Potting bench

Cedar Potting Bench

Congratulations Shara Podobinski!!

Please email your shipping address to: jan@twowomenandahoe.com

Thank you for participating!

Happy Spring, Friends!

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Cedar potting bench, potting table, call it what you want! Someone is going to win it!

I am delighted to be part of the Gardener’s Supply Company’s product review program. Recently they sent me this FABULOUS potting bench to review for my honest feedback. Well, if you can’t tell already, it was love at first sight! This high quality, easy to assemble potting table was exactly what I needed. And, I am excited to host this giveaway because one lucky reader is going to WIN their very own bench! <!–more–>

Are you ready to win?

To enter today’s giveaway, leave a comment below – tell me your favorite thing to plant! One entry per person, please.

Comments will close by 9:00 a.m. EST on Friday, March 25th.

✿The winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced in this post shortly thereafter.

Here’s my story:

Many years ago I purchased a potting bench from a local antique dealer. The bench was made from 100 year old barn wood; it was big and heavy (not very functional) but I liked it. However, the antique piece was more like art in the garden then a ‘true’ functional gardening essential. I placed the bench in the far corner of my backyard knowing I would never really use it; it was very cool looking, don’t get me wrong.

After ten years or so, the old bench rotted away and was dismantled for fire wood. Since then, I have wanted a new potting bench for years – one I could actually use for gardening! I see many DIY tables on the Internet and they are quite nice. But I am not crafty enough to build my own so I admire them from afar. Then Gardener’s Supply Company asked if I thought my friends (YOU) would be interested in winning one. Well, as you can imagine, I squealed ‘YES!

A few days later, two large boxes were delivered to my home. Guess what was in them? This lovely cedar potting bench for me to assemble and review. Now it’s March in Michigan; there’s not a lot of gardening happening so receiving anything garden related this time of year is like Christmas all over again. I didn’t care how cold it was outside, my new gardening toy would soon be assembled in my family room and placed outside immediately.

Let’s get down to business:

My job was to assemble the bench first and swoon over it later. I mentioned earlier, I am not super handy at building things but this was easy to assemble, I even surprised myself. There were eight screws for the base and a few others, that’s it! Here’s some pictures of not-so-handy me effortlessly assembling my new bench.

Potting Bench Assembly 2

There are only eight screws to assemble the base. Easy peasy!

 

Potting Bench Assembly 3

An Allen wrench was included. It made assembling so easy!

 

Potting Bench Assemby 1

I used a power drill for the 4 screws that hold the top shelf to the base, that’s all!

 

Potting bench with dry sink

Dry sink with a plastic bin for soil! Just what the gardener ordered!

 

Potting bench with tool hooks

There are 4 forged hooks for gardening tools. The power drill came in handy here, too!

 

My new potting bench

Ta Da! That’s me and my new potting bench – hurry up spring!

Here are some highlights:

  • Lovely potting station with a lot of work surface for gardening
  • Both sides on top slide open for easy access to the dry sink
  • Bottom shelf is perfect for storing watering cans and extra pots
  • Upper shelves add more storage
  • Handy hooks for gardening tools
  • Rot resistant attractive Western red cedar with plated steel hardware

FYI: Gardener’s Supply Company is on Facebook, Twitter: @gardenerssupply and Instagram: gardeners.

Friends, I am so excited for you all. Please tell your friends, share the love and joy because someone is going to be a winner…good luck!

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Speaking Event: Sustainable gardening

Limelight Hydrangea

Date: April 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Taylor Senior Center
Address: 6750 Troy Street
Location: Taylor, Michigan 48180

Learn how sustainable gardening encompasses a variety of practices that respond to environmental issues. These practices are used in every phase of gardening including design, planting and maintenance. Together we will explore how to use these simple, low maintenance, affordable and practical principles in your gardens. Enjoy interesting, invigorating, and FUN new approaches to gardening in 2016!

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How to design dog-friendly gardens

Designing dog-friendly gardens

For the love of Fido, design dog-friendly gardens

You don’t have to forego a garden if you have a dog. And, you don’t have to forego a dog if you have a garden. With a little planning you can have both. Here’s a quick story:

One of my clients has beautiful gardens in front of her charming bungalow home. Running along her driveway from the public sidewalk up to her entrance is a lovely hedge of neatly manicured Green Gem Boxwoods. Unfortunately, the neighborhood dogs have taken a liking to the first Boxwood closest to the city sidewalk. Years of ‘leg lifting’ activity eventually killed the entire side of the shrub. Roberta wanted to replace it with another Boxwood but a new one would eventually look like the old one – there’s a lot of dogs and walkers in her neighborhood.

I knew planting a new Boxwood was a quick fix and not a long-term solution, so here’s what I did: I dug out the old shrub, rolled an average size boulder (about 1 ½“ x 1 ½“) from her backyard to the front, and placed it where the dead Boxwood was. Ta da! Now, the neighborhood dogs stop, sniff, and lift on the indestructible boulder. Problem solved! The boulder was a great solution in this case, plus Roberta did not have to buy anything. Bonus: a boulder adds another texture and element to the garden.

Here are a few tips if you need to design dog-friendly gardens:

1. If your dog likes to run along the fence line, be extra diligent in planting things away from the fence so Fido has room to run without leveling your plants. Don’t be afraid to pull the gardens out.

2. Plant things that are indestructible. Delicate perennials in Fido’s path will not last long.

3. Usually dogs do not like to ‘step up’ onto something to relieve themselves. Elevating your gardens may stop your dog from urinating on your plants.

4. Using boulders, like I did at Robert’s house, helps in many ways when strategically placed in the garden. Boulders are also good to stop or slow down a dog’s routine running path.

5. Research plant selections to ensure they are dog-friendly and not poisonous to man’s best friend. I included a list below, but still check before buying. Some plants can be deadly.

How to design dog-friendly gardens

Annie, a Standard Poodle, loves her pink Drift roses.

Poisonous Plants to Dogs

  • Autumn Crocus Bleeding Heart Foxglove
  • Iris Larkspur Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Monkshood Star o Bethlehem Rhubarb
  • Black Locust Elderberry Oak trees
  • Moonseed Azaleas Daphne
  • Golden Chain Jasmine Lantana camara (Red Sage)
  • Laurels Rhododendrons Wisteria
  • Yew Castor Bean Daffodil
  • Hyacinth Elephant Ear Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
  • Narcissus Oleander Rosary Pea
  • Water Hemlock Buttercups Jimson Weed (Thorn Apple)
  • Nightshade Poison Hemlock Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  • Mayapple Mistletoe Wild and cultivated cherries

*Reference: Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Lastly, knowing your dog’s run patterns and behavior in the yard is helpful to design dog-friendly gardens. Careful planning and indestructible plants will leave you and your best friend happy, healthy and safe.

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Underground utilities are dangerous

Underground utilities are dangerous

Underground utilities are dangerous and you do not want to hit one when you are digging in your gardens. My crew and I never dig until clients’ utility lines are property marked by a professional, it’s the best (and only) way to ensure everyone’s safety.

Call 811 is the phone number you call before digging to protect yourself and others from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines.

Here’s why underground utilities are dangerous

According to Call 811:

There are millions of miles of buried utilities beneath the surface of the earth that are vital to everyday living like water, electricity and natural gas.

811 is the federally designated call before you dig number that helps homeowners and professionals avoid damaging these vital utilities. When you make the free call to 811 a few days before you dig, you’ll help prevent unintended consequences such as injury to you or your family, damage to your property, utility service outages to the entire neighborhood and potential fines and repair costs.

Spring is right around the corner and we are all anxious to get outside. But before you start digging, please call 811 and let the professionals mark your underground lines.

Happy almost spring, Friends!

Underground utilities are dangerous

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My little winter wonderland

My winter wonderland

Winter in Michigan

Winter has been sparse in Michigan this year – very little snow accumulation and warmer than usual temperatures. The other day it snowed a bit so I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors. After all, winter gardens are just as lovely as the others.

In fact, when I design gardens for clients, I always consider winter interest. Peeling bark, spent flower blooms, boulders and benches, to name a few, all add interest to the winter garden.

I thought I would share a few of my winter pictures with you, in case you are missing the snow, too! If you have any great pictures of  your winter garden, please share them on our Two Women and a Hoe Facebook Page, we’d love to see them. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a few pictures of my little winter wonderland! Thank you, Mother Nature!

Sedum spectabile 'Neon' Stonecrop

Sedum spectabile ‘Neon’ Stonecrop

 

Echinacea purpurea 'Purple Coneflower'

Echinacea purpurea ‘Purple Coneflower’

 

'Little Lamb' Hardy Hydrangea Hydrangea paniculata

‘Little Lamb’ Hardy Hydrangea Hydrangea paniculata

 

Red Twig Dogwood Cornus alba 'Sibirica'

Red Twig Dogwood Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’

 

 Invincibelle® Spirit Smooth Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens

Invincibelle® Spirit Smooth Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens

 

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The wonders of nature

Deer and wildlife

How much is that deer in the window?

Oh deer, I saw this picture on social media and had to share it with you! I do not know who the photographer is or where it originated.

All I know is I want to feed this sweet girl. I hope she is happy, healthy, and safe.

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Heritage trees

trees

The thing I love most about gardening is that I always learn something new. A perfect example is when I picked up an issue of Michigan Gardener and read a fascinating (and eye opening) article about heritage trees by Steven Turner, a Certified Arborist in Ferndale, Michigan.

Steve’s informative article was about preserving heritage trees from a European prospective. I was amazed to learn the contrast between us, Europeans, and trees. It is incredible the great lengths Europeans will endeavor to preserve a tree in comparison to our “remove and replace” attitude described by Steve.

For as long as I remember, I thought a 100 to 200-year-old tree was very old. Steve’s article explained that most of our lands were cleared out as they were settled which means our forests are second, third, and even fourth generation growth from the original trees. It was sad to learn that in North America there are very few virgin forests left. I cannot imagine what a 500-1000-year-old tree looks like but would love to see one.

Steve shared that a colleague was fortunate enough to visit a small German village and a several-hundred-year-old “dancing” lime tree (linden). The colleague was amazed by the linden’s size! In the past he would have thought the tree was in decline until he was shown paintings of the linden from the 1600’s, in a similar state as it is now! I think it is fair to say that by our standards, we would have declared that tree a hazard and removed it many years ago. Steve made an excellent point that our thinking denies us, and many generations to follow, the thrill and true glory of a mature tree long after 100 years.

Steve reported that an oak tree in England will grow for 300 years, live for 300 more, and then die for 300 years. Whew…that is very different thinking that ours! We often believe that an 80-100-year-old tree is considered too mature, and may be a hazard or will die soon. In Steve’s “tree year’s world,” our mature trees are really just teenagers and, if left undisturbed by man and our potential harmful activities, have the potential to outlive us all!

Believe it or not, our existence in urban environments shortens the life of these trees. Sidewalks, roads, and buildings interfere with a tree’s root zones. Also, competing turf grass, leaf removal, improper irrigation and the over-use of fertilization contribute to a tree’s decline.

Did you know that trees have three stages of canopies? Here’s how Steve described it:

“The first is the full canopy that we are all used to seeing, with no tip die back from the top. The second is about halfway down, and this is the point where trees will die back to after the first stage of decline. You will see large, dead structural branches sticking up about the new canopy and in time these branches will rot and break off if not removed by a professional first. The third and final stage looks more like a bonsai tree: a massive trunk with minimal, large branches left, but a full yet much smaller canopy sprouting from the trunk or remaining limbs.

It is in this final stage that a tree can live for many years by simply re-sprouting a new branch when one breaks off or dies. Keep in mind that a tree can remain in the second stage for many years and if pruned properly can remain a valuable landscape asset for years to come before progressing to the final stage. Even in the final stage of decline, a tree can be an interesting living sculpture if left to its own accord.”

Wondering what you can do? Steve believes that with a bit of patience, protection, and care, we may have the opportunity to enjoy our heritage trees for many years to come!

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