The transition time between the frigid, wet winter (yes, it gets cold and wet in Southern California too!) and the heat of the summer is, by far, my favorite time of the year. Growing up on the East Coast, spring came in spits and spats with the crocus bulbs blooming through patches of snow and the first robin spotted on the front lawn that looked like it had not seen the sun for months. But once the snow was completely gone and people braved the outdoors wearing only a t-shirt (even though it was still cool outside) you knew that spring had finally arrived in all its glory. One of my fondest memories from childhood was helping my father prepare the garden for planting. My garden gloves were always too big and, by the end the day they were soaking wet. I can still smell the dewy scent of freshly tilled earth ready for seeding.
Now living in Southern California where small backyards are the standard and space for planting is at a premium, I still try to carry on this spring tradition with my own children. There are some great products and helpful websites available for anyone with or without space, with or without a natural green thumb to start planting!
|Bloembox Veggie Garden||BloemBox - These boxes make beautiful gifts to someone who loves to garden (Mother's Day?). They are really two gifts in one. The handwrapped paper boxes are adorned with a hand made silk flower or veggie that are made to look like the real thing and can be kept as a beautiful keepsake. Inside the boxes are either bulbs or seeds that are entwined in biodegradable tissue paper for easy planting. Buy them at Bloembox.com.|
|Eco Plant Pals||Eco Plant Pals - Perfect kits for little gardeners. Each kit comes with everything you need in a corn based plastic container that is biodegradable and renewable. They come with their own card that teaches kids, in a fun way, the origin and personality of each plant. Comes in 18 different varieties of plant seeds. Buy them at DuneCraft for $2.99 each.|
|Herbal Tea Garden Kit||
Herbal Tea Garden Set - All the herbs you need to make your own herbal tea. Perfect for indoors or outside in a window box or deck planter. Comes with growing information and tea infusion directions. Buy at Bambeco for $15.00.
|Blooming Bulb Hummingbird & Butterfly Mix||Hummingbird and Butterfly Mix - Who does not want to attract more hummingbirds and butterflies to their garden? This bulk seed package takes the guess work on what to buy. Buy from BloomingBulbs.|
|Raised Garden Kit||Two Tiered Resin Raised Garden Kit - This garden box is made of endurable resin for a maintenance free garden box. The tiered design allows for more growing options in a smaller space. Perfect for a combination veggie and herb garden. But at GetOrganized.com for $144.98.|
|Nitrile Garden Gloves||Garden Gloves - Having Bougainvillea in the garden, I know a good pair of gloves is a must-have with all the thorns. These Atlas Nitrile Garden Gloves have a coating similar to super glue. They are comfortable, durable and machine washable. Plus they come in vibrant colors like apple green, purple, pink and sky blue. Buy on Amazon for around $3.85.|
|Angelika Traylor Garden Stakes||Stained Glass Garden Stakes - Bring a little fun & support to your garden! These great garden stakes can add extra color and personality to your garden. Buy from the artist (contact Angelika Traylor here) or from this online retailer.|
|Microwave Flower Press||Microwave Flower Press - After your garden start to bloom, use some of your flowers to make your own birthday or thank you cards by using this flower press. This microwavable flower press takes only minutes to dry the flowers and far more effective than pressing flowers in wax paper underneath heavy books. Buy at Lee Valley for $29.50 or large for $44.50.|
|Maine Garden Baskets||Maine Garden Baskets - Bring your harvest into the kitchen with this beautiful and sturdy basket. Made of wood and vinyl-coated steel-mesh, these baskets are attractive enough to leave on your kitchen counter proudly displaying your bounty. Buy from Lee Valley for $38.50 for the medium size and $46.50 for large.|
|The Cooks Garden Seeds||The Cook's Garden - Not only is this a great website to answer all your questions about gardening in your region, but it will also tell you how and where to grow the different plans and it has a lovely selection of recipes. They also sell seeds that are certified organic, for indoor gardening and an unlimited variety of flower and vegetable seeds. It is the perfect website that brings the gardener to the kitchen and the cook to the garden. Check out their website at CooksGarden.com.|
|Bird Feeders||Birdfeeders - Once you have attracted all those birds to your garden this website is invaluable. Learn about birds in your area and how to choose the right bird feeder. Check out their website at birdfeeders.com.|