KENNEWICK -- As a garden writer, I occasionally receive garden catalogs and information about new garden products in the mail and I like to share the more interesting tidbits with you.
Here are some that have been accumulating during the past few months.
I get mad when the hoses we haul out to deep water our trees end up rolling over and damaging plants in beds near the hose bibs. Decorative hose guides just don't seem to do the trick of protecting the plants.
Perhaps HozeAround is the answer. Basically, these gadgets are pieces of powdercoated spring steel that are looped at one end and straight on the other end. The entire device is 28 inches long. Directions instruct the gardener to stick the straight end into the ground to a depth of 18 inches. Multiple HozeArounds are placed along the edge of the border and then the hose is easily threaded through the loops. For more information, go to www.hozearound.com.
ScareCrow & CatStop
Some gardeners already are aware of the ScareCrow, a motion-activated sprinkler designed to act as an animal deterrent around gardens, lawns and water gardens. The sprinkler goes off when animals approach, hopefully scaring away pesky cats, dogs, herons, racoons and deer with movement, sudden noise and a spray of water. It operates on a 9-volt battery and only uses 2 to 3 cups of water each time it's activated.
Contech, the maker of The ScareCrow, also has a product called CatStop, specifically aimed at deterring cats in the garden or a children's sandbox. Instead of water, this motion-activated gadget uses a burst of ultrasonic sound to startle and frighten cats away. Because the cats don't like the sound, they avoid the area in the future.
It's not disturbing to humans because it's a frequency most of us can't hear. It too works on a 9-volt battery and monitors up to a 280-square-foot area.
You can order the ScareCrow or CatStop directly from Contech at www.contech-inc.com/products or through various outlets.
Have you ever moved furniture using mover pads? A similar product now is available for moving large pots on your deck or patio. The Pot Pad is a hard plastic dome with a flat nonskid rubber base. The rubber base grips the bottom of the pot and allows you to easily move around heavy pots on hard, flat surfaces.
Unlike mover pads, Pot Pads are designed to be left under the pot to keep it raised off a deck or patio surface, allowing for drainage and aeration and helping prevent wood rot on decks. The hard plastic is durable and, according to Allsop Home & Garden, will "never disintegrate, chip, crumble or leave unsightly marks on your deck surface."
The Pot Pads are packaged in sets of four (four are recommended per pot) and come in four colors (brown, lime green, red and bright blue).
Each pad is about 2 inches wide by three-fourths-inch thick. The pads can be ordered online directly from Allsop Home & Garden at www.allsopgarden.com or through various garden supply companies.
Note to Benton-Franklin gardeners: WSU Extension Master Gardener training will begin in January.
If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer, call the extension office at 509-735-3551 for an application and more information.
* Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for the Washington State University Benton County Extension.