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Green is for thumbs

March 11, 2004|Adamo DiGregorio and David A. Keeps | Special to The Times

AH, spring, the season of fresh beginnings. What can spoil it faster than tripping over a standard-issue green water hose that's hidden like a snake in the grass?

Fortunately, there's a clearing in sight. Along with improvements in ergonomics and task-specific designs, lawn and garden products are blossoming in merry, quite contrary colors that make them easy to use and spot.

Dramm Corp., a manufacturer of commercial nursery products, has launched a line of nozzles in six rainbow shades that offer nine spray patterns ranging in intensity from fern-misting to hosing-off-the-deck. The enameled turquoise tines of the Gardena hand rake, designed to gently clear areas around seedlings, provide an eye-popping contrast to its orange plastic handle.

Want whimsy? Try Anthropologie's old-fashioned watering cans, which are made modern with paint so glossy it still looks wet, or Nelson's sprinkler in the shape of a sunflower, available at Orchard Supply Hardware.

There also are colorful new hybrids. Wander the aisles of any hardware store or garden center and you can pluck nozzles with pink or purple plastic handles that exhibit the same frosted translucence of hip electronic appliances.

For classicists, brass and copper horticultural hardware may exude a certain authority, but Frontgate's solar-powered lights, which emit a blue-white glow at night, and Smith & Hawken's shapely houseplant watering can, add the modern gleam of stainless steel to home and garden.

Even accessories are abloom with color. The once-drab tool bag, the humble green rubber Wellington boot and the willow flower basket have all been redefined as go-anywhere items.

You can even find fuchsia garden gloves, but leave those at home -- unless you're Diane Keaton.

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