Category: Gardening equipment and tools

garden machineryMy seventh post taken from a book I bought in a charity shop in the summer…..

Technology Maxim:

Gardening is the irresistible march of the machine versus the unstoppable advance of nature.

batmowerMurphy’s Constant:

The perceived usefulness of a powered gardening tool or mechanical gardening apparatus is inversely proportional to its actual claimed usefulness once bought and paid for.

Corollary: Manufacturer’s performance specifications should be multiplied by a factor of 0.5. Sales people’s claims for performance by a factor of 0.25.

Tungsten Tip:

A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that becomes sharper with use.

bike mowerFrom : ‘Mrs. Murphy’s Laws of Gardening’ – Faith Hines (Temple House books, 1992)

Old School Gardener


Coiled and ready to 'Mega Hose' promises easier and safer watering
Coiled and ready to strike…new ‘Mega Hose’ promises easier and safer watering

Half of all gardeners in the UK have injured themselves while tending to their pride and joy, according to research by TV retailer, JML. And one in five of these accidents seem to be accounted for by tripping over hoses.

JML commissioned independent research to look into the gardening habits of the UK. The survey found that Brits still love their gardens, with one in five spending more than an hour a day gardening. People spending most of their time gardening are those in the East Midlands (3.43 hours a week on average). Those in Greater London and Scotland spend the least time (2.55 hours a week).

The age that spends the most time gardening is over 60 (3.27 hours a week), but there are quite a few budding gardeners out there – those under 21 said they spend an hour and a half (1.52 hours) gardening a week.

But gardening can be a dangerous hobby – nearly half (47%) of all gardeners have had an accident while pottering among the plants.

The most common mishaps in the garden are:

1. Dropped something heavy on foot: 30%
2. Tripped on a hose: 19%
3. Stepped on a rake: 12%
4. Cut themselves with shears: 10%
5=. Fallen in a pond: 4%
5=. Fallen out of a tree: 4%

The research also found that flower beds top the list of proudest garden features (30%), followed by lawns (23%), vegetable patches (11%), hanging baskets (8%), and ponds or fountains (5%).

Recent wet (and cold) weather has perhaps relieved the need to use your hose in the garden, and you shouldn’t really water the lawn in any case. After a dryer, hotter spell a few weeks ago, my own hose (a heavy duty yellow plastic job), is lying in an untidy heap next to our back door, as its a real bind dragging it back and winding it up on its reel. The result? My wife is always complaining that it gets in the way when she’s hanging out the washing and I’ve tripped on it a few times too! And at 50 metres long it can kink and snag when in use with annoying regularity. It’s also heavy and can damage the borders unless I’m very careful. Hence my enthusiasm when JML offered me a sample of their new ‘Mega Hose’ to try out.

Oh that my hose would coil up as neatly as this....

Oh that my hose would coil up as neatly as this….

Mega Hose, launched this summer, is said to ‘never kink, bind or tangle’ and has the added benefit of  ‘starting small and light but growing to over 3x its length when filled with water’. When the water is turned off it shrinks back to its original size making it easy to store.

So far, I’m impressed. The sample sent, though expanding to less than half the length of my current hose, was long enough to water the containers and baskets in the Courtyard, here at Old School Garden. I’d fitted my own spray head attachment (this isn’t included in the hose pack), and after fixing the hose to the water tap with the supplied fittings and turning on the pumped water supply from our bore hole, the Mega Hose extended as promised and gave a nicely controlled water supply. The fabric-covered hose was good to use- light and bendable, and as promised didn’t kink or bend, and didn’t look likely to either.

The hose, once the water was turned off, shrunk back to a neatly coiled bundle, ready for its next session, or is easily stashed in the shed, avoiding the hassle of winding it up on a reel – and hopefully reducing the risk of trips too. My guess is that the fabric sleeve might wear a bit over time, but it looks pretty tough.

I’ll see how I get on with a few more waterings, and depending on this I may buy another length and join it to the other in order to reach the furthest bits of the garden. For those with smaller plots the Mega Hose I had is said to extend up to 22.5 metres, and smaller versions and other fittings are available.

Further information: JML website

Old School Gardener


The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog

You and I both know it’s important to treat water with the up most respect, it is after all our most basic and needed resource on the planet.

Yet I just didn’t know how needed this resource is.  I just imagined that seeing as we get rain in this country (usually quite a lot in some places) that we only ever had to worry about conserving it when Britain was in the mists of a belonged drought.

How wrong I was

Take a look at this infographic below:

Photographic courtesy of Easy Watering

There are two big things that really stood our for me on the above poster:

  • That we use 70% more water than we did 40 years ago
  • London is drier than Istanbul

Both the above have come from reliable sources (although I’m still trying to track down  year by year household water usage data), but I was…

View original post 235 more words

scrabbling about in the garden

Can you spot the odd one out?

Old School Gardener

As today looks like it’s going to be the hottest of the UK year to date (exceeding 30 degrees celsius in some areas), this brilliant project of a ‘self watering system’ by a chap called Guillermo for his polytunnel deserves an airing- it may inspire you to do something similar in your garden?cunning self watering system from Guillermo via Vertical Veg

Old School Gardener

via Vertical Gardens


DIY Liquid Comfrey Maker


Click on the title for the full article – via Permaculture Magazine

Old School Gardener

horse boot (1)‘The mowing was of course done by a stout little pony in leather boots and the soothing hum of the mowing machine was one of the pleasures of summer, instead of the noisy, smelly mowers which one now has to endure.’

Audrey Holland- Hibbert Hortus


Old School Gardener

dramm-garden-hose‘To a gardener there is nothing more exasperating than a hose that isn’t long enough.’

Cecil Roberts

Do you agree? What is the biggest pain in YOUR garden?

Old School Gardener

You may recall I mentioned trying to convert an old wooden bicycle rack into a plant theatre. These are traditionally structures where small specimen plants are put on display- usually in old terracotta pots. Auriculas and Pelargoniums are some of the plants often used. Here’s an example of an Auricula Theatre recently shown at an RHS show.

Auricula Ttheatre at an RHS show
Auricula Theatre at an RHS show

To avoid losing the interesting foliage effects (or ‘bloom’) on some varieties of Auricula, its advisable for the plants to have some overhead protection from the rain. Having recently completed an Alpine planter for the Courtyard here at the Old School Garden (which is now looking splendid- I’ll put some pictures in my next ‘Dear Walter’ letter), I thought this would add another interesting feature. Here’s what the bicycle rack looked like before I got to work on it.

The old Bike Rack before it's makeover
The old Bike Rack before it’s makeover

It is a relic of the local School at Cawston and must be a good 50- 60 years old. Having reorganised our sheds and so no longer in need of a rack for our bikes, it seemed a good opportunity to recycle something with local historical links. Having measured up and done a rough design, I bought a few planks of pressure-treated gravel boards from a local timber merchant and set to work; measuring out the spacing of the ‘shelves’ that would sit on the angled frame, cutting the notches in this to receive the shelves and screwing them home. Having some black wood stain left over from the alpine planter I used this to give the whole thing a unifying finish that would tie it into the courtyard. Here’s the final result, before and after painting, with the six shelves awaiting the addition of plants.

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As I have some pelargoniums in pots I think this is what I’ll use the planter for this year, though I’ll need to purchase a few more interesting varieties and source some old 3″ or 4″ pots. Next year I might do a spring display of Primulas (including Auriculas) as well as something for the summer months. I might have to think about an overhead canopy of some sort to protect the Auriculas from rain (maybe some sort of movable ‘pram hood’ that can be pulled over from back to front?)

Once the new planter is planted up I’ll show you how it turns out!

Old School Gardener


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