FRIDAY FLOWERS: GARDENING NECESSITIES

There are SO many choices on the market when searching for garden tools and accessories. Just when you think you have seen all the options for a particular item…wham…a new one comes along!

A Garden Hose

I’ve done a lot of research on garden hoses.
Several years ago I did two posts all about this very necessary item: HERE and HERE.
But, of course, some new models have come on the market. So let me show you a variety I found:

The Tuff-Guard Hose is 7 lbs. for the 50′ length

Tuff-Guard available from Gemplers.

This, the Heritage Garden Hose
is the lightest, weighing in at just 3 pounds for the 50′ length.

Heritage Garden Hose from Terrain.

 

The Dramm ColorStorm Water Hose weights in at 12 lbs. for 50′

The Dramm ColorStorm from Gemplers

This season I have been very unhappy with one of our three hoses. It sits in a big plastic container all rolled up but is VERY heavy and so hard to roll back into the box. It’s black rubber: well made and rarely kinks. But there has to be a better way. In the front of our house we have a lightweight hose in same kind of container. So buy another one? Yes, I have decided to try the Tuff-Guard in blue!

And of course, to go with your hose you need a nozzle. I’m betting many of you use Dramm nozzles.

This is my new favorite:
This is definitely one touch. No, it doesn’t have the 5 or 6 settings but between a shower and a stream you are pretty well covered. I find it much easier to use and, having had it for more than a year now, it shows no signs of giving out.

 

Do you have this one? It is their most popular and is ubiquitous. But I have found, having been through close to ten of these, that they crack or leak very easily and certainly don’t last more than a year.

 

And last, let’s move on to garden scissors. No, not huge shears or loppers…but smaller, easier to handle floral shears. Leave it to Terrain to be fashion forward with even this utilitarian item!

Garden Scissors from Terrain

Aren’t these adorable? I know, not the correct adjective for any garden geek to use…but oh, can you just see the photo styling opportunities with these??

Floral Shears from Terrain

 

For a more straightforward and less fashionista look, how about these:

Stainless Steel Secateurs from Gardener’s Supply

 

Just as I was researching this post, I saw an update from
A Way to Garden from Margaret Roach.

It seems that Margaret is also enamored of these “snippers.”  Take a look at the link above for more ideas…but these are so easy to use, easy to hold, and certainly do many “snipping” jobs easily and efficiently. Who needs anything larger for routine flower garden maintenance?

I went to the Fiskar site and saw these handsome “Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snip” and just might have to get a pair. My orange handled pair (you may have seen in some Instagram photos) are about to bite the dust and these would be a good replacement.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful summer weekend and try to spend some time in the garden!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SUMMER SALE SHOPPING

You know just how much I like orange, right?

I came across this the other day, from
Graf and Lantz

 

They come in lots of other luscious colors. And many other styles.

All Graf Lantz products are made in the United States! Yes, they are ALL made in Los Angeles.

And, if you click on their home page, Graf Lantz, you will get a pop up box offering you an additional 10% off anything in your first purchase. Not bad, considering these are already discounted on sale.

I do actually have one of their bags and had written about it :
My Favorite Bag: Made From Felt

Yes, I still use it and still love it! It’s becoming a bit dog-eared around the edges, but it has held up very, very well over the years.

Please do let us know if you own one of these..or if you purchase one!

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COTSWOLD GARDEN TOUR: PART II

Let’s continue with Day #2 of our Garden Tour. It only gets better!
Our first stop was
Rockcliffe Garden

Rockcliffe is superb. It has been the home of Emma and Simon Keswick for 30 years and in those years they have transformed the grounds. What you see below, a gorgeous terrace, had been a front driveway.

 

Below are just a few of the many scenes from our tour:

Here, the man of the hour, Head Gardener at Rockcliffe, Thomas Unterdorfer who patiently
answered all our questions, explained the Keswick’s ideas for the evolution of this estate, and made us welcome in these gorgeous gardens with the variety of plantings, the borders, the lily pond, the pool house, the vegetable garden, the dovecote. I found it a very personal kind of garden. It spoke to so many aspects of gardening: the color combinations, or in some cases the reliance of one color in an entire garden area, the flow between areas and even the negative space.  It was, obviously, very well cared for but also there was a kind of abandon that was so appealing. It was, if not my favorite, among my top three of the week.

The sheer scale of these estate gardens is what one notices from the start. And the extreme care given to so many details. These were the kind of things I was hoping to see and was not disappointed. Everyone on our Tour was a gardener and quite knowledgeable about climates, plants, culture, soil etc. But we all came from different parts of the world (well, mostly from various parts of the United States) with varying growing conditions. I loved being able to talk “garden geek” for an entire week and now know that I will never, ever tire of that kind of language.  We find friends through common interests and this was no exception: all of us were, I believe, in our element in being able to talk garden talk each and every day…

Did I learn a lot? Yes, of course. But I also realized that these gardens, and these estates, are part of a VERY small number of such places in the world. The wealth, the history, the centuries long focus on gardens…all are unique to only a very few people and places in the world.

Flowers, Lily Pond and Dovecote:

One final shot of that beautiful front terrace at Rockcliffe:

 

We left Rockcliffe (reluctantly..) and arrived at
Upton Wold
where we were served THE most elegant and delicious lunch which included a huge Pavlova with lots of clotted cream and fresh berries and one enormous meringue. The lunch was so very lovely but I didn’t think it was polite to take pictures, so, sorry, nothing to show!

 

 

Upton Wold estate is large: 4,000 acres! I’m not sure, but it must be one of the largest land holdings in the Cotswolds. Of course, we only walked a few acres with Mrs. Bond, the owner,  but the vistas were remarkable.  The Bonds bought the estate in 1970; it is just amazing what they have done in those years. But then, so many of these gardens have been re-formed and reinvented in what, for British standards, is a very short time. The climate…oh the climate…is what makes these gardens, the flowers, the trees, the fields all so glorious. Upton Wold is also home to the national collection of Walnut trees: Mr. Bond has been growing as many different varieties as he can possibly find, since 1970.

Their land includes a very old stone quarry, so why not build a “mini Stonehenge?” It is set far away from the house, atop a breezy hill and is beautiful and so peaceful.

 

Here is a short video of the perennial garden at Upton Wold:

 

We’re only finishing Day #2 but I think I will pause here. I’ll be back with more but will give it a short break.
There is so much to say and show. One last photo:

This is Broadway Tower
Built in 1798 it has had a long and illustrious history and is the second highest point in the Cotswolds where one can see to Wales as well as sixteen counties. We went before dinner one evening, had drinks on the grounds (thank you, Andrew) and went on to dinner. Just another unique event on our tour.

Thanks for following along!

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