From garden to Eden
February 28, 2013 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Is there a gardening tool that changed your life? Looking for a gardening-themed gift for a talented home gardener. The garden is suburban, mostly just plants and lots of flowers (no veggies or fruit trees). In S. California, if that helps. Alternately, which of your favorite gardening tools would you upgrade to a nicer one?
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
A loop hoe makes accurate weeding in tight spaces so much better.
A nice pair of pruners (e.g. Felco) works much, much better than the cheap versions (and a belt holster is nice too).
posted by ssg at 3:55 PM on February 28, 2013

Yep, Felco pruner in a leather holster. I love it every time I use it!
posted by summerstorm at 4:00 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Felco pruners. They also make a nice pruning saw.
posted by momus_window at 4:03 PM on February 28, 2013

If they are in the LA area, a membership to the Theodore Payne Foundation would make a great gift.
posted by dottiechang at 4:07 PM on February 28, 2013

I really love my Japanese style hand-hoe for weeding. And slug/snail "removal". Some examples are here (I know nothing about this vendor).
posted by janell at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2013

I use a Japanese sawtoothed sickle saw to make short work of cutting anything with non-woody stems, it's essential if she has any big tropicals like birds of paradise or banana. Here's one; the one I've used for years came from Daiso and cost $1.50.
posted by jamaro at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2013

The best tool I have is a Japanese 'lightweight, long reach cut & hold' pruner. (example) You can cut a flower from the back of the bush, hold onto it's stem, and bring back to you. Of course this works on a million things that are just out of arms reach or will scratch you (roses, lemons, etc). Will cut up to about a 3/8" branch. Love it. (avoid the less expensive knockoffs or telescoping kind)
posted by artdrectr at 4:35 PM on February 28, 2013

I'm a small-space gardener and do a lot of flower boxes and stuff, and I love my seed trowel. When you don't have one you're always using the wrong thing - your finger or a spoon handle or something - and when you do have one, it's perfect.
posted by Miko at 7:03 PM on February 28, 2013

I'm a professional gardener, and I would be wary of buying something like pruners- for one, she's bound to have a pair, for another, they are very personal items- do you know if she's left handed, or prefers a rotating handle, or the extra small size Felcos? The pruning saw is easier for anyone to use, and saws are something that should be replaced frequently. The Japanese hand-hoes are very nice if you know which hand she uses- they're useless if you are a lefty and your hoe is not. I like both Miko's and artdrectr's suggestions.

The gardening tool that most changed my life is a pick mattock. Soil here is heavy clay, but it may not be applicable if she has better soil. I also quite like having a hand rake. It's fair to say that a great hat changed my life, but hats are pretty personal too.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:44 PM on February 28, 2013

Pots for, um, potting come in all levels of nice and the big ones, being kind of a pain to deal with getting from the store (ie heavy) would be really nice to have delivered...possibly a matching set in various sizes?
posted by sexyrobot at 11:03 PM on February 28, 2013

I can't live without my CobraHead weeder. This time of the year, I would love to have a gift certificate for a landscape service for "spring clean-up." If I could upgrade any of my tools, it would be my bonsai tools. I'd love to have a nice set of Japanese tools, but those are very expensive.
posted by OrangeDisk at 9:10 AM on March 1, 2013

It's not exactly a tool, but the MycoGrow from Fungi Perfecti is amazing stuff. We used to have a section of the planter bed behind our apartment building, which we applied MycoGrow to early one spring, before planting. It took about three weeks to kick in, but after that I swear I went downstairs one morning to find that wham! everything in the garden just doubled overnight.

Even now, several years after the single MycoGrow application and with the bed now fallow and gone to weeds (file under "one of the many reasons I hate our resident manager") what used to be our section is much, much lusher than the rest.
posted by Lexica at 4:19 PM on March 2, 2013

I love these tubs. Easy to clean, versatile, lightweight.

I like these stakes because you can create your own shape, which helps in propping up large expanses of flowers.
posted by evening at 6:23 AM on March 3, 2013

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