Saturday, 30 June 2012

Top 5: Garden friends

I am rather fond of Suburban Tomato's Top 5s. It's a nice sort of discipline - thinking about the top 5 things.
With little being picked from my patch, I started thinking about the things that I rely on in my veggie gardening and that are actually gardening friends. Here are my top 5. 

1. My hat
Rain, hail or shine my hat is a vital garden tool. Rabbit felt hats are not only good at keeping the sun off your head, but are very water repellent when you want to garden in light rain.

Perhaps most importantly, because I have fair skin (and skin that is currently having some treatment for pre-skin cancers despite being 'careful' for many many years) my hat is not only a fetching addition to my garden style (I am joking), but it is essential  to preventing as much skin damage as possible.

This is quite an old hat. It first belonged to my lovely husband but the hat shrank a little and so it was passed onto me. I don't mind hand-me-downs.

The black band I made from some lovely black silk thread I bought when we visited a Tibetan part of Gansu Province in China many years ago now when the hat still belonged to my husband. The silk thread (it came in black and a vibrant red) was used by Kampa Tibetans as an addition to their long plats. I can distinctly remember sitting on the verandah of a fabulous Tibetan-styled rustic courtyard hotel and making it.

The feathers are from a 
cockatoo and a kookaburra found some time ago while bushwalking.
It has two holes in it now and the felt is a little dry and scratchy, but it will keep being used till it dies and then it might become a rabbit and silk addition to the mulch under the lemon tree - a fitting place of rest.

2. My secateurs

Handy little friends, these are. With these in your hand you feel like you are a real gardener ready to conquer the world! They are almost always in the garden with me. What would my espaliered limes be without my secateurs?

You can see that they are pretty dirty.  I keep reading gardening books that say I should be 
cleaning them, but I don't.

3. My harvest basket

This brings such joy. I love the crack of the cane when it is weighed down with a basket full of lemons, I love the polished handle in my hand.  I love filling it with my home grown produce.

4. My garden knife
This is an old bread knife. I suspect that it may have been given to me as a leaving home present - you know the pile of things your mother gave you when you first moved out that were her cast-offs (I mentioned I don't mind hand-me-downs). 

It  was a perfectly good bread knife so I am not sure how it ended up being a garden friend, but it is very helpful for cutting broccoli heads, cutting string for ties for staking, sawing thru giant stalks of spent sunflowers and cutting up the hard stems of the broccoli to include in the compost bin.

It has a lovely wooden handle that has lovely grain markings. It feels very nice in the hand like all knives should feel.

5. My seedling waterer screw top thingy
I discovered the joys of these screw on tops when we lived in England and I first started raising seeds in my little green house.

They screw easily onto the tops of mineral water bottles and deliver a little gentle spray of water ideal for your  seeds and seedlings.

I was delighted to find these available from the Diggers Club when I returned to Australia.

I want to throw in another thing , not really becasue they are part of a top 6 but becasue I like the picture so much.  What are they? Twist ties!

In accordance with that great Australian tradition of keeping furniture on your verandah, we have a lovely hat rack on the back veranda.  It is a handy place to store my twist ties (and my hat).

What are your favourite garden friends? The things that reliably assist you in your patch? Things that you'd find it hard to do without ?


  1. Yay - great Top 5! My secateurs could do with a clean too - they are starting to stick a bit. My pantyhose plant ties are probably my number 1 useful garden paraphenalia but then I was just thinking today I could do with more garden things. I was watching Dirt Girl with a sick 2 year old and even she had a dibber...

    1. I am very glad to know there are others with dirty secateurs! I have a dibber, a very very old wooden one made from the handle of an old garden implement. But it is broken and needs glueing. Despite the fact that it is a beautiful object, I have never really used it. I use my fingers to make planting holes. I like having dirty finger nails.

    2. Me too - the dirty finger nails I mean...

  2. When I'm working in the veggie plot i carry with me a plastic tool tray which holds my secateurs,plant labels,seeds,plant ties,pen,knife, gloves etc.
    My most treasured tool is always close by too,I'm not sure what its called it has a long handle with a long flat blade/hook on the end. It is so useful for weeding and making long lines for planting seeds and then you can turn it to one side and cover the seed with the soil.Don't most gardener's have dirty fingernails !!

  3. I like the sound of your plastic tray filled with equipment! I wonder if your tool is a Dutch hoe? I have one too and it is great for getting rid of weeds but i like your suggestion of it as a tool for covering seeds too - saves the back, the knees etc.



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