What could you give a gardener for Christmas that would truly revolutionise their gardening experience? – a razor hoe, that’s what.
Honestly, I can divide my life into two distinct phases, pre-razor hoe and post-razor hoe, it’s that good. And no, I am not getting a backhander from Burgon and Ball, apparently their razor hoe has a cult following based purely on its innate merit. It’s silky-smooth, Japanese, carbon-steel angled blade (you can tell I’ve become a fervent convert can’t you?) can be pulled just under the surface to shear off annual weeds and when you hit a dandelion you simply twist your wrist to winkle out its taproot with the sharp point. Due to public demand they even produce a left handed version.
I have to admit that over time it becomes less razor like so if you were giving this as a gift you could throw in a blade sharpening whetstone, with the added bonus that your recipient feels truly initiated into the tribal rituals.
A more ambitious gift would be a cordless hedge trimmer. My devious sisters thought they were setting me up when they nominated me for the Ryobi topiary challenge this summer but actually they did me a huge favour, (if you remember the blog we wrote about it).
Using my free (yes a backhander was involved this time) Ryobi rechargeable hedge trimmer I was coerced into creating a huge topiary dinosaur in my garden. But actually at the end of the process I was hooked and knew that this was the future of garden maintenance (other brands are available ….)
As befits the Senior Growbag (aka unconverted Luddite), I would skip the obscure Japanese bladed wotsit and gimmicky cordless gadgets and give a budding gardener a down to earth border spade. Now I’m not talking about those great heavy spades that require as much muscle-power on the ‘lift-up’ as on the downstroke, but a neat, sharp, light implement that’s incredibly useful for dividing perennials, moving spring bedding, digging the greenhouse border, making trenches for beans……….There are dozens of makes to choose from – it helps if you know the height of the recipient. For instance, two of us Growbags are quite tall (Laura has a shorter wheelbase), so we need a longer handle. Also remember that a steel handle is heavier than a wooden one, and a fibreglass one is even lighter than wood.
I COULD NOT garden without my holster containing my little Spear and Jackson secateurs, I don’t think. Always right there on my belt – a little deadheading here, a little tidying-up there……It lets me drift around the garden in a happy dilettante-pruning haze, summer or winter. I included a bit more detail about this essential in our blog last year on gardening clothes. (That post is also memorable for some rather alarming photos of us in ‘battledress’…!)
My final suggestion for a gardening tool is a long-handled watering can. Again, not at all high-tech, but invaluable for reaching to the back of a set of pots, or the corners of a lean-to greenhouse, for instance. My Haws model has lasted me for 25 years and counting. Not a thing of ineffable beauty but as sturdy as an oak and reliable as taxes. I challenge Caroline to come up with anything as practical. And no, a garden-table with an integral wine-cooler will not cut it…….
Ah yes well it is conviviality that leads me to the next garden ‘must have’. Here in Scotland, soon after Christmas comes Burns Night when dinner tables resound to the final line of Rabbie Burns’ famous poem, urging men to ‘Gie her a Haggis!’ In the same way, I urge all men reading this blog to ‘Gie her a sack trolley!’
Yes I’m serious. Put that trip to the lingerie department out of your mind, and head to Screwfix for your gardening lady’s perfect gift.
There isn’t a garden now that doesn’t have an array of pots but once in position they’re a bugger to move, particularly if you’re not Mr Muscles. With a sack trolley that problem melts away. You can get ones with an extended and tapered tray that slips under even the most mahoosif Tuscan urn, then it’s just a little tip back and off you trot.
My husband, however, is yearning for a remote-control lawn mower following a demonstration from his tech-mad friend. The only aspect I really warmed to was the text the mower sent him saying: ‘I’m heading back to my shed now to re-charge.’
We’ve all been there haven’t we?
NB What can’t be ignored and can grow six feet in one season? Louise’s Great Plant this Month, that’s what.
More NB if you’d like to get a bit more gardening chit-chat from the3growbags, just type your email address in here:
And finally what about taking a look at our notebooks and greetings cards for stocking-fillers? It’s not too late!