Garden Club: Tools Of The Trade & Other Tips

Tools of the Trade

The Arthritis Society recognizes Fiskars PowerGear products for maximizing leverage to reduce muscle effort and joint strain. New for 2012 are hedge shears featuring lightweight reinforced fibreglass handles to further ease fatigue. $40, The Home Depot.

The Troy-Bilt garden spade offers stability with sturdy construction, featuring a large handle with ergonomic grip and heavy-duty blade with oversized turned step for added control. $32, Canadian Tire.

The handy ratchet motion of Garant’s weeder allows you to snatch pesky weeds right down to the root from any soil type and easily discard them with a slide of the handle – no stooping required! $40, at home improvement retailers across Canada  

Plant by Colours

It’s not quite paint by numbers, but the PlantSwatch combines a clever fan-out reference for 230 plants arranged by foliage or flower colour, plus basic gardening definitions, a Plant Hardiness Zone classification, optimal sun, soil and water requirements as well as each plant’s height, spread and season. Use this compact guide as a tool to maintain your garden and, unlike comparable plant tomes, you can easily take it along to the garden centre. $20, Lee Valley Tools or www.plant swatch.com  Tara Losinski

In Pursuit of Garlic

In Pursuit of Garlic: An Intimate Look at the Divinely Odorous Bulb (Greystone Books) by Liz Primeau is just that. As the founding editor of Canadian Gardening, Primeau knows a thing or two about growing the aromatic and medicinal allium plant.  —Vivian Vassos

NEXT: TOP TRENDS AND PICKS

Marjorie Harris’s annual pick

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Why

This is, bar none, the best annual for in ground or in containers on balconies. How it shows Bright purplish-blue flowers over abundant green-silver foliage provides a cool, calming effect in the garden.

Loblaw’s Peter Cantley’s annual pick

PC Honey Bee Petunia, a Canadian exclusive

Why

Last year’s Black Velvet Petunia inspired breeders to have fun with dramatic darker tones.

How it shows

The black acts as contrast so the bright yellow stars really pop.

Canadian Tire’s Judy Shirriff’s annual pick

Bacopa ‘Abunda Colossal Blue’

Why A great new Bacopa, its superior heat tolerance makes this plant a fabulous choice for pots and baskets.

How it shows

It has rich blue flowers and an excellent branching semi-upright habit.