A few years ago I was deep into the spring clean up and had hauled many rounds of debris to the curb to await borough collection–some stacked in piles, the rest in refuse cans. I knew the truck was close by because Katie gave me a three-bark alert. I continued to work when I heard two masculine voices say, “Look at all this. I don’t think I can lift this container to dump it in the truck. I say we leave it.” I raced through the gate and with arms akimbo confronted the two saying, “Who do you think hauled it all out here? Now go on and get busy with it.” The two gave each other the look of “we’ve been had” and commenced with the task before them instead of arguing with me. I stood there to watch which had to have made them highly uncomfortable. 

Let’s face it; gardening is hard work. Fun and enjoyable work, but hard work. While I am passionate about my work as a designer, the garden comes to life once it is planted–whether this is by a professional crew or a DIYer gardener. And after the installation there is the care and maintenance–also work. Or work for hire. Either way, someone is engaged in the down and dirty of it all. Like most hobbies, the right tools make for an easier go of things, refuse containers on wheels is one.  Here is the final installment in my Green Jeannie’s Top 10 for the Garden series–Tools.

1. Starting things off I have to say my Felco #7 Hand Pruners. The blade stays sharp a long time and the whole of it comes apart for easy cleaning and sharpening. Hands down my very favorite tool. The rotating handle takes stress away from your wrist and hand;
2. Stainless Steel Transplanting Shovel. My garden friend, Marie, gave me this about 20 years ago. Soil just slides right off. My son, Blake, used to laugh at me when he saw me use it, a shovel-mini, but it’s great for getting into small and tight places and for when a large hole is not needed;
3. Trowel with a cushioned handle. The cushion is not so much for comfort as it is for better grip. I like to use the trowel with the cup facing me, more like a hoe than a shovel which does take strain off the wrist and elbow and moves the activity right along;
4. Corona Folding Saw. This saw is seriously sharp and since it folds onto itself, you won’t risk getting cut when you reach into the work bin. Be sure to wipe it clean after use and let it dry before folding to ensure it won’t rust;
5. Short-handled Lopper. This is great for cuts about an inch thick. Good for close places where you don’t have to reach too far away to cut and where both arms are needed for strength;
6. Pole pruner. This is for small limbs that are too high to reach and still not require a ladder. I’d rather work on “terra firma” so once I can’t reach a limb or branch with the pole pruner, it’s time to call a tree professional;
7. Rolling Refuse Container. I’ve dragged all the full containers I intend to in life. The sound of a small pebble trapped and dragged under a full refuse container is akin to nails on a chalkboard and gives me the eeebeeegeeebies. Much easier to roll for either pushing or pulling;
8. Sunscreen. As a lotion and even now in your clothing! Dultuth Trading Company now makes work clothes for the outdoors with a built-in sunscreen. Good to take sun protection seriously;
9. Atlas Gloves. Some folks say they like to garden with bare hands. I guess they’ve never encountered poison ivy, an ant hill, sharp objects in the ground, or the “calling card” from the neighbor’s cat. Please wear gloves! Atlas gloves fit tightly to your hand and come in an array of colors;
10. Garden Cart. I like the ones that are more like a wagon. Four wheels contributes to stability. The ones with two wheels–like a wheelbarrow with two wheels instead of one–are good choices as well. Loading it with what you need at the start of the work day helps for less trips to the shed.

This completes our series. And I hope your shopping lists are complete. I’d love to hear about what you are using and gathering. Please write to me!

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