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 »
Winter fragrances are especially welcome when few flowers brave the cold. Even on a frigid January day, the swollen buds of the Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus mume (Zone 6 to 9) always make me smile. In my former garden I grew this small tree on the strip between the sidewalk and the street, where it thrived with little or no special attention. I still remember the time someone mistakenly thought it was a cherry tree blooming out of season, until I informed them that it was flowering just when it was supposed to, during January and February. There are numerous selections including ‘Peggy Clarke’ with double, deep rose-pink flowers, ‘Matsurabara Red’ with double, dark red flowers and ‘Rosemary Clarke’ with double fragrant white flowers. The blooms stand out against shiny green leafless stems and although it produces small apricot-type fruits, in my experience, they are tasteless.
One of the earliest winter bloomers, among the trees and shrubs, with flowers appearing sometimes in December, is fragrant wintersweet, Chimonanthus praecox (Zone 6 to 9). What this shrub lacks in grace it more than makes up for with its heavenly perfume.
Site it at the back of a border in front of some evergreens. Make sure you can get up close to enjoy the blossoms when they pump out their fragrance. My favorite description of these jewel-like flowers appears in The Fragrant Year, a book written by Helen Van Pelt Wilson and Leonie Bell. The edition I have dates to 1967 (long before I started gardening or writing about plants) and I treasure it still. The descriptions and black and white line drawings are invaluable. “The flowers begin as little balls easily detected in early fall in the leaf axils of five-year or older plants. First they swell to fat golden peas; when open their overall color is sheer yellow, so transparent that the shadow lines of outer petals are visible within. The flowers are stemless, perched snug against gray twigs, opening upside-down more often than not. We find it like Jasminum officinale—far carrying, never heavy, exquisite, a perfume of which we cannot get enough.”
Another shrub noted for its winter flowers is witchhazel. There are many to choose from and if you are a collector, you could have types blooming from fall through spring. A few years ago I purchased one from a local specialty nursery that I think is called Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel ’ (Zone 5 to 8).
It is a young plant and so far it has only produced a few flowers but they are colorful and fragrant. The native witchhazel, Hamamelis vernalisproduces small fragrant flowers in February (Zone 4 to 8).
If there were a contest for the most popular fragrant evergreen shrubs, Daphne odora, fragrant daphne, (Zone 7 to 9) would likely win the most votes for its incredible perfume. Depending on the selection, the flowers are pink or white and leaves are solid green or variegated. I like Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’ with white flowers. This shrub is happiest when it has a well-drained soil and, it makes a lovely specimen for container gardening.