Men, here are the only gardening tools you’ll ever need
At a certain stage in your life you may find yourself in a garden nursery armed with a list of plants you’ve been asked to buy for your wife’s veggie patch or planter.
Buying the spinach, beetroot, tomatoes and onions is the easy part; getting home with your loot and realising you don’t even own a pickaxe (which you discover as your spade shoots back into your wrist after digging your way into building rubble 10cm below the topsoil) is quite another problem. And, oh, look at the time: the nursery closes in 10 minutes and you’re covered in soil.
What would have been nice is a quick-reference list of gardening must-haves every amateur gardener would ever need. So, that’s what we did. You’re welcome.
Top tip: Choose a brightly coloured one for easy spotting as you work, or for when it gets covered in leaves and sand.
Watering can: You can more gently irrigate new seedlings or smaller plants, or soak established ones, with one of these babies.
Top tip: Consider one that is low and wide instead of narrow and high as filling it from a tap close to the ground will see you spilling a lot of water as you tilt it to remove from the tap.
Shears: Trim grass around tree trunks and shrubs, edging beds and paths; cut back ornamental grasses and clumps of perennials.
Scissors: Perfect for removing dead flowers; cutting soft-stemmed plants, such as herbs; pruning small or delicate plants; snipping twine; and thinning perennials.
Top tip: Look for one with a spring action. If you don’t, you’ll regret it immediately.
Hand pruner: These heavier-duty shears are used for cutting branches less than an inch thick; thin out perennials or cut larger flowers.
Wood saw: The classic wood saw is perfect for cutting through larger branches your hand pruner just can’t. Besides pruning dead branches like a pro, your wife will appreciate you giving your guns a workout again!
The big boys
Long-handled pruner: For those branches beyond your reach you need one of these. Much safer than climbing the tree yourself or stretching on tippy-toes on your ‘ol two-step ladder.
Round-headed shovel: This is one of the most versatile tools in your arsenal: it digs holes to plant trees and shrubs, and assists you in moving loose materials, such as soil, gravel, sand, and compost.
Rake: Level soil for planting, spread mulch, gravel, sand, and compost, and remove heavy debris.
Top tip: Buy two different kinds: a metal one and a rubber one as using a metal rake on paving will see the teeth get caught between the bricks, never mind the sound!
Top tip: While playing with the pickaxe is fun, always adopt a wide-legged stance as missing your target and knocking the axe into your shin will leave you with more than a red face.