I ache right now from spending two hours removing grass to expand a planting bed. Some people retire comfortably into painting, pottery or volunteering at the hospital. Some greet at the big-box-stores, and some deliver x-rays for Pro-Medica. What did I do? I opened a landscape design and installation business. Duh!
But there is nothing . . . nothing like the creativity, the satisfaction, the jubilation of creating something in nature. Creating something that challenges your sense of the aesthetic, your (supposed) knowledge of the nature of living things, your creativity and sense of design. Gardening!
But if you decide to venture down this iffy and often tiring avenue, make your job a bit easier by having the right tools to do the job. As the captain of the Titanic said at dinner the first night out from shore . . . “Trust me. I’m a professional!”
Your Gardening Needs:
A good, sharp set of hand pruners
There are two types, anvil and by-pass. Look at your current clippers. If the two blades slide past each other as they cut, they are by-pass pruners. You want these. If one blade hits against an anvil-like second side, these are anvil pruners, and the blade does not cut, it crushes. Throw these away, or put them back on the rack. Which brand? There is only one. Felco #2 is from a Swiss manufacturer with surgical steel blades that never seem to dull. Go online and find them. I used to worry that I would offend local businesses that carried other brands, but I don’t anymore. They should carry Felco. It’s the best.
A good set of long-handled pruners, with good, strong fiberglass handles
Use them for small tree branches. Most brands are ok if the handles are fiberglass and the blades stainless steel.
A good round-blade shovel with a fiberglass shaft and one-piece shovel blade
Look carefully at how the blade and handle are connected, and if you are skeptical, buy a better one. I have broken at least a dozen shovels, and remember that Sears Brands will replace one that breaks. I have bought one shovel, though I have owned a dozen or more.
Cowhide, deerhide, or similar gloves
Gloves will be your best friends. Cloth gloves are worthless, since glass, bee stingers, rose thorns, sharp mulch pieces go right through them. I wear a size medium, and it’s not a sign of your manhood (or womanhood) if you don’t wear an ‘extra-large.’ Be sure they fit and for crying out loud, wear them any time you work outdoors in the yard. I go through a half-dozen pairs a season. Pay a bit more, and never, never do anything without them. My soft, still-intact hands are a testimonial!
Leaf bag frame
Find one of those folding metal frames that the leaf bag fits on to keep it open. Your language will immediately improve, and you’ll be finished in much less time.
A good kneeling pad
Actually, buying two kneeling pads would be better. By the end of the season, my knees are permanently darkened, even with pads. You will thank me.
Lots of twine
Buy a large, box-sized bundle of twine. I mean a big box of it. And find a Boy Scout, or look-up how to tie a slip knot. You will wonder how you lived up until now without twine. No longer will you have to go searching through the house looking for something to tie up that brush you cut from the tree. It will be your longtime friend on the shelf.
A Garden Bench
This is the last required tool I suggest you buy. Because most importantly after all the hard work, you must learn to sit down, and just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the beauty of what you have created.
Gardening is a Boomer’s paradise! Don’t try to save a few bucks by buying cheap tools. You will pay in the long run! Now grow and enjoy!