Lined Goatskin Gloves Keep Hands Warm For Winter Gardening

Forester-Glove-by-Fields-and-Lane.jpgUs pro gardeners are pretty tough. Even so, every year I’m surprised at just how cold winter is. When you go out at 9 am to get a spot of pruning in, and find your breath catching in the cold, you start to appreciate all the little design elements in tools that keep you warm and happy while working outside. So I was very excited to get to test out a pair of Fields and Lane Forester gloves, just in time for rose pruning season. They’re made of soft, flexible goat leather and even have a deliciously fleecy lining on the bottom of the glove to keep your hands cozy and warm. While I usually choose very thin gloves so I can have the best tactile sensation, an infected rose thorn in my knuckle last year made me re-think my safety strategy when pruning roses. Did you know that infected rose thorns can cause a number of nasty diseases? Neither did I, until a hard nodule formed on my knuckle and gave me reason to research the issue. I’m fine, but suffice to say, when you have a scare like that, you realize that taking a few small safety precautions is a small price to pay for good health. When I began looking into some thicker gloves for the coming pruning season, my glove gurus kept mentioning goat leather. It’s buttery-soft, doesn’t crack and get stiff with exposure to mud and water, and conforms to your hands in much the same way as a beloved pair of jeans or boots. They’re the type of gloves where once you break them in, you never want to take them off. (One of my local safety supply distributors even told me that the ladies he works with swear by goatskin to keep their hands soft, since there’s something in the leather that keeps skin supple and happy.) So with rose pruning season coming, I’ve been checking out goatskin gloves to see which is the best. There is definitely a wide range of styles and levels of quality in goatskin gloves. One brand I tested had thick leather that felt like it would need a LOT of wearing to break them in. I’m kind of impatient, so wasn’t really down with that. Another had thinner leather, but had such thick seams that they chafed my fingers and felt like a chore to wear. The Fields and Lane Forester glove has just the right balance – thin leather that’s still tough enough to withstand most rose thorns, flat seams which don’t feel like they’re in my way when gripping or pruning, and that luxurious fleecy lining which makes me feel a little sad to take them off after pruning. The leather is super-soft and provides enough tactile sensation to grip stems accurately and prune with ease. There’s even a little line of stretchy fabric just behind the knuckle that allows the glove to flex easily when you grip. For me, that line falls just behind the spot where I most need thorn protection, so it keeps my knuckles safe while still allowing good movement. My only complaint about the glove is that the thumb seems kind of long and baggy. All of my other fingers fit well inside the medium (I usually take a small, but their measurement chart said for me to try a medium), but the thumb has an extra half inch of space at the tip and feels loose. However, when I took the gloves outside and did some pruning, I noticed that I grip with a part of the thumb where the leather was fitted, so it didn’t turn out to be a problem after all. If you’re on the fence about whether to pick up a pair of these gloves for your winter pruning, Fields and Lane is a company you can definitely be proud to support. Wave Gardening GlovesTheir daughter Bonnie had cerebral palsy, which inspired them on their mission to help people with special needs. They donate money and volunteer their time to help people with special needs in the US and around the world, and it’s obviously a value they hold deeply. They also donated a huge number of gloves in the wake of 9/11 and the Haiti earthquake to help people during the cleanup efforts.

Want to try the gloves out for yourself? Fields and Lane has offered up a cool prize package of TWO pair of gloves – one pair of the Forester (shown at top) and one pair of the Wave (shown just above). You can keep one for yourself and give one away as a gift!

EDIT: The giveaway has ended and Emily is the winner. Congrats, Emily!

There are two ways to enter:

First, simply leave a comment on this page. Second, head on over to their Facebook page and sign up for the Fields and Lane newsletter. Then come back here and comment again for an additional entry!
I’ll choose a commenter at random on December 7th, 2011 at noon Pacific time. US only. Good luck! Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post; product and compensation were provided. However, all opinions are my own.

Drift Roses, the Dwarf Knockout Relative

Icy-Drift-Peach-Drift-Red-Drift-Roses.jpg

As an organic landscaper, I’ve long been annoyed by those weakling, disease-prone roses that are pesticide junkies from day one. Yet when roses are done right, the colors, fragrance, and luxuriant flowers are hard to resist. They have that old-fashioned, secret garden-type appeal that makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside.

That’s why I’ve been such a fan of the newer landscape roses like Knockouts, which need nearly no care, can be pruned by inexperienced hands with decent results, and don’t need spraying. I’ve even had luck with them in tough, windy conditions and poor soils, if they’re given regular irrigation. But sometimes you don’t have room for a bountiful 5′ behemoth in your garden beds, and just want a little color and fragrance tumbling along a border or spilling over the sides of a pot.

That’s where these new Drift Roses fit in. They’re about a third the size of Knockouts and come in a similarly cheerful array of colors. They have a light, pleasing fragrance and are easy do-ers even for beginning gardeners, so long as you give them good sunshine and summer water to get them well-established. You don’t even need to deadhead them much, as they’re self-cleaning – the petals drop off the rose once they’re finished, so you can clean up the deadheads at your leisure to encourage re-bloom, rather than rushing out to deal with a mess of guilt-inducing brown petals.

Since they’re relatively new, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test them out, but I’m already inspired by the glossy deep green foliage and attractive form.

Disease-Resistant Roses for Damp Coastal Climates

It’s bare-root season, guys, and the roses are cheap and plentiful! I’ve written before about how to select a bare-root rose and about some disease-resistant rose varieties for the coastal Pacific Northwest. I wanted to follow up with some additional suggestions that our local rose expert, Cynthia Graebner of Fickle Hill Old Rose Nursery, left in the comments of one of those posts. She suggested these varieties, many of which I had never heard of, as being both gorgeous and disease-resistant in our cool coastal climate: [Read more...]

Rosy Resolutions for the New Year

Yellowrose.jpgI’m honored and pleased to be able to share with you the writing of my favorite garden humorist, Dr Leda Horticulture. Regan Nursery, the finest place to buy bare root roses online, and a gorgeous full-service garden center serving the San Francisco Bay Area, has given us permission to reprint Dr Leda’s articles from their rose nursery newsletter. If you have never read her writing, you are in for a treat!

Dr Leda Horticulture’s Ten Rosy Resolutions for the New Year

1. My internal clock tends to run fast (which explains why I’m writing New Year’s Resolutions in November). Every winter, I grow restless and try to jump-start spring. Inevitably, I develop a violent and irresistible urge to prune roses on New Year’s Day, but the recommended date here in Louisiana isn’t until mid-February (and the recommended pruning date wherever you live is whenever your forsythia comes into bloom). Last year I jumped the gun, and a disastrous late freeze turned all my tender new growth into slimy black mush. The protective foliar cuticles ruptured, leaving even resistant roses vulnerable to disease. This year I will be patient and NOT prune too early. Better a tardy spring flush than sick whiny roses. 2. One day towards the end of pruning season last year, I was browsing in a book store when I noticed a stranger staring at me intently. He was holding a book titled Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain. The skin on my arms was crisscrossed with the jagged scratches and slashes that only a vicious ‘Mermaid’ can deliver. “Oh, ha-ha!” I said cheerily. “It’s not what you think.” The man just shook his head morbidly and turned away. This year I am actually going to wear my gloves when I prune. Sturdy opera length gloves, with thick leather palms and canvas gauntlets. Maybe even a welding mask. [Read more...]

Dr Leda Horticulture: Dr. Leda and the Rose Snobs

I’m honored and pleased to be able to share with you the writing of my favorite garden humorist, Dr Leda Horticulture. Regan Nursery, the finest place to buy bare root roses online, and a gorgeous full-service garden center serving the San Francisco Bay Area, has given us permission to reprint Dr Leda’s articles from their rose nursery newsletter. If you have never read her writing, you are in for a treat!

Dr Leda and the Rose Snobs:

I had expected the place to  be big and ostentatious.  I was on the lookout for  a behemoth monster-mansion,  a grandiose estate embellished with impeccably groomed gardens. But what I found was an ordinary, if attractively landscaped house, in an unexceptional suburban neighborhood. I double-checked the address. Indeed, it matched the street number the speaker’s bureau had given me. I shrugged and parked the car. I had been invited to speak to the local Association of Rose Snobs, and this unlikely abode appeared to be the location for their July meeting. I rang the doorbell and waited. I braced myself, prepared to face some kind of high-society dragon lady, a diamond-dripping, mink-clad hybrid of the Margarets Dumont and Hamilton. But the hostess who greeted me was a pleasant, soft-spoken woman wearing faded jeans and a t-shirt. “You must be Dr. Leda!” she exclaimed with a warm smile. “I’m Marjorie. Please come in. We’re so delighted you could join us today.” I stepped cautiously over the threshold, scanning the floor for banana peels and booby traps. Hey, I’d been in the seventh grade; I knew better than to trust a room full of snobs. [Read more...]

Disease-Resistant Roses for the Pacific Northwest

As a professional gardener, my philosophy leans more towards making organic and sustainable choices in the garden, not only because I’m afraid of what long-term repeated exposure could do to my health, but also because I have the power to help so many people make better choices for their gardens. The organic philosophy can be difficult to keep up, however, in the face of over-bred plants like many Hybrid Tea roses. Don’t get me wrong, I love roses! But so many have been bred aggressively for just the blooms, and often breeders of Hybrid Tea roses have ignored factors such as sturdiness and disease-resistance. If you’d like to grow roses organically in the often-damp climate of the coastal Pacific Northwest, here are some varieties which are resistant to disease in moist/ humid climates: Cut-flower roses to bring indoors: Who doesn’t love a bouquet of fresh roses? Most disease-resistant varieties make poor cut flowers, but I’ve tried a number of roses in my clients’ gardens here in the damp Redwoods of Northern California, and these cut-flower roses do great here. [Read more...]

How to Treat Rose and Flower Pests Naturally: Organic Control of Black Spot/ Powdery Mildew, Aphids, and Caterpillars

If you’ve tried to prevent rose problems with the tips in this article, but still ended up with some pests (it happens!), here are the methods I recommend to get rid of pests on roses the organic way. (Obviously, before spraying anything, read the instructions on the bottle and be sure to suit up appropriately – organic choices are usually safer, but that doesn’t mean you want to get it on your skin or eyes.) [Read more...]

How to Treat Rose and Flower Pests Naturally: Prevention

The introduction to this series is here. Preventing pests with good gardening habits is the first step towards having healthy roses and flowers. Healthy plants are a lot less likely to get diseases, while sickly plants become overrun by problems very quickly. Not only that, attending to the basics of a healthy garden will get you better blooms, prettier foliage, and less maintenance overall. [Read more...]

Welcome to the Institute of Rude Awakenings by Dr Leda Horticulture

I’m honored and pleased to be able to share with you the writing of my favorite garden humorist, Dr Leda Horticulture. Regan Nursery, the finest place to buy bare root roses online, and a gorgeous full-service garden center serving the San Francisco Bay Area, has given us permission to reprint Dr Leda’s articles from their rose nursery newsletter. If you have never read her writing, you are in for a treat!

Welcome to the Institute of Rude Awakenings by Dr Leda Horticulture

Rose with Spruce and Fortnight Lily My friend Sheila called a few weeks ago. “I need your help,” she said. “My therapist has advised me to take up gardening, as a way to work on my control issues.” Now Sheila, bless her heart (as we southerners say when we’re about to be just the teensiest bit judgmental), has raging control issues. An immaculately groomed corporate executive who sits in her plush office all day barking commands, she’s grown accustomed to having her way. Her perfectly manicured “lawn and order” yard is regularly intimidated into submission by an aggressive mow-blow-&-go crew. Somehow, I just couldn’t picture Sheila on her knees in the dirt, grappling with nature. “That’s interesting,” I said skeptically. “I suppose gardening could be a good way to confront control issues. Sort of like trying to herd cats.” “Cats are out of the question,” said Sheila. “They’re unsanitary and they don’t come in colors that go with my decor. I’ve decided I want roses. If I drop by with some fabric swatches and paint chips, can you make a list of varieties that will be exact matches?” [Read more...]

Dr Leda Horticulture: Match Made in Heaven, or Match Made in Hell? The Darker Side of Companion Plants

I’m honored and pleased to be able to share with you the writing of my favorite garden humorist, Dr Leda Horticulture. Regan Nursery, the finest place to buy bare root roses online, and a gorgeous full-service garden center serving the San Francisco Bay Area, has given us permission to reprint Dr Leda’s articles from their rose nursery newsletter. If you have never read her writing, you are in for a treat!

Match Made in Heaven, or Match Made in Hell: The Darker Side of Companion Plants by Dr Leda Horticulture

image
Pink Roses with Bluebonnets
Dear Dr. Leda: How should I select companion plants to grow with my roses? I know they ought to like the same amount of sun and water and fertilizer as the roses. Is there anything else to consider? -A Rose-Lover Dear R-L: Once upon a time, I subscribed to the “Oh, Just Put In Whatever Looks Pretty” school of companion planting. However, having recently undergone some rather disturbing and traumatic experiences involving ill-chosen companion plants, my current position is that they should be selected with extreme caution, if not rabid paranoia. One prudent approach is to imagine that the roses are your 14-year-old daughter, and the companion plants are her escort to the 8th grade prom. Horticulturists refer to this as the “Over My Dead Body Are You Going Out With That Creep” school of c.p. selection. It really isn’t such a bizarre stretch of the imagination, if you think about it. Roses and 14-year-old girls have a lot in common. They’re beautiful and moody, they’re vain and insecure, they’re totally obsessed with their own appearance. They’re as delicate as lace and as tough as anvils; one minute they’re your precious babycakes and the next minute they’ve turned on you like a barracuda, shredding you to ribbons. And of course they’re notoriously vulnerable to a frightening array of problems and predators, and they exercise questionable judgment , if any. [Read more...]

Braving the Thorns Part 2: Pruning Your Dormant Rose

Rose pruning is such a satisfying task – you go from a tangled icky mass with thorns everywhere to a lovely clean set of sturdy stems – yet too many people are intimidated by their roses. There’s no need to be shy! The worst thing you can do is not tackle them at all, since without pruning, the stems become too spindly to hold up roses, and the plant harbors more disease than one that is cleaned up once a year. This quick BBC slideshow gives the basics of pruning roses.

Ready to see those concepts at work?

Check out this charming Rosarian, Muriel Humenick, in action! I agree, Muriel – down with the anvil pruners!

Climbing roses are even simpler than the Hybrid Tea roses in the video:

First take out any dead wood (it’s obvious because it is a crusty dark brown, very different from the live stems with a hint of green to them). [Read more...]