margaret recommends

products 1CAN YOU RECOMMEND a (fill in the blank), Margaret? It’s the most common question I am asked, with the blank usually being a tool for a specific job; a field guide (since I am well-known for being nuts for them); or of course a favorite plant or seed source. Welcome, then, to Margaret Recommends, a jumping-off point for some of my answers on all that.

my most-offered suggestions

AT THE RISK of repeating myself, the things I recommend over and again to other gardeners, and rely on in my own garden and home year after year, include:

Disclosure: Some products on those pages go to Amazon affiliate links from which I earn a commission. Some are from friends I shop from myself who are also occasional website sponsors. Others just go to places I shop, period, with no business relationship involved.

products 2

  1. Mary Malpezzi says:

    Is there any thing/book/site you would recommend for starting over with my back yard. I started reading Nature’s Best Hope last night and with the wildfires, it came to mind that instead of redoing my back yard the way it was (restarting because my dogs have demolished it) that I should go towards a drought-tolerant, pollinator “theme”. I want to do this right from the start and would appreciate having some thing that helps me think through the hows/whats before I start.

    I am limited in planting non-poisonous shrubs/plants since our labradane eats almost everything in sight. I will check with our extension office.

    1. marta says:

      See if there’s a Gardening with Native Plants FB page for your area. There’s one in my area (Md) that is a treasure trove of info from gardeners who are dealing with the same climate/soil conditions, They share experiences and suggestions. Sometimes they also share cuttings and seeds.

    2. Christa says:

      I recently heard a podcast on firescaping…. a special design after much study on fires… I can’t remember the podcast place but it was amazing it listed plants, distances to house, and many considerations… it was based on a state where there is a new law on how close to the house you can put plants and grass.

  2. Audrey says:

    Leaves, leaves. We have plenty. Mostly oaks, which don’t seem to break down as well as the maples. To shred, or not to shred. We can see plenty of users for shredded leaves. Minimal lawn, so no mulching mower. Should we invest in a mulching mower anyway? Or a shredder/chipper of some sort? Would love to add the leaves in shredded form to our compost piles. We really only rake the pathways to the house, but that in itself is considerable. What equipment do you recommend?

  3. Margot says:

    I bought the boots you recommended ! They are extra warm and my feet get extra cold. I like to garden in the winter and able to do this because live in the Pacific Northwest and always finding something to do and enjoy in my woodland garden. Thank you very much!

    1. Cheryl Ott says:

      Hi Margaret,

      A tool I did not see above is a long-handled weeder. I recently bought one and was amazed at how well it worked…easy to use, efficient, even fun. A little while back I asked (and you answered…thank you!) a question about using homemade weed killer and you recommended using only mechanical means. So I found a long-handled tool online called “Grandpa’s Weeder” and it had good reviews. However, I found what I thought was even better, a similar weeder by Fiskars but with the added advantage of a pusher to eject the weed. At my first weeding attempt with it I got probably 30 weeds removed in 10 minutes.

      Best tool I’ve ever had. I hope you try it and share with your fans. Thanks for all you do!

  4. Ann Williams says:

    I have successfully propagated by air-layering: make a scrape along the stem and then pack moist spaghnum moss around it and wrap it with plastic, taped in place. Roots form in several weeks, and then I cut below the roots and plant the rooted cutting. I’ve done this with rubber trees and scheffleras.

  5. Geri Friedman says:

    Dear Margaret, I’ve bought the boots and snips you recommend, and I love them both. Thanks for the good suggestions.

  6. Christine Johnston says:

    I made terrariums a long time ago and enjoyed it immensely. Thank you for the idea of giving these as gifts to my grandkids. I think the youngest ones would be captivated by the growing and blooming plants, and who wouldn’t welcome some wonderful semi jungle greenery in the dead of winter. Thank you for the podcast Margaret and I can’t wait to put my creativity to work.

  7. Joan says:

    I would like to know what you use to lug your tools around. And do you have a current boot to recommend, since the ones on your gift list are unavailable. they have been for some time.

  8. Carole Ferguson says:

    The lightweight pruners are the best. THE best. I have a pair in front-yard tools and a backyard basket. love these.

  9. Sandra Sink Sykes says:

    Congratulations, Margaret, on winning the Swarthmore College gardening award! They chose the perfect person! I’m very proud of you!

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