Little things that help make work more enjoyable!

3 Dec

No one would call me a fussy man but I do like*…..,,,,,,, a well designed, well made, functional object. I don’t need fancy Christmas presents – a beautiful hand turned wooden spoon, a soft pair of alpaca boot socks, a hard wearing denim apron – all would be gratefully received !

And the same applies to my gardening equipment. It is used everyday and must perform so cheap, gimmicky products are a no no.

So here is a brief look at what works for me.

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First of all I need to keep warm and dry. I can’t afford to get cold and wet if I’m outside all day without the option to come inside to warm up/dry off. So these boots by Ilse Jacobsen are perfect. They’re fleece lined, natural rubber , with a good solid sole and I haven’t had cold wet feet since I bought them !

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Gloves are another must. Once the dirt gets ingrained into your fingernails it’s very difficult or shift and i don’t really want to look like a gardener all the time ! So these light weight gloves from Atlas have stood the test of time.They fit well, they stand up to general use but they are fine enough to do pricking out and seed sowing if needed. I throw them into the wash and they come out brand new. I used to be able to get them at the local garden centre but no more so I have resorted to buying a years worth direct from Atlas and so now have a rainbow of gloves to brighten my day up!

When the pruning gets serious – ie roses and pyracanthus – I use my Bradley pruning gauntlets. I was given a pair of these a long time ago and thought they were a bit impractical – pretty but not for serious Gardeners like me ! Well I was wrong! They are tough leather and suede and nothing gets through them. The leather glove part softens up beautifully after a couple minutes of wear and the suede gauntlet bit is invaluable for protecting your sleeves and and arms from nasty scratches. And the pink suede just makes me smile !

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Felco secateurs are world famous for good reasons. They are so sturdy they can cope with anything – I use the No.2 as they are small enough for my hands but strong enough to deal with most jobs. They rarely need sharpening but can be sharpened easily. And I feel quite naked if they’re not sitting snugly in my back pocket! In fact I now own two pairs as I lost them whilst gardening a few years back – must’ve fallen out of my pocket whilst I was wrestling with a large shrub – but luckily Felco do a next day delivery so I had a new shiny pair by the next day. And then 6 months later , in the same garden, the dog appeared at my side with my old ones in his mouth !

I also have a lovely pairs of snips from Burgeon & Ball – just a bit lighter and finer than my Felcos and great for deadheading and flower arranging.

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My go-to hand tool is my Sneeboer Great Dixter trowel. It’s the perfect size for wriggling weeds out between other plants and for planting bulbs. It also has my name on the handle which makes me feel very professional !

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And finally my newest and oldest tool – I picked up this gorgeous ladies border fork at the local junk shop for £3!! It probably needs a bit of tlc and oiling of the wood but otherwise it’s the perfect size for tickling border soil and forking out pernicious weeds.

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Do you have a favourite tool ?

* a quote from my favourite AA Milne poem -The Kings Breakfast!

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