Posts tagged pruners

Frightful weather?

The following is from Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith:

           

It’s a debatable issue:  is the weather outside really frightful today?  Or, is it all in your perspective?  I was out and about this morning but arrived home in time to sit here at my computer plunking away for this week’s blog and watch the beautiful huge flakes of snow wafting to the ground. There’s just something mesmerizing about an Iowa snowfall.   Right now, right outside a kitchen window, a Cardinal is perched in a lilac bush sheltered in a blanket of white. What a sight!

            Speaking of birds, what will you do with your live tree after the Holidays?   How about, after removing the ornaments (especially the tinsel) propping the tree in your perennial garden?  It will add winter interest as well as shelter for birds that enjoy feeding on the seeds of coneflower, rudbeckia and liatris.  Or use it as mulch by pruning the branches and covering perennial and bulb gardens.  I’ll bet your neighbors would volunteer to let you take their trees, too. 

            Have you observed what wildlife visits your garden?  Their antics can be quite entertaining.  Note which plants helped bring them into the landscape. 

            Brush snow off shrubs and evergreens as the heavy wet stuff will cause breakage and damage. Prune only broken/damaged branches now.  

            Most importantly, investigate environmentally friendly methods of removing snow and ice from sidewalks and driveways.  Calcium Chloride is more expensive, but it is easier on your plants. Watch for new plant-friendly products entering the market. 

            And, if you haven’t found the perfect gift for a gardener friend, think about a journal, plant labels, hand pruners, flower scissors, a harvest basket (my second favorite choice), a gift certificate to a favorite garden center, or (my first choice!), a load of well seasoned manure, delivered. Yes! You read correctly!  It will be an inexpensive gift and certain to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. 

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The hardest thing to raise

      The following post is by Master Gardener Ellen Skripsky:   

      Now that we have sprung forward with our clocks, we should be ready to spring into spring.  However, for some of us, springing up (from our knees) in the garden can be challenging.  

     Ergonomics is the study of how tools can be adapted to fit the needs of people, including gardeners.    Manufacturers have taken a closer look at common garden tools and redesigned them to keep an individual’s body in a neutral position while working.  This lessens the stress on joints and muscles and allows gardeners to work longer while exerting less energy.  Fairly new on the market, and a must for the beginner or experienced gardener, ergonomic garden tools are designed based on comprehensive research and extensive interviews.  They can be purchased at garden centers, through catalogs, gift shops with garden items and via the Internet. 

           Ergonomic Pruners feature non-slip ergonomic handles and a thumb control blade lock for one-handed operation.  The blades are angled at 30 degrees to they don’t need to be twisted while cutting.

         Ergonomic Trowels typically have large, soft handles with extra padding to reduce strain on the hands and arm muscles.

        Ergonomic Rakes are redesigned to reduce the strain on the back.  The contour handle appears to have been stepped on and bent, and allows the gardener a more comfortable stance, with less bending.

       Bionic Garden Gloves were designed by a surgeon, and these leather gloves incorporate additional padding for the thumb, fingers and palm.  Velcro closures allow the glove a snug fit.

      Double Knee Cushions are made of a molded polyurethane pad that supports and cradles the knees, eliminating any pain.

      A Kneeling Bench is great for weeding and planting; you can then use the handles to raise yourself to your feet without as much strain.  Turn it over and it becomes a sturdy bench to rest on.

  We think of the human body as a machine that wears out from constant use.  Actually, the body stays in condition and ages more slowly with exercise such as gardening and with the use of ergonomic tools.  As an anonymous gardener once said, “The hardest thing to raise in my garden are my knees.”     

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