In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Some of my favorite tools in use all the time are Felco pruners, Dramm water nozzle, Womenswork gloves, Dramm watering can and a Colorite hose.
I take good care of my tools, so when I visited my dear old mother in North Carolina, I was disappointed to find that she was using not the expensive tools I sent her but a motley and rusty collection of pruners, nozzles, and watering cans. I thought this might be the right time for me to share some of my favorite tools with you.
First of all let's talk about watering tools. Hoses, nozzles, and watering cans are your best friends during the summer months. If you have to fight with a flimsy, kinky hose to water the hard-to-reach back end of your garden, it probably won't get done. Hoses that kink are a misery! My suggestion is to purchase a good quality hose that comes with a lifetime guarantee. I use a Colorite WaterWorks hose that has never given me a moment of frustration. I keep my hoses coiled and stored in the shade and recommend that you do the same.
My nozzle of choice is made by Dramm ($15). It has a dial to select the type of stream you wish to apply. For example, soaker, jet, shower, mist, etc. This is an excellent quality nozzle that I have had for several years. Mum has the cheap alternative nozzle that isn't even worth the little bit she paid for it.
Watering cans should be durable. Once again, Dramm ($40) steps up to the plate with quality plastic watering cans that are not only colorful, durable, and easy to handle but also have easy-to-remove rosettes that are convenient when you need to apply water directly to the soil. I once bought an aluminum and brass watering can because it was a pretty face, but the very first time I dropped it, the rosette broke off along with the spout, rendering the can useless. Not only that but the handle bent. Useless, like I said...
I used to garden bare-handed, thinking that I could feel the weeds better with my fingers, but now that I am older I find that I need more protection for my hands. My very favorite gloves are the Bionic Glove ($40) by the Louisville Slugger people. They fit perfectly, support my arthritic fingers, and are very durable. However, they are also very expensive so I have retired mine to be used for driving rather than gardening. I currently use a sturdy pair of Womanswork Gardening gloves ($16) that have reinforced finger tips, velcro fasteners to keep them snug on my wrist, and are washable. They come in a variety of colors and are not so expensive that you hesitate to get them dirty.
I love my Felco (now made by Corona) pruners. I have the fancy swivel handle ($60) type because I do a lot of pruning and my hands aren't what they used to be. I also like the Fiskars swivel handle bypass ($30) pruners but they are not as easy to disassemble as the Felcos. I have had to replace the blade twice in 25 years and have lost the spring a couple of times, but both parts are easy to find and replace.
For pruning trees and tall shrubs, the Fiskars Pruning Stick ($80) pole pruner is light weight, extendable, and the blade is easy to operate with a sliding thingy that works very well. It is also very easy to maintain.
These are just a few of my favorite tools. Always buy the best you can afford. If maintained properly, they will provide you with many hours of pleasant gardening. I still don't know what mom has done with the tools I sent. Perhaps she is saving them for her old age...
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