Losing Tools.

I lose hours of gardening time a year searching for my garden tools. Back and forwards to the shed I go for things I’ve forgotten. Scouring the flower beds and the wheelbarrow for my trowel or secateurs takes years off my life. It drives me nuts. I have had my favourite secateurs for about 20 years and always managed to find them eventually when they were mislaid – until now. Now they seem to have gone to their final resting place wherever that is. And I am in mourning. I can’t mention the make, you are not allowed to advertise on a free WordPress blog, but they were red and shiny and came with a lifetime’s guarantee. But that’s no good if you lose them.

I went to the hairdressers recently and sat there with water dripping down my neck whilst Sharon hunted for her comb. She got all her girls hunting for it and all the customers shouting out useful suggestions about where it might be. I had things I needed to do and lots of things I much preferred to be doing, so eventually I said a tad impatiently: ‘Sharon, you are a hairdresser, surely you have more than one comb!‘ Of course she has more than one, but apparently that was her special comb. She couldn’t think of using any other. I can understand this because I have plenty of secateurs, but these were my special ones and the only ones I used.

So I have bought myself some new, special ones for Christmas. They are Japanese and very expensive.  I spent ages researching and reading reviews which is fun to do. I chose bypass secateurs which are good for precision work. They have one side with a sharp blade which cuts against the metal surface on the other side.

I also bought some new ratchet secateurs which have an anvil action which means the blades are sharp on both sides which is better for thicker stems. The ratchet action means you can open them wide to cut quite thick stems. I do have some ratchet secateurs but their 6 month holiday in the bowels of the compost heap didn’t improve them. They were never very good anyway.

I also bought 2 new trowels and a new hand fork and a claw-thing.  I know this is rather extravagant but apart from my red secateurs, for years I have gardened with tools which are little better than a pointy stick. My grandfather was a cutler who manufactured and even patented horticultural tools.  If you have old tools you still use they may well say W.Saynor’ on them and lucky you. I am like the cobbler’s granddaughter who has no shoes. Or with just cheap nasty shoes that she keeps losing.( Actually I do still have the border fork that my grandmother got for her 98th birthday present.) Anyway I am well equipped now so my grandfather would approve. He died before I was born and his factory is long gone but I found this advert for it on eBay.

After  buying these shiny new tools, I had to address the problem of  possibly, (or most likely) putting them down somewhere and losing them. I think I have found the solution,  I hope so anyway.  I have bought a garden tote bag with a pocket for everything and plenty of room in the centre for everything else. Apart from my secateurs, trowels, and hand fork, I can carry round  string, wire, scissors, seed packets and my lovely hori-hori or Japanese weeding knife. There is room for labels and gardening gloves.

I have bone meal and chicken pellets in two of my little tins. I love old tins almost as much as I love jugs so I have quite a collection. Anyway, from now on I won’t need to go back to the shed whenever I think a plant could do with a bit of dinner.

I have antiseptic wipes in sealed packets and plasters because I am clumsy and I am always injuring myself. The Japanese secateurs are very sharp…


And here is my smart new bag. Now I shall not have to waste hours looking for things because they are all here and wherever I go the bag goes too.

And thanks to my lovely daughter’s Christmas present I shan’t need to stake my floppy perennials with cunningly concealed bamboo canes and risk impaling an eyeball every time I do a bit of weeding.

So 2019 is going to be the year when I am organised and efficient. I can spend all that searching time actually gardening with my shiny new tools.  And all my propped up plants will stay propped and not have to be retied after each windy day.  A bright new gardening dawn.

I hope  2019 will be a wonderful one for you and your gardens.  I hope all your plants will flourish and bloom and all your garden pests go next door. I am looking forward to sharing  more of  your garden stories in the coming year.

Happy New Year!

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50 Responses to Losing Tools.

  1. I think we all have that problem. I used to have reading glasses (now I have full glasses) and I was always dropping them. One pair I found a year later. My husband gave me an organizer on wheels and it hasn’t left the garage. I hope you do better than me.

  2. Christina says:

    A very happy New Year to you too Liz. ….. and if you lose the tote bag?

  3. annincumbria says:

    Happy new gardening year to you

  4. I was going to suggest you check your compost, but it sounds like you have! My snippers have turned up there more than once. My mum’s car keys and wedding ring have turned up in her compost heap too! Your trug looks great, as do those plant supports!

    • Chloris says:

      It’s not just the compost heap which devours treasures. I once threw my new pruning saw onto the bonfire. I am wondering how your Mum’s car keys got into the compost heap though, I haven’t managed that- yet. I am particularly delighted with those plant supports, my daughter has the knack of giving the sort of presents you’d buy yourself, she’s brilliant at it.

  5. Tina says:

    I was wondering exactly the same thing as Christina. Thanks for the fun post, glad I’m not the only one, happy and healthy 2019 to you!

    • Chloris says:

      You thought of that too? You and Christina have got me worried. I suppose I could put an alarm clock in it and keep resetting it. Happy New Year to you Tina.

  6. Cathy says:

    That bag is a great idea Chloris. I have a small basket I cart around with me, but have still managed to lose my favourite secateurs recently. Hopefully they did not end up on our compost heap and will reappear when I tidy the garden up in spring! I do wish you a very efficient and successful gardening year, and a happy one too!

    • Chloris says:

      I used to have a holster for my secateurs which was very handy. I hope you find yours, it is so easy to put them down on the ground whilst you are working, or even worse in the wheelbarrow. Happy New Year Cathy.

  7. Alison C says:

    I salute you and will be taking notes and attempting to follow your example. I trotted back and forth looking for a spade yesterday which was just near where I had started off. I have a tool belt which is great when I wear it. I’ll also be hoping my wedding ring turns up, I lost it two years ago, probably in the garden but it could be anywhere. MrC did buy me a new one. Happy new year, looking forward to hearing about your organised garden in the months to come.

  8. Kris P says:

    We may garden on different continents but we’re all the same, at least when it comes to gardening practices (and failures). I lose favorite tools with some degree of regularity myself and even enlist my husband’s help in finding them, playing the game of retracing all my steps. But, as I flit about quite a bit when working in the garden as one thing or another catches my eye, the search isn’t always successful. Like you, I established a container to house all my favored tools a couple of years ago but I don’t carry it about with me so I can’t say I’ve been 100% successful; however, I can report that my favored trowel, which once belonged to my MIL, is still with me.

    • Chloris says:

      I find secateurs are the worst culprits for hiding themselves away. I’m going to take specially good care of these. They need to be kept clean and oiled too. I am full of good intentions but I don’t know how long it will last.

  9. snowbird says:

    This had me smiling, oh….I can’t remember how many times I’ve lost good tools, they usually re-surface when I dig the potatoes up. Goodness, how very posh and organized you are now, I may go for a bag like that, such a marvelous idea. Here’s to a fab 2019 to you and yours and to your beautiful garden.xxx

    • Chloris says:

      The thing is it doesn’t do tools any good to be buried in the garden. The bag only cost £7.39 on line so it is worth buying.
      Happy New Year to you too Dina. 2019 is a special year for you, isn’t it? I hope Sam has recovered now.

  10. tonytomeo says:

    My 1985 Corona shears were retired years ago. I use them only for home gardening. They are still my favorite. My Pa got them for me when I graduated high school. I am fortunate that I do not lose tools.

    • Chloris says:

      I’d like to know how you manage not to lose things. You must be very organised. I wish I could master the technique. The trouble is I was born untidy.

      • tonytomeo says:

        I really do not know. I have a pen that I used in junior high school. Until a recent loss, I used only one razor my entire life. I started using it when I started shaving, and never replaced it. My old Dodge was the first car I got when I was sixteen. My pots and pans are the same Revere Ware that my mother got from her wedding shower in 1964. When they say they will last a lifetime, they mean two. I rarely purchase anything new.

  11. rusty duck says:

    Happy New Year Chloris and enjoy the shiny new tools!

  12. Frog says:

    Happy New Year ! My garden is too small for me to really lose tools but I have nonetheless been dreaming of Japanese secateurs for a while… Your gardening bag is a great idea, I hope it isn’t too heavy to carry ! Thank you for all your beautifully written and informative posts which I am very fond of.

    • Chloris says:

      I have tried the secateurs and they are wonderful. Thank you for reading my blog, I enjoy your thoughtful posts too and your poems. Happy New Year.

  13. Wow lucky you! The plant supports are beautiful. I have the same red and white secateurs and love them, which reminds me they do need a sharpen. Of course you will find your old ones now ….. 🙂 Happy New Year to you!

    • Chloris says:

      I tried the secateurs and they are fabulous and very sharp as you see from my photo. I am used to my blunt ones. I have a friend who works in A&E and apparently at Christmas time they are really busy with people cutting their fingers off with expensive new knives they got for Christmas.
      Yes the plant supports are wonderful, I am thrilled with them. Happy New Year Gill.

  14. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and good pictures, not too sure about the bloody finger though. I lose a weeding knife occasionally which I invariably find months later when I empty the compost heap.
    Thanks,and for you and your garden. xx

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Mike, I shouldn’t have shown my bleeding finger but I managed to do that the first time I used my secateurs, they are so sharp. I love my weeding knife and so far I far managed not to lose it or cut myself with it, but give me time I haven’t had it long.

  15. bittster says:

    Happy New Year and thank you for making me feel a bit more acceptable, as I’m always hunting around the garden looking for left-behind tools. I did start using an ugly bucket which did help, but my situation is so bad that I can make two or three rounds about the garden looking for something silly like a spade or rake. I don’t know how a rake can hide as well as they do, but they do around here.
    Excellent plant supports. I was gifted a wallet, which is just as empty as the last one so I’m not sure how good a gift that was.

    • Chloris says:

      You too eh? Rakes are bad things to lose because you can find them by standing on them and nearly knocking yourself out. I am always doing things like that because I am incredibly clumsy. The Pianist is even worse but he doesn’t venture out into the garden very often unless it’s to mow or make a bonfire. When mowing he is more of a danger to my plants than to himself. Bonfires always worry me though.
      I’m not surprised you have an empty wallet with your snowdrop addiction.

  16. Oh many sympathies on the loss or perhaps it could still be a simple mislaying of your secateurs Chloris. They may still be there lurking somewhere in the undergrowth. I have been contemplating treating myself to a hori-hori for some time. Judging from your description of it as being ‘lovely’ it must be effective. Wishing you a most happy and healthy New Year and please, please no more cut fingers!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, I’ll probably find the secateurs now I’ve bought new ones. I can reccomend the hori-hori, I love it. It is particularly good for cleaning the cracks of my brick path.
      Happy New Year Anna.x

  17. IT’s good to know someone is as a tool scatterbrain the same as me. I am now reduced to using my granddaughter’s beach spade as a hand trowel because I’ve mislaid mine. I know it will turn up at some point but until then…

    I like your secateurs… they look posh! And your tote bag. Excellent idea!

    • Chloris says:

      Oh no you have to buy a trowel, even I wouldn’t use a child’s spade. Yes, the secateurs are lovely to use even if I do cut my fingers. And I am thrilled with the bag, I hope it will be the answer to all my tool- losing problems.

  18. I’m envying your new plant supports, good post btw, the “gardening with a pointy stick,” made me smile. I use an old fashioned dustpan to carry my tools around and the brush lives in there as well, handy for sweeping up as I go as well! Happy new year.

  19. Those are some very nice new garden tools. As for losing tools, it is a constant and annoying distraction. However, I have decided that my lost tools are not really lost, they are a part of my Strategic Tool Reserve (STR). When crisis arrives and there is a critical shortage of garden tools, I shall borrow a metal detector and produce dozens of trowels and secateurs that will save the day! Actually, this gives me an idea for a post, I hope you don’t mind.

  20. Chloris says:

    You do it too, I like to hear that I am not the only one. The only flaw I can see to your plan STR, apart ftom the fact that it sounds like an unpleasant disease, is that your tools will be rusty and blunt when you find them. I am glad if I have inspired a post and look forward to reading it.
    Incidentally, even though my house was built in 1500, and I am always out there grubbing,I have never found any tools or anything of value. Just fish paste jars.

  21. Cathy says:

    Well, Chloris, I am sure you could squeeze the kitchen sink into your bag too and thenyou wouldn’t need to go back to the house to wash your hands…. 😉 I know, of course, what you mean about favourite secateurs, and still mourn for my favourite pair which I was hoping to find when I emptied the 2016 compost heap, but sadly didn’t. Having small hands I ensure I buy compact (and light) pairs and the pair (well I have 2 of the same, one for each end of the garden) I use now is cheap and efficient and the makers replace them if they break (which they have done). Hope you get on well with your super-duper new ones and DO NOT LOSE THEM! (perhaps tie a long ribbon onto both of them so they are more visible?)

  22. Cathy says:

    And it’s nice to think of your grandfather making horticultural tools – did you buy the advertisement from eBay?

  23. Peter Herpst says:

    Happy new year, Chloris! Your new organizational tote bag looks marvelous and will serve you well. Suffering from gardening attention deficit disorder (GADD) which causes the gardener to flit from one job to another without completing any, I often misplace tools. My solution has been to simply buy cheap replacements but your idea is much nicer. Congratulations on your new tools!

  24. Chloris says:

    Happy New Year Peter. Glad to hear you lose your tools too. You could invest in a bag like mine or a metal detector like Jason. My idea is best though because rusty tools aren’t great, I think that is the big flaw in his plan.

  25. Niwaki are the best for secateurs and a pleasure to use. At work I get a lot of grief from colleagues about lost trowels and hand forks. My response is something along the lines that if you do nothing you’ll get nothing wrong! The compost heap and bonfire are the main issues. I love your new stakes, very smart. HNY

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