This idea of including the tools topic in a blog came about as I recently had a conversation with a great long-time client who despite avidly gardening put up with a lack of tools simply because she didn't really know what she wanted to buy and where to buy it.
I didn't realise that there was just so much of a blind spot about getting the right tools. So let's clarify. I am speaking about tools for the garden generally here (but happy to be a little sidetracked! - and I noticed gardenista the other day had a few interesting gadgets on their blog).
A few basics: whats really necessary - maybe I can call it my top 5 - if I can stop at just 5.
|burgon & ball small trowel|
|burgon & ball boarder fork - great size and weight|
A pair of good secateurs that aren't too cumbersome or heavy and you can keep in good condition for cutting cleanly, picking flowering, snipping, harvesting, cutting back, light pruning and generally looking the part.
A hoe or larger mattock. These really perform two different functions. I love my hoe for turning the top of the soil in the veg bed and weeding - a bit of gentle gardening. But there is nothing better than a mattock for moving plants, really getting stuck in and digging something out and attacking out of control tap root weeds.
So maybe this should count as two rather than one, but that would blow the top 5 and make it 6.
|sneerboer special fork and hoe|
A small spade. Just a must really. In our heavy clay soils we don't do anything like double dig or break our back trying to lift the hardened summer clods. But it's still indispensible for a million other jobs around the garden - not least the cleaning up of the dog poo on the lawn. Yes, rather unmentionable but for anyone with a well loved pooch, children or regular summer lawn entertaining, they will know exactly what I am talking about.
|burgon & ball boarder spade - a smaller more manageable spade|
|sneerboer famous perrenial great dixter transplanter spade|
There are also a few jobs that require tools you love to make it easier. The favourite weeder - quite a few gaugy edged tools around for this, the lovely bonsai or herb scissors for harvesting herbs, salads, small veg and cutting string, oh and string of course......
|range of sopie conran tools by burgon & ball.|
The criteria is really about quality & performance and I love Burgon & Ball tools for their 5 or 10 year guarantee as much as for their easy to hold and visually apealling approach.
The Sneerboer range, which I discovered when I went to Great Dixter and really wanted to slip the Great Dixter trowel in my suitcase, also fits this criteria and is forged and strong. I found them when I returned to Australia and we have had them into the store ever since. The Sneerboer range is tough and slightly industrial and sometimes shaped a bit differently but performs fabulously in the garden.
Both the Burgon & Ball and the Sneerboer have a really extensive range which gives you lots of choice and a ongoing lust for the next tool to buy.
A few criteria are necessary though when considering and buying....
* great performance,
* longevity - you need to be able to pass your tools onto the next generation if you have looked after them,
* looking good or great design,
* mulit-tasking - its great when one tool can be used for many different things in the garden.
|the great dixter trowel|
There are other tools brands around and there is one Australian made one -the Diggadoo range - that I have had some success in the garden with also. We may stock this one in the store soon also.
If you need any extra tools as you already have all the basics...here are two that are irresistable.
The asparagus cutting knife.
And the potato digger.
They both perform brilliantly and are well used in our household.
As for gadgets....well that may have to be a whole other blog it seems. I hope this helps.