I am most fortunate to have a husband that can renovate, repair and build, and thus he appreciates the value of good tools – ‘you need to have the right tool for the job’. He has gifted me many precious garden tools over the years, and now I also greatly appreciate the value of the right tool! In case you need an idea for yourself or a gardener on your Christmas list, these are three of my favourite garden tools: perennial spade, hori hori knife and bulb dibber. The perennial spade is just short of 2’ in length with a pointed 5” x 5 ½” blade. It is easy to manage, can dig perfect planting holes for small to mid-size perennials, and wonderfully splits roots. The hori hori knife is also a multi-tasker - perfect for popping out weeds with roots in tact, and for splitting small but tough perennials. The bulb dibber is an age-old tool that can’t be beat for planting small bulbs, which I do a lot of! If you have any trouble finding them, these are all available at Lee Valley.
People always say to me, gardens are so much work. Yes, gardens take work (but hopefully it’s enjoyable work for you, plus fresh air and exercise!), but there are ways to minimize it. For me there are three biggies – strong edging, excellent mulching and strategic planting. The edge of your garden (assuming you have grass/lawn) is the dividing line that grass is not allowed to cross. For me, grass is the worst weed and if grass gets into the garden, the workload is magnificent. There are commercial plastic edgings, but I am not a fan. My preferred edge is done with an edger (half-moon shaped looking shovel), and is executed as a 4-6” moat around the garden bed. Mulch helps keeps weeds away, protects roots and helps maintain moisture and moderate soil temps – all good things for a garden! My preferred mulch is natural (brown) shredded cedar. The thicker you apply it, the better it works, 3”-4” is ideal. Lastly, choose easy care perennials and shrubs that are happy with your conditions – that may take some reading or professional guidance to determine the best choices. You can choose to do the work yourself, or of course have someone else do it – a good spring and fall clean up goes far!