A Gardeners Gift Guide

Book Recommendation, Eddie Bauer Multiclava, Holiday, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The past few years I have created a gift guide based on items I would recommend to someone passionate about gardens and gardening. I pull from the list of items I have purchased over the year that either provided me with inspiration or helped me be a better gardener. Below is a list of some great items I found this year, with some more practical  gifts and others more luxurious.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, 2016 Holiday Gift Guide


(1) Luciano Giubbilei: The Art of Making Gardens ($43.86) I have been a long admire of Luciano’s work and have the first book written about his work next to my computer at work (The Gardens of Luciano Giubbilei) for quick inspiration. This second book is written by Luciano himself and reflects his evolution as a designer while working on an experimental boarder at Great Dexter. You still see is modern clean sensibility with more exploration with color in textural compositions. Outside of learning about his creative process, it is a great garden porn book with beautiful images.

(2) Broad Fork ($84.80) – This summer I spent hours working on getting organic matter into our soil at our house. For a lot of the work I used a tiller, but ordered this broad fork to use in smaller areas where I needed deeper cultivation. The tool has since migrated to the crews to use, but will need to get it back for more fall planting. This is a workout to use, but outside of a large tiller is the best tool for aerating compact soil in your garden beds.

(3) Eddie Bauer Multiclava ($20) – I have a few of these that I wear whenever I am working outside to protect my neck from the sun. It works better than sun screen which typically gets sweated off or major areas missed. The fabric is designed to wick moisture and does not you a hot neck. It also helps in the winter to help shield you from the wind.  I have the bandana pattern and camouflage patterns, but there are lots of options to choose from and lots of different ways you can wear.

(4) Leonard GardenGlide ($34.99) – I received one as a sample from A.M. Leonard to try out and passed it along to the maintenance crew to use. In less than week, they came back requesting we order more for all the crews. It is a simple design, but the glide allows you to move with ease bags of mulch/soil, your weeding tub, or even plants around your garden. Much easier to move than a wheel barrel and uses little room for storage when not in use.

(5) Rouge Hoe ($38.95).  I like to buy tools once! I expect them to last and take the beating I am going to put them through.  That is why I love the Rouge brand.  Built to last a life time with a thick tempered steel head and sturdy hickory handle.  Handcrafted in the US the Prohoe is an essential tool for the serious gardener who believes is using the right tool for the job.

(6) Norwegian Wood ($16.96). I found this book up in Minneapolis over the summer and purchased to use with all the fire wood we have thanks to the plight of our ash trees from emerald ash borer. It will take your wood stacks to an art form and ensure you have excellent firewood for evening fire pits. I am using it to perfect my wood walls and chopping methods, a much better use of all the dead ash trees than the wood chipper.

(7) The Botanist Gin ($40ish) – Gin and tonic is my drink of choice, and Botanist Gin is my gin of choice. I found it at our local liqueur store and purchased it purely based on name and stunning bottle design. Distilled in Scotland on the Isle of Islay using local botanicals, it is a pure and clean gin. I mix with Fever Tree Tonic, but am open to any suggestions of other tonics to try (have also used Q Tonic). You cannot go wrong with this for any gin lover, let alone a plant geek gin lover.

(8) Paul Bangay: The Garden at Stonefields ($88.65). As I write this, Amazon only has one more copy remaining, so first come first served. This book was released back in 2013, but we were not able to easily get your hands on a copy in the USA. I just got a copy this week and have not had a chance to read yet, but the photos alone are amazing. The book provides the evolution of the gardens at Paul’s personal residence, from conception, during installation and on going care and maturity. This provides you the framework for how the great garden was created, an often secretive side gardens.





Recommended Gifts

Holiday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recommended Gifts, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

It’s time of the year for holiday gift guides. Not typically a fan of “gardener gift suggestions”, since they often created by folks that don’t garden and think all gardeners use are hoses, shovels, gloves and hand cream.  Here are my recommended items for either yourself or a gardener on your list based entirely on items I use or have.


Recommended Gifts, Thinking Outside the Boxwood



The Gardens of Arne Maynard. I judge garden books first by the photographs. It is impossible to get the same perspective from an image that you get from standing in a real garden. So the photos in garden books have to be incredible strong, with great color saturation, image size and paper quality to bridge that gap, and this book delivers all that.  With images both at the micro and macro levels of a garden, you are able to appreciate, study and learn from Arne Maynard’s design style.  Written by Maynard himself with the details a plantsman and designer wants learn, as if you were walking through the gardens with him listening to the stories, learnings, and inspiration for each space.


Swiss Army Floral Knife.  This knife is great for its thin profile (easy in the pocket), sharp, flat blade, bright colors (I have yellow) and price (if I lose it, not a big deal). Use it to cut back blooms, take cuttings, and open nursery boxes.


Wild Tomato Vine, Pure Soy Candle. My mom got me hooked on this candle after she purchased one during a trip to Detroit Garden Works. The fragrance of tomato vines creates such a sensory experience for me that when the grey of March becomes numbing, this candle reminds me that life is coming. Forget the smell of flowers, gardeners want that fresh vine ripened tomato smell.


Klein Tools Canvas Leather-Bottom Bucket Bag.  Designed for electrical workers, these bags are sturdy and just the right size for carrying my essential gardening tools around the yard and from job site to job site. I can carry pruners and soil knife when not in use, ear protection, cleaning supplies for pruners, etc. I also love the rough and tumbled look the leather and canvas as gained over the years.


The Wave Hill Chair by Dan Benarcik. My trip to Philadelphia this past fall was so inspiring, with over 200 photos on my camera taken in three short days. While there I was able to put together the connection of the iconic garden chair with the craftsman Dan Benarcik. Over the years Dan has been crafting and refining the famous Wave Hill chair and offers the chairs for sale in finished, kit and PDF plans. My winter project is attempting to craft the chair using some spare lumber we have at the shop from the PDF. If you feel less handy use the kit or even order a completed chair.    


Have a great holiday, and if you have any great tools or gifts you recommend please pass along. I am always looking for something to keep in my Klein bag.

15 Fresh Greens for Holiday Decorating

Advice, C O N T A I N E R S, container, decorating, Get the Look, Holiday, Uncategorized

The week after Thanksgiving is a rush to get our clients homes decorated for the holiday season. Even though the week is busy, we look forward to flexing our festive creative muscles. I shared photos of a few projects on instagram throughout the week (NickMccland),if you want a preview. There were questions about the types of greens we used and thought I would share a list of all the different types of fresh greenery we use as a info graphic for quick reference. These are the greens that work well in Ohio’s December climate or we use only indoor (such as pepperberry). There are infinite combinations you could make with these greens, highlighted with ribbon, ornaments, pinecones and branches.


15 Fresh Greens for Holiday Decorating Containers, Wreaths or Garlands from Thinking Outside the boxwood



One of our favorite tricks is using a variety of these fresh greens tucked in a standard Frasier Fir wreath or graland. The fir provides a dense base for tucking in other greens for distinctive texture and color. You can purchase greens from florists or take clippings from your own backyard. The dense fir wreath will hold the green’s branches with in the existing wiring, or use paddle wire to secure to the frame. This trick provides you with a nice fresh wreath, that is unique to only your home without the custom made cost or time.