Clever Gardening Technique
Choose the Right Rake for the Job
Raking the leaves out of flower beds requires a gentle touch, so a narrow, flexible-tine fan rake is the best for the job. Use a wide version for vegetable beds or larger areas that are free of plants. For raking leaves off the lawn, a plastic leaf rake has a springy action. For raking dead grass and thatch from the lawn, use a rigid-tine rake, such as a specially made thatch rake. For raking up stones and sticks in the soil and preparing new beds, use a rigid-tine metal garden rake.
Favorite or New Plant
Serviceberry or shadbush (Amelanchier spp.) is one of the first trees to herald spring, bursting forth in white blossoms before the leaves unfurl. There are slight differences between the species but they all are quite adaptable, thriving in sun to partial shade, in moist to dry soils. The flowers mature to sweet red or purple/black fruits, favored by both birds and gardeners. This 25-foot tree or multistemmed shrub also grabs our attention at the end of the season with its red/orange/yellow fall color.