Monday, September 17, 2012

garden essentials



Fall has arrived here in New England, and it is a beautiful time to be out working in the yard. Copious amounts of sod are being laid by the head groundskeeper (Dan;) with still more to do. I keep reminding him that he's only making lots more work for himself (i.e. mowing) but it doesn't seem to deter his desire to have more grass. Fall is the perfect time to plant grass and trees, and this week we are hoping to get two new sugar maples to replace ones missing from the row of antique maples that line the road.
Remember: It is never too late to plant a new tree!!

After spending so much time in the yard this past summer I realized that I have a very specific group of basic items that I always have with me while out working.   Here are my garden essentials and some of my favorite garden things!


garden book:
A gift from a dear friend when we moved from Dallas.  She knew I would want to have a new book for my new yard here.  I'm not very diligent about keeping it current during the season, but for me fall is the perfect time to write down all my notes of projects we accomplished, plants I liked/didn't like, suggestions for next year's pots or beds, etc.  I always think I will remember next year, but once spring comes the previous season is but a sweet memory.




 garden gloves:
l.o.v.e. these West County Gloves.  My gloves are their "work" gloves.  I have never owned a better garden glove- ever.  Besides being an amazingly durable (I've been putting them to the test for the last three years) and comfortable glove they also remind me of a very special memory.   I purchased the gloves at Bunny William's house the first time I met her (here)- not to be confused with the time we went to her house for lunch (here) !!  :):)



flip flops:
I grew up wearing flip flops in the summer (back then we called them "thongs";) and can not imagine gardening without them!  There is always at least one pair at every door!   My perfect weather to garden includes shorts, a hoodie and flip flops!



hat- straw or baseball,
 and my sweet garden-helper " Ella": 
(In this photo Ella has been out in the yard "helping" me for several hours and is now headed up to get on our bed, or "Mama's bed" as we call it.   It is her favorite place to nap.:)



coil hose:
Last year was my first year to use a coil hose and I've been hooked ever since!  As opposed to my yard in Dallas where I could water my entire back yard from one hose long hose (attached to an automatic hose wind box which is the best money you can spend if you live where it is hot.  Nothing is worse than having to hand-crank a 100 foot hose in 100 degree temperatures, trust me!) here my garden beds are in different locations and have different hose bibs/spigot (depending on what part of the country you are from;).  Instead of lugging around a huge hose these little coil hoses let me water each bed and then neatly hide the hose out of sight.   Love that!

 

 mat:
Actually this was my late father's mat.  My mother made it for him to use when he did his sit-ups.  It makes me happy to have it in the garden with me and use it while planting/weeding.



apple basket:
I've always used old baskets for weeding in the yard.  They are much easier to come by here in New Hampshire with all of the u-pick apple orchards!



French tote:
Purchased in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue  many years ago, it had seen better days and sat tucked away in my closet until one day when I realized that even with its worn handles it would be the perfect holder to carry all my garden things to my job site!  Several pairs of different sized clippers, gloves, stainless weeder, kleenex,  hand-shovel, camera, phone, etc.  fill the tote.

 

stainless steel weeder:
I once had a cheap one that was metal.  It broke.  This stainless steel version with the reinforcement bar lets me dig up small trees with ease!



This was my favorite plant find of the season! 
I have loved this Mexican Giant Hyssop "Acapulco Orange."  This is the only perennial in my yard that bloomed the entire summer.   Its coral blooms made my gardener's heart very happy, and then to top it off it smells great- the foliage has a lovely citrusy fragrance.


 
 
So, what are your garden essentials?!



80 comments:

  1. I love your photography. I really miss the East Coast in the Fall. I had one of those hoses and loved it.

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    1. Katie- Thank you! Yes, there is nothing quite like fall in New Enlgand. Last year we had a really wet late-August and September and the colors weren't as vivid as normal, but this year is stacking up to be a beautiful one!

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  2. My garden essentials are very much like yours - gloves, hat, journal, apple basket, but Crocs (or knock-offs) instead of flip-flops (I like to cover my toes when gardening). Sad to see the season ending, but I'm happy the heat has gone.

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    1. Heather- I have some Crocs, but havent' worn them in years for some reason. Must go find them!

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  3. Good gardening must-haves. I've never seen a weeder like that - will be on the lookout. I was quite taken with the Agastache "Tutti-frutti," but, alas, it didn't do well at all the second year and petered out. I've tried a couple of different ones in the purple and blue-violet range, but they just haven't taken well to my garden spot (however they do great at the garden center). It may be my elevation, though. We're 1000' + up the mountain from the nursery. They're supposed to be hardy . . . dunno what I'm doing wrong; maybe they don't like the slope. :-(

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    1. Carolyn- I found it at "Tuesday Morning" of all places. It was only about $4!

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  4. I always look forward to reading your blog. I check it everyday to see if you have a new entry. I live in Texas near Houston. I have visited New Hampshire every summer for the last 25 years, so I know the differences in the climate, the houses and the people. Needless to say, I love NH! Today, I smiled when I read your list of gardening essentials. It was the flip flops that made me smile. I love flip flops. I wear them to garden too. They are painful to wear here in Texas, thanks to the awful Fire Ant. Each Summer my feet look like a pin cushion. My husband is constantly lecturing me to wear tall socks and enclosed shoes. I refuse. It is Summer, flip flop weather, I proclaim! You are a lucky woman to be able to garden with no fear of Fire Ants. One more reason to be in love with your house and New Hampshire.

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    1. Gayle- how quickly one forgets about having to deal with the evil fire ants! I remember accidentally standing on many beds in Texas and then the "dance" to get them off;) I hear the shoe and sock "lecture" often too, especially when working with stones!!

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  5. My best garden tip is Andres! He shows up every Thursday and while not perfect, does a wonderful job! I wish I could say I did more myself, but my back doesn't cooperate like it once did. I do love to prune though. It's sort of therapeutic for me...as long as a lot of bending over isn't involved!

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    1. I hear you on the back Barbara! Some nights there is a heating pad involved;) but an "Andres" might be a better solution;)

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  6. your photos tell such a lovely story--thank you for this on this gorgeous morning.

    smiles to you and hope you'll visit soon.

    michele

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  7. Hi, love the list. Advil or beer, not together,and probably not in that order. d

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  8. A garden notebook is a must...I am always forgetting what I planted where! I like to make a lot of diagrams, too. I was wondering how the coil hoses are...I think in need to invest in a few. Great post!

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. Me too Jane. In fact just took some photos so that when things start to pop up next spring I will know that they aren't weeds;)

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  9. My most recent addition to my grade tool kit of parts is a Come Along. Sally and I are reclaiming our old dog run and the posts for the former chain link fence are set in concrete footings about 3 feet deep... Still love the old hand pruner/lopper and rake. (Hate the sound of leaf blowers and electric trimmers.) Never do anything without wearing my goat skin gloves. Tough as nails and the don't stretch or shrink when wet. Favorite new plants - hardy clumping bamboo (assuming it's truly winter hardy...) and European Ginger. Next challenge - moving large hunks of granite from from old walk at the front of the house to the back of house for new patio...

    Hope the coming rain doesn't slow down your fall projects too much.
    Have a great week!

    Cheers,
    John

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    1. wow John, sounds like y'all are as busy as we are! Will definitely look into the clumping bamboo- love bamboo, but most is so invasive, so thanks for the suggestion. Dan was working like a mad-man trying to get more sod down to take advantage of the incoming rain! When one is on a well one is very happy to have lots of rain;)

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  10. You pretty much hit it all on the head. I use a plastic 5 gallon pail to cart around for debris to be tossed. I have the coil hose on my deck for watering and I do like it a lot, except it restricts water because of it's design and I can't use my favorite watering tool because of it. I bought really good one too so it's not an issue of a cheap design. Good tools, good gloves (several types) kneeling pad, lightweight garden wheel barrow, and stakes for plants seem to be my favorites. Of course a rake, shovel and a sturdy back doesn't hurt either!

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    1. hi Lizabeth- Thank you for sending Gloria to the blog. You are right the coil hose works really well for pots, and probably not so well for larger areas or lawn;)

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  11. Great selection of gardening "must haves" and I especially love the mat that your mom made for your dad. Sweet! And of course, I love any photo with Ella in it. I'm not much of a gardener -- I leave that to my husband, who does a great job with it. But one thing I do love is our long-handled hand rake that came from Smith & Hawken years ago. It's great for getting leaves out from tight spaces and from under bushes.
    Claudia

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    1. Don't you miss S&H Claudia. I still mourn the loss;)

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  12. Isn't it wonderful living here! I agree, you need a garden book! Love all your photos, especially Ella going for her nap! Too cute!

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  13. Gloves, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen - those are my essentials. After garden care includes a soft oatmeal soap, nail brush and loads of lotion.

    Gardens may be pretty but it takes a warrior to take on the workout.

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    1. Funny I never wear sunglasses when gardening... never have, but any other time outdoors they are a must. go figure! Yes, and sunscreen- espeically for the top of the ears!

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  14. Joan, Dan, and Ella: Great list; I only have a few additional items: bug repellent, a small rake for getting in the low bushes, and a sturdy pair of pruners. We are blessed with this terrific weather! Cindy

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    1. hi Cindy- yes, isn't this weather perfection?! Yes, lots of pruners (I call them clippers;) kind of like the tv remote is the clicker, I guess!!)

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  15. Since we are moving in less than 2 weeks I NEED a garden book! And, I will look for those gardening gloves. Mine are always wet, it seems, so I keep several pair on hand. I also wear flip, flops and when it gets too cool in the Fall, sneakers. Love your tote. We won't have alot of gardening work to do, just what WE add, we have to maintain. THAT will be fun, especially since my back seems to get worse every day. This packing is killing me:):). Each time I see one of your posts, I want to come to NH. Maybe I can put that on my list for next Fall! Which month do you suggest??? XO, Pinky

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    1. hi Pinky- Good luck with your move. I would suggest October!

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  16. If your husband is like me its noy the grass its always having to have a project! Have a great day

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    1. oh Andy.... let's just say if you say my running "honey-do" "lists" (yes, there are mutiple;) you would see that being without a project is NEVER an issue for Dan!!!:)

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    2. Well it shows you guys have a amazing home and property! I love reading about you guys projects!

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  17. We can still pretend it's summer for a few more weeks. No sign of any color here yet which is fine with me.

    My mother's been raving about hyssop for the last few years. I don't think hers makes it through the winter but she gets a new one each year and it looks great all summer. I think the hummingbirds like it.

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    1. hi Steve- I have some other types of hyssop (they came back from last year) that I also love (they are blue and really tall, but can't think of their name right now) and the butterflies were crazy for them! The one I mentioned is almost like a wildflower. Enjoy your pretend summer;)

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  18. My garden essentials are: a swing-head hoe for weeding - I actually spent some money on this to get a good one that won't fall apart and I love it. It makes weeding the vegetable garden so much easier. I had always used a plastic bowl for the garden debris because I haven't come across a basket like the apple basket. Seems kind of ridiculous to carry a bowl - no handle. I have Crocs Flip Flops(the original Athens style are the most comfortable) and they're so very comfortable. I have a garden book - full of empty pages. I am going to start using it though - too hard to keep all the notes and ideas in my head.
    Great garden ideas - and I can't wait to see any Fall foliage pics you take this year.

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    1. hi Jackie- sometimes I could find the baskets at farmer's markets in the ctiy. Yes, once you get in the habit of using your garden book you'll be hooked!

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  19. When I had a house my goal was to do as little gardening as possible, but still one of my favorite tools was a plastic shag-rug rake left over from the 1960's, which was not only incredibly light, but seemed to have the perfect rake action for clearing garden beds, etc.

    Good for you for replacing the maples. Did you get one of the new varieties with a higher sugar content?
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. R to P- We get the Green Mountain sugar maples which are the same as the antique variety we have. I didn't realize there were newer varieties, good to know!

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  20. Love this post, Joan! Here in GA, bug spray is an essential, too. I can't wait for a little cooler weather so I can catch up on my gardening. Happy Monday!

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    1. Heidi- I did carry some OFF during the summer! Forgot to mention that;)

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  21. I need one of those weeders. Where is there a Tuesday Morning in NH? I have not seen one yet. Just found your post courtesy of Infuse With Liz. She saw that I was from New Hampshire and directed me to your's. I will definately thank her for that! I have been reading through your old posts and enjoying your musings about our wonderful state. So glad to have found you neighbor.

    Gloria

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    1. hi Gloria- Welcome to the blog, and thank you to Lizabeth for directing you here. The Tuesday Morning is in Westside Plaza 10 Northwest Blvd in Nashua.

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  22. Hi Joan, Bug spray and sunscreen! my crazy old lady green straw hat, my lawn cart on wheels filled with gloves, twine, etc., and mostly, Tylenol and bottled water for joint pain! Thanks for the tip on where to buy the weeder. Going to go searching for it. Sara

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    1. hi Sara- I just used some twine last week to tie up some misbehaving grasses! I once had some pretty green twine- I need to find that again; I liked it better than the natural color, but that it what I had on hand! The weeder changed my life;) and my manicures!!

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  23. Joan - You met Bunny Williams twice?? And had lunch at her house!!!??? Send her to my blog pleeeez :) Tell her I have all her books, and I love the fabrics at John Rosselli.

    And pleeez come down to help me with the garden. I have a lot to catch up as I did nothing this summer due to the heat. I enjoyed seeing / reading about your gardening gear.....especially your father's mat made by your mother.

    xoxo,
    Loi

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    1. hi Loi, Yes!! Next time we "text" I will tell her. (Just kidding... we don't text;) Just sounded funny!

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  24. Someday and I hope that is not too far away, I will be going back through all these blogs of yours and making lists and copying things down for our own home and garden. Baskets and stainless steel tools and a pup to help me are all going on that list.
    besos, C

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  25. So I'm using pretty much all of your ideas as tips for next year's gardening adventures! We just bought a house with tons of garden space that wasn't taken care of for years, so I have a disgustingly huge amount of work to do... I'm especially excited about the garden book, and have already fallen madly in love with the weeder. My hands are thanking you already :)

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    1. Lindsay- Congratulations on your new house! We started with tons of work to do too, and it helps if you think of how lucky you are to have all that space to garden;);) In my garden book I keep a yearly log in the back of all the big projects we did that year and trees that we planted. The years will start to run together and you'll start wondering "now, when did we do xx?" and you'll have it in your notes!

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  26. First of all Fall sounds amazing!! Cooler weather and color changes!! Second I wish you were here to help my brown thumb!! xo Leslie

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    1. Leslie- I'm thinking that brown on your thumb is just paint from one of your projects;)!!

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  27. I just love reading about all the regional differences in what we call various tools! Reminds me of how most Southerners say "mash" for "push."
    Just this afternoon I was wishing for one of those self-winding hose reels as I was hand cranking our hose. Oh well, it gives me good exercise!

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    1. hi Jane- those self-winding hose reels saved me! I would go through them about one a year, but looked at it as the best investment for my sanity and the yard! I've seen some in green/brown which helps to blend- mine were always beige (ughhh) and I would paint them camo to blend into the bushes I hid them in!

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  28. Hmmm. Well lesee. Crocs, straw hat, loose linen shirt, Machete.And a cold beer with a lime wedge.

    Yep. That'll do it.

    I doubt the agastache would like the rain and tropics here...whad'ya think?

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    1. I don't know LindaLime, they are listed for your zone! I love their wildflower look.

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  29. Hello! A few years ago when I decided to plant a cutting garden in the empty space behind our garage, my husband bought me these for my birthday: http://www.amazon.com/Bahco-Ergonomic-Pruner-Rotating-PXR-M2/dp/B000288WA0/ref=pd_sim_sbs_lg_1
    I don't know if that link will show up, but it's Bahco's Ergo PXR-M2 pruners. At the time, I thought they were far too extravagant for my humble garden, but I've used them for pruning, cutting, poking around, etc. They're fantastic.
    I also must have a few packets of zinnia seeds to supplement my perennials. Each summer, I have vases and vases of cut flowers to share with my family and friends, and bright zinnias are always there to fill in the blanks. After our Midwestern heat and drought this summer, and I have to replace some of my perennialsl. Your hyssop is now on my long list!
    Thank you--just discovered your blog a few months ago, and catching up with past posts. One of these days, I'll get a better profile, but for now, I'm Anonymous Angela, Geneva, IL.

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    1. hi Angela- What a sweet, thoughtful husband (I love gifts like that too!)I have a much cheaper version of your nice pruners, so I can only imagine how well yours work in the garden!

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  30. This year I bought a few of those plastic totes with handles from the Walmart garden dept. Best gardening purchase ever! I fill them with plant debris, dirt, whatever. The fact that they are wide and non-rigid makes them extra versatile, and when my potted plants get too dry it's easy to fill the tote part-way with water and put the whole pot inside and let it drink from the bottom up. Eliminates wondering if I watered thoroughly enough like I do when I use a watering can.

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    1. Vesna- I looked at those when I realized I needed a tote in the yard, but then remembered my french tote and liked the idea of repurposing it, but they did look like they would be extremely useful for lots of things! Smart idea to use it as a soaker.
      When watering I always water twice. I make one round, let it soak in and then water again to make sure everything gets a good drink. This was paramount to do for all my pots in the Texas heat, but think it's a good habit for anywhere! I witnessed the effect of not doing this one summer when I had a neighborhood boy come water while we were on vacation. He was instructed to water twice, but didn't and everything was struggling (a few deaths:() by the time we returned.

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  31. Great post...
    I need one of those coiled hoses for my cottage...
    I have a VERY long hose, but a manual wind-up...takes me forever, and it
    always gets caught on something...LIKE A PLANT!!!!
    I think I will put that on my Christmas wish list...
    Thanks for the great idea..

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  32. Would you be willing to share pictures of what you bought at Snug Harbor Farm? I've read about it from you, an Urban Cottage, Elements of Style and Tone on Tone and I'm dying to make the trip! I live outside Boston so hopefully I'll make it there soon, but I'd love to see what you picked up there...topiaries? Succulents? Pottery?

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    1. ebee- Sure! Here are two links to my topiaries that I purchased from Snug Harbor...
      http://fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-favorite-presents.html

      http://fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/kitchen.html (best photo of it is the third from the bottom- the small topiary)
      You will love it and want one of everything they have, I promise!! Also, don't miss the great antiquing up Rt.1! Have fun!

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  33. Joan,
    As an avid gardener I was interested to read your post and will try the gloves you suggested. I use gloves called "mud gloves", I'm not sure of the brand but they repel moisture and most thorns on roses. My 'go to' Felco bypass pruners are essential, a pick and short handled rake, and last but not least, my kneeler. Which is like your Dad's mat, but a little smaller. As always, this was fun, thank you. I wonder if hyssop will grow here in southern California?
    Karen

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  34. Oooo I have a few favorites that I can always rely on to have a productive and rewarding day in the garden. My work horses are my garden cart with drop down sides and the exact same gloves! We would probably agree that there are a few good brands on the market that stand up to mulching, planting, weeding, water & sweat but these hold up when building beds, laying stone and spreading pea gravel too! Pea gravel became my best friend this summer especially around my potting area. So easy to work on since it gives under foot. Oh and our black lab Gracie. She always listens to whatever tune I'm humming.
    Your property looks amazing! You all should be soooo proud of yourselves! Keep up the good work and the results will season beautifully and be there for future generations. How fortunate that your beautiful blog documents every step of the way!
    Great catching up with you.
    XO Lisa

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  35. Funny that I just asked if you were feeling fall in the air without reading this post! Don't you just love it?!?! I love what you said about it never being too late to plant a new tree. I'd love to lind my drive with trees! Enjoy the crisp air! xo!

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  36. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?

    Brian

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    1. Brian, Since I don't see an email to reply to you may contact me at fortheloveofahouse@comcast.net if you wish.

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  37. After the storm we had yesterday and then the glorious weather today....I feel that the essentials for my garden are sort of in God's hands. I was just delighted to see trees intact. We lost power for about 5 hours....
    I do love my garden gloves, watering can, and hat. We have a coiled hose in the back that I really love and my dog is always my proverbial shadow.
    pve

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  38. Joan -
    Your blog has become a new favorite of mine. After recently moving into our "new" 1927 home here in Tulsa, it's the perfect inspiration for projects, touch-ups, and decorating!

    My garden essentials also include my late grandfather's wheelbarrow - it's forest green, metal, and a bit rusty but I love it! And I always am consulting my Garden Primer book. My Master Gardener mother swears by it and I do too, now!

    Best, Stephanie

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  39. My favorite gardening tool is the Step2 5A0100 Garden Kneeler! It allows me to still plant even with terrible arthritis!

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  40. Loving all of your gardening gear - so needing some help in my garden right now and I think the stainless steel weeder could be my new best friend!!

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  41. Hi Joan, I haven't seen green twine, but I've used green raffia (from any craft store) for the same purpose. There's some really long strands in a package. Sara

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  42. You and that Dan of yours (Ella too) are such fun peeps

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  43. This post makes me want to get out there and garden. Since my new yard is just that a "yard" as opposed to "property" I am thinking you and Dan would have this place whipped into shape in less than a weekend. I look out the window and see a million things that need to be done and I probably should start with a sketchbook...and a little inspiration which you always provide...so thank you Joan!!
    xo
    annie

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  44. Hi! Great post. Thanks for the terrific pictures. It is so much fun to see what everyone else finds indespensible! Lets see, usually whatever cap they sold at Dressage At Devon the previous Fall, deerskin gloves, I try to be good and wear sunglasses, but I always end up taking them off, and subsequently sitting on them. Felco pruners and long bladed loppers, bamboo stakes and natural twine, those L.L. Bean classic rubber and leather boots, composted horse manure (of which I have an endless supply!), and new this year, a huge, Starbucks double-walled plastic tumbler with a lid and straw- for iced tea. N.G.

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  45. Great post, and it made me smile that you list a bushel basket as an essential...I've been trying to find two--just two--to buy, and cannot find them! I've called garden centers, farmers markets, to no avail! Isn't that crazy? PS love last year's bday present--what a difference it made!

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  46. Wonderful post and comments with some ideas new to me. Here in Southern California, I have found that a pitch fork from my father in laws old orchard really does the trick when I have to load out the dead wild flowers and weeds I've pulled up once the summer sun has dryed them out.

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  47. Thank you for the tip on the gloves. I think I might get a pair of those as a gift for Christmas this year. My favorite time in the garden is early morning when it's nice and quiet. I can get a lot done and feel good about the progress I've made.

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