If you are building a new home or simply want to update your current home, start outside with curb appeal. Read more »
Here comes the bride — and the groom, the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen – plan ahead, practice a little, and then enjoy bring... Read more »
When you’re filling out your wish-list of wedding gifts, don’t forget to include supplies for the garden shed. With the right... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear2™ Pruner, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear2™ Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techn... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear2™ Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented-pending tec... Read more »
Making your own wedding invites and thank you cards is a delightful task when you a few versatile tools and simple techniques... Read more »
Nothing adds a special touch to a wedding like a handmade item. Read more »
Create a beautiful setting for your post-wedding brunch. Using these Fiskars tools will make the project even easier. 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 »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
Choose our low-maintenance Photo Bypass Paper Trimmer to trim large quantities of photos with speed and precision. An easy-to-u... Read more »
Give your small outdoor space a mini makeover using a few simple tools to complete these fabulous projects. Read more »
Window treatments can turn a room from drab to fab, but if you’re on a budget sometimes hand-me-down curtains will have to do,... Read more »
If you’re not ready to fully embrace the trend for bold 70’s prints in your clothing, why not reflect it with a gloriously lou... 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 fabric, our RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears feature... Read more »
Our Classic Stick Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade is ideal for crisp, controlled cuts on a wide variety of materials. A symmet... Read more »
Make clean up time a fun game for the kids! It becomes really easy for toddlers and preschoolers to match their toys to their... Read more »
Funny Face Magnet Gift Wrap is simple to make and quite literally gives each gift magnetic personality. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The most common complaint I hear when traveling is about soil quality for growing veggies. It may be too sandy, full of clay... Read more »
Creating a customized look is easier than you think - even when it comes to sewing up larger items such as this duvet cover an... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
You probably know all about the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, but do you know what it means for your garden?
Although this zone map highlights the cold hardiness for a particular region, your entire climate—both hot and cold, along with humidity and sun intensity—determines how well a particular plant will perform in your garden. For example, Raleigh, North Carolina is in Zone 7, as am I. However, because of humidity and other factors, they can grow Japanese maples in the sun. In Oklahoma, if you planted most of these small trees in the sun, you’d be setting yourself up for a crispy disaster. I live in a prairie climate while Raleigh’s climate is much more moderate. Plus, they have more rainfall at approximately 45 inches per year. Oklahoma, on the other hand, gets an average of 36 inches. Nine inches of rain makes all the difference.
To stretch your growing horizons, use microclimates to your best advantage. This works for both heat and cold hardiness.
What is a microclimate? It’s a protected area within your landscape that is generally moderate and warmer than the rest of your garden. So, if you live in Zone 7a like I do, you may be able to stretch your zone to 7b or even 8a by using a microclimate within your yard. This also works for intense heat. If you have an area that gets more shade in the afternoon, you are using a microclimate to protect delicate plants from too much sun. Since I adore Japanese maples, I grow them in partial shade, usually on the east side of my house.
Gardeners seem to always want to grow plants not suited to their area or zone. Maybe it’s our competitive nature. My husband says gardeners are the most competitive group he’s ever seen, and this always makes me smile. I know I frequently use microclimates throughout my garden when I want to try something new. I save my ornamental grasses and tough prairie natives for the harsher places in my landscape.
The bed, above, is on the east side of my garage. I discovered the east side of my house is where I need to grow less hardy plants. The soil is builder’s sand left over from construction. To this, I added compost, mulch and manure to create one of the most fertile and well-draining borders in my garden. I grow three David Austin roses in this border, ‘Darcey Bussell’, ‘Molineaux’ and ‘The Alnwick Rose’ along with two different Japanese maples and two Chamaecyparis obtusa (false cypress) that would otherwise expire from heat exhaustion. Here is the same border in early spring. Not much to look at right now, but in a month or two, it will be a riot of color, texture and form.
Oklahoma is plagued with late freezes that ravage our fruit trees. When I decided to plant my own fruit trees, I placed them in my front yard because it is protected by a stand of native oaks, and is on the highest part of my landscape. My home is built on a hill. I knew if I planted the fruit trees in the lower garden, I would never get a peach, tart cherry or apple crop. I still fight the late freezes each year, but at least I give these trees a chance to do their thing.
Contrast these two microclimates with the lower garden extending from the back of my house and down the hill. The bottom of the garden is the coldest region in my entire landscape. I only plant beautiful natives and other tough shrubs, perennials and grasses in this space. I only have one Japanese maple here, and it is in the uppermost portion of the garden in partial shade. Even so, after last winter with its extreme cold, I may lose this tree. That’s the thing about gardening that is most challenging and frustrating…you can do everything right and still lose plants. It’s just part of the game.
Next time, when you’re thinking about buying a plant at your local nursery, don’t just consider its soil, sun or shade requirements. Take into account those areas of your garden where it would be most happy due to a microclimate. You’ll find that if you work these sheltered areas to your advantage, you’ll have a much happier and more productive garden.