Keeping the garden tidy requires a few deft moves with the right tools, and, time and again over the seasons, shrub rakes are... Read more »
Entire books have been written on the science of making compost, but it isn’t as hard as people think. In five easy steps, you... Read more »
Weeding, pruning, and raking all make a huge difference in the appearance of a garden, but, to finish the job, you have to rou... Read more »
The Fiskars® aluminum shrub rake features a slim head with uniquely tapered tines that are perfect for reaching into tight spac... Read more »
Our Eco Bin Composter features an easy-to-assemble, easy-to-use design that can simplify and speed the composting process. It i... Read more »
Our HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container is perfect for all your outdoor cleanup needs — whether you’re gathering yard and... Read more »
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Recycle and give a new life to some of your old T-shirts Read more »
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A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
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Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Fabric Shears sense blade separation an... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Try some new punches out and make some cards to celebrate World Card Making Day! Read more »
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Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
Transform a basic jacket into something personal and unique. Read more »
Create a simple reusable calendar to plan all of your back to school activities. Read more »
Creating a miniature collage with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors is a great way to use up any last bits of Duck Tape® yo... Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
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Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Everyone lamented the summer of 2012, but when a cool front signaled fall, seasoned gardeners breathed a sign of relief and grabbed their garden gear. They saw empty spaces as opportunities replacing trees, shrubs and perennials killed by insects, disease and drought.
In these changing times, we need durable and beautiful plants. The last five seasons in my garden were all about adjusting to a new reality. I love English cottage style, but I only grow shrub roses that are easy to maintain. I’ve also removed diseased roses replacing them with plants better suited to my climate.
Tropicals may be our best friends for summer color. Many, like Solenostemon scutellarioides (coleus) and Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’ (variegated tapioca) have bright flashy leaves. When summer heats up, and plants quit flowering, colorful foliage rules the day. Some of my favorite coleus are ColorBlaze® Dipt in Wine, Big Red Judy® and ‘Pink Chaos,’ but there are varieties in nearly every color combination. Go for those that can be grown in the sun and plant them in sun or shade. The coloration will be different, but still lovely. Also, who can resist the multitudinous offerings of Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato vine)? They are fantastic bed fillers and container spillers in sun or shade.
Many tropicals bloom too. Purple Señorita Rosalita® and white Señorita Blanca™ cleomes bloom nonstop. Planted together or against a darker plant, they are scrumptious. Consider traditional favorites like celosias. For years, I didn’t like celosias because I thought they were too old fashioned. Then, I fell in love with the dark foliage of ‘Intenz,’ and I realized my prejudice was unwarranted. Lantana is another tough plant. No need to stick to traditional ‘New Gold.’ Instead, branch out and pick Bandana Red®, or one with variegated leaves like ‘Samantha.’
For perennials that can take the heat, stick with the tried-and-true. Grow black-eyed Susans, but don’t limit yourself to one variety. I’m trying R. hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ and ‘Indian Summer.’ I’m not sure they will return come spring, but they still captivated me. Another great new perennial in my garden is Salvia longispicata x farinacea ‘Mystic Spires Blue.’ I first saw it in a mass planting at White River Gardens next to the Indianapolis Zoo, and I knew it was something special. Another clan of salvias, S. greggii, bloom abundantly in my garden. I like them all, but ‘Pink Preference’ is my preferred choice. Found in Texas, it blooms all summer long and is deer resistant. Another good plant for sunny spots is Cestrum ‘Orange Peel.’
In the shade garden, try elephant ears instead of hostas. Fun varieties of Colocasia esculenta, like 'Coffee Cups' with its upturned leaves, look better than a burned up old hosta any day. Before you hosta fans grab the pitchforks, I do grow a few. I’ve had good luck with those that have thicker leaves like ‘Guacamole’ and ‘Sum and Substance.’
Grow Mahonia bealei (leatherleaf mahonia) along with M. eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ in filtered sunlight for best results. Ajuga and Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (golden creeping Jenny) are great plants to trail along the edge of shady beds.
I love perennials and consider them an important part of the garden’s backbone, but annuals offer a color flash while perennials are recharging for another bloom cycle. Some of my favorite annuals are:
•Evolvulus glomeratus ‘Blue Daze’ for a touch of elusive blue.
•Euphorbia graminea Diamond Frost®, better than baby’s breath, but afternoon shade improves performance.
•Zinnias, especially the smaller, disease resistant types, like the Profusion series, ‘Double Zahara Fire’ and ‘Double Zahara Cherry.’
•Bonfire® begonia, heat resistant and beautiful. New Choc Red and Choc Pink have dark foliage.
•Periwinkles, classic performers, but, to prevent disease, don’t plant them too early in the season.
Native plants are another bonus. If you stagger plant types, you can have flowers in three seasons as shown above at Oklahoma State University’s Botanic Garden. Add grasses to crown the garden in fall.
Changeable weather patterns will alter the way we garden, but many plants will also thrive. Tough times may not last, but tough plants do. Remember that the next time you want to throw in the trowel.