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 »
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 »
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 no garden glossary is complete, below are a few essentials alphabetized for convenience.
Aeration - The loosening of soil or other matter by various means allowing air to pass freely through it.
Acidic Soil - Soil with a pH reading below 7.0 is considered acidic while soil measuring above 7.0 pH is called alkaline. Dryer soils tend to be more alkaline. Use a soil test to determine pH among other factors.
Amendment - Organic material added to soil to improve it.
Annual - A plant which completes its entire growth cycle from seed to bloom and again to seed in one year’s time.
Biennial - A plant which takes two seasons to complete its life cycle, flowering and producing seed in the second year.
Blackspot - A rose disease in which the leaves have dark spots, sometimes with a yellow ring, caused by a fungus and spread through moisture. Leaves will eventually turn yellow and then brown falling to the ground.
Blossom End Rot - A disorder of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant caused by a lack of calcium. Uneven watering and drought are also factors.
Bolt - When a cold-weather plant, like spinach or kale, is stressed by heat it flowers and sets seed if left in place.
Botanical name - The scientific name of a plant, also sometimes called the Latin name, although not all botanical names are in Latin. The proper name of plants through a system standardized by Carl Linnaeus, where the first half of the name, capitalized and in italics, is the plant’s genus. The species name is also written in italics, but not capitalized. Cultivar names, if there are any, are in single quotes.
Chlorosis - A lack of chlorophyll in plants causing them to have pale, green, yellow or even whitish foliage. This is not to be confused with plants hybridized to look as though they have this deficiency.
Cloche - A glass or clear plastic cover meant to protect plants from cold temperatures or animals. Cloches should be removed when the temperature warms so that the plant is not overheated and can get air circulation.
Companion Planting - Growing one or more plants together because they perform well in the same space. This term is often referred to in connection with plants that enhance each other’s growing conditions like garlic repelling insects from roses, for example.
Compost - Organic humus created by layering green and brown materials and allowing them to decompose. Compost is great for the garden. It helps maintain soil moisture and temperature while also balancing soil organisms to prevent disease and improve fertility.
Cultivar - A plant variety or strain produced in cultivation through breeding or selection.
Cutworm - Worm-like larvae of any variety of moth which curls up into a C shape and cuts plants off at soil level. Cutworms are often green, brown or yellow with stripes. Various methods are used to foil these creatures when new plants are set out into the garden.
Deadhead - To remove a part of a plant which has bloomed so that the plant will re-bloom. The term also refers to the fans of The Grateful Dead, a rock group, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Focal Point - When designing a garden it’s important to include a focal point, which has three main functions: Strategically placed, a focal point can control the line of sight, helping the eye know where to look in the garden; whether it leads you down a pathway or helps you to notice a particular view. If there’s no focal point, the viewer is left to visually navigate the garden on their own, creating a feeling of uncertainty. Focal points can also help invoke a certain mood in the garden, whether it’s whimsical, cheery, restful or serene. Focal points can also help distract the eye from something ‘less than desirable’ (such as a chimney, play structure, air conditioning unit, etc.) Many things can be act as a focal point in your garden: plants (especially if the shape, size or color is drastically different from its surroundings), color from painted elements/structures in a garden or artistic elements (statues, structures, arbors, etc).
Formal vs. Informal - Most people consider formal design to be linear with laser-like symmetry, perhaps divided into quadrants and edged with tightly clipped hedges. Things tend to match in a formal garden, with plants falling within a specific color palette and placed in specific locations. This type of garden is best for disciplined gardener. Informal gardens, however, tend to have lines that seem to curve and flow with wild abandon. If there’s symmetry in the garden, it’s subtle at best. A wide plant palette is used, and when many of the plants seem to look as if they’ve naturally re-seeded where they are. Plants are generally unclipped and left to their natural shape. To have an informal garden that doesn’t look chaotic is more difficult to achieve than you’d think!
Genius of the Place - Quite often designers will refer to the ‘genius of the place’ ‘the spirit of the place’ or ‘sense of terroir’. While it might sound a bit esoteric, it really isn’t. Living within a cork’s throw of Napa Valley, I’m very familiar with the concept of terroir when applied to wine, which is simply defined as recognizing the individual characteristics of a vineyard’s climate, soil and topography that directly influence the subtle nuances of the wine. When designers use this phrase, it refers to a garden’s specific region and the environmental factors that should be considered when designing a garden. For example, consider where you live (ie: mountains, desert or the city) and proudly incorporate what makes your locale special into your garden. When choosing plants, consider using those that are native to your area to help emphasize the local flavor of your region.
Genus - A categorical ranking of a plant below its family and above its species. Plants within a genus generally exhibit similar characteristics and their names are capitalized and italicized.
Heirloom Plant - Time-tested, open-pollinated plants passed down from more than one generation of gardeners often in a particular region. They will often have more vigor and disease resistance for that region.
Mulch - Shredded leaves, compost, chopped bark or any other material which will decay over time, but is spread beneath plants to improve the soil, moderate soil temperature, and retain moisture. Rubber “mulch” does not count.
Native Plant - Open-pollinated plant varieties which are endemic or naturalized in a particular are over time.
Perennial - A plant which lives and grows for several consecutive years. Some plants are referred to as hardy perennials because they are tolerant of freezes. Of course, how hardy a plant is determined by where the gardener lives. A short-lived perennial is one, like Gaillardia sp., which overwinters in my part of the world for a few years, but then dies. A hardy perennial in many areas of the U.S. would be one like the peonies in the photo above.
Proportion - In garden design, proportion (or scale) is an important concept to consider; when done right, everything is harmonious and when ignored, everything seems ‘off’. A proportional garden is one where all components seamlessly fit into the whole of the landscape. For example, if you have a large and expansive estate, larger sized plants, structures and art will fit right in. Conversely, if your garden consists of a small courtyard or balcony, plants with delicate foliage, smaller art and structures with fine details will look best
Rhythm and Line - Whether your garden is geometric in nature, or flows with a curving and winding pattern, rhythm and line refers to the sense of motion that is created through the use of various landscaping elements. Pathways and the shape of a garden bed are key elements to creating rhythm; meandering pathways denote a leisurely pace while straight lines are intentionally direct. The shape of structures and artwork strategically placed within a garden can also help to further emphasize the garden’s pace.
Secateurs or Hand Pruners - In Europe, hand pruners are called secateurs. Sound much more romantic don’t they?
Sow - To plant seed. Direct Sow means to plant seeds outdoors directly into the soil in which they will grow.
Thinning - The process of removing some seedlings in order to give others room to grow and produce.
Top dress - The process of amending the soil by adding a thin layer of fertilizer like manure to the surface of the soil.