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 »
Are school fundraiser ideas keeping you up at night? A unique handmade art piece that represents your school is sure to be a p... Read more »
Creating beautiful and personal touches does not have to be difficult, especially when you have great designs to work with! Read more »
Recycle and give a new life to some of your old T-shirts Read more »
Teresa Collins is a top craft celebrity who has been featured numerous times on My Craft Channel, HSN, QVC and DIY network, wel... 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 »
By creating a few simple tags, you won’t be caught at the fabric store not knowing what fabrics or yardage you have in your st... Read more »
A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
Transform a simple hoodie into a super simple unicorn costume and take the stress and pressure out of making a complicated Hal... Read more »
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 »
A personalized Duck Tape® crown is quick and easy to make with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors. It is a fun way to cele... 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 »
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 »
Designed for all-purpose cutting through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... 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.