If your Mother’s Day offerings tend to fall into two categories: a) gift cards or b) yet another orchid, we’re here to redeem you with a whole new genre: cool stuff for the garden.
Whether Mom is a weed warrior with a spacious backyard garden or a patio putterer with a bunch of potted plants, the right tool can make all the difference between blisters and bliss.
Before you protest that Mom already has plenty of tools, do a little inventory. Chances are her arsenal includes a dinged-up trowel, a dull hand pruner and garden gloves with gaping holes. The truth is — and I am speaking from experience here — many mom gardeners are seduced by sexy garden gadgets, but we’re rarely willing to spend that kind of money on ourselves. Here are some tools any gardener would covet, at a variety of price points.
If your mom scrimps on tools, you know she won’t buy garden decor. This large steel wind catcher is the perfect reward for all her hard work. (Best presented with a gin & tonic, the better to admire it with). $100, Costco.com
Weapon of choice
The Hori Hori knife says you’re a serious gardener. This all-purpose tool easily routs the nastiest of weeds, cuts through roots and makes a perfect planting tool for seedlings and bulbs, with a handy ruler that measures the depth of your hole. $22, Gemplers.com
Gardeners can always use an extra set of gloves. And goatskin is a superior choice for digging in the dirt. They’re tough but pliable, even when wet, and their lanolin keeps hands soft. These elegant work gloves are longer than most for a little extra protection. $36, Womanswork.com Gauntlet-style goatskin gloves are particularly good for protecting arms against roses and other thorny plants. $25, Fir Tree, via Amazon. Want a non-leather option? “Digger” gardening gloves are made out of machine-washable microsuede in four fun colors and a terry cloth strip on the thumb to wipe your brow! $19, also from Womanswork.com.
This makes gardening easier for everyone, and especially for people who have trouble gripping a traditional trowel. The Handdigger is a sturdy tool that allows people to dig by pulling — instead of pushing. $18, Gardease via Amazon The Soil Scoop by Garden Works is a pointy, deep-dished trowel that doubles as a scoop, and its serrated edge is useful for opening bags of potting soil and sawing through roots. $18 at SeedandGarden.com.
You need a good hoe to get the job done. The swivel hoe, a.k.a. the Hula Hoe, improves on the traditional hoe by quickly and easily slicing the tops off young weeds before they get established. $15, HomeDepot.com. The Circle Hoe is a popular newcomer, priced at up to $38.95 depending upon size. It’s so popular, in fact, that it’s presently out of stock at circlehoe.com so maybe give mom a rain check for it. Another option? Corona’s Diamond Hoe has plenty of fans, thanks to its sharp, pointy edges, good for getting around plants and slicing out offending weeds. That said, wield with care! $39 at Corona via Amazon.
Cut it out
No garden tool box is complete without a pair of good hand pruners, and the Swiss-made Felco’s are hard to beat, thanks to replaceable parts and multiple ergonomic options to make it easy to trim branches up to 1-inch in diameter. Their top of the line F-7 model features a rotating handle for better ease in cutting. $59, Felco via Amazon If you prefer to buy local, however, Southern California-based Corona makes a sturdy, ergonomically sound pruner of its own called the Dual Cut Bypass Pruner. $21, Corona via Amazon. And with the Corona’s lower cost, you can throw in one of their blade sharpeners for an extra $9.
The Bucket Jockey is an effective but inexpensive way to organize and easily transport your tools with a bucket for holding your prunings. (Advice to skinflint children: If you buy this, spend a few extra bucks for a bucket too. It’s the least you can do for Mom.) $7, HomeDepot.com.