The day after the week after Christmas
So, it’s the same old question: “What to buy a gardener for Christmas?” You now have a short period of time to make that decision.
December invariably lends itself to everything else bar working in the garden — except for a quick clean-up in areas friends can see.
Think function, need and practicality, sturdiness and that which is easily maintained. That’s a good start, now down to business.
Pairing of tools makes sense. Blowers, for example, are found in every garden simply for “blowing” foliage and anything else that is in the way into a corner or a pile.
In theory the next action should be to pick up the leaves and compost, burn or truck them away; activities which necessitate the use of a shovel or “pick-up boards” and a soft rake.
One could also consider buying a blower-vac for small areas.
If the property is large, one can use a wheelbarrow or small motor-driven cart to remove the debris.
Excluding natural leaf drop, the exercise of pruning adds to the cycle of waste and removal.
Pruning is carried out with secateurs for small branches and for larger branches, a small chainsaw and loppers.
Of course, for those who do not want to get their nails dirty, the purchase of a pair of sturdy gloves would be well received.
Planting necessitates a hole be dug.
With Bermuda’s soil depth being questionable, and the density of underlying rock, digging is not an easy exercise; a jackhammer or even a small bobcat might be required for large holes.
For those blessed with a goodly depth of soil, a stainless-steel spade can work wonders.
Couple it with a stainless-steel garden fork, which is always a helpful hand for digging over soil and loosening weed roots.
One of the best garden tools for weed control is the Dutch hoe.
A flat blade in a horseshoe shape attached to a long handle, it’s a simple, but effective, tool when used correctly and regularly; the exercise is pushing the blade of the hoe through the top surface of the soil.
This “knocks out” small germinating weeds whilst breaking up potential activity in the soil surface.
It follows the adage: “If you weed when no weeds are present, you never get any weeds!”
There is nothing quite as attractive as a well-maintained lawn with straight-clipped edges.
Edging should be done with lawn-edging shears, which are basically large shears with the blades at right angles that allow cutting to be done as one walks along the edge of the lawn.
The end result is a straight line similar to the edge of a carpet!
Mowers come in numerous sizes, however, I would certainly recommend a reel mower for zoysia and fine-bladed Bermuda grass, and a rotary mower with a blade that can be adjusted to at least three inches for St Augustine. Many garden tools and equipment are not a necessity, but are handy.
Some examples: debris-collecting sheets; hand trowels for planting bulbs and seedlings; a telescopic pruning saw to reach above head-height branches; knapsack and hand sprayers for pesticides, fungicides and herbicide — the latter should always have an applicator solely for the said purpose.
Whatever you choose, make sure it can be used to achieve a good finish with a lasting quality.
• Malcolm Griffiths is a trained horticulturalist and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture in the UK. He is also past president of the Bermuda Horticultural Society, Bermuda Orchid Society and the Bermuda Botanical Society
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