Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays to everyone to reads Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Its amazing how quickly the year flies by and I am looking forward to this week to spend with family and friends. Here are a few images from our holiday decorating this year, of course forgot my camera most days…. but here is a glimpse into our world for the past 4 weeks.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

 

Recommended Gifts from a Gardener

Central Ohio, G A R D E N S, gardening, Landscape Design, Landscape Products | Tagged ,

Tis’ the season for gift lists, so I wanted to throw out my recommendations. Gardener gift lists leave me mystified because they typically include items gardeners will never actually use. Here are a few items I recommend because I use them everyday.

Gardener Gift Guide from Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Links to Products: (1) Boots (2) Soil Knife (3) Shovel (4) Headphones (5) Tool Holder (6) Lens

 

Blundstone Boots. Gardening is a lot of kneeling, heavy lifting and dirt tracking. Blundstone boots are great for providing flexibility at the ankles, protecting the foot from equipment and easily slip on and off. I have had my pair for over five years and am just now getting to the point where I need a new pair.  Blundstone also uses sustainable manufacturing and promotes ethical treatment of its employees.

 

Lesche Soil Knife. We call these our soil swords, along with Felco Pruners these are our most frequently used tools. This is a great tool for planting, scoring the roots on a root ball or popping a weed out of the ground. This model is hefty and provides the best leverage, also I heard Martha Stewart’s gardeners use this knife so you know it is good.

 

All-Steel Super Penetration Shovel.  Also known as the King of Spades, this is my go to shovel. The all steel design has a pointed blade and sharp tapered edges to provide the most ease in cutting into soil. The foot pad also allows you to get the most impact from your exertion.

 

Noise-Blocking Stereo Earmuff. Lawn mowers, string trimmers, and leaf blowers all put out around 90 decibels,  which prolonged exposure can cause serious hearing damage. I always wear protection when using equipment and have found these great headphones that allow me to listen to music while working. I run Pandora on my phone and put on my headphones. I can still hear calls and text come through and am protecting my ear drums. I really love these!

 

 A.M. Leonard Double Pruner/Saw Holder. My soil knife and pruners are with me at all times, and proper storage that puts them at quick access is important. This side by side design is my preference, and the leather wears over time giving it a great patina. For someone that already has favorite pruners, this with the soil knife is a great combo gift.

 

Tamron SP A0S 17-35 MM F/2.8-4.0 Aspherical DI IF Lens. Gardeners know that moments in the garden are fleeting, each day brings different sunlight, flowering combinations…..and having a great camera and lens allows you to capture those moments when all your work looks its best. This is my favorite lens to use when taking garden photos because it is an Ultra Wide Angle lens.  I would also pair this lens with a polarized filter for better results when you are shooting on a sunny day.

 

Follow me on Instagram to see a photo my items noted above to see how they wear with constant use. Nickmccland

 

I am also working on one more gift guide for this or next week and owe a holiday decorating wrap up post.

 

 

Using Branches in Containers with Red Twig Farms

Landscape Products, McCullough, My Work, Redtwig Farms | Tagged , ,

Yesterday my article on Garden Design was published about using ornamental branches in containers. I intended to have a blog post up to accompany the article, but have been so busy creating client holiday containers and hanging decorations I got a little behind on the blog.

 

The stems used in the article and for clients are all grown on our farm in Johnstown, Ohio next to our offices. The farm is named Red Twig Farms directly after the scarlet bark of the dogwoods. You can find more information about the farm on previous posts here.

 

 

We have hundreds of plants that we harvest from each fall after the leaves fall and the bark has reached its peak color. By cutting back, coppice, each year we ensure the new growth comes back in tall single branch formats. Depending on the age and species of the plants we can get between 2 and 6 feet plus length branches.

 

Dogwood Branches

 

We grow red and yellow twig dogwoods. The red is great with the seasonal colors for christmas and the yellows are great all the way into spring. I like to use as many branches as possible in my container designs, the bundles above show 50 stems. The dogwoods are also very upright, so you can cram a lot into a container without spreading out too far in width. However you can also use just a few and will pop against any greens added to the container.

 

Example of yellow branches used in a spring or early fall container. 

 

Example of yellow branches used in a holiday container. We placed LED Christmas lights around the base of the stems to provide a glow.

 

Example of Red Twig Dogwoods in a fall container.

 

 Curly Willows

 

We also grow curly willow for cut branches. These also grow quickly through the season between 2 -6 plus feet in length. The additional benefit of these stems is the gnarly shape the branches grow and are very wide when used in containers.  We grow three colors (left to right  in images above and below): Black, Scarlet and Green.

 

 

 

Example of curly branches used in a holiday container design.

 

Ordering Branches

If you want to order any branches you can order from our Etsy Store. They are packaged in bundles of 50, but we can do in any order you wish. Also if you want a large bulk, you can email Joshua@mccland.com and get wholesale pricing.

 

Additional Holiday Decorating:
I will do a post dedicated to holiday decorating once we are done and that will include more examples of the branches in container designs. I have yet to decorate at home, and that is often where I do something a bit unconventional but also takes significant hours to execute.  I would love to see how you extend the season with container designs or if you have any questions about using branches.