Season's greetings everyone. It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to gift-giving for our loved ones. Presents for the gardener are always welcome in my house and I love giving them too. Homemade, foraged or purchased, all are cherished and a recent chat over a glass of mulled wine with the HGoG team turned to ‘what are the best tools you have or wish for?’
I thought I would share my top 10 with you. Have a read and let me know your favourite to enter our Christmas prize draw (details below).
MY TOP TEN GARDENING TOOLS
1. Felco Secateurs I've had my Felco 8’s for 30+ years. Loved because they are red, so if I lose them in the garden I have a fighting chance of finding them again. They've been dug up, rusty and corroded, from the compost heap more than once having been tipped out from the barrow by accident! Thankfully, all parts are replaceable. They are an investment, but you will have them for years if you clean and sharpen them each time you use them, and don’t try to cut branches that are too thick. My daughter has requested a pair for Christmas. Happy to oblige - although she will be getting the full training session on how to maintain them, as I have no intention of buying her a second pair. Felco Model 8 Secateurs
2. Felco Secateur Sharpener I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to this simple steel, as it does the job. The only downside is that it's quite expensive and small, so a special place needs to be found in the potting shed so it's not mislaid. A nice gift to receive, because buying one for yourself feels indulgent, when it really is a gardener's essential. Felco Sharpening Tool
3. Stihl Resin Spray Not really a tool, but essential for tool maintenance! When first introduced to this spray I was somewhat sceptical as it's around £20. However, it has proven to be worth every penny as it not only cleans any blades but also removes the sticky sap residue that can build up. I'm still on my first can after several years - a little goes a long way. Resin Spray 4. Nutscene String Around since the 1920’s, this garden string comes in glorious colours and gift packaging and as a natural, biodegradable product, what’s not to like? Nutscene
5. Genus Garden 3 Season Trousers Now these really are an investment item. I was fortunate to be gifted a pair and absolutely love them. Extraordinary trousers designed by gardeners, their stretch fabric is water resistant, quick drying and breathable. The waterproof padded knees really work as does the waterproof seat panel! Stab resistant pockets for secateurs, knives and hand tools and zipped thigh pockets for bits and bobs are just some of the features that have won me over. So much so, that I have invested in the summer version which come in a lighter weight fabric, with air vents. Attractively cut, they are also perfect for long strolls in our glorious countryside. 3 Season Trousers
6. Wolf Tools These multi-change tools are brilliant for the weekend gardener, or those with limited storage. Buy the handle and the various click-on heads can be purchased separately. Sturdy German engineering and keenly priced, my daughter has these in her little London patch and we love the 3-pronged cultivator and the red multi-change leaf rake. Multi Change Tools
7. Stainless Steel Hand tools Any garden hand tool in stainless steel is generally a good investment as they are easy to clean and don’t rust. I've found it's worth a trip to several garden retailers to check out the different brands, as they need to be handled before purchase to check out what feels right. Particularly important with hoes, spades and forks, as using a tool too tall or too short can lead to backache, or worse. Wilkinson Sword
8. Silky Saws I'd never heard of these until I attended a lecture by Tony Kirkham from Kew Gardens at our local gardening club, Grayshott Gardeners. Made in Japan since 1919, Silky, have developed a reputation for being the best pruning saws you can buy. If I’m going to do any pruning of shrubs with 1” plus stems, then I much prefer my razor sharp pocket Silky to a pair of loppers. Folding Saw
9. SHOWA gloves Gloves caused the most debate when chatting to my HGoG colleagues but we all agreed that receiving a gift of any type of gardening glove is always welcome. I do a lot of gardening and therefore have gloves dotted about all over the place. I find the SHOWA Floreo 370 Lightweight gloves work well as they are like a second skin, comfortable to wear, good value and can be machine washed and tumble dried again and again. Gloves
10. Stihl GTA 26 Pruner I’m rather hoping that Santa is reading this as I’d like this under the Christmas tree this year please. Battery operated garden products are coming on in leaps and bounds, as lithium battery technology improves, and reviews of these mini chainsaws are looking good. With 25 minutes or 80 cuts of timber up to 4cm in diameter on one charge it looks lightweight enough for me to handle and should prove another useful addition to the garden toolshed. Stihl Pruner
So there you have it! My top ten.
What’s your ‘Top Tool’?
We would love to hear from you so email us your favourite garden ‘tool’ at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo if possible, and we will enter you in our Christmas Prize Draw. The winner will be announced in our January newsletter.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year
from Vanessa and all of us here at Hidden Gardens HQ