Master Gardeners gone wild

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

By Liz Flynt

MSU Pearl River County  Extension Service Master Gardener

Who knew that a Show and Tell at the local garden club would turn into a scene from Fright Night 3? We were asked to present our favorite garden tool at our monthly Pearl River Master Gardener meeting and to extol its virtues.

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Many of the items were what one might expect at a garden gathering:  a lightweight polyurethane hose that’s easy to move around the yard and doesn’t kink, garden gloves, a trenching shovel, a cute and functional tool caddy that fits on a 5 gallon bucket. 

What I didn’t expect was a petite senior citizen holding a  small hatchet over her head, another brandishing a rechargeable chainsaw in the air and a third cavalierly propping a power drill on her hip bearing a 3 foot drill bit.

When the final lady  unsheathed a Hori-Hori knife, I was ready to run. I managed to remain calm just long enough for the ladies to explain their “weapons of choice”.

Unbeknownst to me, novice gardener that I am, some of these so-called tools have been used for ages by gardeners and the explanations turned out to be quite convincing.

Our cute hatchet wielder said she used her small axe in the rough areas of the garden to chop out large roots as well as clearing heavy brush. She sometimes used it to edge. At 78, it gave her the extra power she needed to get the tougher gardening jobs done.   

The master gardener with the chainsaw got a dreamy look in her eyes as she described how the saw cut through a crape myrtle branch “like butter”. 

Because this power tool is battery run and lightweight, she explained,  it enables even we of the less muscular sex to prune some larger  tree branches.

Even the power drill with the gardening bit (soil auger I was told) had an impressive track record. Apparently, it is used to plant bulbs and comes in handy to mix soil with amendments,  drill holes around trees for fertilizer, and break up compacted soil.

Then there was the Hori-Hori knife. I made the knife holder repeat that name. This knife was 6 inches long and serrated on one edge. I was just sure such a knife had some sinister background.

Thankfully, I was wrong again. Hori-Hori knives–I just love saying that–are wonderful tools for digging up just about everything. My friend uses hers, among other things, to wedge up sections of grass and plant bulbs. Some even have inches marked on the side so you will know how deep to plant.

So after my initial shock, I came to see that, as we age, we don’t have to give up gardening due to loss of strength or dexterity. We just need to find the right tools.

We need to power up! As one wonderful gardener once told me, “ I want to die planting something in the ground”. Here’s to continuing to do the things we love throughout our lives.  Happy Gardening!