Friday, September 30, 2011

Shopping for the Gardener in Your Life

The pre-wedding landscaping project we undertook last week has prompted today's Shopping Secrets for gardeners.  I use we loosely.... very loosely, in fact.  The plants were provided and planted and irrigated by the fine folks from Rillito Nursery.

Beth, manager and proprietor and all around swell human being,  helped me chose the plants and the guys installed them to our specifications.  We only changed our minds a couple of times, and always before the holes were dug.  There was transplanting of some existing specimens and removal of others and a whole new section of irrigation tubing was uncovered by Juan's tender ministrations and firm desire not to give up.

In the end, it looks beautiful.  I will have the screening from the street that I wanted and TBG can have a squared off hedge of rosemary as soon as these babies grow to maturity next spring.  There will be pictures once it settles down and starts to grow.

Rillito has walls and shelves of everything you need to keep your plants healthy.  That's a given.  But they also have rows and rows of pottery and walls covered with gloves and tools and accessories you never knew you needed until you saw them on the shelf.  They're not web-vendors, but if you live in Tucson why not drive up to Orange Grove and La Cholla and drop in to say "Hi!"  If you let me know you're on your way I'll meet you there.
Garden tools are hard to purchase for another person, even if you are both right handed.  The only tool my leftie Dad and I could comfortably share was the Japanese saw, whose blade swung back and caught in the handle for safety. It went both ways, rightie and leftie.  Ours had a wooden handle but this beauty from Stone Lantern
is much more colorful.  I spent a lovely time looking at their ikebana tools; we used to call those pointy plant holders frogs when I was gardening with G'ma.

Should you really and truly want to buy a tool, and you have a general sense of the size of the gardener's hand, perhaps you'd consider a ratchet pruner, like this Florian one from Honeyman Farms.  Hard wood, thick branches, arthritic hands... there are lots of reasons to use a pruner that doesn't release when you loosen your grip.  The blade stays secure in the cut, you get to shake out your tired wrist and fingers and attack the branch with renewed vim and vigor.

I have one from Cutco, but you have to find a salesman in your area.  Florian is a good brand, and Honeyman Farms does not disappoint as a vendor.
I have to say that this next product put the biggest smile on my face.  How many times have you brought home a plant from the grocery store to fit a certain corner of the house?  If you're like me, it's nearly a weekly event.  Most of them used to be daisies and mums which, in California, I would plant outside for seasonal color when they had spent their blooms on my mantle.  Here in the desert southwest I am more inclined to toss them than to try to nurse them through an impossible-for-their-species summertime.  Instead, I find myself buying greenery.

Dracena marginata and spathophyllum are my current favorites, but they come in such ugly green plastic containers and are often too short for the space I have in mind.  Enter the Adustable Plant Riser pictured here.  The shelf moves up and down. You insert the riser into your own pot and presto! your too small foliage is tall enough to assert its presence with authority.

We all own Fiskars scissors; I'm assuming that their accessories are every bit as thoughtfully created.  Caveat: I have not ordered from them before so I can't speak to delivery or customer service issues which might arise.  I am hopeful that a gift-giver of my acquaintance might purchase one for me this holiday season; if so, I'll be sure to let you know how the transaction was handled next year.
Finally, I'm going to tell you about my favorite on-line shopping spot for gardening.  Gardener's Supply Company has been the purveyor of many of my all-time favorite gifts. They have the most interesting assortment of items, from rakes to greeting cards.  It's a site that will teach you how to create a raised bed and sell you everything you need but the plants and the soil.... and they'll give you suggestions about that, too.

TBG and I put my raised bed together 4 years ago and it's been a source of lettuce and basil and tomatoes and even 2 or 3 chili peppers.  As a disabled person, I can attest to the efficacy of sitting on the edge of the wood and harvesting tomatoes.  Anyone can garden, as I proved to myself this year.  I stayed small, with two tomato plants and a Greek Basil  and our dinners were often complemented with my produce.  Not bad for a girl with 3 bullet holes and a shattered hip, wouldn't you agree?

If you are looking for a way to move from container veggies to an entire salad, Gardener's Supply should be your first stop.

Happy shopping, denizens!


  1. First of all, I do not have a green thumb. I love plants, but have the kiss of death, so I don't touch them. Hubby's always telling me to just leave the plants to him. I think he thinks that even if I look at them, I may kill them. LOL.

    BUT... even me not being a gardener, I LOVE the adjustable plant riser. Way cool. And might I add a great idea for a Christmas gift.

    Thanks for the shopping tips today.

    Have a great weekend.

    Megan xxx

  2. I love that adjustable plant riser! I am always sticking things in big pots to get them to the right level. I'm a huge fan of Gardener's Supply, too, their goodies always make their way onto my Christmas list!

  3. Really good post about shopping products! Very useful products details allocated here, which is good. I like this post. Thanks for allocation.

  4. Thank you for your kind words. The corners are one of my all-time favorites. Our free online planner makes it fun and easy to figure out what to plant in your raised beds. Check out the Kitchen Garden Planner:,default,pg.html

    -David Grist, Gardener's Supply


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