Tending the garden requires some essentials: a stout shovel, a handy trowel, a watering can and implements for pruning. A don’t forget your brimmed hat, gloves, sun screen, and something to cushion your knees while kneeling.
Sticking to the basics, however, is akin to planting tomatoes without basil, burying your nose in lilacs devoid of fragrance, or a shade garden without a hint of mystery in the shadows. You can get the job done, but the fruits of your labor are not as sweet.
Happily, unique implements and sources of inspiration for gardeners spring up each year as reliably as daffodils in March. There are tools that make caring for plants easier and more efficient. Books and other resources feed gardeners’ fertile imaginations, and products abound to help keep the keepers of the garden as fit and well groomed as their lovely plots.
There’s always room in the garden for an irresistible plant. And there’s always room for another must-have aid for the gardener.
A garden pond should feature aquatic plants, not debris. OASE EasyPick pond pliers allow gardeners to retrieve leaves and the occasional errant critter from the water without disturbing plants or koi—or going in the drink themselves. The pliers are 4.5-feet long, and their telescopic shaft expands to a full 6.6 feet. A rubberized handle provides a strong grip. $51.
Gardening is dirty work that’s hard on hands. Crabtree & Evelyn Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Therapy works as hard as gardeners. Its super-hydrators, macadamia-seed oil, shea butter, and herbal extracts like cooling cucumber and antioxidant-rich rosemary leaf guard against environmental stresses. $24 for a 100-gram tube.
H.F. du Pont was passionate about plants, selecting the finest specimens for his Winterthur Gardens. Today, anyone looking for inspiring tools will find them at the estate. Right now, its retail team is stocking these Heaven in Earth lightweight 8-inch quick-release bypass pruners, featuring aluminum handles with ergonomic grips and a blade and hook made from hardened and tempered high-carbon steel. $32.
Plants and shrubs need water to stay healthy—and so do gardeners. The REDUCE COLD1 34-ounce tumbler keeps water thoroughly chilled on the hottest day. A three-in-one lid accommodates a sturdy straw, and the tumbler is outfitted with dual vacuum-insulated walls. Like roses, it comes in lots of colors. $23.
Rain barrels have been around for centuries, storing H2O for dry spells. These days, the barrels don’t rot. Made from resin, the Good Ideas Rain Wizard Barrel doesn’t let water from your downspout go down the drain. A screen allows water in, but not insects or debris. The space-saving flat back sits right against a house or garage. Starting at $75.
Enjoy your garden after the sun goes down with the Philips Hue line. You can control and personalize outdoor lighting options with the tap of an app on your smartphone or tablet. Or just tell Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri to turn on the lights in whatever color you choose. Spotlight beds with the Lily Spotlight. Illuminate the garden path with Calla lighting. Components start at around $80.
At its best, a shed is a charming pied-à-terre—literally a foot on the ground, a jot of a place to get away from the whirlwind world. So why should lawn mowers and rakes have all the fun? With She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own, author Erika Kotite shows readers how to elevate the humble shed into an intensely personal space that can be the antidote to the man cave. How-to photos and decorating tips are included. $25.
This spring, the Longwood Gardens community is buzzing about ways to attract pollinators to the garden, says its communications director, Patricia Evans. The Beneficial Bug Hotel is a cool way for kids to learn about organic farming, predatory insects and pollinators. Grownups like it because the hotel is a haven for bugs that keeps insects such as aphids off plants. Pollinators stay at the hotel from egg to adulthood, when they begin their task of moving pollen from plant to plant, essential for fertilization. $44.99.
If the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marcia Stephenson had to recommend one tool for gardeners, it would be the Leonard Classic Soil Knife. It’s ideal for digging, sawing, cutting roots and twine, removing rocks, weeding, planting, and dividing crowns. The larger grip guard helps to keep hands safe from blade. And this knife is backed by a lifetime warranty. $21.
The orange handles on Fiskars tools are a familiar a sight in gardens everywhere. The company has been around since 1649, when it was an ironworks in Finland. The newest cutting implement this spring is the Fiskars Curved Blade Pruning Snip, with micro-tip blades slightly angled to get close to the stem for precision in tight spaces. Expect a snip that cuts all the way to the tip, with an integrated spring and bumper. It’s easy to take apart for cleaning and comes with a full lifetime warranty. $18.