9e37b0c7b77a335ed159563542b95fc6
The items listed have been tested, used and abused by the writer. It isn’t an all inclusive list and it is subjective, but it is the best from my personal tool box.
 
Some of the criteria used to consider items were, versatility, cost, nationwide availability, quality, ease of use and ability to withstand extreme weather and lots of abuse. In my neck of the woods, extreme weather is everything from humid 90s to freezing, icy, below zero winters with 40 inches of snow annually (on average). The abuse would be mine.
 

 Cobrahead weeder and cultivator tool

This strange shaped tool digs, weeds, dethatches, untangles, harvests, edges and whatever else you can think of. It is a definite “go to” tool to have in your tool box…or in my case tool bucket. It comes in two sizes, hand-held and long handle. The long handled version also comes in three sizes based on the height of the gardener, 48”, 54” and 60”. This is unheard of for most long handled tools. The smaller tool’s comfortable handle is made out of environmentally friendly wood fiber reinforced recycled plastic. It looks a bit weird, but it works. Image is courtesy of CobraHead® Tools.

cobrahead_tool.jpg

 Heavy Duty Bypass Power Pruners

Several companies offer this relatively new tool. The engineering behind the design makes the pruner cut through thick branches (some versions up to one inch thick) using the ratchet action (this one has a power gear) instead of hand strength. This is helpful to anyone with grip or hand strength issues. Many have knuckle guards and are small enough to fit in a large pocket. Remember to look for the bypass style (cutting blades overlap when it cuts). Anvil type pruners (blade cuts against a flat blade) squeeze and can damage the branch. Although the U.S. is starting to offer these pruners, many are still manufactured in the U.K. and Europe. Image is courtesy of Fiskars .

fiscars_3x_power_bypass_pruner_-_7936_iu_hires.jpg

Y-Stakes

These are fabulous for floppy plants, small bushes, keeping plants off a pathway, making a large bloom face correctly, creating breathing room between plants, starting new plants…basically anything to do with propping up plants. They are shaped like a “Y”, thus their name and come in one, two, three and four foot tall sizes. The upper section of the “Y” is bendable for any size plant. The wire is coated with green vinyl, so they do not show in the garden. Many companies offer this stake, including Garden Works and they are available on the internet, catalogs, garden centers and hardware stores, the only drawback being cost; they are a little expensive, but they last forever. 

y_-_stake.jpg

 

Soil Scoop

Mine isn’t a brand name like this Garden Works Soil Scoop pictured (comes in several bright colors), but it does the job. Any large scoop, metal or plastic is great to have for transferring soil from bags, mixing soil, moving small plants, spreading mulch, sprinkling fertilizer or soil amendments. This one also has a serrated edge for many more cutting and digging jobs. Scoops are sold in all types of sizes and shapes, but I like them small enough to fit in my tool bucket, large enough to heft a large quantity of soil or other material and not weigh too much. 

photo_-_soil_scoop_-_garden_works.jpg

 
 ScareCrow® Motion-Activated Sprinkler
A cute bird-shaped sprinkler head and a blast of harmless water (no chemicals) keep critters, large and small (squirrel is the smallest), away from your pond, garbage or garden. The sudden noise and unexpected water spray will scare them away, using only two or three cups of water. This teaches dogs, cats, heron, raccoon and deer, to name a few, to avoid the area. Animals are smart, so the location must be changed or they will eventually “learn” the pattern and distance. Song birds are too small to trigger the unit. It is easy to install and the range is adjustable. It runs on a nine volt battery, so it needs to be checked and changed periodically (company literature claims up to six months). Literature also claims the sprinklers can be linked to form a barrier. This is a great, humane and environmentally friendly tool to keep those varmints out of your vegetable patch or pretty posies. Image is courtesy of BioControlNetwork.comphoto_-_scarecrow_sprinkler.jpg
 

 Hook and Loop Plant Tape

If you are familiar with hook and loop fasteners, you know how this tape works. If not, one side is a loop fabric and the other one has tiny hooks. They adhere to each other, but can be repositioned or removed at any time. One of the common products is VELCRO® Brand tape. It can be reused, but at the cost for a roll, it isn’t worth it (unless you own a nursery or a large scale production facility). The garden tape is plastic-coated green and can be easily cut to size. Overlapping the ends keeps it in place. It can be wrapped double for thick stems or stubborn branches. Cost for the rolls is reasonable and it is available at most garden centers, nurseries and discount stores. The product tends to be scarce towards fall in the Midwest. Image is courtesy of VELCRO USA .

velcro_-_tomato_plant_plant.jpg

 

Collapsible Leaf Bags

Fiskars® manufactures a quality bag they call a Kangaroo Pop-up bag, but there are several companies that have introduced similar bags. This is a sturdy version, some lighter weight types will puncture easily if thorny or sharp branches are placed in them. It is great for leaf or yard waste pick up because it stands up straight and has handles to tote it around. It isn’t for heavy duty loads, but leaves, small branches and waste clean up it handles with ease. It also folds flat and hangs by the handles, so it takes up almost no room in the garage. They can be made of heavy duty coated canvas or vinyl, come in many sizes and can handle trash, organizing, laundry and organizing jobs in the house too. Image is courtesy of Fiskars .  
 kangaroo_bag_-_fiskars.jpg

Sandie is a freelance writer and photographer. Her mother started her passion for gardening by "letting" her help her plant and water annuals, paint stepping stones and mow and edge the grass. Some of the "dirt" must have been absorbed. She consider herself to be a plant collector. Her garden had a plan, but it has been overrun by cool and not so cool plants. If they grow and bloom or look nice, they stay. That includes what many people might call weeds! Sandie calls them wildflowers or native plants. Check out her website at www.SandieParrott.com. She currently writes garden articles and profiles of passionate gardeners for "the Michigan Gardener" and "the Herbarist" along with other non-gardening writing. 


Plant Care Reminders

Cymbidium Orchid Care
Orchids Walter Andersen Nursery

Cymbidium Orchids - Care in southern California

Cymbidium Orchids are so rewarding. Cymbidium Orchids come in so many colors and shade, more than most other Orchid varieties.
Kangaroo Paw Monthly Plant Care
Perennials Steve Brigham

Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Peach (Prunus persica) - Monthly Plant…

3513 Coastal Sage Gardening
Peach Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Borage (Borago officinalis) - Monthly…

8346 Coastal Sage Gardening
Borage Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

How to Prune Azaleas and Other Spring…

28524 Kate Copsey
Pruning spring shrubs
Spring is almost over in the south, and those wonderful blooms that lit up the landscape…

Gardening Articles

Western Bluebird
Habitat Gardening Ron Vanderhoff

A Fifteen Minute Gardening Break

I was working in my garden a few minutes ago, preparing the soil in a new planting area.
Aeonium urbicum
Tips, Tricks & Ideas San Diego Horticultural Society

What is your favorite plant to propagate from cuttings, and why?

These gardening ideas titled "Sharing Secrets" are provided by the San Diego Horticultural Society,

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

5921
Default Image
At Renee's Garden, I offer only the varieties that are very special for home gardeners,…

APLD International Landscape Design Merit Award Winner: Patricia St. John

6120
Pocket Size Courtyard
Association of Professional Landscape Designers Announces: Annual International Landscape…

Plant Recommendations

Dawn Hummel
Plant Recommendations Dawn Hummel

Bulbs - Oregon

Dawn Hummel's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Bulbs for Oregon (Sunset zone 8, USDA zone 6).
Marcie Forsberg
Plant Recommendations Marcie Forsberg

Grasses - Minnesota

 Marcie Forsberg's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Grasses for Minnesota and Surrounding Areas.

Shrubs - Oregon

15684 Dawn Hummel
Ceonothus Ray Hartman
Dawn Hummel's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Shrubs for Oregon (Sunset zone 8, USDA…

Perennials and Small Shrubs - Southern…

7229 Connie Beck
Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Gold'
Connie Beck's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Perennials and Small Shrubs for Southern…

Shrubs - Southern California

40199 Christiane Holmquist
Fremontodendron californicum
Christiane Holmquist's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Shrubs for Southern California. 

Featured Plant Care

Aeonium Monthly Plant Care

Aeonium spp (Aeonium) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Boysenberry Monthly Plant Care

Boysenberry (Rubus ursinus 'Boysen') - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Hibiscus Monthly Plant Care

Hibiscus - Lavender Chiffon ( Hibiscus syriacus 'Notwoodone') - Monthly Plant Care Calendar - South

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Abutilon Plant Care

Abutilon spp. (Flowering Maple) Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Echeverias roots

How to Slice and Re-root Large Echeverias

Widely known as the “Queen of Succulents,” Debra Lee Baldwin is the award-winning garden…

Plant Care Reminders List of Links

We have monthly regional plant care reminders for many plants. This is a list of links…
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads

Jungle Music Palms, Cycads & Tropical Plants - November Newsletter

Bring the Tropics Indoors! House Plants Bring Your Tropical Passion Indoors! At Jungle…
Join the Mulch and get a bunch of Walking onion bulblets!

Join the Mulch & Get a Free Bunch of Walking Onion Bulblets!

We'd like you to join theMulch and start using all of the great tools we've created to…

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)