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Dig local

There are local suppliers for almost everything you need in your garden

Outdoor horticultural pursuits were still impossible when we went to press, but—looking on the bright side—that means more time to get ready for the hectic gardening times to come. More garden-related shopping is always a good thing.

You will often hear advice to be a locavore in terms of your eating habits—in other words, to try to eat food that is in season and produced where you live, if possible. Contemporary gardening wisdom has similar priorities. We are advised to grow local—to use plants that are native to your particular area. And why not buy local as well? There are local suppliers for almost everything you need in your garden; here are just a few recent discoveries:

Famous blades
Cutco Cutlery, the largest manufacturers of fancy kitchen knives in North America, is located a couple hours south of Buffalo, in Olean, New York. The company has just started to make and sell garden tools, which, like their cutlery, are guaranteed for life. Those of us who routinely break a pair of pruners every season will be overjoyed to have a new, reliable source for this indispensible tool. The Cutco pruner features high-carbon, stainless steel construction, and—like other quality pruners—can be sharpened. So far, only a light pair of pruners is available—fine for plant stems and rose bushes. Cutco also offers a trowel, weeder, and cultivator, all guaranteed for life. Or forever, whichever comes first. Cutco.com.

The wonders of worms
When we were kids, we knew worms were cool, but at some point they became icky for a lot of us. Retrieve that childhood affinity for the squirmy, earthy creatures, because they can help make your garden the best it has every been. A company in nearby Avon, New York, Worm Power has harnessed the benefits of the worm and packaged it for easy use. Basically, these products are worm castings, the product of Worm Power’s large vermicomposting facility. The worms are fed waste from local dairies and process it under controlled conditions, creating mineral nutrients and microbial populations that feed garden soil. The products are attractively packaged in a few different ways—as a shaker, in a bag, in a box—and easy instructions tell you where, when, and how much. Vermicomposting is now very big news in the gardening community, and many gardeners have set up their own home operations. It can be tricky, though, and if you’re not quite at ease with the idea of keeping worms in your house (during the winter, anyway), you may prefer to buy the end product in a pure, locally produced format. Wormpower.net.

Garden in a globe
There will be plenty of days when you can’t garden. You may need to have a beautiful object like Avalon’s Botanical Buffalo water globe. For the past few years, Avalon’s Paul Mogan and his partner Mark Novak have been teaming up with the Floristry to make WNY-themed snow and water globes. This globe is the fourth in the series, which so far has featured the Richardson towers and Buffalo’s City Hall (two versions). The creation of one of the globes is quite a process, as Morgan explains: “There is no ‘app’ for making a snow globe, and for beginners, it’s a precarious learning curve. … The biggest problem we had with the Botanical Gardens, and one that jeopardized the entire project, was trying to get the structure to be as large as possible within the globe itself. One thing that is fascinating to realize is that the actual cast model inside the water globe is far smaller than it appears.”
Regardless of the trials and tribulations of the process, Avalon’s end result is a beautiful keepsake, large enough to command a mantle or a side table. Unlike the spooky Richardson globe, the Botanical Gardens version sparkles with bright color. It’s a great garden-related gift—for yourself, or others.

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