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Great Garden tools every gardener should have

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Garden toolsWhat great garden tools should every gardener have? It seems like a really basic question but it’s one that can stump many budding-gardeners (two horticultural puns in one sentence!) - well, Jaime Blake our Head Gardener has kindly taken time out of the flower beds to tell us his thoughts on the subject.

Is it fair to say the fork and spade are the basic essentials for every gardener?

I would say they definitely are - without a doubt.

The fork is nice and easy to work with - it’s a good tool for breaking up clods of soil if you’re digging and you can use a spade to plant in with.  Both fundamental jobs which take place in any garden.

You can use both of them with herbaceous plants to divide them if you need to - the spade is especially useful if you’ve got a bigger shrub you need to move and you need to cut around the stub.

So, unsurprisingly, you can safely say they are both essential tools in any garden - large or small!

What advice do you have when choosing a spade and fork?

The first thing to do is not be mean - don’t try to cut costs!

Remember that this is something that you’re going to have for quite some time (If you purchase sensibly) so don’t be fooled by some of the nice “rustic” looking spades and forks you see hanging up in garden centres.  My experience of those things is they often bend or break.

Go for a brand you are well aware of such as Wilkinson Sword (there are other reputable brands too).  Typically what you’re looking for, both on spades and forks, is that it has little treads on top of the actual business end of the tool (the actual spade or fork part) - these will save the soles of your boots being cut through when you push down on it.  It’s also a lot more comfortable.

Also ensure that the metal part of the tool comes quite a long way up the shaft (nearly half way up, ideally).  That increases the overall strength of the tool which is important as it will, without doubt, be misused.

At some point every gardener, whilst extracting a particularly stubborn shrub, thinks “I can get that out - the spade will be fine!”

As with many things in the world, you get what you pay for - Spades and Forks are no different.

Beyond the basic implements, what other tools do you recommend getting and why?

A Trowel for me is something I use a tremendous amount - It’s much easier for working with smaller plants when you’re planting out.  That’s an essential as far as I’m concerned.

Another must-have is a Hoe  - we use a particular type of Hoe here at Bressingham which is called a Swoe.  They used to be not well-known as a garden tool but they are becoming more commonly seen in garden centres.

It’s basically a hoe but it is much more flexible tool.  It has 3 different cutting edges so pushing, pulling and sideways motions are possible.  This has what has made the Swoe a critical tool for me.

What other tools do you use in Bressingham Gardens?

For the type of work I do here at Bressingham the tool I couldn’t do without is a machine we use for edging the beds with.

We’ve got 2 miles of edging in the gardens, with the machine it can be done in about 2.5 hours - if you were doing it by hand it would take days!

Is there any job in the garden that you wish you had a tool for?

I would like somehow is to have the things we use to drive around the garden with (mowers and trucks) to be a bit lighter on their feet.

They press in a bit, damaging the lawn, and they always seem to be getting bigger!

Do you have any favourite gardening tips or stories?

Horticulture is such a massive subject we always welcome suggestions and experience from visitors.

If you do, get in touch and let us know – you can also do it on Facebook or Twitter.

By Bressingham at 11 Feb 2016, 00:00 AM