Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. 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 »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... 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 beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... 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 »
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.