Recommended Tools and Supplies


Note : the links included here are not intended to be an endorsement of any particular brand or shopping source, but rather to show you what the tool looks like to aid you in finding one.

This is a handy tool for weeding and touch-up hand edging.  It is sort of J-shaped, with a flat blade.  The flat blade is good for running just below the soil surface to cut off weeds or, as the name implies, running down a crack between paving stones to help evict weeds that have taken up residence there.  It gets used often to neaten up the edge/slice off invading grass anywhere the grass and paths intersect but the intersection is not in need of a full edging with the spade or half-moon edger.

The proper name for this tool is a fishtail weeder, but I call it a weed stick.  It’s a wooden-handled metal rod with a V-shaped flat blade at the end.  You push the rod/blade into the soil at the base of the weed and lever the weed out of the soil.  It is most effective for tap-rooted weeds like dandelion, and works best when the soil is moist.

This is an invaluable tool for pruning the wisterias, the honeysuckle on the iron arbour, and also for deadheading the tall lilac by the chimney.  It is stored in the front, right corner of the garage.  It was originally purchased from Lee Valley Tools.

  • Pantyhose ties

To tie in vines to the chainlink fences or swag chains and to tie plants needing support to stakes, you need soft, stretchy ties that will not cut into the plant and restrict nutrient flow.  You also need something that is not very visible.  The ideal thing is pantyhose ties!  Take a pair of pantyhose – preferably black or  charcoal ( those colors are less visible) and cut the legs across in ~3/4” strips to make a ring.  Cut open the ring and you have the perfect plant tie!

This is one of those things that raises controversy in the gardening community!  There is little doubt that mycorrhizal fungi are necessary and beneficial.  The doubt arises as to the benefit of supplements.  In good, organic soil that is not disturbed often, there is likely a thriving ‘native’ population and no need for supplements.  But, in poor soil or soil that is regularly disturbed or cultivated, supplements can be beneficial. 

The soil here is fairly heavy clay that was badly compacted by the renovation and addition to the house in 1999.  While the soil has noticeably improved over the years since, we still use a supplement when we plant perennials, vegetable, trees and shrubs.

We us the MYKE brand and it is getting hard to come by.  Taylor Nurseries in Milton usually carry it.  Because it’s a living thing, it has a ‘best before’ date – check the date before you buy it to make sure it’s still valid.

  • Half-moon edger and edging spade

These are necessary tools for keeping the grass from growing into the garden.  In the garden’s present configuration, they are only needed to refresh the edge of the rectangular lawn in the backyard, along the edge of the path to the south gate arbour, and across the ends of the path behind the teardrop bed in the front garden.  Some people prefer the half-moon edger and others the narrow, flat-bladed spade.  Use whichever you’re comfortable with.  The spade is also useful for digging smaller planting holes, so that one gets used a lot.

These are essential for working around the roses.  Regular garden gloves, even leather ones, will not prevent rose thorns from penetrating and scratching/stabbing you painfully!  The gauntlets also protect your forearms while the shorter, regular garden gloves will not. Lee Valley Tools sells really good pigskin ones in ladies sizes.  The Bionic brand of rose gauntlets is good as well and come in men’s sizes too.

  • Mulching leaf blower

The main use this tool gets in the garden is to suck up and chop the oak leaves that collect in the south alley in spring; the other very important use is to clear ash leaves and pine needles out of the eavestroughs when the leaves come down in the fall!

  • Water-filled roller

 When the paths need refreshing with new mulch/sand mix, it needs to be packed down firmly after the new material is laid.  We prefer the plastic roller since it won’t rust.  It is stored in the garden shed.

  •  All the usual tools such as:

o   wheelbarrow and wagon,

o   leaf rake, trowels, shovels – both pointed end and flat-bladed are useful to have,

o   secateurs,

o   grass shears – mainly used to clip grass that grows out of reach of the lawn mower against the edges of things like walls, poles or raised bed edges,

o   lawnmower – a reel mower is all that’s needed as there’s not a lot of lawn left,

o   string trimmer – useful for tidying up grass at the brick edging in the front beds.

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