February 11, 2012

To attract a gardener, grab a rake

I must have garden water features on my mind. After attending this weekend's Wisconsin Garden Expo, I came home to download my photos and a definite theme became apparent:




That last one even had koi fish in it.


The hubby spent a lot of time looking at ponds and fish tanks, so I'm thinking a water feature is definitely in our future. But one of these smaller ones might be more our speed.




But there were other highlights, too. We also took in the sights and smells of spring bloomers...


Giant Coleus plants with leaves the size of my hand...


Decorative garden leaf impressions...



And some pretty hanging vases...


But the funniest thing happened when we were just about to leave. We ran into a friend holding a high-quality rake, which spurred a discussion about the great prices on rakes. We ended up buying two rakes, ourselves, and then at least four or five people stopped to talk to us and ask about our rakes. "Why did you buy them?" they asked, or "What's with the rakes?" The hubby called them "chick magnets." But the truth is, guys were asking about them, too. Seems all you have to do to attract gardeners at a garden expo is hold a rake!

43 comments:

  1. I love water features! That is funny about the rakes though :)

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    1. Me, too! I'm not sure I'm ready for the commitment, though, so we'll have to start small. I think I underestimated the power of a rake, for sure! ;-)

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  2. If I ever move my next water feature may be one of those cute little ones...I even have a fountain in my office...now see I was hoping of a picture f the rake...I think the any gardening tool attracts gardeners and the bigger the better :)

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    1. I was going to post a picture of the rake, but it just didn't work out. We go through so many rakes. I hope these hold up better. So true about gardening tools. :)

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  3. Thank you for posting and sharing your garden expo pictures!! Water feature? What a great idea I thought years ago. Dug a hole, three feet deep and installed a small pond with liner and fountain. Purchased floating water lilies, nice gold fish and enjoyed the view of my pond from the deck.
    The local raccoon family arrived shortly after.
    I have no plants or fish in the pond anymore.
    Every year raccoon's trampled over my plants around the pond, washed their feet, went swimming and toppled the fountain.
    Now I am considering to cover the pond and install a large ceramic pot as seen in your pictures.
    - Cheers Gisela.

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    1. Sure thing, Gisela! I'm so glad you shared your experience! You're keeping it real for me--if we start a water feature it will be small. A large ceramic pot sounds like a great plan!

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  4. Water sounds are so relaxing. Even the small one have benefits. Holding rakes really works - I draw all my neighbors over whenever I'm out front wanting to get something done - just another benefit of gardening - friends are flowers too.

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    1. Yes, I love the sound of water flowing. Our neighbors have a fountain, and it sounds so peaceful on a calm summer day! Too funny about your neighbors and the rakes! Yes, friends are the best flowers of all! :)

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  5. I only wish our neighbors still used their rakes. It has been in recent memory that neighbors on both sides of our street were out at the same time in the fall; raking, taking breaks to comment on the weather, the leaves, recent neighborhood developments, helping each other finish up. Unfortunately almost everyone else on my block now has a noisy, smelly leafblower they operate while wearing noise-blocking headgear. Hurray for rakes! Down with leaf blowing!

    Lee

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    1. Yes, the leafblowers can be noisy. I have to admit we used ours a bit this year, too. I raked some of the leaves, but with an Oak forest for a backyard, the leafblower helped me to finish off the job. It's an electric one so it doesn't smell too bad, but it is noisy. I actually like the zen of raking, though. :)

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  6. How fun to go to a garden expo! Those are some beautiful water features. I love water features and have been trying for ages to figure out how one could fit into our garden without too much maintenance or expense.

    Leaf-blowing is the one garden chore my husband insists on doing (he enjoys it), so the main rake that I use is actually my kids' little rake, which is great at getting leaves out from between plants!

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    1. Yeah, it was kinda fun. Kinda crowded though, too. Smelling the flowering plants was good therapy. And it was nice to walk away with nice rakes to replace our broken ones. One of the rakes we bought is a small one that fits between plants. I can't wait to try it out!

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  7. I'd definitely recommend a water feature. We have a small fountain off our patio and the sound of water is soooo relaxing after a long day at work. I really appreciate your pictures as I wasn't able to make the show this year. It's always interesting. I know what you mean about the rakes. Have never been able to figure it out either

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    1. That fountain does sound relaxing! I'm imagining it now, with a tall glass of iced tea... Too bad you couldn't make it to the show. Isn't there a Chicago one coming up, too?

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  8. Funny post title. The shows are just starting around here too. There is always something new at them and I look forward to going. I like the leaf impressions and an artist makes them around here too.

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    1. My husband started talking about garden rakes being chick magnets and I knew I had my post title. Yes, I guess every gardener has a unique style and garden art that attracts them. Those leaf impressions definitely made an impression on me.

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    1. Thanks Christine. I wish I could be in your warm climate about now, but the garden show helped a bit with the winter blues. I hope you've had some needed rain?

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  10. I like water features in the garden! We have a small goldfish pond and I love the sound of the trickling water when I'm working outside. Very interesting about the rakes...;)

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    1. It's definitely under consideration. I actually didn't realize it was such a strong desire until I looked at all my photos, and the water showed up in just about every one. :)

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  11. Now I want a water garden AND a rake (I admit that I was already looking at pond liners at the garden center this afternoon... when I was supposed to be shopping for chicken fence components).

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    1. Welcome back, Eliza! Hope you're enjoying your new married life. :) I'll keep you posted on the water feature. A gardener can never have too many rakes!

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  12. Maybe that's where the expression "Rakish good looks" comes from? :D

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    1. Yes, that could be the case! Especially for gardeners, apparently. :)

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  13. yes go for it, a water feature is a must-have for every garden :-)
    but watch out, they are addictive, you start with one and keep adding /laughs/ ...

    Happy water-gardening,
    Evelyn

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Evelyn! We shall see...

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  14. I'm so glad to find another Wisconsin garden blogger! I was also at garden expo. Loved it. Lots of people had the rakes. I saw a few brooms as well. Very good time. I just posted about expo as well. Stop by if you get a chance. We Wisconsin gardeners should stick together!
    the farm wife

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    1. Hi Becky: It was fun, wasn't it?! Gosh, I missed the brooms. I enjoyed your blog! Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Amazing and inspiring! We hope to build a pond one day, and these are very good ideas. Thanks for sharing your photos!

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    1. Certainly! Yes, the water features were pretty nifty. Perhaps unrealistically colorful, but definitely offered some great ideas!

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  16. Oh, so true! Or hoes, or shovels! :) You definitely should get a water feature. Start out small, then build up if you want. Once you have one, you'll think every garden should have one!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Holley! My husband says our garden is perfect for a water feature. To me, it seems like a lot of extra work. But I do like the little ones!

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  17. Great photos. I did not make it to the garden weekend but your photos did give me a tour of this years show. Water features were nice to see, but with the lake out my front door, I think I have enough! jack

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    1. Hey Jack: Yes, you have your own exceptional, unequaled water feature! It was a good show; a little crowded, but fun.

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  18. LOL! I love the water features! I have two ponds (one with a water fall, one with a fountain) in my yard, and I love them!! I was nervous to try them out, I thought it would be too much work. So I started with a 90gal pond, one of those preformed, hard liners. It was really easy to install. I put goldfish and a couple of plants in there and it's my favorite part of the front (I have a livestock tank heater, so everything is overwintered in the pond).

    I loved it so much, we added the larger one with a waterfall a few years later (with goldfish and plants too). With the plants and fish, the ponds practically maintain themselves. We got a smaller fountain type water feature a few years ago, and although I love the sound it makes... it is much more work to maintain (no fish/plants) - cleaning it out because it get clogged, moss grows on it, and we have to treat it for mosquitoes. I can't wait to see what water feature you end up with.

    Amy

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    1. Wow, I didn't realize you had so many water features! I'll have to go back to your blog and search for related posts. I don't remember seeing them on your blog. I'll ask you for advice if we decide to add one.

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    2. Yep, I've written a few posts about them. I have more planned, probably this summer! :-)

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  19. love water features in ponds or pots but the soothing trickles have an unfortunate triggering association which has me seeking 'the washroom' more often. Advice: Sight water features near the house for convenience!! Rakes on the other hand are neutral so a good buy. A most amusing post with tempting illustrations.

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    1. LOL. I can imagine how that would happen. Yes, I agree that a gardener can never have too many rakes!

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  20. What a nice outing in the middle of the cold! I have not made it yet to our local conservatory... but I am planning a trip to see Carolyn's shade gardens in April! Very excited.

    Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! It means a lot to me to get to share with another great gardener like yourself. Happy Valentines Day!
    Julie

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    1. Thank you, Julie! I don't think I'm a great gardener, but I sure do enjoy it! I can't wait to see your posts after visiting Carolyn! Someday, I hope to get to her place, too. April is not far off!

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  21. I always think the tricky thing about a water feature is making sure the noise it makes is soothing rather than irritating - some can sound rather unfortunate, but a gentle babble is perfect. Happy planning - and enjoy your rakes...

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    1. Definitely agree. It has to be subtle--the sound, the design, the plant selection, and everything. I would want mine to look as natural as possible. Thanks!

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