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 »
Although ferns don’t bloom, their unique forms and textures provide exceptional visual interest in the garden. Combined with evergreen groundcovers, which do bloom, they fashion a beautiful, mixed interest garden bed that should require very little work during the gardening year.
Ferns are among some of the oldest plants on the planet, and they come in sizes that range from tight, groundcover forms such as Blechnum penna-marina (Alpine Water Fern) to towering tropical tree forms. While these are gorgeous and offered in many nurseries, seeking out ferns native to your locale will increase your gardening success rate. North American native ferns like Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) and Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant) are fantastic evergreen options for mixed height, texture and beautiful year-round interest. The trick: prune them at just the right time, and it takes no time at all!
Many gardeners claim to dislike ferns because they “look messy” or are “hard to prune”. The reality is many evergreen ferns have fronds (they’re not called leaves on ferns) that last only a year or so. Then those older fronds die back and turn brown, but they remain woven among the newer growth. And, that’s what causes the messiness, which is difficult to clean out from among so many other living fronds.
To avoid this mish-mash mess, instead cut all of the fronds from your fern to the ground late each winter or early each spring. Once all of the fronds are cut down, each plant should look like a tiny curled fist on the ground. Each of those fists will unfurl delicate fronds as the days of spring lengthen, forming a fresh new plant for the rest of the year. By making the cuts at the end of winter and just before the growth surge begins for spring, you will avoid the problem of snapping off tender, new growth as you cut. Plus, you will have enjoyed the prior year’s fronds from the moment they surge forth in spring all the way through winter -- without ever looking at brown, dried out fronds. And, you’ll only look at cut-down plants for a couple of weeks before they rise into beautiful new growth for the year ahead.
And while you’re out cutting back those evergreen ferns, go ahead and cut back your evergreen groundcovers nearby. The same ploy applies: remove the prior year’s growth at the end of winter just before new growth appears and before old growth browns out. The added bonus here: cutting back groundcovers like Epimediums and Vinca minor in late winter will expose all of their tiny, sweet spring flowers, which are often otherwise hidden below layers of older foliage. On Vinca, the flowers bloom on the growth closest to the ground, so mowing is an option in some gardens. On Epimediums, the flowers unfurl from the soil, so you need not worry that you’ll raze the flowers by cutting back just before they bloom. Just watch carefully and be certain to do your trimming before the flower heads begin to expand. And, after you enjoy their lovely carpet of flowers, these plants will reward you with a fresh garden painting of weed-suppressing groundcover to enjoy for the whole year ahead.