New tools, plants and garden books for 2010 include redesigned handles for spades, double hibiscus for the hedgerow and a dozen volumes on garden design.
Each gardener can find something to enhance their library and shed. Here are a few that you may not have heard about.
The Arnold Power Rake attaches to many walk-behind lawn mowers (requires tools and some mechanical ability). It dethatches, can help with fall leaf chopping, lawn scalping, and aerating. Cost $15 - $20 Available at Lowes and Amazon.com.
Deep Drip Tree Watering Stakes will be helpful for fall tree planting. Watering should be deep enough to encourage the roots to sink down into the soil, below the hole. Deep Drip soakers look like heavy- plastic, giant, turkey-basters, with irrigation holes in the sides. Designed to work with either a garden hose or soaker, they are planted into the hole between the tree trunk and the drip line.
Fertilizer added to the Deep Drip via the removable cap goes directly to the roots with watering. They are available in 14, 24 and 36-inch lengths. $10 each at www.deepdrip.com.
Monrovia introduced new Barberry shrubs this year, including one with coral-orange leaves and yellow edges. It’s a nice, low hedge for the front of the border or as a garden wall maxing out at 2-feet tall.
Pygmy Ruby Barberry is only 18-inches tall and sports red leaves. It could make a gorgeous herb garden wall. One source for fall planting is www.waysidegardens.com.
One of the new plants that thrived in our garden, despite this summer’s heat, drought and unusual rain pattern is Coralberry Punch Superbells from Proven Winners. It bloomed no matter what the weather.
Pink flowering Double Play Big Bang Spirea tripled in size over the summer. Pale green and yellow Colorblaze Alligator Tears coleus thrived and grew to 18-inches tall in part sun.
The new Royal Chambray Superbena Verbena bloomed early in the summer, took a break during the 105-degree weeks and returned to flower when the temperature went back down into the 90s. All are new introductions this year.
New books were released, full of encouragement to help us catch the wave of transitioning from lawns to sustainable meadows.
Writer John Greelee and photographer Saxon Holt produced the award winning, “The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn”.
The photos, text, plant lists and descriptions could convince the most lawn-committed gardener to give up a patch of boring green and replace it with ornamental grasses, meadow flowers, bulbs and shrubbery. TimberPress.com $35
“What’s Wrong with My Plant? And How Do I Fix It?” by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth won the 2010 Garden Writers Association Award in the Technical Books category.
Part One includes flow charts to identify problems. Part Two supplies organic solutions to each problem. Part Three is photos of diseased plants to further help with identification. Deardorff and Wadsworth cover insects, diseases, stem, fruit, flower and root problems. Thorough and easy to use, this volume belongs on gardeners’ bookshelves. 450 pages, www.TimberPress.com $25.
The book that I read from cover to cover two days after it arrived is, “Mentors in the Garden of Life” by Colleen Plimpton. Plimpton retired from a career in social work to become a garden writer and garden consultant (www.colleenplimpton.com).
“Mentors in the Garden of Life” is a memoir that describes her lifetime of experiences gardening with relatives and friends, the plants they taught her to love, and how it all came together to shape her life. It is a beautiful read for everyone who sees friends and family in the faces of their flowers. Park East Press, www.parkeastpress.com, $17.