GARDEN FORKSWhere would we be without the humble garden fork? They have so many uses about the garden, from digging organic matter into vegetable plots to unearthing new potatoes, yet little attention is paid to the quality of what we are buying or the best style of fork for a particular job. The standard style is the easily recognised digging fork, the best quality designs now made with hickory or a composite material in the shaft and stainless steel tines. Lighter work such as weeding or working between rows is best achieved with the smaller border fork. To prevent damaging potatoes or other root crops, a specially designed potato fork is worth its weight in gold, the rounded tine tips preventing the accidental lancing of prized vegetables. Handle design is another consideration, with manufactures now offering ergonomic styles to relieve wrist strain and discomfort.


GARDEN RAKESThe garden rake is one of the most familiar tools in virtually every garden shed across the entire United Kingdom; used for a variety of tasks, it is without doubt one of the most versatile implements that we have at our disposal. There are many different designs on the market, with the most common style that of the leaf collecting rake, used for raking up large quantities of fallen leaves during the autumn months. This style is also used to even out vegetable patches and remove large stones in preparation for sowing seed. Spring-tine rakes are also used to remove thatch from small areas of lawn, scraping out the built up dead grass and detritus that has accumulated during the year, allowing the grass roots to breath again.


GARDENING GLOVESIt should be a simple task to purchase a pair of gardening gloves that will cater for all of your gardening needs. However, there are so many different types to choose from nowadays, most of them claiming to be all purpose and suitable for every horticultural task you may ever encounter. The truth of the matter is that not many gloves are manufactured with the right materials to be good for every task and it is worthwhile to spend a moment deciding on what your most common gardening tasks will be. It is possible to choose gloves with tough outer materials that are good for jobs such as pruning where protection is a major requirement; alternatively gloves that provide excellent grip are better for dexterous work or situations where anti-slip properties are essential, particularly when working with power tools.


HAND TOOLSEssential implements for gardeners at any level of expertise, the variety of gardening hand tools available on the market nowadays is vast and this makes it very difficult to always choose the best tool for your needs. It is possible to buy anything from a bulb planter to a moss scraper, a double-sided hoe to a humble trowel. The designs vary as much as the tools themselves, from the simple wooden handled style we are all familiar with to modern ergonomic creations that allow the tool to be held in the best possible position to avoid stress related injuries. If possible, choose a model that is constructed from stainless steel to ensure the maximum possible durability from your investment. It is also worthwhile to make sure you are selecting the right tool for a particular task; you will find that the end result of your efforts will be more satisfactory if you use the correct tools.


LOPPERS & PRUNERSEssential cutting tools to keep woody vegetation in top condition, in particular fruit trees and ornamental shrubs that need regular shaping to keep them healthy, loppers and pruning shears are to be found in every serious gardeners toolbox or shed. It is paramount that high quality tools are purchased to ensure that every cut is clean and precise, eliminating the chance of disease encroaching into your trees and shrubs. Be sure to choose the correct style of lopper for your needs: bypass loppers have a scissor cutting action that delivers a precise and clean cut whereas anvil loppers have one sharp blade that cuts against a flat blade in a crushing action, better for pruning tough, fibrous branches.


SECATEURS & HAND PRUNERSWhich secateurs are best? Secateurs are probably the most important piece of kit in a gardener's shed. We would recommend having 2 pairs - one anvil type for cutting thick, dead or robust stems and one pair of bypass Secateurs for the thinner, more delicate living stems. We recommend buying ones that feel comfortable in hand with a good quality blade. Fruit growers could not live without secateurs or hand pruners, a specially designed scissor-style cutting device that is capable of cutting through plant growth and stems of considerable thickness. They are necessary whenever accurate cutting needs to be carried-out on trees and shrubs for decorative or husbandry purposes and are normally available in two different styles. An anvil-designed blade will deal with tough growth in a crushing motion, where a partially sharpened blade works against a flat edge to make the cut; for more accurate pruning with a cleaner cut the bypass blade is the best choice, where both cutting blades are sharpened and in true scissor style, move past each other in one motion, leaving a clean cut that minimises the opportunity for disease to establish.


SHEARS & SCISSORSThe traditional way of cutting hedges and still the preferred method for many gardeners, particularly those shaping their shrubs or practicing topiary. Hedge shears are now available in many different styles, including telescopic hedge shears, yet their primary function remains the same, to provide a clean and precise cut with every stroke, ensuring that your hedges not only look good but also have less chance of becoming infected with disease. Don’t forget that grass and border shears can also be used to tidy up unruly edges on your lawn after mowing. Adding a clean line to your flowerbeds with a border shear is aesthetically pleasing whilst hand-held grass shears are invaluable for tidying in-between flowerpots and ornaments.


SPADES & SHOVELSNo garden is complete without a spade, the gardener’s favourite tool and one that he or she relies on year round to perform a multitude of tasks. The basic design of a digging spade has not changed significantly for many decades although ergonomic versions are now more common, made from composite modern materials, they ease the stresses inflicted on joints such as wrists and enhance the feel of the tool. Aside from digging, a spade can be used for breaking up clumps of earth, clearing up small piles of debris and transplanting shrubs and saplings. Shovels, often mistaken for their similar cousins, have much broader, flatter blades and are generally used to move large quantities of materials, such as gravel, from one area to another.


WOLF GARTEN MULTI CHANGE HANDLESThe Wolf Garten Multi Tool System is without doubt the best system of its kind available and offers gardeners a unique opportunity to tailor a garden tool system to their precise requirements. The Philosophy is a simple one; choose the handle that best suits your height or gardening style and then select the correct tool head for the particular task at hand. There are 14 handles to choose from and up to 60 tool heads. Wolf Garten claims that ‘Every Tool Head Fits Every Handle’ and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find the perfect combination to suit your needs. The handles range from short hand tool grips to long shafts up to 170cm long and even include a telescopic shaft that extends to 400cm. For the gardener that prefers the ‘old skool’ style of tool, a wooden ash handle is also available.


WOLF GARTEN MULTI CHANGE HEADSNever get stuck using the wrong tool again! The Wolf Garten Multi Tool System is designed for active gardeners and solves the problem of having to fill your shed with more equipment than you normally need. Comprising 60 different tool heads, it is possible to select a handle or shaft that suits your particular gardening style and then simply ‘click’ the tool head that is designed for a specific job into place. It is possible to choose from a selection of cultivation, rockery, tree care, lawn care, weeding, window and patio cleaning and soil care heads, ensuring that just about any garden task can be accomplished with ease. The build quality is rugged and functional and a 10-year guarantee correctly suggests that the Wolf Garten tools are built to last.