Got a favorite gardening tool? Sure you do -- like cooks, gardeners have personal favorites that, though sometimes involved in real chores, bring pleasure when used.
Some folks actually enjoy mowing, and take great pride in their equipment. They get into blades and gears and checking their spark plugs; it's a therapy of sorts to them just to cut neatly and edge properly and ... well, you know the type.
Me, I love watering. I long for a job where all I'm paid to do is water and yak. I'd have a fine hose -- the kind that doesn't kink -- and a little valve on my end to control the flow. I'd have various nozzles, including one for squirting leaves off the driveway and another for making fog in my greenhouse. I'd fan water into the air on sunny days to make rainbows, and syringe my hanging baskets with gentle showers from one of those aluminum water wands with a shower head on the end. One of the reasons I wear flip-flops so often is because my feet are always wet from watering -- occasional fire-ant stings are worth the pleasure of hosing my toes on a summer day!
Is this a garden fetish?
Beyond my trusty Felco pruning shears and treasured English digging fork, I have other all-time favorite garden gadgets. For the most part, these tools have only one use apiece, but they're so perfect every gardener ought to have them handy.
They include a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a sturdy handle, used for hauling weeds, tools, water and other stuff -- and for sitting on when the muse strikes. I also use a flat file to keep shovels, spades and hoes sharp. Anyone who's ever shaved with a dull razor knows the value of having a sharp blade. It only takes five minutes with a file to take the sting out of digging and chopping. Though I normally garden bare-handed, I enjoy the confidence that an inexpensive pair of heavy, leather, long-cuffed welder's gloves give me when pruning roses and pulling tree seedlings.
Other little odds and ends I keep on hand (usually in my bucket) include a compost-pile aerator, water-resistant marking pens, rolls of wire and twine, plastic soda bottles, a folding knife, a can/bottle opener, a flashlight, pliers, tweezers, extra flip flops, a can of wasp "jet" spray, pruning shears and a little hatchet, a spoon, some bottled water and a lighter. None of these doo-dads are crucial, but they help me garden a little easier. What's on your list?
SOUTHEAST TIP OF THE WEEK:
Find a sunny-but-moist spot in the garden and try a selection of mints, separated by sunken, pressure-treated boards.
Felder Rushing is an eighth-generation Southern gardener and regional writer for Garden.com. For more gardening information, visit the Web site: www.garden.com.