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 »
There is a dizzying array of foliage and flowers at every nursery. Gardeners pile containers in their shopping carts as if they think they’re in a race with Mother Nature.
In the South, we are. Southerners struggle with two things in spring. The first is our fear of winter’s last blast, the dreaded late freeze.
Late freezes can devastate the spring garden, and in 2009, one did. It took weeks for our gardens to recover, and some plants, like the Japanese maple in my garden didn’t.
We also dread early, summer temperatures and lack of spring rain. We need this rainfall to endure summer’s dominance. While we can’t control our climate, we can grow hardy plants including natives.
In the middle south, alkaline soil dominates because of our prairie past. It’s still good to get a soil test from your local county extension office to determine whether your soil is alkaline or acidic along with nutrient values. To discover whether your soil is clay or sand, take a handful of moist soil and squeeze out the water. Clay soil will make a ball, while sandier soil will fall apart.
To find native plants in your region, contact your local county extension office and your state’s native plant society. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is another great resource for gardeners in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and some parts of Arkansas.
Spring should be a flower parade of trees and shrubs. You can’t beat native Cercis canadensis, redbuds. They are understory trees throughout our deciduous forest, and their purple blooms are early signs of spring.
There are also native, fruiting crabapples. While most crabapples are hybrids, you can still find native Malus coronaria, sweet crabapple, or M. angustifolia, southern crabapple, at specialty nurseries. When it comes to flowering plants though, I’m not a purist. I believe most fruiting plants that aid pollinators and other wildlife are good finds whether they are natives, improved selections or hybrids. There are several crabapple hybrids worth mentioning like Royal Raindrops®, ‘Indian Summer’ and Red Jewel®. Harvest Gold® has yellow fruit.
Laburnum x watereri, golden chain tree, as shown in this photo from Wikimedia Commons, is another underused bloomer for the southern landscape. It is only hardy to Zone 6, and doesn’t like temperatures above those in Zone 7. However, in my state, it’s a show stopper in spring.
Amelanchier, serviceberry or Juneberry, is an excellent native large shrub, or small tree with white blooms and dark purple, edible fruit. It has good fall color and is of special importance to native bees in spring according to the Xerces Society. The hybrid, 'Autumn Brilliance', is a popular choice.
Cornus alternifolia, our native dogwood, blooms yellow/white. It has lovely fall color and helps pollinators. It is a great small tree for the landscape, but it prefers acidic soil, cooler summers and shade in warmer climates.
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, coralberry or Indian currant, is a native understory shrub. According to Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, coralberry is prone to mildew. I would choose the variegated cultivar, ‘Taff’s Silver Edge’ and grow it in partial shade to protect it from sunburn. Although the flowers aren’t particularly showy, pink or purple berries remain throughout winter.
Ilex decidua, possumhaw, is another great shrub for winter berries. I planted two this spring, male and female.
Although the native shrub Cephalanthus occidentalis, common buttonbush, waits until June to start blooming, it is a butterfly magnet. At six to twelve feet, it’s also a tall specimen so place button bush at the back of the border in a spot where there is plenty of moisture.
Callicarpa americana, American beautyberry, should be in every naturalist’s garden because of its prolific, purple berries. ‘Welch’s Pink’ is a pink selection of this native plant, but it has been hard to produce for commerce. In addition to the native, I also grow C. japonica, Japanese beautyberry. It’s been a wonderful addition to the garden beneath a pink Lagerstroemia hyb., crapemyrtle. Japanese beautyberry has a more open habit than the American species.
When writing of blooming shrubs, I must also mention another Japanese import, Kerria japonica. It comes in double and single blooming forms, along with a variegated one. However, the variegated selection I grew reverted to the species. I like kerria for its bright yellow blooms, but also, for the bright green stems. Grow kerria anywhere other shrubs have failed because it thrives upon neglect.
Another spring bloomer is Weigela florida ‘Variegata.’ I also grow dark-foliaged Wine & Roses® and the diminutive My Monet®, but the best performer in my garden thus far is the regular variegated version.
When you begin piling your cart with plants, don’t forget blooming shrubs and trees. They offer bright color throughout the season from flowers, foliage and berries. Try some natives too. Pollinators and birds will thank you.