I am quite fussy about my choice of garden tools – I know what I like, and I know what works well. So when I was wandering around the plant shop in Kew Gardens the other day, I was fascinated to watch my two novice gardening house-guests studying the rack of shiny new garden tools.
I think that tool manufacturers must believe that there is a specific gadget for every single gardening job that you could possibly do, and if they had their way, we would fill our garden sheds full to bursting with them.
The truth is that you can get away with a few good and trusted ones, as long as you keep them well oiled and clean. But this impromptu bit of market research was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.
‘OK,’ I said to Paul, ‘ choose five implements that take your fancy’ and I then stood back to see what he came up with. I then lined them up on the floor and took a photograph.
This is a re-interpretation of a traditional potato graip – that’s a Scottish word, I’m reliably told, for a flat tined fork.
The bar across the end prevents accidental stabbing while the tine’s spacing and shape allows potatoes to be sifted from the soil.
The only dibber that I have ever used is my finger, but this is a rather natty stainless steel torpedo-shaped gizmo that declares it will help you plant seeds, seedlings and bulbs.
My only concern is that if you are lunging this into compacted or wet soil, you will get a ‘smearing’ effect, which could make it difficult for roots to penetrate
The mini circle shape allows you to weed between plants without the risk of cutting through stems, and with its short handle it is the perfect tool to use in raised beds and containers, and for those who prefer to sit or kneel while gardening.
I have one of these is my kitchen drawer, so I’m not sure if I would buy one dedicated for garden tools!
topiary hedge shears
This is the one tool that really impressed Paul. He felt that the longer handles on these shears would give you more power to the cutting action. But there can be no doubt that the smaller blades make them flexible for a more precise job. What I liked was they were super light, at only 750g with cushion stops to reduce jarring.
© Valerie McBride-Munro
Valerie McBride-Munro is a qualified horticulturist. As Auntie Planty, she helps to solve your plant and gardening problems. Her advice is only a phone call away (020 8892 9243)