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

ChivesMother Nature has been teasing us with the snowy spring weather, but this last storm is not going to break our stride. We’re still planning our gardens as if we didn’t just get a fresh blanket of snow! Right now we’re focusing on adding a little flavor to our gardens with herbs. Herb gardens make so much sense — herbs can get pretty expensive when you buy them fresh — so we’ve put together a list of the best herbs to grow in your garden.

Chives Chives are versatile for cooking — freshly minced, they add bright green to an omelet, give cream cheese a delightful zip or boosts a soup’s freshness. Chives are also rich in dietary fiber, packed with vitamins and an excellent source of folate. While they do so much for our food and bodies, they’re also easy on the eyes. When they’re in bloom, their wisps frame a delicate purple flower that some gardeners use as edging for herb gardens. To make sure they’re as happy as they make us, keep them in full sun. They’re not picky about the dirt they grow in —  they grow well even in poor soil.vertical-planter

Basil Basil is great on pizza, makes pesto perfect and produces a stand out pasta salad. There’s no herb that you’ll use more than basil! Basil is a great source of protein and vitamin E on top of being tasty. Basil plants are bright green and don’t stop growing if they have rich, moist soil and a good six hours of sunshine every day. They’ll be good to plant outside two weeks after the last frost.

rosemaryRosemary There’s no shortage of health benefits from rosemary — it’s good for digestion, makes our hair and skin nice as well as boosts our immune system. In the kitchen, it’s fantastic roasted with chicken, infused with oil for salad dressing or in drinks, it adds a unique layer of flavor to cocktails. In the garden, rosemary brings a garden bed a unique aesthetic. It has leaves that are like soft needles with a piney fragrance. That fragrance is very relaxing — studies have shown that it can actually reduce hormones that make us feel on edge and anxious. If you put it on a garden path for people to brush against, it releases its scent to make your garden a sensory oasis. To care for rosemary, give it full sun with well-drained but moist soil and prune it regularly.dill

Dill Dill can turn just about anything into a summer treat — mixed with Greek yogurt, it makes a fabulous sauce for grilled chicken, it stamps out bland in egg or potato salad and it’s the perfect addition to savory baked goods like scones. Dill is also packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C and folic acid, so you can’t go wrong by sprinkling it on your meal! In the garden, it’s feathery fronds peak out behind adorable yellow blossoms to add a little brightness to your herbs — it’s also a butterfly magnet! To care for dill, give it full sun, plant it in deep soil water it moderately.thyme

Thyme Thyme is a good source of folate, calcium and dietary fiber. It’s also known to lower blood pressure as well as boost your mood. In the kitchen, it’s popular for our holiday dishes — Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t be the same without it! It brings out the flavor in mushrooms, roasted vegetables and poultry. In the garden, thyme is a little different than the other herbs mentioned in that it makes fabulous ground cover. It looks great surrounding garden paths or as a flowery, fragrant blanket peppered with tiny blossoms on a garden bed to attract bees. To care for time, give it full sun and soil that drains well.

Items We Adore: Garden Product Picks

The first day of spring is here! We can already see some of the buds poking up from the ground and we can”t wait to get our hands dirty in the garden! This week we”re looking at all the things we need to make our gardens perfect — and we”ve made a list of a few of our faves! Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Garden Product Picks.

solar-orb

This futuristic Solar Orb Mobile is an interesting element for your outdoor decor. The shimmering orbs automatically light up at dusk. They”re surrounded by spinning rings. A solar panel at the top provides the power for the lights.

 

vertical-planter

Gardeners and non-gardeners alike will love this Polanter Vertical Planter. It”s casino online easy to use, can be hung anywhere and needs less watering than hanging baskets and flower pouches. Use for flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and more. 

wrought-iron-trellis

The Set of 2 Wrought Iron Garden Trellises displays your climbing plants in an especially attractive way. The freestanding trellises, topped with a decorative finial, add a dramatic accent to your yard. Encourage climbing roses, ivy or other flowers and shrubs to cover the heavy-gauge, rustic-finished bars. 

watering-stakes

Maintain your plants indoors and out with a Set of 3 Glass Watering Stakes. Fill these clear, decorative figurines with water, then stake them in any potted plant. The watering stake drips water into the dirt, so your plant is always perfectly watered. 

Wind-bell-tree

Twisted Garden Bell Tree enhances your garden with unique style and sound. It has 6 spiral wires adorned with multicolored acrylic beads and bells at the tips. When the wind blows, the bells create beautiful, harmonic sounds.

7 Container Garden Ideas We Think You’ll Like

Container-GardenGardens aren’t just for those who have big backyards or giant lots in suburban spaces. Perfect gardens can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that don’t have to fit in the confines of a garden plot. At LTD, we’ve been looking at all the fun ways to give our gardens character. This week, we’re all about container gardens. Here are 7 container garden ideas we think you’ll like.

Old Tea Cups Before you send your old dishes off to the thrift store, think about how they might hold some herbs or flowers. If you have a teapot (these are very popular for container gardens) to match your cups, create a flower tea party!

coffee-can-gardenTin Cans Whether you have coffee cans or soup cans, clean them out, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, fill them with soil and seeds and you have a garden. They can be arranged and rearranged to suit your mood, painted to give your patio a pop of color or mounted to create a vertical garden. The Newly Woodwards hung their coffee can planters along the fence to create a welcoming yard — tin cans are about as versatile of a planting vessel as you can find!

Tool & Tackle For those who have a handyman and angler in their lives, old tool boxes and tackle boxes make spectacular container gardens. You really only need casino online to punch a few holes in the bottom of the box for drainage and you have a themed planter. The same idea can be used for those old themed lunch boxes you can’t bare to throw away but don’t have any use for.

soda-bottle-gardenPlastic Soda Bottles Plastic soda bottles can be hacked up into planters of all shapes. Cut off the top and you have a steady container to put anywhere. RiteMail cut out the middle of many bottles and strung them together to create a vertical garden that covers an outdoor wall. The same idea can be used for something on a smaller — but still impressive — scale.

Kitchen Garbage An old lemon peel or an empty egg shell make sweet planters if you plan well. Cut (or crack) the top off your lemon (or whatever piece of fruit or egg shell), scoop out the middle and prepare it for drainage and add the appropriate seeds (small plants and flowers) for your natural planters.

Furniture Not all furniture is in the right condition to become a container garden. They have to have some sort of base or foundation remaining to stand up straight — for instance, you may not be ready to get rid of that antique chair with a missing leg, but that doesn’t mean it should be made into a planter. But that chest of drawers that’s taking up space in the garage may be able to hold all of your favorite plants with plenty of drainage to keep them healthy.

croc-container-gardenShoes They may not be fit to run another marathon, or support you at your next formal dinner, but you can get more mileage out of any shoe in the garden! One family took rubber shoes, made them into planters and hung them on a fence to create an outdoor vertical garden. It’s one more reason to buy new shoes.

From ski boots to a dresser drawer, just about anything can be turned into a garden! As gardening season picks up, LTD has more ideas and products to give you the garden you want to take care of.

Dessert for Any Holiday: Key Lime Pie

Key-Lime-PieSaturday is March 14 — to math nerds, this is known as Pi Day (as in 3.14 — the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter). And, as you may know, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on March 17th. Here at LTD, we wanted to do something to celebrate both holidays (we love holidays here!). What we came up with is also one of our favorite desserts — Key lime pie. Though it’s not pi, it is a perfect circle and it’s not a traditional Irish dessert (surprisingly, there aren’t very many), it’s green-ish. The one thing we can definitely claim is that it’s delicious.

There are many ways to make a key lime pie. Everyone seems to have an idea on how it should be done, so there’s not really a wrong way to make it, but there are a few things it has to include: a graham cracker crust, lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk. As the name suggests, it originated in Key West, Florida and it’s the official dessert of the state of Florida. As the legend has it, Florida’s first millionaire, William Curry, had a cook who created the Key lime pie. Her name was Aunt Sally, but some people believe she adapted it from what fishermen made on their boats. This was in the early 20th century when they didn’t have refrigeration on boats so they relied on canned milk (sweetened condensed milk) and the egg yolks didn’t require cooking (the acid in the lime juice cooks the eggs, but most people don’t feel safe doing that now). And, of course, they’re made with Key limes which are no longer plentiful in Florida — the ones we get at the store are usually grown in Mexico (they are a bit more tart than our regular limes and much, much smaller, but regular limes are a reasonable substitute — plus, they’re easier to work with than Key limes and they’re less expensive).The idea that fishermen made it on board a vessel makes perfect sense — but we’re not here to make sense, we’re here to make Key lime pie!

Key Lime Pie

Crust:

  • 12 graham crackers (one regular packet plus three more)
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Filling:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest (optional)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup Key lime juice (regular lime juice is fine — freshly squeezed is best)

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Key-Lime-Pie

To make the crust, crush the graham crackers into a powder. You can do this by pulsing them in a food processor or by putting them in a sealable plastic bag and hammering them with a wooden mallet. Mix the crumbs with the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix it with your hands until you have what looks and feels like wet sand. In a 9” pie plate, press the mixture into the bottom and along the sides. Use a measuring cup to press it tightly and make it dense so it doesn’t crumble. You don’t have to make a lip around the edges — it will fall away when you serve it — but it doesn’t hurt to have it there. Bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Key-Lime-Pie

 

Place the egg yolks and lime zest in a bowl fitted to a stand mixer. Using the whip attachment, mix the ingredients on high until the yolks are creamy — 4 or 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the condensed milk and sour cream and continue mixing until everything is well-combined — occasionally scraping down the sides. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the lime juice. When it’s combined, pour the mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and the pie is set — the top should be smooth with no cracks. Let cool completely on a wire rack. After about an hour, refrigerate (it’s best served cold). It’s good by itself, but a dollop of whipped cream doesn’t hurt!

 

Alternatively, you can use this recipe for mini Key lime pies — this can be made into two 4” pies or if you want to go tiny, you can use a mini muffin tin (which is great for parties!)

Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or honoring Pi Day, LTD Commodities has ideas and products to make your holiday special!

 

Key-Lime-Pie

Spring Cleaning: 6 Things You Should Not Store in the Garage

garageThe countdown to spring is on — and that means we’re clearing out our houses of winter clutter. We’ll be scouring our homes from top to bottom and clearing out every nook and cranny. Inevitably, what we don’t throw out, we’ll want to store until fall and some of it will end up in the garage. But there are some things that don’t belong there. Here are 6 things you should not store in the garage.

Books, Paper Files, Photo Albums There are many reasons not to store anything made of paper in the garage. Unless you have climate control in your garage, the fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels can wilt your precious papers. In addition to environmental conditions, pests are another factor to protect your goods from. Termites and silverfish live on paper and they have easy access to the garage anytime the door is open and through cracks when the door is closed. When it comes to paper goods, if it’s worth keeping, it’s worth keeping indoors.

food-storageFood and Fridge Keeping an extra refrigerator stocked with food in the garage is only efficient in the fall and winter — during spring and summer when the temperatures are high, your refrigerator has to work hard to keep your perishables cold and preserved. If you do have a refrigerator in the garage, you might be storing canned goods as well which are also affected by extreme temperatures. To keep food efficiently safe, keep it in the kitchen.

Paint Storing Paint in the garage seems logical — that’s where you put lots of your home improvement tools and materials — but it’s not very good for your paint. Water-based paint can freeze and when it thaws, it’s useless. In heat, it deteriorates quickly. If you are certain you’ll use it again, it’s best stored in a spot in the house where you can control the temperature. If you don’t know if you’ll use it, it’s best to dispose of it by letting it dry out completely and then tossing it in the garbage.

Propane By definition, propane is a fire hazard — we use it to heat up our grills — so you want to be careful with where you store it. With a hot environment, there’s a risk that the relief valve can open and let out the propane unexpectedly making it dangerous if it’s in an enclosed space and, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, it’s against fire safety code. Propane tanks should always be stored outside.electronics

Electronics Dust, moisture and extreme temperatures don’t mix with electronics. Any one of those things can damage something with wires. If it’s something you want to keep, keep it inside. If you plan on donating it, take it to the donation center immediately.

Cloth or Fabric If you’re planning to donate clothes or extra bedding, try taking it to the thrift store sooner rather than later. Fabric likes to absorb moisture and retain it which makes it an excellent breeding ground for mildew. Pests also love to eat natural fibers which create unsightly holes in clothes. In wetter months or moist climates, keeping fabric in the garage for too long may make it useless once it gets to the donation center.