The Tools of Rose Gardening
Like any job you tackle, it's always easier if you have the right tools. Before heading out to your rose garden, make sure you arm yourself with these basic rose gardening tools.
"You can complain because a rose has thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have a rose." - Tom Wilson.
The rose garden is no place for thin, wimpy gloves. Unless you enjoy feeling the thorns pierce your skin, opt for leather work gloves with those big, fold-down cuffs.
A good pruner is one tool that you will use almost daily. There are two types of pruners on the market. One is called an "anvil" pruner, and the other is called a "bypass" pruner. An anvil pruner has blades that meet on top of each other. Bypass pruners have blades that pass each other like scissors. Always use bypass pruners so you don't crush your canes and stems.
When your rose garden starts to mature there will come a time when loppers will be indispensable for cutting back old, thick canes that are too much for pruning shears. If you are just starting your rose garden, save your money, since you won't need this for a few years.
Some people prefer the big 8"x15" water-resistant pads with handles, while others prefer strap-on knee pads. The kneepads are more convenient because they move when you move, but the one-size-fits-all knee cups may not work for you. In that case, the pad with handles should suit you fine.
Short Digging Fork
This tool is indispensable for turning and loosening soil in small patches. Choose a good quality model with steel tines and a sturdy handle.
Great for watering potted roses and for giving your other roses a good root soaking. Choose a model with a quick shutoff valve on the wand itself, and a quick release fitting for the end that attaches to the hose. Spend the money to get a wand with brass fittings instead of plastic. It will last years longer.
Choose a lightweight model with a strong handle. Shovels with fiberglass throats are good choices. Spend a few extra dollars and get one with a padded handle, and it will save you lots of blisters as the years go by.
Avoid the temptation to buy the cute garden "carts." You are going to need a real wheelbarrow. As your gardening addiction--I mean hobby--takes off there will be no end to the things you will be hauling in and out of your garden. Some of those things will be very heavy and you'll be glad that you have a real wheelbarrow to help you.
This is the rake with the sharp steel teeth that you use for leveling and smoothing beds. Choose one with a sturdy handle and steel tines.
You'll use this tool often for cleaning up clippings, leaves and other garden debris. You may want to buy both a regular size rake, and one of the smaller "child size" rakes for pulling debris from tight quarters.
You shouldn't have any trouble locating these basic rose gardening tools. Your local garden supply store will likely stock them, or if you don't mind purchasing gently-used items, check out yard sales for your gardening supplies.
Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Visit Grow-Roses-Now to learn more about this popular gardening activity.
Copyright 2005 Ron King. This article may be reprinted if the resource box is left intact.
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