{ Archive for the ‘garden gear’ Category }

Gardening gift of the day: Ethel Gloves

In June, I received a pair of Ethel Gloves to try out after attending a GWA luncheon. I was excited because Martha Stewart had recently tweeted the stylish gloves, so I was curious to put them to the test. I have to admit – the gloves were so pretty I didn’t want to get them dirty. But then reality set in when more than one finger started to poke through the cute pink pair that I got for my birthday from my parents last year. And I was tired of digging dirt out from under my fingernails. So I pulled the pretty Ethel gloves out of their pretty box and wore them every day I was out in the garden this summer.

And they survived – even through my extensive front yard reno. Reinforced fingertips mean that I can wear my gloves next year because I haven’t worn them out. An extended cuff prevented dirt from sliding into my glove throughout all my digging. If I really want to, I can throw them into the washing machine. And, even beneath all that dirt, they’re still really pretty.

Price: $20 US
Available at: RONA stores across Canada

* Check back every weekday until December 23 for more great gift ideas!

The box was so pretty, I had to take a picture. The style I received is called Jubilee.

Disappointing Hoses

While cleaning up one of my flower beds this fall I found yet another soaker hose with a hole in it. It’s one of the black foamy types, and it’s ripped almost in half. I’ve been responsible for this kind of damage before (garden fork, anyone?), but more than once I’ve found a busted hose with no clues about its demise. A rogue rose thorn? A particularly hungry gopher?

The obvious next thing to do is blame the hose itself as being crappy. I’ve tried the green kind with the pin prick holes, but they were constantly kinking on me if I try to put the teeniest curve in them. I moved on to the black kind. I tried a Canadian Tire and a Home Hardware brand. Both bit it within the season. I bought some repair kits. New cracks appeared. So I shelled out a little more for some Gardena ones. They lasted quite well, actually, and came with lots of quick connect pieces. That was the one I found this morning. This is only the second season I’ve had it, but even so I think it was the better buy. The ends are self repairing; if I cut down the hose to where it broke, they’ll reattach, making the same, but shorter, hose.

So the next thing to blame is water pressure, or storage practices… I thought I was being careful in both these regards.

I expect to repair, as well as replace, hoses now and again, but I wasn’t counting on doing it at the rate of three or four a year. Am I missing something? Is there a better way? A better brand? A Holy Grail?

Or is this just part of the gardener’s yearly lament that I was unaware of?

Oh Muskoka chair, how you make me long for spring!

Yesterday I attended a PC Home Patio & BBQ preview where we got to see what’s in store for spring. Around the showroom were vignettes showcasing the patio furniture and accessories that will soon be making their way to a Loblaw-owned store near you. The comfy furniture and some of the juicy colour palettes really made me long for spring, especially the vibrant Muskoka chair shown below. Made of painted wood, this quintessential summer chair comes in blue, green and red (as pictured below), retails for only $99.99 and folds up for easy storage.

redmuskokachair

Valentines for your office mates

I came across this sweet idea last week on the Design*Sponge website. Since alot of people are watching their waistlines these days, it’s a nice alternative to chocolate if you want to bring some cupid karma to the office for your favourite work peeps. Of course you could always add a truffle or two to the mix so your co-workers could choose between sweet and sinful. Instructions can be found here.
designsponge

A calendar that sprouts wildflowers

The first thing I did this past Monday when I got into work is hang my 2010 calendar at my desk. The neat thing about this Botanical Paperworks creation is that as I rip each month off to reveal a new calendar page and whimsical illustration, I can save the old one to plant in my garden. Pages are made of cotton or 100% post-consumer waste and are riddled with North American wildflower seeds. Planting instructions are available on the site. Stay tuned to see what sprouts!

The photo below is the tin version, but I wanted to show what the pages inside looked like.botanical-paperworks-calendar2

Flowerpot mugs

flowerpot-mugsI’m not sure how these cute cups escaped our gift guide, but my dad gave one to all the gardeners in his life–my mom, sister and I–for Christmas. Made to look like terra cotta pots, these mugs are available at Lee Valley Tools!

Guest blog: Gnome and garden

By Jennifer Murray

Gnomes are a staple of the gardening world–even in the Harry Potter novels, gardens are full of these little troublemakers. Treat them well, and they will guard your precious belongings and help you with chores. Treat them poorly, and they will make mischief whenever possible, including stealing keys, underwear and garden tools.

Why all the gnome talk? We thought ahead for the long, cold months ahead and found a solution for keeping our gardening spirit alive: Gnome and Garden! This handy little kit contains a mini gnome, lawn, flowers, backdrops (Swiss mountain, anyone?) and a book about how to care for your gnome at the office.

The gnome care book recommends naming the gnome (we’re going with Gnorman), greeting your gnome each day and appeasing its lust for mischief with paperclips and other offerings. Paperclips for help with office chores? Count me in…

gnorman

(Gnorman was also featured in our holiday gift guide!)

Tweeting houseplants

Have you ever wondered what you’re houseplants are thinking? Well, thanks to this cool gadget, your houseplant can now tweet. By using Twitter, your houseplant will communicate with you via the Internet. The Botanicalls DIY Plant Twitter Kit easily translates all dialect of ‘houseplant’ to English.

add2_botanicalls_plant_twitter_kit_inplantSo how does it work? The original breakthrough was made when the chief scientist at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was trying to communicate with a patch of catnip by using a super computer.

“I CAN HAZ TWITTER?” said the plant. This confused the scientist, but his granddaughter was able to figure out that the plant wanted to Tweet! Plant who tweet don’t have much to say, but they do request that you water them and thank you once you have.

Fact or fiction? Who knows, but this fun toy is perfect for a techie gardener who is feeling stir crazy during the long winter months!

Two products that will make your life easier next spring

Yesterday Karina (Canadian Gardening magazine's associate editor) and I met with Brent McHenry from Fiskars. Brent made his annual visit to our office to show us what's new for 2010. We started with the crafty stuff — border/corner punches, scissors for crafting and dressmaking, and more. Craft stores make me SO happy, so having a private preview was pretty cool. Then we moved on to what's new in gardening. The highlights for me were the following two products: the Momentum reel mower and the Sit & Store

What's interesting about this mower compared to other reel mowers is that the blade will last way longer -- there is no metal on metal contact, so it could be upwards of seven years before you have to sharpen it. This lightweight little number can also work as an edger and is apparently 30 per cent easier to push! The Momentum will be exclusive to Canadian Tire, will retail for about $199 to $220 and will be available in January.

What's interesting about this mower compared to other reel mowers is that the blade will last way longer -- there is no metal on metal contact, so it could be upwards of seven years before you have to sharpen it. This lightweight little number can also work as an edger and is apparently 30 per cent easier to push! The Momentum will be exclusive to Canadian Tire, will retail for about $279 and will be available in January.

I carry a little basket around the yard with my tools, generally a glass of water and sometimes the phone. But what excites me about this cart is I can attach my bucket to the back and lug around bags of dirt and other heavy stuff. The top comes off, too, so you can protect your knees while you dig in the dirt!

I carry a little basket around the yard with my tools, generally a glass of water and sometimes the phone. But what excites me about this cart is I can attach my bucket to the back and lug around bags of dirt and other heavy stuff. The top comes off, too, so you can protect your knees while you dig in the dirt!

Cool gadget – time lapse garden camera

I stumbled upon this nifty garden device the other day while I was surfing the web. The GardenWatch Cam is perfect for gardeners who love gadgets. Maybe this is something you’d like to add to your wish list for Santa I know, I shouldn’t be thinking about the ‘C’ word already, but Santa’s elves needs time to build all the toys you know!

be41_gardenwatch_cam_ingroundThe GardenWatch Cam by Brinno is designed to be placed outside in your garden to take photos at specific predetermined time settings. Simply put, you can record your flowers blooming, speed it up, and then watch it on your computer. It’s not like sitting on your deck watching the grass grow in real time. The time-lapsed images are sped up so you can watch seedlings sprout, a morning glory climb up a trellis, bees pollinate flowers, or capture the sneaky garden gnome who mysteriously manages to be in a different spot in your garden every morning.

Housed in a weather resistant plastic case, the GardenWatch Cam blends into the garden so you won’t even notice it’s there. At the end of the season, you can download the images and play it back to watch your garden bloom all over again. Take a peek at some of these videos filmed with the GardenWatch Cam.

Seedlings sprouting

Hyacinth blooming

For bird watchers trying to catch a glimpse of visitors to your bird feeder, be sure to check out the BirdWatch Cam.

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