1. Heidi S.
    April 23, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    Oooooh…so shiny. That does look like a pretty awesome tool, and a major upgrade from my Home Depot trowel. I might have to add it to my Mother’s Day list if I don’t win.

    And I think Hellebores fall into my top 5 favorite perennials. I love them sooo very much! Have you checked out Carolyn Shade Garden? She has a really interesting blog and also sells her plants periodically (conviently right on the Main Line). I have bought some interesting hellebores from her in the past.

    I think your Mom and my Mom could fight it out for the hungriest deer. Fortunately they haven’t invaded our yard (although they have been spotted a few blocks away). Instead I have cute bunny rabbits munching away.



    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

      I didn’t realize she (Carolyn) was local… I guess I’ve seen her site before, but had no idea she was nearby.

      This deer stuff is really supposed to work, plus is non-toxic… maybe your mom wants it for mother’s day? Nothing says I love you— like a gallon of large-animal repellant.

      We had groundhogs two years ago… I nearly lost my mind. No kidding.


  2. Sandi
    April 23, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    Ah, aren’t you awesome? 🙂

    I have a black thumb. Seriously. I kill everything. I think I even kill artificial topiaries. I want to, though, commend your knowledge and enthusiasm.

    Are you cloned? I mean – you’re just fabulous and I STILL think you need your own show.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

      Laughing… that’s a singular talent, killing faux topiaries. I have to say that I’d really rather read a book than garden… it’s just that I forget that until I get started, and then it’s too late.


  3. Martha
    April 23, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    Well timed. Although, I guess it’s spring, so duh. Anyhow, the house we just bought was previously owned by some serious gardeners, and I am thoroughly enjoying watching everything pop up this spring. In the month since we closed, we’ve seen camellias out the ying yang, forsythia, silver dollars, iris, tulips, daffodils, lilies of the valley, jasmine, tulip trees, cherry, apricot and fig. And I just moved from the desert and have to figure out how to take care of all of this gorgeousness. My master gardener mother is planning a trip, thank goodness. Anyhow, my point is: thanks for pointing out your favorite tools. I don’t use the social media stuff, so I’m not eligible to win (boo! hiss!) but I appreciate the source! Happy spring!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

      You’re lucky to inherit a well-planned garden!!! A really nice garden takes so much time to fill in, that I’m pretty sure we’ll be moving by the time ours is situated.

      I AM sorry about the social media thing. I personally feel it has eaten my life (well, plus this blog). It IS nice to keep up with my best-friend, but also, just a lot of noise…

      Happy Spring!


  4. Life with Kaishon
    April 23, 2013 @ 10:54 am

    I have never been a gardener, but so many women I know love it! : )
    What a nice giveaway. You are hilarious. I am pretty sure a car will be next!


  5. lori jones
    April 23, 2013 @ 11:28 am

    i just love good gardening tools! i have found one that i really really like and it is the” Hori Hori Knife Weeder” mine is not the one from the Gardening tool company, might just have to go and get me one.
    thanks for the chance to win the tool!!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

      I see that on lots of must-have tools lists!! And I don’t have one! I’m still pulling weeds out of tiny spaces with my fingers and cursing…


  6. Jessica@CapeofDreams
    April 23, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

    Must….get….me…some…hellebores. I have been meaning too for some time, but never have. I love plants that have evergreen leaves. It always makes me so sad when everything dies for the winter. Naked gardens look so sad. And deep shade perfectly describes the North side of my house. No rays of light penetrate at all. Now please excuse me, I am off to attempt to win a trowel from some nice lady.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

      The hellebores are great too, because they are PROLIFIC self-seeders… you’ll see tiny little seedlings sprouting up all over after a year or two!

      They take forever to get big, but it’s still satisfying to see so many pop up!


  7. SJPBF
    April 23, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

    OH MY GAWD. I need this. I confess I have been buying dollar store trowels ever since I lost the Smith & Hawken trowel I nicked from my mom’s house. (Sorry mom.) I have now broken two dollar store trowels in the canna lillies of death in my front yard. I have given up and accepted that there will be a bunch of them peaking up behind my azaleas this year – maybe in two years the azaleas will be big enough to kill them. A girl can dream.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

      YES! I actually chipped a cheap trowel before buying this one… I was like, how is that even possible? I am not excavating granite…


  8. Sarah Wolpert
    April 23, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    I so need better garden tools. Well, I need to take better care of my garden tools. Maybe if I get shiny tools, I’ll be guilted into taking care of them.

    I really need a trowel that won’t bend every time I use it! It’s getting annoying. Also, why is it so much harder to bend it back than it was to bend it! not fair world!

    I’ve got lots of gardening to do. My winter-sown lupines are getting big and need to be transplanted. The veggies need to be set out. I’ve got a couple more arborvitaes to plant and I need a knock-out rose ASAP! I can’t wait until it’s time to plant the zinnias. I’ve got plans to plant hundreds of them!

    Question for you gardener, Do you have a favorite shade-loving vine? I’ve got an ugly shed to cover.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

      Ah! The bendable trowel… WHY do they even make those?

      Climbing hydrangea should grow well in shade… although will not bloom as heavily without sun. Some clematis is supposed to do well in part-shade, although I personally haven’t seen it, and am kind of skeptical.

      Whatever you do, avoid ivy… it’s fast growing, but evil and invasive… and I see it recommended ALL the time, along with Virginia creeper—another totally invasive plant.


  9. Lynn
    April 23, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    So, could you pleeeaase use your plant geniusness to identify some plants that are ALL OVER my yard? I’m sure it’s a common northeastern weed-type thing disguised as a flower but I spent a large part of the weekend digging up its massive root clusters so I could put some shrubs and flower beds in. It comes out of the ground looking like a blackish-purple leafed tulip sprouting. Or, something’s claws digging out of a grave. That’s how I feel about them.

    I think you should do a whole Q &A on your blog (or live? google? skype? dunno) answering everyone’s gardening questions. You sound way more fun than a gardening lecture.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

      Your weed sounds… terrifying. It also sounds giant, and like it might eat you… although that’s probably not the case.

      Do any of these look familiar?


      • Lynn
        April 24, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

        Ha! I was about to reply to my own comment and, in embarrassment, say that our structural engineer today identified them all as Hosta. I apologize for calling it a monstrous weed but it must be very well established because its in large plots around the yard and it really is coming up blackish purple before turning green. After doing some research though, I think I could divide and sell these things and pay for the new porch we need…or for gardening classes.


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          April 24, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

          I pretty much fell over laughing… they DO look frightening coming up, with their weirdly pointy tips… and the roots ARE giant, especially if they’re old!!

          The good part is you have a mini goldmine. Or, a very small piece of gold?

          Be sure you keep some for yourself… I used to hate hosta. I thought they were incredibly stupid. But now I LOVE them for their total lack of attention-needing.


  10. Garden, Home and Party
    April 23, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    You have a knack for finding fabulous, shiny things. This really does look like a great trowel. I’m going to visit the site where you bought it. I could use a new cultivator. I’m with SJPBF, I sorely miss Smith & Hawken. I will be on the search for Hellebores to plant in my shade garden. I have never planted them, and without deer, I should be in heaven for months with the beautiful blooms they display. Now if I could grow Peony I’d be so happy.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

      As you WELL know, I’d be thrilled to live somewhere it didn’t get cold enough for peonies!!! I think you’d really like the hellebores, too!


  11. Nicole @ One Punky Mama
    April 23, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

    Uhm, does it come with the fairy sparkles? If so, I’m totally in.


  12. Sue
    April 23, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

    Hooray, I entered all the links. Would love to win. We have a lot of pachysandra that we adore. Just a sprinkle of Miracle Gro Weed and Feed to keep the weeds away and we are set for the season.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

      Speaking of pachysandra… I got a huge carload off of craigslist… no joke. We drove far for it, and had to dig it, but was so worth it… greatest groundcover!!


  13. danielle
    April 23, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Love the recommendations on the garden trowel and the plants. I’m going to have to try out the Hellebores. Any suggestions for Boxers that like to dig out your plants and play “keep-a-way” with them?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

      Laughing… I have enough trouble with my neighbor’s dog… if I figure it out, I’ll let you know.


  14. Jeanine @MommyEntourage
    April 23, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

    My daughter is a blooming avid gardener and loves going to Grandma’s house and doing her dirty work for/with her. I’d love to win this for my two favorite girls! Thanks!


  15. Alex
    April 23, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    Oh you know I love me some gardening! Does it come with the magic fairy dust? I will only collect if I can get the fairy dust too. 😉


  16. Janeane Davis
    April 23, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

    That looks like such a beautiful piece of gardening equipment!


  17. nancy vecchione
    April 23, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

    I love shiny! Shiny tools, shiny cars, shiny bling… and love your flowers! Obviously I need a shiny tool to plant some lovelies of my own! I adore your blog (u know that!) and great giveaways help too! Now if you could only send me a buff gardener I could gaze at while he works in my gardens and gets rid of all the old garbage in them! So much nicer than doing it myself!


  18. D'Arcy H
    April 24, 2013 @ 12:59 am

    Wow–maybe THIS is the tool that will finally help me win the war on weeds! (I can dream …) At the very least it should wither the weeds with its shine!


  19. Mandy
    April 24, 2013 @ 6:07 am

    I think $100 on tools that will last forever is a sound investment. Although, I imagine it was a little sad using them the first time when they are so shiny. Almost like taking new joggers on their first run. 🙂


  20. Gaenor
    April 24, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    My parent’s have a problem with deer in their garden (installing new fences this week) as they live out in the Dorset country side. So when you recommended the Deer Stopper I checked it out on Amazon to see what it was. Then checked it out on Amazon UK, where it doesn’t exist.

    Their best alternative? A deer shaped bottle stopper. Hmph.


  21. Tina
    April 24, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

    Do you think the Hellebores would survive being potted? Because I’ve got a shady pass through that could really use some brightening up.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 24, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

      Anything in a pot, plus winter, equals uncertainty… Like any potted plant, probably your biggest issue is weather/water… and eventually restricting the roots… and they’re always going to need more attention than their siblings that acclimate to in-ground planting… especially during the winter when the pots dry out…

      Try it with one, and see how it does overwinter… I’ve personally had stuff in pots do fine, and others of the same, die right next to each other… there’s a myth that hellebores are picky and hate to be moved, but my personal experience is that they’re plenty hardy and mine have survived a couple re-arrangements.


  22. Jocelyn
    April 24, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

    Ha ha! those are nice trowels. Unfortch, I have thus far resisted the twitter time suck, so I will allow others to “reap” the benefits of your post. 🙂 Fun idea!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 25, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

      I can write 4,000 words, no problem… but the challenge of 140 characters of sheer wit is harder than it seems. (And probably why I can never think of anything to say.)


  23. Kevin Ross
    April 25, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    I love gardening… AND Gardening Tools. Lee Valley has been my friend over the past 5 years ! This trowel looks nice and I would love to win it ! Thanks !


  24. the misfit
    April 25, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    I personally would love to hear any information you have on gardening whatsoever. Particularly on shade-loving plants. And ones that bloom all summer. And things that come back by themselves. And anything you can’t kill (though in my case I know there is no such plant). I am humbled by the fact that you already have an abundantly-flowering garden, and I am just starting to plant things (I thought I was early this year!), and I live south of you. Although my strawberry plant has already come back by itself. It has two flowers! But it will never have any strawberries. That’s how it goes with things I plant.

    So, anyway, more plant advice, please!

    Sadly, I will not be able to enter the contest for the lovely trowel, because I don’t use those newfangled technologies. But it’s OK – I never win anything, anyway :).


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 26, 2013 @ 11:37 am

      I have to say the shade garden a-requires NO care, now that it’s in… and b- blooms earlier than everything else… but will also be the first to dry up/die/look terrible by August… That’s the blog post you won’t see.

      I took a small-fruit farming class… and the only thing I remember about strawberries is that you can NEVER ever ever plant them where tomatoes are/were… and that the kind you can buy at Home Depot are crap and useless.


  25. Ileana Keltz
    April 26, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

    I have to have this trowel!!! I love to garden and this would make me HAPPY as I dig and pull and yank and….well you get the picture. If I don’t win, I have to buy one. I love your blog, you are a riot. How are your kitchen plans coming along? I think of you as my hubby toils away building our cabinets.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 27, 2013 @ 9:40 am

      Funny how shiny things make everything nicer!!! Even weeding… maybe I should try it in an evening gown!

      Paul and I have both been busy with real-life stuff, plus trying to get garden in… so kitchen isn’t progressing at all!! We went to a few kitchen places, but no plan is “speaking” to me… so I’m ignoring it (to Paul’s irritation).


  26. Patina and Company
    April 29, 2013 @ 9:46 am

    Wow, so IMPRESSED with your blogging feats and sophisticated entry button and stuff! Not sure when you find time to garden in between all of that but I know your garden is perfectly gorgeous, ’cause I can just tell . . . .

    Also glad to hear about Neiman Marcus and the car . . . .


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 29, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

      I have to say my garden was WAY better prepared last year… this blog is seriously getting in the way of actually growing anything!!

      Also, the giveaway program was so easy to use… it practically set itself up! Now all I need is a free Mercedes.


      • Patina and Company
        April 29, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

        Well that is all very interesting about the giveaway program. Incidental to your house, garden and life topics, you are such a wealth of blogging-related information!


  27. carollynn
    April 30, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I love the easy, peasy nature of zinna’s that you describe — now I just have to get past my snobbery for wanting more elegant flowers in my garden. Don’t worry, I’m learning from your mistakes, (ha, being a grown up sucks!) and conclude that we most likely share some genes, cos I would (and have) totally swanned in and said this. must. go. on a number of occasions and situations. Oh the chuckles we could share on how well those decrees went down.

    But seriously, there aren’t ANY roses you would recommend to make my snobby foofy heart go flutter and sigh (and are low maintenance)? I know, I ask for the world, but why not, I’m worth it, right?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 30, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

      Oh the decrees… it’s why they love us, right?

      The only roses I never had any issues with were also the ones that had NO scent… which is pretty much the worst trade off in the world!!! The worst ones for disease were of course the ones that smell best!

      I totally forget the names of anything… it’s been eight years since I ordered them… and now that I don’t battle them every year, I’ll see them at this time of year, and be like oooo, pretty… and then sternly remind myself I’ve been there, and I’m not going back!

      I DO know that some people never have any issues at all!! I’m just not one of those people. Maybe a dryer climate would be better? Our summers do get super humid!!


  28. Bud Wysor
    May 17, 2013 @ 5:36 am

    I, too, have many hungry deer that would devour my hosta. My solution was to give my neighbor a 50′ row planting of my hosta in their back yard (my son planted it for them). Now the deer graze on their yard and leave mine alone.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 17, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

      This actually made me laugh out loud… I’ll suggest this to my mother. It’s the only thing she hasn’t tried—moving the buffet.


  29. {Garden} Inspiration for the garden – Chelsea Flower Show | Garden, Home & Party
    April 30, 2014 @ 4:02 am

    […] {Restoring our 1890 Victorian, Victoria Elizabeth Barnes} […]


  30. Sharon McGrady
    May 5, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

    Ahh, those look like extra special and hard working tools. I won’t hold my breath on the car 😉 but I’ll sure try for this giveaway! Thanks for the tips on the perennials and deer stop.


  31. Janet
    October 3, 2014 @ 12:24 am

    I make my own deer repellent. They are notorious for getting into okra and eating the young leaves. After trying all kinds of store brands including the stinkiest stuff on the market, I took a jar of my own hot canned cheyenne peppers, took out 25 of them, boiled for 5 minutes, seeped another 10 poured the juice into a empty gallon jug and filled the rest with hot water. I let it sit for a good 3 days and then poured into a cheap spray bottle and wet those plants really good. It worked. You have to spray after every rain but it’s cheap and well worth it. I wonder how they would like my jalapenos next year?


  32. Andrea
    May 4, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

    Love you for sharing your gardening knowledge – I don’t take classes because I can’t sit still for an hour. I will buy Deer Stopper on my next trip to town. I use Liquid Fence, which works fabulously, but I think switching off once in a while helps. Keep those suckers confused! Until now, I have not had anything to switch off to. Liquid Fence smells worse than the worse smell you can imagine – I mean, really, you could drop dead if you put your nose close to the open bottle – so the nice smell of Deer Stopper would be a bonus. I agree about the narrow garden spade. Mine isn’t that narrow, but it’s the only one I use.


  33. Annie Gaddis
    December 22, 2015 @ 9:49 am

    Is there such a thing as an EVERGREEN with flowers that blooms in the shade?


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