On Thursday, February 7th we gathered at the Wellesley Retirement Home for a tool demonstration given by Anne Roy with Lee Valley Tools. Anne did a great job of compiling an assortment of tools a dahlia gardener might use, even though she does not grow dahlias usually (hopefully we changed her mind?)
What struck me right of the bat was the inclusion and variety of ergonomic tools. This might be for some people the difference between gardening and not gardening, depending on your mobility. The tools are great for everyone, but especially for those with arthritis. “If you are grunting while gardening, ” Ann said, “you are using the wrong tool.” There were several options, from shovels to hand trowels to pruners.
I knew about blossom crowns, to add stability to cut flowers in vases; and I knew about staking plants. I did not know about dahlia rings. Place them around your plant when it is small and it grows up through the rings, keeping your plant stable as it grows. Genius! As well, Lee Valley sells ‘bloom transportation bags’, which are durable plastic bags designed for one to transport their blooms from home to show.
Did you know that copper metal deters slugs? Well, it does. Slugs don’t like touching the copper and will go elsewhere. Copper tape, copper rings and copper mesh blocker all work great, but be aware: once the copper turns green, the slugs don’t mind touching it and will crawl over it. These items will last a few years and will appeal to all of us who want healthy plants with beautiful blooms.
A few of the other tools Anne recommended:
-Chinese scissors and Precision scissors. The latter are made for those of us without three hands and hold onto cut blooms; there is a side that catches the blooms as they are cut.
-Nitrile gloves and Fox gloves. The Fox gloves do not allow dirt in, but they are not waterproof.
-Plant ties and labels.
We sure appreciated having Anne come by and talk with us about tools! Thank you very much Anne!
As spring approaches and we start planning our gardens and how we will garden, it’s important to remember one of the themes of this demonstration: The Right Tool For The Right Job.