Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Garden Tool Advice

At my age, and as an experienced gardener and a man who loves his tools, I think I am reasonably well qualified to give advice on what are the best garden tools to purchase.
I certainly have made mistakes in the past but have learnt from those, some have been expensive failures and some have been terrific purchases.
I do review garden products through my internet site tell anyone that sends me a product that I will be fair and honest. If you go onto my website you can see I have posted a couple of really bad reviews.
The bad reviews are of course for products I have had problems with, but it’s not only the product, sometimes it’s the company that will not exchange or even answer you when you make a complaint.
A good example was a review I did on a Stanley Wheelbarrow. Stanley has been making great tools for a long time and I thought this would be no different, how wrong I was. The wheelbarrow turned out to be a very poorly made Chinese product and when I complained to Stanley Australia they said that they had NO responsibility as they had licensed their name to the company that made the wheelbarrow. Over 2000 people have read that review, wonder how many sales they lost?
I love Fiskars products, most of my garden tools are made by Fiskars. The product I like the best is the Telescopic Tree Pruner, the ergonomic fork and spade are good along with loppers, axes and rakes. A big bonus is that they are made in Finland and are a quality product.

Garden saws, I will only use Japanese made saws. The Japanese have centuries of history making quality swords, saws ect.  I think Silky are the best brand but other Japanese brands are not far behind.
Secateurs, this is a no brainer, I only use Felco number 2, great for all type of pruning, made in Switzerland and spare blades ect are readily available.

With garden sprayers I believe that Hozelock are the best brand, they are made in the UK and are available from most hardware shops and most importantly spare parts are readily available.

Mowers, I use a Honda HR216 self propelled, always starts first time and being Honda very reliable. My ride on mower is a Husqvarna 26 hp with a rear grass catcher, again very reliable, I find the rear grass catcher to be the best as it does not clog up unlike the side chute models.

Brush Cutter, do not buy a cheap one, basically when looking for one just make sure it is made in Japan then you can be assured of quality, mine is a Shingu brand.
Blower, mine is a Hitachi with a purefire engine, a great machine that’s starts first go every time again a Japanese made machine.

Stay away from Chinese cheap imports. I bought a back pack motor sprayer; I thought it would be great for spraying/misting my fruit trees. I found that as soon as the nozzle was brought upwards the machine stopped spraying liquid. After a big fight I received a refund.
 Another cheap Chinese product I bought is a long shaft petrol hedge trimmer, I still have this machine and do use it but, I think it will fall apart very soon as it sounds a bit loose inside the motor, another cheap Chinese copy of a Honda motor.
So overall you only get what you pay for, so my advice is to pay the extra for a quality product that will last you and give you years of good service.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

November Garden News

After almost four months with little or no rain FINALLY we had some good showers, what an absolute relief for both Judy and I and our plants.

On the first night it rained I leapt out of bed at 2 am and put my raincoat over my pyjama shorts and started to fertilize the lawns, I did have lots of company doing this as the Cane Toads were also enjoying the rain.
What a joy it was to be wet.
I had two garden presentations one at Bayside Garden Club and another at Victoria Point Garden Club, this was also a good opportunity to plug our ‘Open Garden’.
Briz 31 is a community TV station with about 20,000 plus viewers, one of their shows is ‘Blooming in Brisbane’ and they came and filmed in our garden.
You can find the clip here

It was a good experience as the two girls doing the filming were both students, they filmed for half a day then went off to edit.
The finished product ended up really well with great editing, the link is here.
Then of course it was our ‘Open Garden’, this was not an opening for ‘Australia’s Open Gardens’ but to raise money for the Lions Club to purchase equipment for disabled children.
It was not great as far as numbers went, 350 passed through the gate and there were refreshments and a raffle, all this money went straight to the Lions Club.
The Lion's made  $2300, so that is a total of $5675 clear from two 'Open Gardens' raised by us this year for equipment for disabled children.
The garden looked good with the recent rain.

The rain had vastly improved the garden and the Blood Lily and Caladium displays were fantastic, overall the garden looked great.

Plant sales were reasonable with many visitors leaving with cheap and great plants plus a bag of Black Sapote fruit.
AS usual there was a nice selection of plants in flower.

At 2 pm on Sunday the heaven's opened and down came the rain and hail.

As usual both Judy and I were completely worn out afterwards and after the big clean up we headed up the coast to Mooloolaba for a few days break.

We called in to see some gardening friends and of course came home with a car load of new and rare plants to add to our collection.