Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Top Tools a Gardening Must

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Top Tools a Gardening Must

Article excerpt

IT WAS with a new found sense of inspiration that I watched an ABC Collectors segment last Friday night on my neighbour and friend, Richard Jones.

Richard and his wife Rosemary run Cloudlake Mountain Retreat, a working agri-tourism property and outstanding garden nestled in a hidden valley at Ravensbourne.

The show featured Richard's extensive collection of old and rare garden tools, all of which are used regularly on the farm yet beautifully maintained to keep them in excellent working order.

I can identify with Richard's love of old gardening tools.

One of my most treasured possessions is an English-made digging fork that belonged to my late Pa.

Even though it's more than 50 years old, Pa's fork is a joy to work with.

There's something undeniably special gripping a timber handle that was similarly gripped by your mother and grandfather, and I'd love for one of my kids to enjoy the same sense of connectedness.

But I've been slack.

On more occasions than I care to admit Pa's fork and other treasured garden tools have been left out in the rain and few get looked after the way I would like.

If I'm to hand my tools down, I need to get myself organised.

Here's how I plan do it.

You might think of this guide as a kind of "three pillars of garden tool care".

1. Invest in quality

I've had my share of frustrating experiences with cheap garden tools, including perished plastic watering cans, and shears that kept losing a handle.

But what really gave me the "irrits" was a spade that folded in half like a piece of tinfoil the first time I tried to drive it into the soil.

Since the spade incident a decade ago, I've resolved to always invest in quality tools.

My purchasing strategy is simple: go for items that are strong enough be handed down to my grandkids, just like my Pa's fork.

In the case of garden tools, this often means seeking out a classic manufacturer that's been around for decades, but still makes a quality product from top materials.

My Swiss-made Felco secateurs are a good example.

A much loved Barnel grafting knife (American) with a bobinga wood handle and Solingen blade is another. …

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