Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Weeds?

Weeding is never fun.  In fact, for most gardeners it is probably the most despised chore of all.  One of the most important things to keep your beds weed free is ensuring you pull most, if not all of the roots.  To do this, you'll need the best tools for the job.  There are two types of weeding tools, and it has to do with the length of the handle.  The category names are simple enough.  Short-handled and long-handles.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Let me break it down for you.

Short-Handled Weeding Tools.

Cape Cod Weeder
This one comes in both right and left hand versions. With a narrow, hooked blade, this one is great for fitting into tight places. Find out more about this tool at Red Pig Tools.

Hori Hori Weeding and Bonsai Knife
One of my favorites.  This multi-purpose tool was originally used by bonsai enthusiasts, but once introduced it quickly becomes a favorite of most gardeners for not only it's weeding capabilities, but for transplanting, digging and pruning.

Onion Hoe
Also known as a hand hoe or a rock garden hoe, this is the short-handled version of the draw hoe.  It works well for weeding around closely spaced plants.  The one pictured here is an antique.  Keep your eyes open at yard sales and antique shops.

Asparagus Knife
You probably already own one of these, but you may not be familiar with the true name.  And if you have do have one, is it effective?  It's important to buy a good quality asparagus knife, one that is both strong enough and sharp enough.

Long-Handled Weeding Tools

Stirrup Hoe
Also known as a Dutch Hoe or Scuffle Hoe, this tool can accomplish a larger area in a shorter time because it uses a push-pull motion.  The one you find here is a great choice.

Draw Hoe
The Draw Hoe is the perfect tool for clearing weeds from large areas.  It chops the weeds up and then pulls them toward you, as you clear the area.
Named because that's exactly what it looks like.  OH MY GOSH!  I love this tool.  You can order your own here.  As a weeder and cultivator, it can't be beat.  It's also available in a short-handled version.

Weeding isn't an easy chore, but you can make it easier with the right tools.  The small investment is worth it, especially when it means you can spend the extra time on more pleasurable gardening.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Make Your Patio Picture Perfect!

Staring out the window at a plain, boring patio?  Unsure where to begin?  Not even sure what look you're going after?  It's easy to feel overwhelmed during the decision process.  If you're not careful, you'll just toss the thought away, and end up spending another summer failing to utilize what could be the best "room" of your home.  

Plants.  Furniture.  Art.  Color.  Seclusion.  Shade.  Sun.  Water.  Sounds.  Sights. Smells.  Flavors. All words that should be part of your patio vocabulary.  Consider all the senses when preparing your patio for the outdoor season.

One of the easiest ways to bring color and fragrance to your patio is with plants.  Find creative ways to display containers and let them overflow with blooms and foliage.  

Furniture choices.  If the furniture is as comfortable and inviting as the rest of the house, you'll rush to get out there in the evenings.  Choose a color and style that reflects your personal style.

Bring the relaxing sounds of a fountain into your backyard.  Garden fountains come in a variety a sizes and prices, and if you're creative and ambitious, you can make your own.

To make your patio more of a room, and less of a place to store your grill, think about ways
 to create seclusion.  A screen can instantly add a wall and give you some added privacy.

There are tons of ways to make your patio more inviting, more private, more appealing to your senses.  Share some of your ideas with us!  We'd love to hear what things you've come up with.  E-mail us a picture, too!  drdanslandscaping@cox.net

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Make a Rain Chain!

We've had a rainy spring in Hampton Roads.  As much as we'd like to be outside enjoying the spring, that possibility hasn't exactly presented itself to us the past few weeks. And since most of our thoughts turn to the outdoors when March rolls in, we decided to do a little investigating on the internet and find some of the best examples of do-it-yourself rain chains out there.  Well, and because we're expecting a little rain this weekend, why not put one (or more) together for yourself?

This first one is made with tiny little buckets and the do-it-yourself instructions can be found here.

Here's a unique idea, using spoons, that we found at Forever Decorating.

I'm Going to Texas takes the spoon idea a step further and incorporates the addition of forks into the idea.

On the Instructables site, we found the instructions for this simple copper rain chain here

This next design adds stone for more interest.   Since we found it on Dollar Store Crafts, you can expect the expense to be minimal.  

And last one (I promise) is this terra cotta chain that I am totally in love with.  I found it here

Now get busy, and make something!