In the Garden: December 2014

By Rhiannon Allen and Peg Keenleyside

 

Now our gardens are put to bed for the winter, we have time to dream about the next gardening season. What would make that season even more enjoyable than the last?

Two types of gifts would do the trick. The first is, of course, items that have a visual impact. Plants are the most obvious example, but of course this is not the time of year for purchasing plants. On the other hand, garden ornaments and structures and gift certificates with catalogs can be given at any time. A second Garden-Columncategory, gardening equipment, makes the process of gardening simpler and more enjoyable. This is the perfect time of year to assess our needs and draw up our wish lists for such items.

The first item on our wish list this year is a potting bench. Although any waist-high table will actually do the trick, several companies sell kits that assemble into rugged yet handsome outdoor benches just perfect for saving aging backs while tackling tasks like potting, seed sorting and starting and maintaining tools. Such a bench tucked into a corner of my garden, piled with pots and bags of soil, would make anyone look like a serious gardener.

Thinking of aging bodies, as the years go by we’re turning more and more to ergonomically designed equipment that allows people to stand while working in the garden.

Lee Valley Tools has a great range of items, but what would be perfect for weeding next summer is a Hula-Hoe. This is a long-handled tool with a U-shaped blade at the end that allows a gardener to undercut the soil with a pulling rather than digging action, thus getting at the weed, roots and all, without hand digging or kneeling.

Serious gardener status would be enhanced, dear Santa, by the gift of a walk-in portable greenhouse for seed starting – one of those that comes with a nifty zip-up clear plastic cover and shelves for seed starting trays. One is available online at the WalMart site called Harvest House Plus with free shipping (just in case your sleigh is too full).

This greenhouse won’t be complete without some sturdy reusable seed trays. Throw in some seed starting mix, seed and a fine seed-distributing tool (West Coast Seeds has these little gizmos), and we’re over the moon on Christmas morning.

Another item we would appreciate is gardening clogs. Like gardening gloves, one can never have too many. There has to be a pair at each door, handy for both serious gardening and a dash out to the herb patch.

But we have a special request: Crocs are great, but the low backs and the ventilation holes offer no protection from water and gardening debris. Plastic gardening clogs with a higher back and no holes would be more practical.

And on the topic of soggy gardens, our winter gardens could easily accommodate a garden sculpture. We favor the relatively small and simple. A small Buddha or sleeping animal would do the trick. Such small sculptures find themselves easily hidden by foliage in summer, but in winter, they lend visual appeal to a barren garden.

Regarding visual impact, a couple of big splendid pots would be ideal to make a lavish planting display in. Lady Bug Nursery in Point Roberts, located at 339 Windsor Drive, is now carrying glazed pots, so stop in to see what’s available there or phone 945-0832.

Come spring, decks and porches will be crying out for some hanging baskets and railing-mounted planters, which are lovely filled with some annual color and trailing basket stuffers, but a real pain to keep watered. What we need, dear Santa, are some of those water wells to put in the base of baskets and planters that will act as a reservoir of water for the plant roots.

Turning thoughts to summer, our friend Jody said she was very pleased with her acquisition of a collapsing garden hose, so perhaps one of those would do. No more hauling or reeling the hose back in. Apparently, all you do is turn off the water, and the hose curls right back up. How easy could that be?

As we prepare this column, we are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and fellow columnist, Jody Hackleman. Jody’s cheer and generosity enlivened Point Roberts Garden Club activities and made Point Roberts a brighter place.

Jody’s Christmas wish list was a tabletop seed starting kit, including a seedling heat mat, and a Meyer lemon tree she could nurture indoors through the winter. She will be sorely missed by her family, friends and the Point Roberts gardening community.

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