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By Lyra Solochek from Times staff and wire reports
Spend precious time and limited natural resources watering the most important plants in the garden: old trees, large shrubs, evergreens and screening plants.
Infrequent, deep watering is the most effective. Soaker hoses are the most efficient but need to be left on for several hours to deeply soak the soil.
Handling hands with care
Gardening just became easier on the hands. Fiskars Softtouch Cultivating Tools are made of high-strength cast aluminum alloy that won't rust, bend or break. The lightweight tools -- trowel, transplanter and cultivator -- come with large cushioned grips that help make work in the garden more comfortable.
The tools are $4.99 each with a lifetime warranty and are available at garden centers.
Horticulture magazine's site is the online version of this information-packed monthly. The site has links to such topics as garden design, houseplants, ponds and garden problems. Sign up for the free newsletter while you're there.
Decorating your garden
From The Well-Decorated Garden: 50 Ornaments & Accents to Make for Your Outdoor Room, by Laura Dover Doran (Lark Books, $14.95):
"Gardens are as unique as the people who tend them, and most gardeners share a desire to create an outdoor space that is an extension of the home, a place to work and relax. Just as every gardener has different ideas of what plants to grow, notions of what should adorn the garden space vary widely. . . . Whatever your style, if you have taken the time to create a garden, you probably already know the enjoyment of finding the perfect garden ornament. Browse through these pages and see how easy it is to experience the satisfaction of making one yourself. . . .
"GARDEN GLOVE PLANTERS: Fabric stiffener transforms ordinary cotton garden gloves into colorful waterproof containers. They make functional planters, adorable posy holders or simple decorative elements for both home and garden.
"CEMENT GARDEN CONTAINERS: Mixing cement with readily available materials -- sand, peat moss, vermiculite and bark -- and shaping the mixture into garden containers is a simple technique that yields wonderful results. These materials provide a rough, earthy appearance and encourage moss to grow, giving the pieces a wonderfully ancient look.
"PAINTED GOURD BIRDHOUSES: Attract feathered guests to your garden by hanging these delightful painted gourds. Either find simple floral designs (in garden books and magazines) and transfer them to the gourds or freehand your own favorite flowers."
-- Compiled by Lyra Solochek from Times staff and wire reports
-- If you have any unusual gardening tips you would like to share, please send them to Lyra Solochek, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731-1121 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and a daytime phone number.
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From the wire