Chris H Olsen

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Chris H. Olsen is a nationally known home and garden guru, designer, author, TV personality and public speaker. In his book, Chris shares his landscape and gardening knowledge along with his unique flair for home decor and design. He is also a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
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Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce


1/2 cup less-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
2 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
1 cup presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sweet Marsala
Make A Quick & Easy Ranch Spinach Dip


Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan. Add mushrooms to pan, and cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove mushrooms from pan. Remove pan from heat; add Marsala, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium. Return pan to heat. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in mushrooms.



Cajun Hot Crab Dip


Cooking spray
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed, divided
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup canola mayonnaise
1/3 cup 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons panko
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Place 1 cup crab in a food processor. Add the shallot mixture, 1/4 cup water, pepper sauce, and Cajun seasoning to crab; process until smooth. Spoon mixture into a large bowl, and stir in remaining crab, mayonnaise, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper).

3. Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart glass or ceramic casserole dish coated lightly with cooking spray. Combine panko and chives in a small bowl; sprinkle over crab mixture. Coat panko mixture with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.


Succulents are the unsung heroes of houseplants — super-cute and virtually indestructible (you only need to water them once a week!). They add a welcome pop of greenery to any book collection when planted in clear vases filled with pretty river stones. Here's how to create your own.

Snag a few succulents at a nursery or hardware store. They come in a variety of shapes and colors, so play around with the assortment you choose until you find a mix that makes the maximum visual impact. You'll need three to four plants per bookend.

Grab an old wooden tray or lay out newsprint to cover your table before you remove the succulents from their pots. Leave the dirt surrounding the plants' roots (you'll need it to re-pot them in the bookends), and put the rest to the side.

To complete the project, you'll need two glass cylinder vases. Note: One needs to be small enough to fit inside the other, with a few inches of free space left around the edges.

After you place the smaller vase inside the larger one, fill the gap between them with smooth river rocks (available at craft stores). You can also place some stones on the bottom of the larger vase to raise the smaller vase up a bit, if necessary.

Plant your succulents into the smaller vase, adding some of the dirt you've set aside to fill the container. Finally, top the arrangement with more river rocks to hide any glass that's still peeking out.



The New Year will be like the old one if you keep on doing the same old things. You should experience new things, like this Champagne concoction. It's tasty and refreshing.

Champagne Resolution (New Year's)

Yields two to three drinks.
The recipe is easy to increase to a pitcher size. Just multiply each ingredient by eight.

1 oz Vanilla Vodka (Stoli recommended)
1 oz Blueberry Vodka (Stolirecommended)
.5 oz Blueberry Puree
.5 oz Raspberry Puree
.5 oz Sour Mix
.5 oz Simple Syrup
Prosecco (La Marca recommended) Use Champagne if you prefer. I just like the fruitiness that Prosecco adds to this delicious concoction.

* Personal taste will dictate how much Prosecco you will need. A couple of bottles will be plenty.
Combine first six ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake it up. Strain the mixture into a Champagne flute until half to three-quarters full. Top with Prosecco.
The purees are easily made from frozen berries. Place berries in a blender and puree. Add a little Prosecco to get the desired consistency.

Visit the Colonial Tasting Bar at this link



The latest Chris H. Olsen news!

Be sure and check out the Botanica Gardens booth at the Arkansas Flower and Garden show February 20th - 22nd, 2015!

Happy New Years! Enjoy these New Years articles written by Chris - THV Article about New Years party - Life of the Party - AY Magazine Article

November 30th, 2014 - What is Christmas Decor without a Christmas tree? Some Hints

November 24th, 2014 - You can have a very Simplistic Look this Christmas! Video

November 17th, 2014 - Decorate your Mantle with a twist this year! Video

October 23rd, 2014 - Spooky Halloween Decor and Citrus Pumpkins!

October 15th, 2014 - Decorate for the Children at Halloween! - Video

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