Product Review: Black and Decker 24” Hedge Hog Hedge Trimmer

00000119440 blackdeckerhedgehognht518hedgetrimmer large Product Review:  Black and Decker 24” Hedge Hog Hedge Trimmer

I made sure to add to the Hedge Hog Trimmer to my personal tool kit this past spring, and have been pleased with its operation, and “greener” profile in my tool shed. Black and Decker is following the current lawn tool trend to create cleaner and greener battery operated tools for the mass market. This tool is a must have for any gardener or landscaper with hedges or ornamental grasses that need annual or bi-annual trimming and shaping. Holding a full charge for about an hour of heavy use, this tool may not stack up in longevity against its gas and 2cycle cousins, but for the average homeowner it will tackle your jobs admirably. Batteries for the Hedge Hog Hedge Trimmer are the standard “one battery for all” 18 volt batteries used in all of their tool line-ups, and can be swapped out and charged one at a time for ever-ready power for jobs where you may run one battery down.

Here’s what I like about these tools. Since they are from Black and Decker, these tools are tough, and reliable.  Being battery operated they are easier for anyone to store, since they don’t require bi-yearly service, or the storage of gasoline and other chemicals for their operation.  They also are easy starters for those of us who struggle with choke operated machinery, and make sense for urban dwellers who need power tools to maintain the rooftop gardens that are quickly coming back into vogue.  They are also the safe and preferred choice of landscape contractors who need battery operated tools when traveling through buildings in the city to maintain the courtyard gardens of hotels.

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Innovative Indoor Plant Grow Light

grow light Innovative Indoor Plant Grow Light

I’ve got some corners in my house that would be perfect for  a little planter or two, my only problem is that these dark corners are beyond the reach of my windows, and completely unsuitable for large grow lights. I discovered this small scale grow light this week while “window shopping” that was just too great not to share!

Solutions Catalogue online has this great tabletop sized grow light for small spaces, that is perfect for small spaces, tabletop containers, or shelf displays.  These grow lights run about 29 dollars, and are a great way to keep indoor plants healthy where window light is scarce.  I know a few friends who would love something like this to cheer up a dark corner in a basement apartment, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate something like this into your desk at work or even on a bookshelf at home.

Check it out if you are looking for something small to get things growing in your space!

Winter Tips: Trimming Ornamental Grasses

img 2203 837x1024 Winter Tips: Trimming Ornamental Grasses

January temperatures may not always welcome you warmly outdoors, but the dormant period of winter is the best time to heavily trim back your ornamental grasses.  Cutting your grasses uniformly back down to the ground will ensure healthy fresh growth in the spring, and keep the sagging reeds and blades from snapping and going limp in winter snows and rain.

Now that the first snows of the year are past, and we’ve been able to enjoy the appearance of the grass for some time covered in snow and ice, it’s time to trim them back, and even sneak a few sheaves indoors to fill in the table arrangements that are now missing their Christmas decor.

How Low Can You Go?

Now that your grasses have died back to the ground, cut the stems back to about four inches above the ground.  The Pampas Grass in the picture was cut back this week to keep the grasses from flopping across the sidewalks on either side, and to encourage solid upright growth in the spring. I trim back to about 4-6 inches above the ground.

To achieve a uniform and more formal look in minutes I recommend using a an electric Hedge Trimmer that’s battery operated, and easy to grab and go!

The New Gardening Wiki

tiger lily 300x225 The New Gardening Wiki

Have you discovered the new online encyclopedia just for us?  Gardenology is a new online resource and encyclopedia set up much the same as Wikipedia.  It’s growing by leaps and bounds as gardeners and bloggers alike add their own knowledge and photography to it, and learn from other’s expertise.

This is a great tool to bookmark if you haven’t already, and have on standby for all of your garden planning projects. Check it out, and enjoy this great free resource!

Photo Courtesty of: audreyjm529

How To: Rid Your Houseplants of Whitefly

whitelfy and larva 300x199 How To: Rid Your Houseplants of Whitefly
Photo Courtesy of : Eran Finkle -
Whitefly can become a nuisance year-round for your favorite indoor plants, and over-wintering outdoor plants inside through the cold weather can sometimes compound the problem by bringing new insects into the house. Pesticides in granular form can take care of this problem for you, but for those of us with pets, children, or the desire to use something less toxic, there are solutions that will help you gain control of your problem. Ideally you will want to eliminate all the life stages of Whitefly that may be living on or around your favorite houseplant and do it quickly.  Adult Whitefly are not only deadly to plants due to their feeding methods, but they are also carriers of plant diseases from one plant to another. [Read more...]

Sears Coupons For Year-Long Savings

tools Sears Coupons For Year Long Savings

The colder winter months have a way of trapping you in the house and forcing you to notice all the little home projects that have been stacking up through the year.  There’s no time like the present to get the house in order, and save money in the process!

Fred and Ethan at “One Project Closer” are constantly updating an extensive list of coupons from Sears, and will have coupons for hearth and home available and current year-round!

There’s nothing greener than fixing what you’ve got, and saving a few colorful benjamins in the process!  Follow this link for an up-to-date list of  Sears coupons!

Photo Courtesy of: geishaboy500

Four Groundcovers For Paved Pathways

stepping stones 682x1024 Four Groundcovers For Paved Pathways

Planning out a new garden path? For the gardener who enjoys a little greenery around their paving stones here are four great low growing perennials you can easily purchase as young plants or  ”start” as seeds on your own.

ajuga variegated 150x150 Four Groundcovers For Paved Pathways irish moss 150x150 Four Groundcovers For Paved Pathways

Ajuga                                   Irish Moss

creeping jenny 150x150 Four Groundcovers For Paved Pathways lemon thyme 150x150 Four Groundcovers For Paved Pathways

Creeping Jenny                     Lemon Thyme

Ajuga is a very hardy perennial, with multicolored foliage (check out your local selection of cultivars), that is great for growing between bricks, pavers, or rough stone paths. Many varieties are evergreen, and others are semi-evergreen, doing well in both deeply shady and sunny locations.  It spreads quickly and easily through runners, and when left unchecked can become invasive.  Care may need to be taken to keep the plant in the designated spot you choose for it. This is a plant you can feel no guilt in walking over, and is a great plant for areas that see a lot of children’s activities. Prune this Ajuga back every year by mowing over it, and thin it out every couple years to prevent rot in it’s dense vegetation.

Irish Moss is a charming classic that isn’t actually a moss. It sends up a tiny carpet of white blooms each summer, which moss never does, and once it is established in good soil, can be easily trimmed back and spread though cuttings.  This is not a plant that will take over your pathway easily, and will actually need to be planted in every place you desire it to be. When healthy this plant tends to mound in place, but minimal skill is needed to trim off and place excess growth into new areas.  If you keep cuttings planted in good soil, and keep them moist they will establish themselves rapidly, and fill in your pathway beautifully.

Creeping Jenny is a perennial in all but the coldest climates. Aside from having unique evergreen foliage, it also sends up yellow blooms in the summer.  This container garden favorite can be found in most garden centers, and will spread quickly in soil that is kept moist.  In dry climates this plant needs to be kept moist daily, and cannot tolerate dry roots in hot weather. Without care this plant can become invasive, but with trimming it will remain in place.  While Creeping Jenny is an excellent choice to plant in problem areas in your garden that may have moisture issues, or some standing water, it is less foot traffic friendly, and for that reason I don’t recommend it on pathways for families that have small children.  Constant walk-overs, or toy trucks driving though it will be hard for the plant to overcome, and it may never fill in your pathway in the manner you would like.

Lemon Thyme may be a plant you will have to start from seed, since it is relatively harder to find, but the crop will be well worth your time.  This is another hardy plant that can tolerate rough and tumble pathways, and it kicks up a sweet lemon citrus fragrance every time you walk by and brush it.  It can also work double duty as a path accent and a cooking additive.  Cooks often use it in chicken or fish recipes, and it also works as a substitute in baking for Lemon or citrus zest!

Try any of these plants in your garden during the summer months, or order them as seeds mid-winter to place them in the ground this spring, and really get a jump on your garden projects!

Happy Gardening!

Photos Courtesy of: nakaehoneymoon musicthatredhead4,

How to Recycle Sneakers For Use In Sports Arenas and School Tracks

sneaker bin How to Recycle Sneakers For Use In Sports Arenas and School Tracks

I’m tough on Sneakers.  In fact I go through about three pairs per year with all the walking and gardening I do.  You might say I’m the perfect candidate to recycle my sneakers since I do more than my part to contribute to their collecting in land fills!

I recently discovered a location north of Baltimore that participates in Nike’s “Reuse-a-Shoe” program, turning 100% of any athletic brand shoe into either a running track, basketball court, tennis court, or golf surface.  The program has donation centers all around the country and describes how it creates these useful surfaces on Nike’s main website.  Most collection programs accept donations in person or via mail, and you can donate shoes from all over the country to the effort.  Since I plan on accumulating a few pairs before I make the trip to my local project collection site, I’ll add a bin in my trash container to save both my shoes and that of my family’s.

Curious as to how to recycle your own sneakers, check out this link and watch the video on how they reuse unwanted sneakers from around the country!

Photo Courtesy of: Don Hankins

My Miniature Winter Village

When the snow is both inside and out, ’tis the season for my winter village display to be growing in one of the lobbies at the senior community center. What a great way to cheer people up!  This year a co-worker and I created this sweet mountain resort, and town-scape out of collections new and old. What’s become a work-funded hobby for both he and I these past 5 years has blossomed into quite a collection, which we rotate out each year according to the theme we like.

img 2167 768x1024 My Miniature Winter Village

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Review: Pet Alive’s “UTI-Free” Homeopathic Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections

PUTI001 Review: Pet Alive’s “UTI Free” Homeopathic Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections

I view my pets as important members of my family, and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to keep them healthy and happy without breaking the bank. Due to the expense that veterinary bills can be I recently decided that in non-emergency cases I would use natural remedies on my pets to lower the cost of maintaining them, while still providing them with natural care that won’t have the adverse side-effects that common drugs can have.

My male cat recently supplied me with a reason to do some research into natural remedies for bladder and urinary tract infections, and in the process I discovered Native Remedies”UTI-Free” .  The product is created by Homeopaths, and Pharmacists to treat the symptoms of, and prevent occurrences in cats and dogs of urinary tract infections.  While the product is registered with the FDA, and uses plant extracts (Berberis vulgaris, Cantharis, Staphysagris,  Sucrose) that have been used by herbalist for thousands of years to treat various ailments, the product does not promise to fully cure a serious infection. I propose that the formality is mostly legal in nature, because I used on tiny bottle to treat a serious urinary problem from Thanksgiving day to New Years, and found the change in his health to be a relief to both myself, and to the cat. [Read more...]