If the act of playing in the mud doesn’t suit your style anymore, it is time to get digging, planting and weeding with some of the nice, new, ergonomic garden tools. The first day I took a road trip with my gardening friend Shelley, I fell in love. Instantly I could see how the plants offered would suit my own preferences for color, shape on the landscape and aromas. And for the first time in my life, I wanted a country garden.
Thinking I should maybe first try my hand at one or two plants I purchased a beautiful yellow dawn rose bush and two buckets of lavender. Lavender brings me back to France all the time and I imagined myself falling to sleep at night with the soft scent of lavender wafting in my bedroom window on hot summer nights.
It was true, the lavender grew large and spread and I loved and nurtured those plants to make sure they kept growing. That rock garden is in the distant past, but it always brings me back to remember those nights – dreaming of when I’d be able to take off to Europe again and the foils that hit once I brought my new purchases home.
I didn’t even own a shovel!
I was pretty new to country living back then. I had a pitchfork for the barn, but no shovel to move earth with and certainly no smaller garden tools. Thankfully the area I wanted to plant my rose bush was soft and easy to move as, since I was nearly an hour from town I ended up using a large kitchen spoon. Shh, no need to tell friends who came to dinner the next week – that spoon still sits in my garden shed, never to see the kitchen again.
The shed however has grown in the tools it now holds. Tools I wouldn’t hope to be without when planting or caring for my country garden. Some were purchased on sale, others in groups of three, but most of them ergonomic. If you’re like me and use your hands a lot throughout the day as you grow older you really start to appreciate these better quality hand tools.
While not every gardener needs a pile of expensive or high-tech tools, if we’re doing any gardening at all, we all have some. Tools for cultivating can include both hand held tools and power tools. The kind you buy might depend on how much time you think you’d spend in your garden or how serious of a gardener you are.
Hand tools, such as shovels, spading forks, trowels, weed removers, and rakes can all be used to get a garden ready for planting. They do not require much strength or and are relatively easy on your joints and muscles – just don’t overdue it all in one day.
Power tools are also handy. A little more expensive but they are time savers and also cut down on any hard labor. The most essential in this category is the garden tiller. Tillers break up the ground and get it ready for planting, chop up root systems below, and help mix in fertilizer and compost while you’re preparing the ground. Garden tillers, even used ones, can run up your summer budget pretty quick though so you might consider renting a tiller if you have a lot of ground to cover – rent it for a few days at a time and save your trips and perhaps even get a discount. If you have a lot of property don’t overlook chippers and shredders when sales are on as they are also very handy and allow you to make good use of any trees you’ve limbed or brush you’ve cleared. Speaking of brush, a small electric chain saw might also be a wise investment. (Please be careful though as all these power tools have the potential for damage – not just to the dirt and plants, but to yourself.
Shrubs and hedges that you want to keep – and not chop down with a chain saw – might require pruning tools such as shears or pole pruners. Pole pruners are an excellent easy to use tool for the small gardener as they allow you to put the pruner on a pole, reaching branches up to 15 feet off the ground. Hedge trimmers are step up from shears, usually electric and allow you to easily manage any heavy duty shaping and pruning required.