New Garden Products for 2011 – Part One
November 27th, 2010
By experiencing the extravaganza first-hand and seeing what all the buzz was about, I got a real workout. With thousands of other attendees, I navigated the aisles and aisles of new garden products, tools, furniture, accessories and even plants. I managed to see it all over the course of three days – and here are my picks for the best new ideas that gardeners will see in 2011.
You’ll likely discover these goods on the shelves of your local indy garden center, nursery or emporium. Follow the links to the web site for each company (some only sell wholesale, but many have store locator tabs).
I’ve previously endorsed and written about the Ethel Glove so I wanted to stop by the booth of this cool Valencia, Calif.-based company to see what was new. The Ethel Work Glove, with an $8 price tag, is at first glance similar to the everyday rubber-dipped knit glove you’ll see at hardware stores and garden centers. But the Ethel staff explained that this glove is made from a durable knit material with a rubber palm, pads and fingertips formed by painting (rather than dipping) the gloves into a polypropylene finish.
Ethel also has a new, slim and fashionable, black knit glove made from a bamboo-derived fine knit (protecting the cuff, back of the hands and fingers). The durable palm and pads are coated with a synthetic leather.
Tub trugs come in a rainbow of colors. I own several of these excellent plastic garden carriers with handles. They’re great for hauling anything around the garden and useful for pruning, dead-heading and weeding projects.
The designed-in-the-UK and made-in-Spain tubs will soon be available in 10 new colors. There are also a few fun new products, including a color-coordinating push broom ($29.99 retail) and two sizes of trugs made from recycled tires. To me, these look like a riff on the Southern tire planters – they even smell like old Goodyears! Thicker and a little less refined than the sleek, Pantone palette-trugs, the black rubber ones will be available in January for $9.99-$12.99.
For those of you who already own a medium or large trug, look for the January release of Tub Truck, a rolling carrier ($37.99). You can pop the bucket onto the frame and take it with you to a plant sale or farmer’s market. The handle has hooks for hanging additional bags. It’s a fun cart to pull behind you and a brilliant solution for gardeners.
“Firelites” or fire bowls are all the rage. As Martyn Fernambucq of Napa Home & Garden puts it: “Fire is such a hot commodity right now.”
I first noticed this new product category when an editor at Better Homes & Gardens sent me a photo of a small ceramic lantern with a flame (not a wick, mind you, but a 2-inch diameter flame that was flickering 2-3 inches above the round opening in the lantern). That’s when I went online to learn more and discovered that the lanterns are fueled by a long-burning smoke- and odor-free gel.
Like many things that bubble up to one’s consciousness and elbow their way onto one’s radar, it’s not really a surprise that the very next day I went to an al fresco dinner party for a friend where the hosts’ boathouse was illuminated by these flaming lanterns. Clearly they are decorative. The flame can’t be blown out by a gust of wind (as would be the case with a candle).
I’m all about orbs, spheres, globes, and balls as sophisticated garden ornamentation. My favorite piece of sculpture features a filigree-style wire mesh ball with a random “scribble” pattern. It was designed by artist Jennifer Gilbert Asher of TerraSculpture and fabricated by Mario Lopez in his Los Angeles metal shop.
If you like this custom-designed and fabricated look, you might like the black wire orbs that are slightly reminiscent of Jennifer’s designs. I spotted them in Achla Designs booth. Nice design in small (6-inch), medium (12-inch) and large (18-inch) sizes.
Outdoor textiles are more interesting than ever, moving way beyond awning striped polyester choices.
So of course, the Liora Manne booth lured me in and I was eager to learn more about the gorgeous, patterned pillows made with a felting-like process.
The Lamontage pillows are made of 100% antimicrobial polyester microfiber for indoor/outdoor use. They measure 20-by-20 inches or 12-by-20 inches with removable, hand-washable covers. The collection includes place mats and outdoor rugs, as well.
According to the Liora Manne web site, Lamontage is a technique “in which acrylic fibers are intricately structured by hand and then mechanically interlocked by needle-punching to create a nonwoven textile. Lamontage is based on the idea of versatility; breaking the boundaries of traditional textiles and creating a unique textile with unlimited possibilities.”
Cool garden product “finds,” continued . . .
Campania International is a major force in garden pottery and containers, so I urge you to check out the web site where you can find the full catalog of offerings (including fountains and figures).
I found these concrete faux bois pots totally enchanting. Can’t you just see some Irish moss or a miniature fern spilling from the opening?
European-style illuminated pots are also making their way to the U.S. While perhaps more modern in styling than some patios and decks can handle, I can’t get enough of these saucy shapes and pop-art colors. Several manufacturers are offering the over-sized plastic flowerpots that light up, so you get a plant container and a light fixture in one. I also spotted over-sized, illuminated stars. They would look pretty swell in the garden.
Here are the links to three different illuminated pot vendors:
Cogea Designs (pictured here)
My friend and colleague Robin Avni and I were at IGC to co-present insights on “The Female Gardener.” It was a treat to be in Chicago with Robin and we enjoyed walking the aisles together as we scouted new products.
One new introduction that caught our attention was The Seed Keeper. Created by Carol Niec andKerrie Rosenthal, two avid home gardeners, this simple but useful seed-organizing system is filling a void in the marketplace.
The Seed Keeper is a durable, water-resistant bin with a clip-locking lid. It allows gardeners to organize, file and protect seed packets, collected seeds and other garden information. Inside, there are A to Z dividers filled with useful garden tips, information, inspiration and recipes. There is also a Seed Keeper Deluxe, which features an array of tools needed to gather and store seeds from one’s garden.
The retail price points are $29.99-$39.99 and I bet Seed Keeper will be a popular holiday or Mother’s Day gift! Check out the Seed Keeper Store where you can order all kinds of supplies for backyard seed harvesting.
If you are inclined to grow plants from seeds you’ve collected yourself, you might also be a backyard poultry farmer.
And if you’re in the market for a small chicken coop, here’s a nifty one we spotted. Creative Coops is a Grass Valley, Calif.-based cottage industry that makes small, sustainable coops for any size flock, including “urban” hens.
Creative Coops offers a variety of different-sized hen houses and pens with wheels. The modular design enables you to expand your backyard poultry world as your needs grow. We met Mark Hall, the owner and creator, and watched one of his videos that illustrate the system.
The coop pictured is a “starter house” on a pedestal. “This is where chickens go to roost at night and lay eggs in the nest.” This design fits easily in a fenced chicken yard and will accommodate up to 3 chickens who will produce up to 20 eggs a week.
The Food Map container is a modern-styled growing system for small-space edible gardens. Featured earlier this year in the Los Angeles Times and several other top publications, this veggie-garden growing system showed up at IGC.
The planting system features a contoured container base that allows water to drain quickly and evenly and keeps plants from being damaged by sitting water. The central reservoir captures a small amount of water to keep soil moist longer.
Designed on wheels, the Food Map Container can be moved as weather and sunlight conditions change.
The “tub” measures 15-1/4-inches by 33-inches; the planting depth is 12-14 inches. And it comes in two heights – 23 inches or 30 inches.
Designed and manufactured in Los Angeles from 100% post-consumer recycled food-grade material (from curb-sized recycled milk jugs), the system is excellent for residential patios, decks and terraces. It also appeals to senior and assisted living environments and is great for children. Wonderful concept!
My product list is still pretty long, so I promise to have more great picks in my next post . . .