New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners – Why Not Wait Until Springtime? quick search online just yielded hundreds of results for the phrase “new year’s resolutions.” Many of them were articles in a format I just abhor – lists of tips, most of which are neither helpful nor practical; many of which are downright laughable.

But my favorite, if only because it was that rare fresh take on the topic, was an article from Times of India that came up near the top of the search results. I got a kick out of the fact it took a decidedly pessimistic tone. It said:

“Thinking of starting all over again with the turn of the New Year? Don’t bother because making resolutions is a near pointless exercise, psychologists have clarified.”

Here’s what I think: the part that’s pointless is pegging the desire for change to a somewhat meaningless date on the calendar, in this case January first. Continue reading

Cyclamen Is My Favorite Winter Flower

white cyclamenFor many years, I’ve favored cyclamen over poinsettias when choosing a flowering plant to brighten up the indoor landscape at this time of year. To my mind, cyclamen is so much more interactive than poinsettia. From the day you bring it home, a poinsettia begins a slow decline toward the compost heap. Its colorful bracts are already formed and no new ones will appear. Before long, it will begin dropping its bottom leaves and start to appear thin and frail. A cyclamen, on the other hand, will entertain you for many weeks with active growth. Continue reading

Product Spotlight: Build a Raised Bed in a Snap Without Tools

M-brace product shotThere’s a product on BluestoneGarden that’s caught my fancy, even though I’ve never personally used it. It’s called the M-brace, and it’s a set of four corner brackets that can be used to build a raised garden bed of any size in just minutes. I not only love the ease and functionality of this product, but I but absolutely adore the way it turns a raised bed into garden art, with whimsical cut-out designs. I know that raised beds are often used for functional areas of the yard, like vegetable gardens and cutting gardens, but I’m always a fan of yard art.

It also occurs to me that the M-brace is a great way to give a raised bed as a gift this holiday season. The four corner brackets come in a square box that would wrap up nicely with paper and ribbon, and the recipient wouldn’t have to work very hard at all to assemble a raised bed that will be a beautiful addition to the garden in spring. Continue reading

Dreaming of the Perfect Potting Bench…

Fotolia_37834181_XSWhat is it about potting benches that makes them a universal dream among gardeners? It seems like everyone wants this perfect place to putter, to organize tools and flowerpots, and to work a little horticultural magic. When you don’t yet have a spot like this, a potting bench at least seems within your reach, unlike a greenhouse or potting shed, which can turn out to be very complicated dreams (and expensive ones!)

I saw the potting bench in the photo below during a garden tour last summer, and it really caught my fancy. I love the way it fits into this little nook that’s formed by the angles of the house, and the fact it’s sheltered by the overhang so that tools stay dry. It’s close to the back door, and there’s a water spigot right around the corner. It looks like there may even be an electrical outlet right there — what more could you ask for? Continue reading