Time-tested tools for gardeners

A while back, I lost it. I mean, really lost it. My garden tool bag, that is. Worse, it held all my best-of-the-best tools, collected over a gardening lifetime. You’d better believe that taught me a thing or few. Like: not to get distracted by a phone call when loading stuff into a car not to lean my tool […]

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Garden glove review: Ethels (and others)

  My first pair of Ethel gloves held up well, though no longer quite as clean I’m picky about garden gloves, when I do wear them. Usually, I’ve bought the Grip Gloves, a coated knit glove by Canadian glovemaker Watson Gloves, from Lee Valley Tools, Canadian Tire or, lately, from Mark’s Work Wearhouse. Cheap and cheerful, at […]

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An old family friend in the toolkit

Every garden toolkit needs one sharp knife, the ideal tool for tasks from cutting string to dividing plant roots. Garden tools are very much a personal thing, like selecting a wallet. You need to find what works for you. I wouldn’t be without my aged Felco #2 hand pruners, for example. And the same goes […]

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Love/Hate: Lily of the Valley

Oh, sure. They look cute, their nodding white flowers, crimped and curled at the edges, like fairies’ cloche hats. In May, they shake those little bells, and perfume fills the air. Plus, they’ll grow anywhere, in sun, shade, wet or dry, with minimal attention. What’s not to like? Grrrrr. Lily of the valley. Convallaria. Muguet […]

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Battle of the bulb-planting tools

 When you have 350 bulbs to plant – and your soil wears bulletproof armour in the form of impenetrable Norway maple roots – you’ll try anything to make your life easier. So when I noticed this inexpensive, ergonomic Y-Grip Trowel on the Botanus website, I wondered how it would stand up to my long-handled bulb planter. I added it to […]

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Small tools for small gardens

Small gardens like mine offer scant room for tool storage. That’s why constantly look for tools that are compact, easy to store and hard-working in the garden. Here are two I’ve had good results with – both time-tested as well as bankrolled by yours truly. The first – and the rust says it’s been around […]

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Lucky me! I have a leaf shredder

Little did I think when I photographed this four-leafed clover six months ago that today I would be the proud owner of a leaf shredder. Lucky me! After pining over more expensive models, I stumbled across the Flowtron Leaf-Eater online at HomeDepot.ca. It was $199, plus tax. Shipping cost would be the make-or-break item. It […]

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Quest for Quercus

My wish list contains an oak tree. Not a Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) like this majestic beauty in the park nearby,  but a scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). Scarlet oaks grow on dry, sandy uplands. That sounds just like my garden! And the colour the leaves produce in fall is said to be an even […]

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Off you Deadheads! Best Garden Pruners: Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruners

Deadheading can be strangely satisfying. Unlike indoor chores, dishwashing, for instance, where you do the same thing over and over and get the same result—clean dishes—deadheading has a double reward. One, the wonderful cleanup effect Ugly seedheads are off so your garden looks less forlorn and…dead. There’s nothing that perks up a garden like deadheading. […]

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