Saturday, May 29, 2010

Garden boots of the rich (?) and famous

So, you've been gardening for a while. You've got your favorite shovel, found a dandy garden center, and settled the glove-or-not-to glove issue.

Had it with your soggy sneakers?

Time to get some real garden shoes.

Here's the scoop from garden writers who are famous for their garden boots.

Their signature footwear.

As the saying goes, by their boots ye shall know them.

*First up is Billy Goodnick, landscape architect, contributor to Fine Gardening magazine, author of the Garden Wise Guy blog, and former landscape architect for the City of Santa Barbara.

"Since I left the 8-5 sludge behind a year ago, I pretty much live in my Crocs. They really CAN go anywhere: Got the solid black for state dinners, khaki when I disappear from the paparazzi, 6” heel-snake-print-platform-sandal-Jimmy-Choo knock-offs for garden openings, and my steel-toed orange Doc Martins for manly activities. My shoes love me as much as I love them. Look how they flock around when daddy comes home!"

*Angela Davis has flowers, vegetables and Silkie chickens in her garden near Seattle. She's so obsessed with garden footwear that she named her blog Gardening in My Rubber Boots. Angela likes classic Wellington boots (a.k.a. Wellies) and her favorites are the Hunter brand worn by Queen Elizabeth.

"I have two pairs of black rubber boots. I wear my Hunter boots to plant sales, garden shows, Little League games, the grocery store, etc. Then I have my "stunt double" basic black rubber boots that get all the hard jobs around the house. When my Hunters are no longer new, I'm sure I'll start using them for the harder jobs too.”

*Shawna Coronado is all about getting green and getting happy. Author of the hit book Gardening Nude, she's everywhere, communicating her message of how to heal yourself and heal the world. Find out more about this dynamo at her site The Casual Gardener.

“Due to a tight budget, I was unable to buy garden boots. I used my old tennis shoes when working in the mucky areas of my gardens and promised myself if I ever saw a pair of taller boots that were priced right I would get them. Happily, I found a pair for under $25 this season at Target and they look great. Turns out they are a stylish and inexpensive solution to keeping your ankles and pants clean when gardening and I love them with a passion!”

*Dianne Benson is the style maven of the gardening world. A former fashion designer and retailer, she famously turned to gardening and wrote the classic book Dirt: The Lowdown on Growing a Garden with Style. Dianne has created stunning gardens in the Hamptons and recently opened an online store offering her top picks of garden tools and accessories. Find them all at The Best@DianneB. and read her blog Dirtier. She's wearing some boots from her shop:

“These boots are as good in town as they are in the garden...they are not heavy...they are not ugly and they have that fabulous see-through heel that is not too flat. I, personally, cannot make mad dashes around the garden in Wellies -- they make me trip over my own feet."

"A tasty and young garden writer from The Wall Street Journal, Anne Marie Chaker, recently introduced me to the Chasseur boot from Le Chameau -- they are as sturdy as but much sleeker than could be because they're French or it could be because they're $400...either way they are very chic in a more rugged way; but still not as quirky as the Panther Boots from Dianne B. via Sarazienne in France.”

A close-up of those Dianne B. boots:

Which brings us to our First Gardener. Hmm. Those Converse sneakers are not good for more than one hour in the garden.

Ma'am, with the greatest respect--don't you think, as a role model for gardeners all over the world, you need to kick it up a notch in the footwear department?

Lots of great choices for you here. I look forward to seeing some serious garden boots in the White House garden soon!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The future of upside-down gardening

Topsy Turvy in action. Photo: Topsy Turvy.

As The New York Times points out, the Topsy Turvy tomato planter is a hot ticket in the big-box stores. Thousands of American houses will be festooned with dirt-filled plastic cylinders and dangling tomatoes this summer.

Tomatoes are the number one crop in U.S. gardens, and more power to anyone who makes them easier to grow.

But as I always say, "The best way to earn money in the garden is to invent a gadget for growing tomatoes."

I'm not convinced by this upside-downing yet. For one thing, that fast-draining soil would need to be watered twice a day in my hot climate.

The upside-down gardening fans are full of zeal. What if they decide other plants could benefit from this growing technique? I fear for American gardens.

Come spring we could see:

And who knows if dedicated fans will seek their own health benefits with:

How about you? Will your tomatoes be doing a headstand this summer?

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