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Master Gardeners’ Favorite Tools

Contributed by Jacqueline Maidana, Master Gardener Intern


During this holiday season many of you are busy with plans to celebrate with family and friends.  You're probably not thinking about gardening this time of year but this article may help with holiday gift giving to your favorite gardener.  Originally I thought of writing this article about "what garden tool you just can't live without". In the end I decided to combine the two, your favorite tool and holiday gifting.  I reached out to a number of the Master Gardeners and Master Gardener Interns and asked them for their input, here are some of their responses.

Marilyn E. said that her Felco pruning shears are her #1 favorite because they give a clean cut and can cut through some pretty tough material. Her second favorite is the Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife.  She considers this to be the best tool she's ever used for weeding.

Falco 2 pruners are also popular with Sharon R.  She said it is the gardening tool she uses more than any other.   They are great on woody plants as well as softer tissue perennials and annuals.  Keeping plants trimmed and healthy is an easy task and that they are worth the investment.  She feels the extra expense for a tool that seems to last forever, while buying quality you will get better performance and longevity.

The humble wheelbarrow is the favorite of both Catherine S. and Susan R. It is an indispensable tool for moving heavy objects, materials, trees, plants, rocks and gravel. Catherine finds the wheelbarrow so useful she has three. Susan’s wheelbarrow sees lots of use each season as she cleans up or moves things around.  She said it is "kind of my second self that is better at lugging things."

Abbie J. said she 'can't live without' her ARS clippers that are made in Japan.  They were gifted to her by her son and she said not only are they incredibly strong but are also a thing of beauty. She says they have the highest cutting quality.

Kerry L. "Go To Tool" is her Friskars Kitchen Shears.  They have a serrated blade and cut through heavier stems such as Shasta daisy and cone flowers.  A hat is a must have because it provides UV protection and protects the back of her neck from the sun.  She also keeps her arms covered with a long sleeve shirt.

Sherry W.  said she has several tools she could "not live without". The first is a child size bamboo rake.  It's the perfect size for cleaning out leaves from under shrubs and in the perennial garden without damaging the plants.  She finds that it is perfect for small jobs. Sherry also said she loves her garden snips that cut everything smaller than the Falco does. Her 50 year old three -pronged weeder is a tool she can't live without either.  She knows the Ho-Mis and Cobras are very popular but her old fashioned one is great for most garden weeding chores.

Deb J. added her hand-held pruner which is small enough to fit in her back pocket.  The tool that is also one of her favorites is an old cultivator that was her dads.  After he gave it to her in the 1970's she made sure she took good care of it by faithfully oiling it every year before she put it away for the winter.

Phyllis B said she could not live without her Corona Long Straight stainless steel snips.  They are  amazing the minute you put them in your hand.  This is the one gift she gives to all her Botanical Garden volunteers.  Bandannas are her second must have favorite thing because it helps prevent perspiration from running into her eyes.

The Hori Hori garden knife is Michele P.s weapon of choice.  She uses it as a trowel, to cut and divide plants, plant bulbs, and saw smaller branches.

Linda K. said "definitely my bypass pruners"!

I was particularly happy to see that someone else uses the small bamboo rake. I found it to be one of my best garden tools too.   I share an appreciation for so many of the great tools the other Master Gardeners mentioned but sometimes I just use an old steak knife or serving spoon.

 One of my favorite things to have in my garden is a large thermos with water.  For many years I didn't take time to re-hydrate and found that to be a mistake.  Now I make sure I drink plenty of water.

 I hope this list may be helpful to you when thinking of holiday gifts and stocking stuffers for your friends or maybe even for yourself.

Happy Holiday, which ever one you celebrate and wishing you the very best garden in the New Year.



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