My Love of Vintage Garden Tools

galvanised watering can

Being a hands on gardener I use lots of different gardening tools, many of them older than I am. Over the years I’ve slowly built up my own personal collection of vintage garden tools, old shabby tools that have stood the test of time. Timeless and stylishly beautiful, I love the idea that old garden tools can be loved, treasured or put to work all over again. There’s something quite special about grasping the wooden handle of an antique gardening fork or trowel, smooth to the touch from years of work gone by just feels ‘right’ somehow.

I have many vintage trowels, forks, onion hoes, secateurs and weed grubbers. I adore my collection of English galvanised watering cans, although rusty and a little battered in places most are still fit for the purpose intended. My stamped (makers mark era 1896 onwards) antique garden line and pin ensures rows are straight for planting, I often wonder if it was ever used in a Victorian kitchen garden. But, my most treasured tool has to be my vintage Brades garden fork. Lightweight, sharp and beautifully smooth with age, each time I push it into the soil it emanates quality.

garden line

IMG_0478bradesforkresized

I snoop around car boot sales, garage clearance sales and have a flutter on ebay for my finds, I’ve found some real bargains too. This year I stumbled across a shop on Etsy via Julie’s blog Suburban Veg Plot and bought a rather beautiful hand fork and trowel set. My set arrived beautifully packaged in brown paper and garden twine (perfect for gifting) along with a packet of in season veg seeds (lovely touch). So, if you’re wondering what to spend your Christmas gift money on I highly recommend Julie’s shop, Ember Gate http://www.etsy.com/shop/EmberGate, she has some wonderful pieces.

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12 Comments

  1. What a coincidence! I have a post ready to be published on my collection of old garden tools.

  2. I’ll be over in a bit to read!

  3. What a lovely post. I have a few old garden tools too, but the one thing I wish I had was my Dad’s old hand plow.- don’t know what happened to it after he passed. Good tip on that shop on the Etsy website. I’ll be sure to check it out.

  4. Rob Cornelius

     /  December 29, 2012

    I use my grandfathers old gardening tools. Admittedly most of them have had replacement handles and been welded up over the years but parts of some of them must be getting close to being 80 years old. Knowing my grandfather he didn’t buy them new either.

    I took a blacksmithing course a couple of years ago and the tutor said then that old garden tools are often made from far higher quality steel than their modern counterparts making them stronger and far more likely to outlast new tools.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rob_cornelius/3874814210/

  5. Thank you, Jo Ann. Such a shame you can’t find your dad’s hand plow (or plough as we spell it). I do hope it returns again someday.

  6. Hi Rob, I agree, old garden tools are so robust and look more appealing which is why I prefer them to most modern-made garden tools. Feel free to join this Flickr group to add your wonderful photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintagegardentools/

  7. Lovely post. Old garden tools kept in good condition can be handed down from generation to generation, and they are often way better than modern ones. xx

  8. Thank you Flighty!

  9. I love your vintage stuff, especially the fork. I’m after a vintage seed sifter, I just love vintage garden stuff too. My husband is going to make us a new shed next year and I have secret plans to put hang some nice old tools in there! Lovely post. Wishing you a very happy 2013 : )

  10. Hi Anna, I can just imagine all those lovely old tools, proudly displayed in your shed. Wonderful! Happy 2013 to you too :)

  11. A lovely fork. So nice to use quality old tools.

  1. Tools For The Cottage Garden « Romancing the Bee

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