GREAT FINDS – Hats and Tools

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May finds gardeners in the full throws of planting, prepping and maintaining, but still with all the excitement with the fresh start to a new season. While I kick off the season I have found two great resources to share with everyone, which may be old news to you but are new additions to my gardening arsenal this year.

GREAT FINDS - Hats and Tools,  Thinking Outside the Boxwood

TULA Gardener Hat:  I am constantly searching for a wide brimmed gardening hat that is stylish, and is something a guy can pull off. Generally what looks good on one person, does not always look good on another or tends to lend it self better for one sex over the other. But I think I found a great universal hat, the Tula Gardener hat. I tried on someone else’s over the weekend and it was a great size and finish for working outside, and at $37.99 is a great price. My hat is on order so will report on how it holds up over the summer.



GREAT FINDS - Hats and Tools,  Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Niwaki Tools: So I have had this website on my bookmarks for about a year, just for the simple fact the website is BEAUTIFUL. But the tools have cult following and the are just great stuff from Japan. I highly recommend watching their videos, relaxing and educational. I need to get one of the orchard pruning ladders, because are easier to maneuver compared to the lifts we sometimes need to use, but will need to figure out a good shipping method first.


Do you have any must have gardening tools or gear?

The Benefits of an Edge

Advice, Central Ohio, cobblestone, edging, Formal Garden, G A R D E N S, gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Landscape, Landscape Design, McCullough, My Work, New Albany, Ohio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes borders are a good thing and that includes in the garden. Edges help provide a transition between elements and can help contain gravel, mulch and turf from spreading. Besides its use for providing a barrier, edging provides an additional design element and should be considered detail.

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging w/ Green Velvet Boxwood (Buxus 'Green Velvet') and Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis 'Thiller')

Metal edging along a gravel pathway.



The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Brick Edging

 Bricks on edge between turf lawn and a perennial garden. 


Where and How to Edge: Edging is used in areas of loose stone to prevent from spreading into turf or beds, such as walkways, driveways and patio spaces. It can also be used to provide an edge along turf to prevent the spreading of grass into plant beds. Common materials used include brick, cut stone, slab stone and metal. Below is a visual ID of four major edging types in use.


The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Edging by Type


The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging separating pea gravel and turf

 Metal edging used to separate gravel bed and turf.  


Edging Problems: In areas where there is freezing and thawing, some edging material will heave out of the ground and will need to be periodically re-set. Edging is not a 100% foolproof barrier, gravel and grass will cross the line and will require maintenance. Also if the wrong gravel type is used or layered too thick, the barrier will not provide the intended function.

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging on a green roof in Columbus, Ohio, USA

Metal edging along gravel path on a green roof. 


The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging creating a meandering path

Metal edging along a gravel path into a perennial garden. 


When Not to Using Edging: I don’t typically use edging around flower/perennial beds. I prefer to use a technique that includes a deep trench surrounding the bed. I use a sharp flat spade cut to make minor adjustments in the shape and insuring separation of the turf and bed.

Also please stay away from those plastic edging. If you use the method above you will have better result of keep beds shaped and materials contained. I cannot think of too many cases where plastic is ever the best solution in the garden.


(All photos from work by McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery)


The Garden Museum & Tom Stuart-Smith

G A R D E N S, Garden Tours, gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Landscape, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

This might be something everyone already has on their subscribe list, but if not you need to join the Garden Museum’s email list or at the very least periodically check in on what they have going on. The Garden Museum is the ultimate place for plant geeks, with exhibits of garden visionaries and garden tours with leading designers among the list activities for garden enthusiasts/professionals/plant geeks. The major drawback for Americans is the museum is located in London, so we can read and dream about these amazing exhibits and garden tours.

Garden Museum, Thinking Outside the Boxwood


This July the Garden Museum offers two garden tours featuring gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith in the span of three days with Tom on hand to speak and share his inspiration and philosophies.  I included Tom as one of my Master’s of Design post series here, so it is no surprise that I am a huge fan of his work, (okay, more like groupie.) The opportunity to hear him speak in the gardens he designed would be on par with talking with Piet Oudolf at Hummelo.  So as I do wishful airfare searches to make the trip myself, here are the details for you to also dream.


Saturday July 12, 2014: Tour of Broughton Grange, with Tom Stuart-Smith and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. Broughton Grange features 350 acres of gardens, farmland and open meadows. The gardens include a wild flower meadow, knot garden, parterre, sunken garden and the Walled garden. In 2001 Broughton’s owner Stephen Hester commissioned Tom Stuart-Smith to turn 6 acres into a walled garden. The garden features three terraces, each with distinct individual features while sharing a tread of common characteristics to unite the overall garden. Watch a video of the garden here.

The gardens at Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This tour includes a talk from the owner, along with Tom Stuart-Smith sharing his inspiration and design for the garden. Tom will also talk with Todd Longstaffe-Gowan about the role of space and enclosure in the garden.

See more about the tour and book tickets on the Garden Museum Website, here.

The gardens at Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith, Thinking Outside the Boxwood



Monday, July 14, 2014: Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden and Serge Hall

The Garden Museum is also offering an open garden with Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden and Serge Hall (Tom’s sister ,Kate, garden). Once again this tour includes a talk with Tom (twice in three days!) talking about the garden during July. (There are also tours on May 12 and September 15.) The Barn garden is a 20 year passion for Tom and his wife, Sue. The personal gardens of plant lovers provide the most unique perspective of design, it’s where they experiment and throw all rules out the window for passion.

Tom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden and Serge Hall, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden and Serge Hall, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

For more information on the tours and book tickets, visit the Garden Museum site here.


Recommended Place to Stay: Touring Tom Stuart-Smith’s gardens will provide you with an overload of inspiration, color, texture and framing the greater landscape. Contrast that experience by stating at The Hempel while in London. The hotel features a Zen Garden, Hempel Garden Square, designed by Anouska Hempel. The simple, clean design will provide reprieve from Tom’s gardens and allow you to reflect on the contrast.

The hotel features a Zen Garden, Hempel Garden Square, designed by Anouska Hempel, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The gardens at the hotel feature three symmetrical square ponds edged in Portland stone, raked gravel paths and strong bands of green contrasting the white stone. The garden was featured in the final scenes of Notting Hill if looks familiar.


What else to do: An added Bonus, the tours are scheduled during the RHS’s Hampton Court Flower Show (July 8 – 13), so you can tick off that from your plant geek bucket list too.


What to Read to Prepare for your Trip:

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.