Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... 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 »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... 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 users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
And, yes, I have underestimated what it takes to take a project from dream to reality. Now my contractor is booked, my design isn’t done, and my project won’t happen for months. Probably, I should have known better. Each spring following the first sunny weekend, my design office gets copious, excited calls from homeowners anxious to design and build their new gardens -- immediately. Guess what? Calling in spring means your design project may begin in spring, but quite likely your garden installation won’t happen until much later in the year.
The reality is planning your spring garden design should begin in winter – if not much earlier. Whether you’re hoping to put in a new veggie bed, renovate your mixed ornamental shrub borders or start over with everything from scratch, it’s important to jump into the planning phase while icicles are still dripping from the eaves. If you wait until the spring thaw to start planning, be ready to wait even longer to see your garden begin to grow. Don’t let winter get away from you. Dive in to your project now – even if every pond is frozen and your garden beds are buried in three feet of snow.
If you haven’t already, start by filling a scrapbook with photos of gardens, plants and hardscape that you like. In addition to tearing out magazine photos, add in shots from your own garden – hopefully a collection illustrating the elements you adore as well as the areas that drive you mad. If you know the names of any of your dormant perennials or leaf-less trees, make a list of them. Know when and what color your azaleas bloom? Jot down that kind of detail as well. This collection will help you and your designer accurately develop a garden design style to fit you and your garden spaces.
Set a budget. Even if you have no idea what your dream garden project should cost, you likely have an idea what you can afford to spend. An experience designer, armed with an understanding of your finances, will help you prioritize while also working with you to reconcile your gardening wants and needs to your bottom line. The good news – gardens can be installed in phases, so dream big and aim for the garden you want!
Test your soil. If you can still get a spade into the ground, gather some earth for laboratory testing. Although labs like Amherst Soil Lab will send your results to you quickly, actually getting the soil to change through amending can require much more time. Investing in your soil is one of the most important things you can do to protect the expensive investment you will make in new plants. Plus, if edibles – including berry shrubs -- are to become a part of your new garden borders, it’s important to be sure they won’t be growing in any toxins.
Visit garden shows and public gardens for inspiration. Many garden shows, like the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and the Philadelphia International Flower Show, happen in winter. They’re great places to find design inspiration as well as designers. Too, your local parks and botanical gardens may feature plants that perform beautifully in winter. Explore them now; add them in spring; enjoy them in the winters ahead.
And, of course, start designing your spaces. Those who wish to work with designers should begin gathering referrals, making calls and setting up appointments right away. If you start working with a designer by January or February, you’re much more likely to have a ready-to-install design by spring. If you’re a DIYer, get outside to measure your beds on a clear, dry day. Then, when you’re stuck inside, shivering in the frustrating throes of cabin fever, restore your faith in spring by drawing out your own healing garden spaces. Visualizing our new gardens through design can help each of us break through the gloom on even the shortest, darkest winter day.
Whether you plan to design on your own or bring in a professional designer to help, don’t let your inspiration to plan a new garden hibernate all winter long. Start designing now and by spring you’ll be well on your way to creating and enjoying beautiful new garden spaces.