my favorite garden tools ~ garden update

In the world of gardening, the choice of tools can make your job harder.  But the choice of tools can be pretty overwhelming.  There is functionality and style.  Some people don’t care about the latter but some, like me, do too.  However, when it comes to functionality, not only are there different tools, but each type of tool has many variations. 

If for example you look up a Burgon & Ball (a British garden tools and supply company) spade, you will not just get results for a spade—you will get a digging spade, a border spade (that looks just like the digging spade), a transplanting spade, a Men's Groundbreaker Spade, a Ladies' Groundbreaker Spade, and a Perennial Spade. I love this company… but do we really need all these spades or can you do everything with one? 

This is the exact same story with all garden tools from forks to rakes.  To clarify, I am not saying some tools are not essential but there are quite a few tools you can do without and it would not stop you from gardening effectively.  And having gardened for a few years now, there are 5 basic garden tools that I recommend every gardener to have. 

1. Hori-Hori Knife

I LOVE MY H-H KNIFE! Some refer to it as ‘soil knife” or “weeding knife”.  This is a serrated multi-purpose blade for gardening jobs such as digging or cutting.  The blade is sharp on both sides, with serrated edges, and ends in a semi-sharp point.  This knife is good for cutting through roots and tough soil—and I have an insane clay soil that I cannot seem to work without the HH knife.  As a former Army girl, I love the multi-functionalism of this knife—you can used it as a knife, to saw, to digging (my favorite), and especially handy when you are trying to dig to a specific depth, like for planting bulbs and tubers.  I’ve even used it for splitting plants and cutting sod.  You’re welcome.

2. Garden Shears and Secateurs

Garden Shears and Secateurs are used to prune flowers, fruit trees, garden shrubs and all other plants that can be pruned.  This is one of the garden tools that most people are familiar with, most people call it the “Gardeners Scissors”.  Key to choosing the right secateurs is comfort.  The recommendation is to look for handles that give you a good grip.  There are so many options for grip.  But for me I want a simple grip that fits me because I have large hands (I am 6’1”) and these from Barebones, are perfect for me.  They are made of metal but fits my hand perfectly.   I have a pair of secateurs from them too but I used those for more woodsy stems, while I use the scissors (pictures below) for most of my flowers.


3. Garden Fork and Trowel

This is an essential tool combination for every gardener.  I like a fork to turn the soil before planting and aerate it.  And I have also used it for separating larger plants.  Then I used the garden trowel for breaking up earth, digging small holes, especially for planting and weeding, mixing in fertilizer or other supplements, and transferring plants to pots. It is said that together with the fork. the trowel forms one of the chief implements wielded by the hand in agriculture and horticulture. 

4. Garden Spade

This digging tool is my work horse.  This baby I use for digging, but the really beauty happens when cutting through and lifting sod, edging lawns and beds, and opening straight-sided holes.  On Saturday, I cut and removed sod around two of my bad yard garden beds (see above) and this made it SO MUCH EASIER.  The area does not look big but it is about 6' x 8' x 3'.  This really is the earth mover of the spades.  With a head typically  6-8 inches wide and 9 - 11 inches long, it's great for preparing beds and with its semi-flat blade, a good edging tool. 


After what seemed like an eternal winter, spring is finally here and I could not be happier! After the last snow storm we had a week ago, next day it went up to 50F, and warm temperatures over the next few days made everything start breaking ground.  And I am happy! There is not much to show but I am excited to see green in my garden beds.

Parrot Tulips finally breaking through. A snowstorm as they were coming through initially, made the tips of the leaves yellow but otherwise, they are good to go.

Parrot Tulips finally breaking through. A snowstorm as they were coming through initially, made the tips of the leaves yellow but otherwise, they are good to go.

Lat week I got home and it seems that the places I ordered tubers from were checking the weather forecast because three boxes arrived with tubers from Swan Island dahlias and Little Farmhouse Farms.  Inside them-- tubers for dahlias 'Breakout', 'Penhill Watermelon' 'Hollyhock Black Beauty', 'Chilson's Pride', 'Iceberg' and 'Castle Drive'.

Healthy tubers make me happy!

Healthy tubers make me happy!


One of the things I am doing this year, that I did not the year before is amending my soil for the dahlias with bone meal.  They LOVE this, so I am expecting good results.

And finally, this weekend I also caved and visited our local nursery and let's just say I came back with a bunch of plants.  My justification to myself (as my dog judged me from the back of the Jeep) was that I had two flower boxes that needed filling.  Seriously, I need some color in my life.  And the choices I made gave those boxes more life!  


There were so many choices at the nursery and deciding was hard but I knew in my head what I wanted-- a riot of colors. And in the end that i exactly what I got and I love it.  For the boxes I used Dusty Millers, 'Sunsatia Lemon' and 'Sunsatia Blood Orange' nemesias , which is most amazing orange color. I also added 'Laguna Sky Blue' lobelia and 'Scopia Gulliver" sutera. The result was just what I wanted. I love it so much that I think I will be adding two more flower boxes to the porch since it wraps around.

And there you have it! Some good basic garden tools to make your work easier plus a little life from the garden that it starting to wake up after winter's slumber.

How is everything in your garden?

Do you have any "can't live without" tools?

I may be sharing these beauties with these awesome ladies: Weekend Green, Garden Like Link-Up, Floral Friday Fotos, In a Vase on Monday, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day (15th of the Month), Simple Saturdays, The Homemaking Party, Home MattersGardens Galore, Home Sweet Home, Gardens Galore, Floral Bliss, Home and Garden Thursday, Vintage Charm, Friends Sharing Tea, Tuesday Cuppa Tea , End of Month View (31st of the Month), #MyGloriousGardens, Six on Saturday