Red and Fuschia Vegetable Towers, a Hori Hori Trowel and Other Gardening Tools; What Plants Talk About
When we make trips to some of our local favorite nurseries for plants, it's usually, "Oh, I just need another tarragon ... lobelia ... thunbergia ... scabiosa ... snap peas " and, in no time, the car back-back is laden with new purchases.
That's not so for garden tools; we're old enough to have accumulated many pruners, including an ancient one from my late father, but the hunt for additions never quite abates completely. Invariably nowadays, I reach for my favorite Japanese Saboten 1208 or 1218 (pink or yellow, small and comfortable to the arthritic hand.
And so it was that, after our annual pruning lecture at Berkeley Horticulture, we spied a marvelous bag for cutting flowers that circles the waist and leaves your hands free to reach for the next rose, salvia discolor branch (see below), gazania or whatever catches your fancy for the collection of vases in the house. It's called The Gardener's Hollow Leg ® and is a improvement over the baskets, trugs and enameled containers I'd have to balance and carry by hand to hold the bounty I'd collect. There's a new Gardener's Hollow Leg Junior size for those younger companions to wear or walkers and participants in Earth Day endeavors using them to store items. These bags would also be extremely handy for those adventurous enough to climb a ladder for trimming or obtaining higher-branch bounty.
Owner and inventor Bob Blomberg explains his path to The Gardener's Hollow Leg thusly: "What about all these piles of clippings on the walk?! If only I had some way to eliminate the last minute clean up. If I only had a bag that was always at my side so I could put my clippings in it throughout the day and dump it into the compost container each time it was full! That way, when I was done pruning, I would be done!"
So armed and armoured against thorns and ready to stash my cuttings for the house in the bag attached to my hip, I'd set out wearing my West County Rose Gauntlets and, occasionally, some chaps to protect my legs. Finally, I make sure to put a container of Technu in the bath to scrub off any poison plant oils after gardening; regardless of whether you've observed any poison ivy, oak, sumac on your patch, it's wise to take precautions.
We noted the brightly colored plant supports (peas, tomatoes, sweet peas, lemon cucumber) that we found at Annie's Annuals recently and happily scooped up four. Two of GlamosWire.com's deep red enamelled towers and two fuschia pink now grace our vegetable growing area; it's possible to find 10-packs of the towers for a variety of plants to climb. The towers are tall enough for ample climbing and the color choices appeal to our fashion sense. And not only that, Glamos Wire, located in Minnesota, has been family owned since 1899 and their products are made in the US.
Finally, my gifted husband recommends the Hida Tool Stainless Steel Serrated Edge trowel-knife. It's used for digging, transplanting, weeding and cutting. The stainless steel blade is completely tempered to increase durability and is rust resistant. One side is serrated to make cutting weeds and small branches easier. The Hori Hori knife comes in a synthetic leather sheath. What's very helpful is that one side is marked for both inches and centimeters for alignment with proscribed depths. It's perfect for cutting out recalcitrant plants and roots quickly and efficiently.
Iron and Wood Garden Tools forged by the Fisher Blacksmithing firm in Montana, have the look of Old World implements, that is, strong and hand-forged.
PBS' Nature dedicated an episode to What Plants Talk About, A world where plants communicate, co-operate and, sometimes, wage all-out war.