Jump-start your spring with these new plants and products
With the help of these innovative garden products, tools and plants, this next growing season may produce your best bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. Or, you can add a touch of whimsy to the waning winter months with the beauty of preserved greens or a backyard bird cam.
Some of these selections debuted at the Independent Garden Centers Show in Chicago this past August while others have been recognized with the 2012 Green Thumb Award for new plant varieties and garden products.
Take a peek –– you’ll likely be giving a thumbs-up to many of these green goodies.
Waiting for spring
With 21st-century technology, photographing birds in your yard has never been easier. The battery-operated Audubon BirdCam is a motion-activated camera that takes crystal-clear digital photos and videos of birds automatically.
The BirdCam is weatherproof and rugged for years of outdoor use.
Share the beauty of nature with friends, family and other bird lovers by emailing or printing the images that are recorded on an SD card or internal memory (32MB). No tools, wiring or additional software is required.
Source: Wingscapes, $159.95. (888) 811-9464, wingscapes.com.
The Veg Trug Patio Planter is a raised bed made from fir and designed to be easy to work with –– even from a wheelchair.
The V-shaped bed can accommodate a variety of vegetables and can be easily netted or covered if necessary. Gardener’s Supply Company will start carrying the Veg Trug Patio Planter late February or early March.
Source: Gardener’s Supply Company, $269. (800) 955-3370, gardeners.com.
7 functions in 1
Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of wheelbarrows. The Muletto® is a thoughtfully designed and highly functional new product that combines the capabilities of a wheelbarrow, handtruck dolly, extended dolly, leaf-bag holder, cylinder holder, rock lifter and mover, flower-pot carrier and trailer mover –– all in one.
First sold in Canada in 2010, the Muletto® has been especially popular with women. It makes light of heavy chores and comes 90 percent pre-assembled –– just add wheels and two handles, no tools required.
“It’s an exciting product –– quite a contraption,” says Rad Thurston, operations manager of GSI HomeStyle, the exclusive U.S. distributor to retailers. “It is something that is going to fit in nicely with homeowners and gardeners since it’s multipurpose and takes up very little storage space.”
In the upright position, the Muletto® sticks out only 14 inches from the wall.
Home Shopping Network will feature this workhorse near the end of February. Retail shipping begins March 25, but most Ace Hardware stores will have the Muletto® in stock mid-April.
Source: Ace Hardware, approximately $189.99. (877) 685-3886, themuletto.com.
A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Ottesen makes you privy to the colorful gardens that surround the Smithsonian museums along the National Mall. Discover each garden’s unique design, plant inhabitants and purpose.
Gain the Smithsonian’s resources and knowledge for issues like maintaining botanical interest through all four seasons, experimenting with exotic plants, designing a garden that reflects the architecture around it and recreating historic or themed gardens.
Source: Smithsonian Museum Store, $14.95. (866) 945-6897, smithsonianstore.com/books-media.
A bevy of blackberries
Enjoy a bounty of delectable, big, richly flavored berries not once but twice. Black Magic™ blackberry plants will produce bounty both in the summer and fall. With the right growing conditions, Black Magic may even produce fruit throughout the entire summer.
Self-supporting and lightly thorned, the canes are easy to maintain and have impressive heat tolerance, even in 100-plus degree days.
Source: Henry Field’s Seed & Nursery Co., $19.99. (513) 354-1495, henryfields.com.
Note: Plants are shipped in the fall only.
Keep your gardens alive
Garden Pest Bait kills a wide variety of insect and inverterbrate pests in vegetable and flower gardens. The easy-to-use bait naturally kills cutworms, earwigs, sow bugs, ants, slugs and even snails.
The environmentally friendly active ingredients in Garden Pest Bait are a combination of Spinosad, derived from a naturally occurring soil-dwelling bacterium, and iron phosphate, a proven natural snail and slug killer.
Garden Pest Bait kills insect pests and lures snails and slugs away from plants, efficiently killing them as they move away from the garden.
Source: Gardens Alive!, 13-ounce bag for $14.95; 36-ounce bag for $24.95. (513) 354-1482, gardensalive.com.
Brakelights® Red Yucca is the first Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Perpa’ PPAF to have true bright red flowers as opposed to orange-red.
This evergreen succulent is a semi-dwarf cultivar with 30-inch-tall flower spikes and dark-green strap-like leaves.
In full bloom, the Brakelights® Red Yucca is a hummingbird magnet. It’s heat tolerant and cold hardy in USDA zones 5-10.
Source: High Country Gardens, 1-gallon pot, $24.99. (800) 925-9387, highcountrygardens.com.
Take winter from cold to cool
The Bough Elegance Hanging Basket Ingredient Kit is easy to implement in your own hanging basket. This traditional design is simple yet elegant, and the African knobs will last for multiple seasons.
This kit is displayed in a moss basket, but it can also work well in a moss planter or wall basket.
The arrangement is available fully assembled as shown with a moss-lined metal Victorian hanging basket.
Source: Winter’s Wow, $69.99 unassembled; $109.99 fully assembled. (715) 634-5010, winterswow.com.
Grow, grow, grow
That is what your plants will do in an EarthBox®. Garden smart anywhere –– in small yards, balconies, porches, even rooftops or poor soil conditions –– with less effort. The box is on rollers, which makes it portable, and the gradient system makes it impossible to over-water plants. A mulch film eliminates weeding and pests.
The kit includes everything needed to start your garden –– even soil. Just add plants and water.
Source: EarthBox® Container, $32.95. Ready-to-Grow Kit, $54.95. (888) 917-3908, earthbox.com.