Favorite or New Plant
Picking a favorite plant at this time of year is a fool's task, but as I gaze out my office window, I realize how much the cluster of white French-Roman hyacinths have been assuaging my tired eyes for weeks now. These are not the fat, tightly packed stems of the typical Dutch hybrid hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis. Instead, each bulb of the French-Roman hyacinth, H. orientalis albulus, produces several slender, 10- to 12-inch tall spikes of loosely packed white, blue, or pink florets, each incredibly fragrant. They began blooming in early March and are only now just beginning to show signs of age. French-Roman hyacinths were once widely popular and available, and may be found still growing at abandoned homesteads. Look for the bulbs for sale this fall in specialty bulb catalogs. Plant from September to November, setting the bulbs 3 to 5 inches deep and 4 to 5 inches apart, depending on the size of the bulb.
Tool or Gardening Product
Diggit Garden Tools
Battling dandelions or star-of-Bethlehem in your garden? These need to be dug out , and one of the best tools for the job is the Diggit, preferably the Diggit 2. It has a V-shaped, heavy-gauge, rust-proof, galvanized steel blade that is about 8 inches long. The bright yellow plastic handle is easy to see and designed to avoid giving you blisters. It has a lifetime guarantee against breakage, corrosion or manufacturing defects. The "plain" version has a red handle and is guaranteed for 5 years. Of course, either version also makes a great garden tool for digging and planting in general, plus the blade is marked in inch increments, good for planting bulbs. The V-shaped blade is also useful for jiggling out a row of seeds. The Diggit Duck has a sickle-shaped blade that is ideal for getting weeds out of cracks in driveways, rock gardens or gravel pathways.
All of these tools were developed and designed by a mother-and-son duo in Seattle, Washington, If you can't find them at a local garden center, then contact the company at http://www.diggitinc.com.