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For those of us who love to garden, we are often looking out for new inventions and products to decrease the amount of time we need to maintain our garden while also increasing our enjoyment. 


A couple of weeks ago, I attended the annual Garden Writer’s Conference, which was held in Pasadena, CA.

In addition to informative seminars and tours of beautiful gardens, there was also a tradeshow connected to the conference.

The tradeshow was made up of vendors connected to the garden industry.  Their goods ranged from newly invented tools to make gardening tasks easier, unique garden items as well as the new plant introductions.

Today, I’d like to show you a few of the garden products that I felt would interest you.  
(My next post will involve some of the newest plants on the market.)


Soft-sided garden containers were a prevalent item at the show.  I particularly liked these colorful options offered in small to large sizes by Bloem Living

‘Bloem Bagz’ are made from recycled water bottles and can be used for growing flowers, herbs,  vegetables or whatever type of plant you like.


They even have a raised bed with bamboo supports that begins flat and easily folds out.  I can just picture growing herbs in this container.


Along the same line, Smart Pots, offers larger fabric raised beds that are ideal for creating raised vegetable beds.


Also offered are bags that you can be used to create your own compost bin.  Imagine not having to build a compost bin out of wood?


As you can see, the bags come folded flat.


They then easily unfold to create a portable and inexpensive container.

According to their literature, Smart Pots have excellent drainage, last for years and decrease the amount of heat retained inside the soil during summer.


Before we leave the innovative garden container products, I’d like to show you ‘Ups-A-Daisy’.  

These are planter inserts that fit inside of containers, decreasing the amount of expensive planting soil that goes into pots.


I really enjoyed myself in this booth with its rainbow-colored products.

The Dramm display was largely dedicated to devices for watering plants.  

From long and short watering wands in any color you could imagine to innovative hose-end spray nozzles that have a multitude of settings from watering plants, washing your car or even your dog.


There was even a chocolate colored spray wand, which lent a somewhat elegant look to a garden tool.


The folks from Greenview Fertilizer had a variety of organic fertilizers.  

For Southwest gardeners, the citrus, palm, rose and all-purpose plant food would be a welcome addition to the garden.

I was given samples of the citrus fertilizer, which I can’t wait to use for my lemon and orange trees.


Stretch Tie is an expandable plant tie.  This innovative tie expands and moves with plants as they grow, instead of girdling them as inflexible ties can do.

You can use these plant ties for houseplants, tomatoes, trees, and vines.  I will be giving some to my mother for helping her train her gourd vines.


Another garden tie product that I found interesting was Garden Connects.  I met the woman who invented them and it was easy to see how these silicon connectors could be used to canes and small stakes such as those used to create teepees  for vegetable vines to crawl up on.


While the sight of a rack filled with many different varieties of flower and vegetable seeds may not look out of the ordinary…


One that has seeds free for the picking isn’t something you see every day.

Not surprisingly, this was a popular display – not just because the seeds were free, but because the types of seeds offered.  Many new or hard to find varieties of seeds were offered through Renee’s Garden Seed Company.

I can’t wait to grow the white, pink and pale yellow California poppies seeds that I got as well as some new varieties of nasturtium and poppy flowers.

Botanical Interests and Irish Eyes Seed companies also had impressive seed displays, several of which, made their way into my suitcase for the trip home. 

I hope that you are intrigued by many of these garden products as much as I am.

Next time, I will share with you some of the new plant introductions that were on display and my attempt to bring many home in my suitcase 🙂

**If you haven’t had a chance yet, I invite you to enter the giveaway for a great gardening book called “Getting Potted in the Desert”.  The drawing is this coming Monday!

What comes to mind when you think of wildflowers?  Maybe beautiful splashes of colorful flowers throughout the desert?  Well, how about growing them yourself instead of driving somewhere to view wildflowers in the spring?  Wildflowers are easy to grow and you have the added benefit of being able to view their beautiful blooms outside your window throughout the spring.  Butterflies and hummingbirds will be drawn to your wildflower garden as well.


Wildflower demonstration garden on a golf course
The wildflower garden above was planted by me about 9 years ago on a golf course.  It was one of three demonstration gardens that I designed.  My goal was to inspire people to grow wildflowers at home.  I planted Red Flax and Arroyo Lupine which are blooming in the photo above.  California Bluebells as well as California Poppies were also planted, but had not bloomed yet.  


Brittlebush is blooming in the background.  (I learned from this experience, that wildflowers should be thinned once they germinate, obviously I did not do that – one of many gardening mistakes that I have learned from over the years).


One of my favorite wildflower combinations are California Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) along with California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica or mexicana) and Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata).  


I also like this combination – Arroyo Lupine (Lupinus succulentus) with California Poppies and Red Flax (Linum grandiflorum ‘Rubrum’).  The possibilities are absolutely endless….

Scarlet Flax

The ideal time to sow most types of wildflower seed is October through December, so it is time to plan your wildflower garden now.  The Desert Botanical Garden has excellent information on how to grow wildflowers which can be found at Desert Botanical Garden Growing Wildflowers.


*The source that I have used for wildflower seed is a small company called Wild Seed.  They can be reached at 602-276-3536.  They will mail you a catalog of the wildflower seed that they have available.