Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

'Kaleidoscope' Abelia
If you are not yet a fan of the shrub abelia, you will be now. 'Kaleidoscope' has everything I'm looking for in a front yard shrub, meaning it will look good all year long with little effort. 'Little Richard' abelia is a very nice, green-leaved darling that stays small and blooms big, and 'Kaleidoscope' is LR's boisterous offspring. Bright green and yellow in spring, it goes green in summer and then colors up to warm gold and red tones each fall. The flowers are like other abelias, pink buds that open into white tubes for months. Grow abelias in well-drained soils in full sun.

Clever Gardening Technique

Get the Right Hand Pruners
While it is always important to purchase top quality tools, it is also important to get the right tool for the job and for your hands. While it makes sense to look for sturdy tools, those with wrist issues like carpel tunnel syndrome or arthritis and those who do a lot of light snipping often prefer lightweight pruners so long as they also have quality blades. Ergonomic handle designs work in everyone's favor, too. Hand pruners are described by their design, such as needle nose, cut-and-hold, anvil, ratchet, and bypass styles. Each has its own use and some overlap. For example, anvil pruners work in a sharp cutting motion and may have a cut-and-hold feature, too, to make cutting thorny plants easier. The bypass pruner has a curved blade with a sharper point for finer tasks and cutting green stems, while ratcheting pruners work in a more gross motion to chop through dead woody branches. Try on a few and get the right pruner for your hands and the task at hand, and then shop for the best value for your money.

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