Debra Prinzing

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Eco-friendly lawn and garden equipment – and more

January 22nd, 2009

I hopped a plane last week to fly from Los Angeles to Orlando and back in less than 48 hours.

No, I’m not one of those desperate collectors of airline miles who is trying to get bumped up to the platinum level for better perks (although that would be nice).

But somehow, the invitation from a publicist for Sears-Craftsman Lawn and Garden Equipment convinced me that this trip would be worth my while. And in many ways, it was more than a good trip. Crazed, but definitely a surprisingly good one.

Sometimes it’s smart just to say “yes” to something unexpected that falls in your lap, even though you don’t really have the time. Here are 10 Reasons Why:

I’m joined by Garden Design magazine’s Jenny Andrews (Features Editor, left) and Megan Padilla (Senior Editor, center)

1. Enjoying dinner with two gifted and creative editors of Garden Design magazine. Jenny Andrews and Megan Padilla are two of the staff editors for this hip publication and I’ve worked with both of them on recent articles. They treated me to dinner at what might best be described as a quintessential Florida restaurant. The seafood was de-lish and the entertainment? We’re talking performers on stilts and a guy who swallowed flaming swords. The conversation was pretty entertaining, too!


Amy Sitze, editor of Gardening How-To magazine, takes a spin in the Craftsman “Revolution” Zero-Turn Yard Tractor. Yes, she’s a good driver!

2. Walking into the press room for Continental breakfast the next morning not expecting to know anyone and then hearing “Hi Debra!” from across the room. I looked over to see the smiling face of Amy Sitze, editor-in-chief of Minneapolis-based Gardening How-To magazine and a fellow member of Garden Writers Association (and another wonderful editor for whom I’ve written).

The black-and-white Craftsman golf pullover helped take the chill off as I put the pedal to the metal on the Craftsman “Excellerator” Garden Tractor.

3. Getting to brave the brisk weather by wearing one of those cool golf pullovers with the Craftsman logo on it. And since it was a windy and wintry Orlando day (something like high 50s), I was very happy to have that extra layer to protect me.

4. Arriving at Osceola County Stadium, “Home of the Houston Astros – Spring Training,” and seeing my name on the electronic read-out that tops the scoreboard.

5. Meeting David Mellor, “Master Groundskeeper” for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, a guy who knows how to carve a mean design into sports grass. We’re talking diamonds, plaids, baseball-and-bat patterns, pumpkins, the American flag, and wavy curves taken from his daughter’s crayon drawing. Check out his book: Picture Perfect – Mowing Techniques for Lawns, Landscapes, and Sports. He’s also the author of The Lawn Bible. A smart and charming guy – and great storyteller!

6. Even better, noticing that David Mellor is wearing a mammoth ring on his right hand. Yup, it even looks like the World Series 2007 Championship Ring. And when I ask if I can take a photo of it, he offers to let me try it for my own Championship Ring Photograph. And people, he owns two of these rings, because the Red Sox also won the World Series in 2004. The “sox” portion of the ring is made of rubies; the backdrop is sapphire; the surrounding accents are huge diamonds. Serious bling!

Capt. Herzer helps me try out the Craftsman Propane-Powered Straight Shaft Trimmer, powered by Lehr

7. Discovering a cool inventor – from my own hometown (oh, boy, can’t believe I’m actually calling Los Angeles my “hometown”). Captain Bernardo J. Herzer is CEO and Founder of LEHR, a company that has developed a system of using 16-ounce propane canisters to fuel weed-whackers and other hand tools typically fueled by gasoline. Captain Bernardo is an enthusiastic evangelist for his new “clean” technology. He is eager to get home gardeners to adopt this environmentally friendlier way of using line trimmers. Here is a little movie of Captain Herzer as he demonstrates the trimmer.



8. Eating baseball food: Hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on Craftsman gas grills, followed by peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks for dessert. After all, we were at a baseball stadium!

9. Trying out all sorts of Craftsman lawn care products, including the new Battery Powered 19-inch Mower. Like most garden writers in Southern California (in all of the west, actually), I advocate eliminating some or all of residential lawns to reduce water, fertilizer and herbicides in the garden. 

But it’s not just the water and fertilizer that makes lawns less attractive to homeowners; it’s the energy use and noise pollution of the lawnmower. Like many other companies that market to gardeners, Craftsman is investing R&D into developing environmentally-friendly lawn equipment. They’ve got a ways to go, but this new mower – it runs on a 48-volt rechargeable battery – is a great new solution for lawn owners who really desire to reduce the carbon footprint in their own backyard. (There’s also an electric version of this mower). Here’s a movie of Bob Baker of Craftsman talking about its features:


10. Meeting lots of interesting new friends in the world of home and garden communications. Including:

Tim Carter, Ask the Builder (Founder, Chief Blogger)

Brett Martin, The Family Handyman Magazine (Associate Editor)

Amanda Thompson, Kiss my Aster  (Blogger for Horticulture magazine)

Katie Kretschmer, Women’s Day Special Interest Publications (Departments Editor)

Laura Serino, Family Circle (Associate Home Editor)

All the smart, enthusiastic Craftsman folks, including their publicists who took care of us, Regina Pelz-Westergaard and Stephanie O’Brien (on location) and Carrie Yamond (logistics, travel).

Thanks for making it a very fun day, filled with inspiring ideas, good conversation, and good, clean fun.

The only missing element was you, Lorene. We’ll find a way to make it up, okay?

9 Responses to “Eco-friendly lawn and garden equipment – and more”

  1. Lorene Says:

    Oh Debra,
    I’m sure we’ll find other adventures but I fear that might have been my one and only opportunity to model the incredible Red Sox Nation ring!!! Ah, the one that got away…

  2. Lydia Plunk Says:

    Makes me want to get a bigger lawn to justify that lawn mower!
    You are an inspiration in how you “Go for it.” You should be the Nike Girl with how you live.
    Btw– When I went to Pasadena Salvage- I was told that thanks to your LA Times article- they sold out of the film canisters the same day!

  3. Beth Evans-Ramos Says:

    You had a darn fab 48 hours! I am most excited about Craftsmans’ efforts to be more green. And seeing you try out their products is quite entertaining as well.

  4. Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" Says:

    Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte’s “48 Hours” wasn’t as fun as yours!

  5. Theresa Loe/GardenFreshLiving Says:

    Oh what could make a gardener’s heart go “pidder-pat” faster than a bunch of lawn equipment and Cracker Jacks?! FUN!

  6. George Says:

    Wow! The propane trimmer segment looks really cool! I’m pretty sure I saw something like that (or maybe it was the same thing!) at my local Ace Hardware. I am just so happy that people are finally stepping out of the world of traditional fuels and making a conscious effort to be “Greener!” Way to go Bernardo Herzer!

  7. Jon the Gardener Says:

    Can you get us more on the propane string trimmer and what other products they are coming out with?
    I hate having to use gasoline around my yard and all of the other alternatives electric and battery are either really inconvenient or wildly inefficient.
    Thanks Debra for letting us know about Bernardo.

  8. Ben Says:

    It seems like you had a good time there i envy you:D

    Ben’s last blog post..Quelques informations sur l’agriculture biologique

  9. Scott Prinzing Says:

    Great fun, Deb!

    It inspires me to make a “Green Man Mows His Lawn” episode! We’ve been using a reel-type push mower and a cordless electric for years! We’re going to take up more lawn space with more garden this year! We’re moving vegetable into the middle of the front yard!

    Keep up the good work!


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