8 Tools for the Beginner Gardener

May 25, 2012
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It’s easy to go overboard with purchasing gardening tools. The latest equipment promises a new level of expertise previously unrivaled, not to mention ease of use. But these things can take up a lot space, cost a lot of money, and be over-specialized. Instead, focus in on getting the basic tools that can assist you with almost any gardening endeavor.

Cal Lane's Garden Tools

April 30, 2012
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Two daintily feminine but otherwise familiar objects from Cal Lane's "Wheelbarrows and Shovels" series.

The disconnect between pretty and powerful in Cal Lane’s “Wheelbarrows and Shovels” series, in which she etches designs into ordinary garden tools, raises the question: Which side is the artist on? Hint: Lane makes her pieces using an industrial blowtorch. 

Support System

April 11, 2011
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Good garden totes can be hard to find. An oversize bag is of little use if it becomes an abyss of unreachable shears, plants, and seed packets. Many leather bags aren’t hardy enough to survive the abuse most gardeners put them through and simple canvas bags either have little in the way of pockets or so many that the main compartment all but vanishes. This handsome waxed canvas bag, originally designed for carpenters, is hand-made by Artifact Bag Co. in Omaha, Nebraska ($155;

A Cart That Knows How We Roll

March 09, 2011
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Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy a luxury vehicle without having to shell out for a Rolls-Royce? Your chariot awaits. JANUS et Cie's new garden wagon wraps everything we like about the California-based company into a single item. This chic riff on the Radio Flyer mixes nostalgia with rugged modern materials: marine plywood on an aluminum frame won't mind a little rain, while the synthetic fiber basket stands up to anything you transport, from plants to tools to groceries.

My Favorite Tool: Felco F600 Folding Saw

January 03, 2011
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Like most garden designers, I don't own a chain saw, but I want to be able to prune branches on my own. My favorite pruning tool, the Felco F600 folding saw, is 14 inches when open and only about 7 inches when closed. You can stash it in your toolbox—it weighs less than a pound—but it's got big, sharklike teeth that make cutting through a four-inch-diameter branch like cutting through butter. My friend the Los Angeles—based garden writer Ivette Soler turned me on to the Felco a dozen years ago; I saw her use it on a garden installation, and that was it.

Trees, trees, trees!

December 21, 2010
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Treeeeeees. I've recently come across a bunch of cool links about trees and I thought I would share all of them with you in one post.

Garden Design - Leanne Shapton

Leanne Shapton's Native Trees of Canada

Unique Planter Wins Innovation of the Year

December 21, 2010
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Popular Science, (part of the Bonnier family, our parent company), recently named the Groasis Waterboxx, a planter designed for arid conditions, as the Innovation of the Year. Designed by a Dutch flower grower, Pieter Hoff, the Groasis Waterboxx is shaped like a doughnut and filled with five gallons of water that should last an entire year.

My Tree and Me Family Trees

December 21, 2010
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When we first saw these family trees from My Tree and Me, we totally fell in love. Stylish family trees are surprisingly hard to find and these designs have a retro 1960s-cool aesthetic. The completed designs double as both affordable art and as a personalized heirloom, making them a thoughtful holiday gift for newlyweds, new parents, or really, any family member.

Garden Design - My Tree and Me Chart