Loomis Flower Farm Shop
Gifts for a female gardener

Best Garden Gifts for Women

Gardening Gifts for Women

So how do you buy the perfect unique gardening gift for the female/woman gardener in your life? In order to find that perfect gift, that one that will please a female gardener, you need to identify what type of gardener they are, or how they approach their time in the garden. Over my lifetime, I have put the women gardeners I have met into three different gardening categories (by the way, the men fit into the same exact ones!):

  • The Serious Woman Gardener – not afraid to get dirt under her nails. Uses any garden weapon or tool. Plants relentlessly, and constantly changes her landscape. Will go at it with or without gloves. This gal will love anything gardening related, but will especially love garden tool sets, the Hori Hori or a gardening apron.
  • The Casual Woman Gardener – loves the outdoors and gardening. Lives for the stress free feel of the garden. Has others do the heavy labor, but does get dirty on occasion. Occasionally plants and pots, content with pruning roses and doing light work. So any item that makes her gardening experience more pleasurable would be a great gift. Try stainless garden scissors, a great garden gift for the casual gardener..
  • The Flower Lover – hands off with the exception of cutting flowers in the garden. Not a dirt lover like the serious gardener, but has a passion for the beauty and variety of plants. Garden snips or a gardening apron to protect clothing would be a great gift for this type.

So, I am certainly not saying that one remains in their category over a lifetime, and most drift in and out of different phases, like life in general. So how do you provide a long lasting gift for that special gardening woman that will last and provide years of use out in the garden?

Here are our recommendations for that unique gardening gift for any woman:

  • The Gardening Apron – a unique, high quality gardening apron is appreciated by all, and will last years. We recommend a heavy grade cotton canvas with ample pocket space and adjustable size.
  • Hori Hori Garden Tool – for the serious female gardener, this Japanese garden tool has been used for centuries to cut, dig and scoop in gardens across the world. Hori Hori means dig in Japanese, and a gardener that receives this gift will do just that.
  • The Dibble – the garden dibbler is a great gift for female gardeners that plant out in the garden. It can be used for seed starting, bulb planting and aerating soil.

This is just a short list, check out all our unique Garden Gifts for Females and Men in our gardening gift shop.

garden watering wand or lance

The Garden Water Wand (Lance)

Ok, I’ll admit, I love new garden tools, and I recently ordered a watering lance for certain areas on the farm that aren’t yet on irrigation. This one is a winner, and its fun and functional.

Garden Watering Challenges

We have a fairly diverse garden and planting area with all types of soil, density and coverage. With an array of pot sizes and planting strategies, watering with just the hose tip or a store bought nozzle can be challenging. With the water lance, reaching all the plants in a particular planting area is a breeze. The one I purchased is right around 3 feet long, so it extends my watering radius to get to those hard to reach planting areas.

You can also control the flow rate with the valve, so you don’t flush out those seedlings or small plants in pots or trays.

My only challenge with the one I purchased is that the valve is cheap plastic. I think I will head to Home Depot and upscale my valve setup and all should be good. So in a nutshell, any serious gardener would love a water lance as a garden gift, or self-gift. Here is a summary of the benefits:

  • Extend your reach for wide beds or planting areas
  • Control the flow with the valve
  • Acts as an endless watering can
  • Soothing and stress releasing while in use 😉

Garden Tool Gifts

Best Tools For the Garden

Two Garden Tool Items I Can’t Do Without

We’ve been doing a lot lately on the farm to get ready for another growing season, and have several garden and farm projects in the works, including: new irrigation system, a lavender field, new growing beds, refreshing beds in our home garden, an English garden and much more (yes I am tired 😉 ). There are two tools that are irreplaceable in our day to day efforts: The Hori Hori and the Dibber.

Let’s start with the Hori Hori. This is one of my favorite tools out in the fields. I’ll give you a quick summary of how I used this Japanese Garden Knife and Tool out on the property yesterday:

  • Cutting through stubborn roots while digging an irrigation ditch.
  • Digging out a sprinkler riser to replace
  • To put soil into a new pot
  • To cut lengths of drip line for a new irrigation zone
  • Cutting through landscape fabric for planting
  • As a garden trowel
  • To remove some stubborn weeds in the gravel driveway

The Hori Hori is really the Garden Samurai (You can read more here: Hori Hori Garden Tool), and a garden tool I wont leave in the shed.

Second on the list is one of my new favorites, the Garden Dibber or Dibble. This tool has been around since man started farming, and is essentially a tool for seed and bulb planting. It essentially provides a simple way to drill holes in your soil with minimal effort. Today, as I go out to plant, here is how I will use this unique garden tool:

  • To plant some new Ranunculus bulbs we just received (as a bulb planter)
  • To poke some irrigation holes around newly planted trees
  • To make holes in some new ground cover
  • As a seed starter to open up soil for new seed

This garden tool is light and simple to use and makes little effort out of starting you new plants in any type of soil.

You can find both of these in our shop, Gifts for the Gardener.

How to plant and grow lavender

Lavender: How to Choose the Right Variety

We are excited to be adding a lavender field this year with a couple hundred plants :). We did quite a bit of research before planting, and wanted to share some tips.and basic info on how to pick the right variety. It really comes down to how you want to use or grow the lavender plant. We chose Grosso and Provence to start, due to their abundant flowers and strong scent. Here is a quick list to help you choose which lavender to plant and grow:

Choosing Your Lavender Variety

Following is a list of suggested lavender varieties to consider and their uses (From the US Lavender Growers Association):

Landscaping:

  • Thumbelina Leigh – small, compact, dark violet flowers, good for containers.
  • Munstead – popular small plant with medium purple flowers, can bloom twice.
  • Hidcote – small with dark bluish purple flowers.
  • Buena Vista – medium sized plant, purple flowers that blooms continuously
  • Folgate – medium bush with light bluish flowers, one of the first to bloom in spring
  • Melissa – medium plant with light pink flowers.
  • Edelweiss – medium plant with white flowers.
  • Royal Velvet – medium plant with dark purple flowers
  • Grosso – large plant with purple flowers
  • Provence – large plant with pale purple flowers

Dried Buds (For Lavender Sachets):

  • Provence (L. x intermedia) – pale buds, some camphor scent, easy to take off stem
  • Grosso (L. x intermedia) – medium purple buds, strong camphor scent
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – dark purple bud with sweet scent
  • Buena Vista (L. angustifolia)  – purple buds with nice lavender scent

Culinary Buds:

  • Provence (L. x intermedia) – use for meats and savories
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – great flavor and nice dark purple bud, very nice in desserts
  • Betty’s Blue (L. angustifolia) – nice gentle lavender flavor and dark bud
  • Melissa (L. angustifolia) – wonderful flavor in desserts and teas

Crafting:

  • Grosso – nice long stems for lavender wands
  • Folgate (L. angustifolia)  – early blooming, dries dark blue/purple, great for wreaths
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – dries dark purple, great for wreaths
  • Buena Vista (L. angustifolia) – dries dark purple, great for wreaths

Fresh Cut/You cut:

  • Folgate – early blooming lavender
  • Most angustifolias bloom earlier than lavandins
  • Buena Vista – blooms several times during the season
  • Grosso – nice long stems, easy to cut

Essential Oil:

  • Grosso (L. x intermedia) – considered the highest oil producing lavender, high camphor content
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – sweeter, floral fragrance
  • Super (L. x intermedia) – higher oil producing lavandin with an oil fragrance similar to angustifolias
  • Maillette (L. angustifolia)  – considered the oil standard in France, one of the best angustifolia

As you can see there are too many to enjoy! Follow us for more on this topic.

Gifts for Gardeners

Best Gifts for Gardeners

What are some ideas for gardener gifts?

As a gardener and farmer, there is nothing better that a fantastic garden gift. But with soooo many choices online, and a ton of junk, how do you pick the one that would be the best for your gardener friend or family member? Here is a list of my favorites, hopefully one sounds good to you:

  1. A Gardening Apron – you don’t realize what you are missing until you wear a gardening apron with pockets out in the garden. It’s like bringing your shed with you. If you are like me, I spend more time going back and forth to the garage and shed than I do in the garden. A couple of things to look for: several pockets, waxed canvas, double-stitched apron pockets and adjustable straps. Here is a great apron: Gardening Aprons
  2. A Hori Hori – The Japanese garden tool, named with the Japanese term “Hori Hori” which means “dig,dig”, is an amazing friend in the garden. The Hori Hori can be used to dig, weed, cut, scrape and measure. With roots back to the Samurai forges in Japan, this gardening sword will be a favorite for any gardener on your list. You can read up on the features in a quality Hori Hori here: The Best Hori Hori Tool
  3. The Garden Tote – a garden carryall for tools, fertilizer, bulb packs, seeds and more, can be a great partner for the gardener. Our time gardening is limited, and having all you need a foot away can insure your time out there is saved for garden duties.
  4. The Dibber (Dibbler) – having its roots (no pun intended) with the first gardener’s way back in time, a dibber is a tool for making holes in the soil for seeds and bulbs. The handy tool makes quick work for gardening tasks, and modern dibbers are an attractive wood and stainless steel tool any gardener would love.
  5. The Garden Tool Holder – pruners, scissors and clippers, also called gardening sharps, are difficult to carry and can damage standard carriers. A thick and solid leather or heavy canvas tool roll can give any gardener a safe place to store their gardening tools.
  6. Bonsai Scissors/Clippers – garden scissors are an excellent gift for the discerning gardener, and have become quite popular for many reasons. These sharp gardening tools provide many functions out in the garden, and stainless steel scissors will last forever.

So, hopefully this quick list of gardening gift ideas can provide you with the best gift for the gardener in your life (or a gift for yourself).

Garden Dibbler Dibber

What is a Garden Dibber/Dibbler?

The Garden Tool Used For Centuries

We’ve all used many different things to make holes in the ground for seeds or bulbs. I know I have. Nothing has been off limits: a stick, screwdriver, dowel, shovel handle, and yes, even a finger. But a dibber, also known as a Garden Dibberdibbler or dibble, is a garden tool made for this very purpose. Its first recorded use was back in roman times, usually made from old tool handles, and its design has not really changed.

What Should I Look For When Buying A Modern Dibber/Dibbler?

Today, many of the dibbers on the market are made in China and have a metal tip, and are made of low quality wood in the form of a “T”. High quality dibbles have the following features:

  • Made of hardwood (maple, mahogany, etc)
  • Hand turned, handmade
  • Inch marks and quarter inch marks
  • Flattened tip for solid seed contact
  • Ball or grip handle
  • Specifically made for seeds or bulb
  • Finished with Linseed Oil to protect

Find a shape and size you like, and add a nice handmade dibble to your garden tool kit.

Are Dibblers Just Used For Seed Planting/Starting?

There are two different types of dibblers, those for planting seeds and those for planting bulbs. Bulb dibbles are typically longer with a fat body and point to create a large hole. They have a flat point to create a firm contact point for the bottom of the bulb, and lines at one inch intervals for reference.

Seed dibbles on the other hand, are typically skinny and pointy, and create a small hole for starting seeds. Quality dibblers will have quarter inch marks, and then inch increments. These dibblers also have a flat tip for solid seed contact in the soil.

How Are Wood Dibbers Made?

All natural wood dibbers are made through the process of wood turning on a lathe. Here is a time-lapse video of a seed bidder being turned in our shop.

What is a garden dibble? A seed/bulb planter. Here is a video of one being made in our shop.

What Are Dibbers Made Of?

Dibbers are made of all different types or materials, including wood, metal and plastic. It is all a matter of preference which one you would like in the garden. I use a wood dibber garden tool for my outdoor bulb planting, and a nice small plastic one for inside seed planting. Here are the attributes of a quality dibber in the modern age, and one any gardener would appreciate:

  • Dibbers are made of a solid hardwood (maple or mahogany) and weather the elements quite well
  • A solid wood dibber handle for leverage in making deep holes or penetrating hard soil.
  • A pointed tip to keep going and going
  • Turned wood handle for aesthetics
  • Thick wood for a solid grip

Are There Different Types of Dibbers?

The Plastic Dibber

The Plastic Dibber

This small dibble is great for seed tray work, or working with small seeds. They are relatively cheap, and will last as long as you dont leave them in the sun. Call me a traditionalist though…I like my wood turned dibber 😉

The Steel Tipped Dibble

The Steel Tipped Dibble

Ah, the modern dibber. This dibber is a low cost option for those with hard soil or small hands. Its steel tip wont get worn down over time, and it provides a great set of uses out in the garden. Click the image for more info.

Learn More


The Wood Turned Dibber

The Wood Turned Dibber

The wood turned dibber is popular for its aesthetics and durability. Typically made of hardwood (maple or mahogany) it is crafted to be an heirloom, and be passed down to generations of gardeners. We make our own and use these on our farm and in our garden. Click the image for more info.

Learn More

What is the purpose of a Dibbers/Dibble?

I know we use ours on the farm constantly (I just used it for planting Ranunculus and Anemone today), and after a 1000 bulbs, i am thankful for this handy tool. Dibbers have a wide variety of uses. Here are all the uses for a dibber:

  • To make holes in soil for seed planting
  • A hole-maker in soil for bulb planting
  • You can break up potted plant roots as you plant them in the garden
  • For cleaning dirt from tubers
  • For leverage in propagation with large roots.
  • To aerate the soil around a plant
  • For creating deep water holes for plants in hot climates

Cottage Garden Design Attributes

The Cottage Garden: Planting From Scratch

So, I’ve wanted to build a cottage/English garden for some time now and started a larger project than I anticipated. In doing research I wanted to understand what attributes make up this type of garden, and what features I wanted to include. There are really two main kinds of English Garden: the rolling estate/park and the cottage garden. The rolling estate is lush with broad expanses of green, and has a park feel broken up by “rooms” or areas of diverse planting. The cottage is your typical loose, flowing and colorful garden.

Key Attributes of an English Garden

So here is a collection of English/cottage garden traits I compiled:

  • Abundance – in the garden there is always a feel of slight overgrowth and abundance. Bare spots are not allowed, paths should be slightly crowded with blooms. There needs to be a “full” feeling.
  • Natural – plants should always look like they are in their natural habitat.
  • Weaving – using a variety of plants, vines and containers there should be a woven feel throughout the garden.
  • Variety – there should be a variety of bloom types,, sizes and colors to create a visual texture.
  • Informality – There is always a main theme of informality on the verge of organized chaos.
  • Layers – using height and plant types, there should be a layering of foliage and blooms.

Stay tuned for more on my Cottage Garden project.

Best hori hori garden tool

Hori Hori – The Best Japanese Gardening Tool

The Hori Hori Garden Tool: The Ultimate and Best Tool for Gardeners

We use our Hori Hori tool every day at Celtic Farm, and highly recommend them to friends and customers as the ultimate garden tool.

Have you ever been in the garden and need a tool that you did not bring?  The Hori Hori Garden Tool is a barebones implement that can provide many of the functions that avid gardeners require.   This digging tool is often referred to as a garden knife”, “soil knife”  or “weeding knife” and is a true Swiss Army knife for the garden.  The word Hori literally means “to dig “, and Hori Hori is used as a digging sound in the language.   It has a specialized concave blade that is serrated on one side and can be used for the following:

  • weeding in the garden
  • cutting roots
  • removing plants
  • digging
  • measuring depth
  • planting bulbs
  • sod cutting
  • plant propagating through splitting
  • as a hand axe for chopping
  • as a trowel
  • as the all around, ultimate garden tool

How do you find the best hori hori garden tool?  Here are some things to look for when trying to find this ultimate garden tool:

  1. You want to purchase a full tang Hori Hori.  If you are not familiar with the word tang it describes the continuous portion of the blade that extends into the handle of a knife. Why the full tang on your garden knife?  A full tang provides the maximum strength and control when using the hori hori in the garden.  Cheaper knives have minimal extension of the tang into the handle.  YOu can see a full tang hori hori here: Best Full Tang Hori Hori Garden Knife
  2. 3 Rivets in Your Hori Hori Handle.  The full tang wont help you if its not securely connected to the wooden handle.  Quality Hori Hori’s will have 3 rivets on the handle.
  3. Stainless Steel Blade.   A stainless steel blade provides the rust proof strength required when using the digging tool in the garden.
  4. Curved, serrated blade.  Make sure the blade has a concave curve, and that the serration is of high quality for optimal use of the tool as a saw and cutting implement in the garden.
  5. Measurement marks. – I find it really handy to have inch marks on the inner part of my hori hori blade.  This is the ultimate tool for planting bulbs in the garden, and makes the ultimate garden tool even better.
  6. Blade length.  The Hori Hori blade should be between 6 and 8 inches, with the handle about the same.  This length gives perfect balance and provides for the one hand, barebones tool performance that makes it such a joy to use.

 

 

See Our Hori Hori

 

 

 

 

See Our Hori Hori Tool Reviews

Lavender Oil Uses

Lavender Oil Uses

Essential Lavender Oil for Health

As we continue to grow and extend our farm, I am really digging into the uses and background of everything we grow.  Lately in the “lab”, I have been experimenting with Lavender Oil in sprays and salves.   The essential oil that is distilled from many of the different lavender varieties is most commonly know for its relaxing and calming effects on the body, both physically and Healing with Lavenderemotionally.  It is also highly known for its skin uses, and can be used to cleanse cuts and scrapes, reduce irritations and can be applied for overall skin health.  Here are 10 ways to use essential lavender oil in your day to day life:
  1. Relaxation – take a few drops of lavender oil and rub it on your palms, wrists, feet or anywhere else on the body.  Deeply inhale several times to draw the calming scent.
  2. Sleep Aid – Lavender’s scent is known to aid sleep, and soothe nerves.  Use a Lavender spray that is part oil, part witch hazel and part water to spray linens and pillows to drift off.
  3. Burns – putting a few drops of oil, or a Lavender Calendula salve on a burn will reduce pain and redness and help in the healing process.
  4. Cuts and Scrapes – Lavender oil and salves can provide a soothing, healing effect.
  5. Laundry – spray your freshly washed towels and clothes to make them fresh throughout the day.
  6. Insect bites – Lavender salves can take away the sting and itch for mosquito bites and bee stings.
  7. Chapped/Dry lips – using oil or salves on dry chapped lips will help them deal and add moisture.
  8. Headaches and Migranes – Lavenders aromatic powers can help alleviate a headache.
  9. Acne – oil and salves of lavender can help reduce acne, and the redness of blemishes.
  10. Slow Aging – there is some dispute, but many experts agree that the antioxidants found in Lavender slow the aging process.
Just a few uses for this amazing plant!
Christmas Cactus Propagation

Christmas Cactus Propagation

How to propagate a Christmas Cactus

The Christmas Cactus, aka Schlumbergera, is grown widely and is loved for its beautiful winter blooms.  The plant makes a great holiday gift for friends and family, and propagating this plant can produce beautiful offspring for giving. Propagating Christmas Cactus is easy, and this succulent variety takes readily to new roots.  See the simple instructions below on how to root your Christmas Cactus cuttings.

Rooting Your Christmas Cactus: Step by Step

  1. First off, you will need to take some cuttings from your parent plant.  Simply take some Y-shaped cuttings from any growing tip, and take at least 3 segments.  You can just pinch off your segments.
  2. Although not required, most horticulturists advise letting these cuttings sit for 1-2 days is a cool, shady place to let the ends callous over.  This can protect the end, prevent rotting and also increase propagation success.
  3. While your cuttings are sitting, prepare a home for them that includes a mixture of peat and sand.
  4. After your cuttings have waited their proper time, dip the ends in rooting hormone, and stick your cactus into the medium.  You should push them about 1/2 a segment into the potting soil.
  5. Water them sparsely, and in 2-3 weeks you should see new growth at the tip.
That’s it!  After about six weeks, transplant your cacti into its final home and watch it grow.