Lindsey M. Roberts
Kelly Smith Trimble, editorial director of HGTV.com and author of "Vegetable Gardening Wisdom: Daily Advice and Inspiration for Getting the Most from Your Garden," has a shed full of her favourite gardening tools. If she had to pick only five to recommend, she would start with a quality hose, a watering can, ratcheting hand pruners, a hori-hori garden knife and an expandable trellis (with a tiller and gardening overalls as a close six and seven). Whether you're a beginner starting out with a container of herbs or an expert, every gardener needs a good tool kit. We asked Trimble and four other experts for their top tools.
Trimble has found both basic hoses that kink and special "kinkless" hoses maddening, she says. Last year, she finally settled on her hose of choice: the Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose ($52.42 to $56.99, walmart.com). It resists kinking and coils up nicely, she says, plus it comes in "really bright, fun colours like purple, yellow and red" that match the colours of Dramm's watering wands, hose adapters and sprayers. "Quality watering tools can make the difference between watering feeling like a chore and watering feeling a bit like meditation," she says.
"I have my Fiskars Multipurpose Garden Snips on me at all times, so no matter what task comes up when I'm gardening, I have a tool that will work," says Chris Lambton, host of DIY Network shows "Lawn and Order" and "Yard Crashers" ($19.99, www2.fiskars.com). The stainless-steel blades cut all the way to the tip, plus the tool has a serrated edge for sawing, a straight edge for boxes, a wire cutter, a sheath and a belt loop.
"If my garden shed burned down, what would I miss the most?" asks Susan Appleget Hurst, editor of Country Gardens magazine. "I'd have to say I'd probably rush out and replace my long-handle garden tools from Fiskars." She has owned the D-Handle Digging Shovel ($30.82, homedepot.com) for at least 12 years, and it is still "in great shape and a pleasure to use." She explains that the foot platform is wide and comfortable, the blade is powder-coated for resisting rust and dirt, the handles are long, and the D-handle is comfortable for two-handed use.
For indoors, Jen Stearns, author of "The Inspired House Plant" and owner of the plant shop Urban Sprouts in Renton, Washington, says, "I always recommend having a cute mister." She says misters in metal, such as the Nickel Plant Mister, are popular choices ($26, shopterrain.com). Plus, metal misters and watering cans won't tip over as easily as plastic ones. "If you have a cute mister, you'll keep it out and then you'll actually use it." She recommends using a mister to clean leaves, water succulents, and spray aero plants and others that like humidity.
"I'm using lots of tools out in our flower field," says Beth Barnett, owner of floral studio Larkspur in Chicago. Her farm is in southwest Michigan, and when working, she wears a good shade hat and her favourite waterproof garden shoes, and always brings her gardening gloves. "You need different types of gloves for different types of gardening," she explains. "I like gloves that are thick enough that you're not going to get poked by anything, but you also need to be able to feel what you're doing… It's helpful to have gloves to go up your arm a little bit in case there's poison ivy and any irritants." Her favourites are the Miracle-Gro Women's Latex-Coated Knit Gloves ($4.99, tractorsupply.com).