Horticultural Hack: Inside a Head Gardener’s Kit Bag

What indispensable pieces of kit do pro-gardeners carry with them everyday? We delve into Head Gardener – Rob – and Founder – Simon’s – kit bags to reveal the tools and supplies they wouldn’t garden without. 

A Head Gardeners Kitbag - what do the pros use?

  1. Tilley Hat

Essential in any gardener’s kit bag for personal shelter from blazing sunshine or passing showers. 

  1. Folding Pruning Saw

Excellent for pruning the thick, woody stems of mature growth. The blade folds into the handle when not in use to hide the sharp teeth, preventing cuts and grazes. 

  1. Fine Grade Whetstone

Over time blades on secateurs, snips and knives become dulled as each use slightly blunts them and causes tiny burs on the cutting edge surface. Keeping blades sharper makes for cleaner cuts which is gentler on the wrists and more importantly plants. Dull or ragged cuts can take longer to heal over and increase the risk of disease.   

  1. Camellia Oil 

Japanese tool maker – Niwaki – recommends this traditional method for cleaning tools, Camellia oleifera seed oil. When used to clean tools it adds a protective coating which helps prevent rust and adds a lovely deep, non-oily finish.

  1. Kaneshin Crean Mate Block

An amazingly useful little scouring block by Kaneshin cleans resin, rust and general gunk from blades. We add a few drops of Camellia Oil to a blade, then use the block like a rubber to erase any grime (the block does have a slightly rough texture though and may scratch polished surfaces, so if you’re thinking of getting one it’s worth testing it on an old blade ahead of using it on a shiny new one).

  1. Niwaki Snips

Snips are smaller pruners than secateurs and have longer, finer-noses, which makes them perfect for pruning delicate green growth and deadheading. The long, thin blades can get deep into foliage to make clean, precision snips. Indispensable for thinning grapes!

  1. Felco Secateurs

The ubiquitous garden tool; omnipresent in every gardener’s kit from the newly enthusiastic to the seasoned pro, secateurs are snips bulked-up older brother and well-constructed pair, like these from swiss manufacturer Felco, can last a lifetime if properly maintained. Powerful enough to cut through fine, thin branches, yet refined enough to nimbly prune fresh new growth. A great all-rounder. 

  1. Leather Gloves

We like to be able to really feel the earth, plants and materials we’re working with, but there are some plants who have evolved very clever and highly effective defence systems – thorns  – and some can be quite vicious! That’s when the leather gloves come out for protection. The longer gauntlet on these ones extend that protection to the wrists. 

  1. Twine

Always on-hand for tying-in climbing plants, tying together willow plant supports or even creating Kokedamas. This twine is biodegradable too, so can be composted after use. 

  1. Soft-Tie

Soft, flexible, but strong, Haxnicks Soft-Tie is our go-to for securing and supporting tender plants. The soft, foam coating encases a galvanised steel wire core so it’s strong enough to hold plants securely in position without damaging delicate stems. 

  1. Gardeners Tool Belt

For quick access to frequently used tools, there’s nothing to beat a durable leather tool belt with plenty of pockets. It keeps hand-tools and small supplies at close at hand, which saves on trips back and forth to the van or hefting a heavy toolbox. 

  1. Lightweight Gloves

Gloves can be a hindrance when we need to carry out intricate, precision work, however, for repetitive jobs we need to protect our hands from blisters etc. Luckily, modern technology is able to produce some seriously thin, close-fitting gloves from hard-wearing, breathable materials. These are just the job. 

  1. Hori Hori 

The superlative subsurface prospector, a Hori Hori knife or Japanese trowel is a deceptively simple looking multi-tool. It can be used to weed, saw woody stems, divide perennials and plant bulbs (the blade comes engraved with millimetre rule which makes gauging planting depths and measuring a doddle).  

Find out more about how our team of Oxfordshire-based pro-gardeners rejuvenate, care for and develop gardens – explore our Garden Maintenance service.

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