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head arbor are nice; prune them hard annually so they never overwhelm the trellis and admit plenty of light in winter.
Speaking of food, a little kitchen patch out back is an authentic French touch. Think about growing zucchini, tomatoes, beans and peppers in summer, fava beans and artichokes in winter and spring, and salad crops nearly year round.
I've been tempted by antique watering cans I've seen in local shops and flea markets. How can I tell if they are genuine antiques and also if they would be OK to use for gardening chores? — kylie roverts,ann arbor, mi
A Watering cans that actually are more than 100 years old are very rare. It's unlikely that you'd see one in a shop or a flea market—and certainly not more than one at a time. But galvanized-metal watering cans of a design that originated more than a century ago in Europe continued to be made in large numbers into the 1950s, and a few (notably Haws of England, whose products are available in the united States) are still made. Those "antique" galvanized cans made in Europe are what i mostly see for sale these days.They have an oval body and a long, narrow spout originating at the base of the can.They're closer to 50 years old than 100, and are priced from about $50 in flea markets to $100 and up in shops.
Old watering cans for that kind of money certainly should be usable in the garden. Check one out before buying. Beyond holding water, it should show no rust inside or cracks in the seams. The handle and neck brace should be solid.The rose (where the water comes out) should still be removable, not soldered in place; should fit tightly, with minimal leaks; and should be able to deliver a gentle shower.
Ask for a demonstration with water (or a no-questions-asked return policy) before you buy a high-priced can. Or get a brand-new one from Haws (www.haws.co.uk) or a reproduction from India or Eastern Europe. A new can will soon develop the patina of age that you like and should have a long, useful life.
QQ I would like a flowering evergreen tree to make into a topiary at the approach to our front door. It needs to take full morning sun. (We tried a camellia but it didn't do well.) — diane richzer, myrtle beach,sc
,A Teddy Bear® magnolia, with big glossy leaves, fuzzy brown undersides and large white flowers, would be magnificent.You could prune it into a cone about 10 feet tall
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