One of the shocks about turning grown-up is finding out just how expensive all this stuff is. Window boxes, I could cope with. But since we moved into a house with a bona fide garden, I’ve been regularly horrified by the bank account-draining qualities of spanking new garden gear.
Now I’m sure it doesn’t help that our garden was such a bombsite (complete with trenches, cratered knolls, piles of rubble and broken glass everywhere) when we moved in. The lovely people who used to live here used the back yard as a rubbish dump for ten years; I am told that when the house was finally repossessed, the council sent four skips to clear it all out. Bits of broken plastic toys still float to the surface when it rains – but at least the garden is level now, and has a lawn of sorts. It even has a shed, a composter and one of those rotary washing lines. Believe me, this Pooterish vision of suburban tranquility has involved much in the way of sweat, tears and rushing down the garden centre on a Saturday morning because something just has to be done, damn it.
I must have been desperate because our local garden centre, being a rather genteel one, only sells the spendy stuff. Which is how I ended up with a bunch of Senator Classic hand tools – a trowel, a fork and the like – costing around £8 a pop. When we moved in we were gifted a bag of brand new garden tools, but they were cheapies and when they were put to work in the hostile terrain that is our back garden, they fell to pieces: the trowel began bending back upon itself, Uri Geller style, and the weed knife snapped in two.
Those Senator Classic tools, though, are very well-made and they are in this for the long-haul. This is why they are my Friday Bargains for the week. They aren’t the cheapest from the off – but they are certainly the cheapest in the long run! They last and last – and believe me, I’ve worked them hard and I know! They are made from high-strength carbon steel with sturdy oak handles and according to the blurb, each tool “takes its inspiration from traditional Victorian tools of yesteryear, when gardeners knew the true value of well designed tools and how they made light work of gardening jobs”.
The tool pictured above has been particularly indispensable to me. It’s a “daisy grubber”; it makes short work of all those horrid dandelions and other tap rooted weeds.
The full range is available online from Birstall.com and prices begin at £5.99 – which, I may add, is considerably cheaper than my local garden centre’s prices.