I am neither particularly handy, nor do I have a lot of time. I also love products that are made by small companies, are gorgeous and really work. The M Brace from Art in the Garden fulfills all those criteria. They are not kidding when they say that a set of M Braces allows you to set up almost any size raised bed in a matter of minutes and without any tools, just wood.
The brackets are made of recycled steel and rust quickly to a beautiful patina and come in several patterns. If you don't like the rusty look, they also make a Mini M Bracket, that you can get in power-coated paint, though the designs on the minis are really geared for kids.
The M Braces sell for $139. which is not that expensive if you consider that you are really buying garden art.
I love tube planters. They are minimalist, plants love them and they allow you to garden in places that seem impossible. While mostly used in the landscape industry to plant rockscapes and other inhospitable ground, they are also awesome for the home gardener who wants to experiment with growing plants anywhere.
Made of a black, porous fabric, the tubes are stuffed with a peat-based medium that retains water while allowing for drainage. To plant you make X shaped slits in the fabric and stick your plant in. I found it helpful, after I made the slits, to stick a screwdriver through the X to make a in the medium. I planted my tube with succulents, but there are any number of plants you could use to great effect. I let the tube sit horizontally for a few weeks, to let the plants settle in and start to root before I hung it vertically.
This is a great product and I hope we see more of it in the consumer market.
I love terrariums of all kinds, but this terrarium, also called a Wardian case, makes any terrarium plants look fabulous. The case is well made and is great for any kind of display. It is so easy to use that I tend to change the plants in it often. Sometimes I even buy tiny plants and keep them in their small nursery pots. I cover the pots with Spanish moss to hide them.
The case has nice detail and its small size is perfect for a side table.
I am often skeptical of garden gizmos, and when I was sent the bean grow bag and tower from Gardeners Supply, I wasn't sure it would work. I have been a huge fan of grow bags for a long time and loved the blue bag I was sent.
The bag and tower were very easy to set up, though the directions could have been a little clearer for how to manage the twine. I planted scarlet runner beans and they quickly started running up the twine and looking very cool. Then tropical storm Irene showed up. I couldn't figure out how to protect the set-up so I figured it would be a gonner. After the storm, I went to check the carnage and was delighted to find that the tower and beans had survived just fine. One piece of twine broke in the huge winds, but even that didn't affect the structure of the tower.
The growing beans were so pretty that next year I'm going to fill it with morning glories and have it be decorative. Or maybe I'll get another and have one for beans and the other for flowers!