Garden Tools

    • Choose living Christmas trees now. Most will be able to be kept in their containers and used for one or two more years as a Christmas tree.
    • Primroses and pansies will add color to your flower beds and containers all winter.
    • Fragrant daphne is an early-blooming shrub that will delight you with its strongly scented blooms each spring. Plant it in well-drained soil.
    • Rhododendrons are hardy shrubs that are particularly beautiful in the spring when they bloom. Choose plants now so they can get established over the winter.
    • Check your nursery for stocking stuffers: kids’ gloves, watering cans, bonsai figurines, seeds and bulbs.

An Endless Variety of Garden Tools

At heart, garden people are plant people. But dedicated gardeners also know the pleasure of quality garden tools. Cheap tools bend and break and can be the source of much frustration. A good garden tool is something to treasure.

The spade, the shovel and the spading fork are three primary tools with overlapping functions. The spade is essential for “double-digging”- adding organic materials to the soil to loosen the soil and add nutrients. The spading fork is easiest to use in light loamy or sandy soils, or in heavy soil that has been well-worked. The pointed-blade shovel can do both jobs and is generally the first choice of the beginning gardener. It serves the additional purpose of moving gravel and sand.

There are two main types of garden rakes. The leaf rake can be used on lawns and patios, and a smaller version is ideal for raking leaves out from between shrubs. An “expando” rake can be used for both jobs. The steel tined rake is used in the garden for the final soil preparation before sowing or planting, as well as many other garden tasks.

Hand tools are essential for all gardeners. Choose the best aluminum or steel-bladed trowel available. Flimsy, low-priced tools won’t last one single use in tough soil – they just bend out of shape. A hand trowel, a 3-pronged cultivator and a weeder make a nice “tool trio”. The Japanese Hori-Hori weeder knife is especially strong and versatile.

Another fine gift is a good pair of hand shears. Beginning gardeners usually choose the anvil type, in which the blade comes down on a soft steel “anvil.” This type will cut larger branches without springing the blade. The more experienced gardener likes the scissor or “bypass” shear which makes a clean cut every time. New shears have handles curved to fit your hand, which are more comfortable than the old designs and leave you with fewer blisters. Top quality Felco shears are made with replaceable blades and are built to last a lifetime.

A pruning saw is especially appreciated by the serious orchardist. Nothing is nicer than a sharp saw that cuts with ease. The folding saw easily fits into a pocket when not in use. The more expensive saw blades hold a very sharp edge and do the job quickly and cleanly.

Well-built, quality tools will reward you for decades to come with greater ease, a healthier body and a job well done.

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