Behind every good garden is a gardener and their tools. The endless array of devices that I have come across constantly reminds me of this. The diversity of objects also provides a sense of kinship. All of us seek the perfect garden tool that will help us achieve a certain outcome with minimal effort.
Vintage garden tools, in particular, have a patina that can only come from use. They were once someone's favorite; a tool seeing action nearly every day, and for many years. Some remind us of a time before "power tool" was an option, or a time when the fashion was different.
I think it is important for us to keep stories about these older implements alive. So impress your friends or just take pleasure in their puzzled looks when you say “my vasculum broke this weekend"; or “can I borrow your dibble?"
If you are reading this, these terms likely require no explanation. But here are dictionary definitions for you to pass along as you see fit.
VASCULUM: a cylindrical or flattened covered box usually made of metal used in collecting plants
DIBBLE: a small hand implement used to make holes in the ground for plants, seeds, or bulbs
The Garden Museum in London has a great collection of garden tools. But the most encyclopedic set I have come across belongs to a wonderful virtual museum called Old Garden Tools. In its own words, the site “showcases a large and extensive collection of vintage and antique garden tools and gardening ephemera. Old Garden Tools is the forty year passion of a collector of beautiful vintage and antique garden tools. In the absence of a museum site it has been decided to offer a … virtual museum to give the world a … picture book of these beautiful things and to be a resource to collectors and researchers in the field of tools and ephemera used in the art and science of gardening.”
Vintage garden tools are a great way to step into the past and to appreciate how gardeners first created the historic gardens we enjoy today.