My desert-island garden tool – the one I’d never be without – is of course my pair of Felco secateurs, which don’t often see the toolshed as they’re almost always in my back pocket.
A close second, though, has to be my bamboo spring-tined lawn rake. Now, you’d have thought a spring-tined rake with a wooden head has to be in the same category as the chocolate teapot in the ideas stakes – but actually it works beautifully.
It’s not as rough as a metal spring-tined rake, so you can collect leaves from lawns without actually pulling up the lawn itself while you’re at it. And you can use the flexible bamboo hooks on the ends of the tines to tease leaves out of the crowns of shrubs, where otherwise they’d form a noxious rotting mess by spring, without actually damaging the shrubs themselves at all. Plastic ones come close for effectiveness, but quite apart from the aesthetics – I do hate plastic garden tools – I’ve never found one that doesn’t crack after a few seasons’ use. Yet my humble wooden one is still going strong after seven years of hard labour.
I was given mine, and have since found that none of the main manufacturers in the UK make them – the honourable exception being JB Bentley’s Traditional Tool range. I have to say though mine is a bit better looking – you can see a pic of one just like it here. It may look a bit retro, but it really is the biz.