The Clematis Cottage, as it was named, has three large 300- to 400-square-foot flower beds, consisting of a mix of perennial flowers such as irises, peonies, yarrow, and lilies. There are two smaller annual beds, an arbor where Richard grows single-flowered clematis, and a reflecting pool. Near the kitchen is a mix of shrubs and flowers such as azaleas, lilacs, roses and hollyhocks.
If the flower gardens weren't enough to care for, the Clematis Cottage also has a 2,000-square-foot woodland garden and an old apple orchard. In the woodland area Richard has planted 3,000 spring-flowering bulbs. He grows primarily daffodils because the deer, a persistent problem in his area, won't eat them. "We're trying to help native wildflowers move back into the woodland area," says Richard. Solomon's seal, Jacob's ladder, trilliums and broad swaths of various ferns provide interesting foliage and texture under the trees. The apple orchard was planted in the 1930s. "We're slowly replacing trees as they die, trying to plant heirloom varieties that grow well in this area," he says.
Richard also appreciates other high-quality Gardener's Supply tools. "My Felco pruners are the best around. The rubberized Mud Gloves have a soft-backing and are great because they keep your hands dry, but not clammy, plus they're washable," he says. "My only suggestion is that people buy two pairs so they can let one dry while they work with the other," says Richard.
With all this gardening and tool experience, Richard has a list of what every gardener should have for equipment. "Beside the Felco pruner and Mud Gloves, I think the perfect kit for a gardener would include a cultivator, folding hand saw, pruning saw and a sun hat. "It's better to have a few high-quality tools than many tools that don't get the job done well."
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