Summer is in full swing, and it’s usually around this time that I realize I need (or want!) something for the garden — or garden-related — whether it’s to make a task easier or simply make life more enjoyable. Here are my favorite additions of 2019 — plus a couple of standbys I wouldn’t garden without.
Felco pruners. When shopping for pruners, I only consider the bypass kind (the anvil type crushes stems and canes, not a good thing for plants). And when shopping for bypass pruners, I only consider Felco. Truth be told, since I bought my Swiss-made Felcos in 2007, I haven't needed to shop for pruners; they're lifetime investments, with replaceable blades, handle grips and springs. A range of models offers a variety of sizes, lefthanded and righthanded options and ergonomic rotating handles. They have super-sharp blades that make clean cuts that promote fast healing, and their nonslip, comfortable handles are red, so they won't get lost in a pile of clippings. $32-$83; felco.com.
Atlas nitrile gardening gloves
Atlas nitrile gardening gloves. I've got all sorts of gardening gloves, probably a couple dozen pairs, from high-end leather investment pieces to these simple Atlas NT370 gloves. They're cheap as dirt and my favorite by far. They fit like second skin, enabling me to feel what I'm touching and maneuver my fingers easily, yet they're sturdy enough to last without tearing or puncturing. The nitrile coating gives them a good grip, keeps my hands clean and dry, and protects against prickles (don't use them when handling roses, though; they aren't thick enough to resist thorns). They're available, often in multipacks, at garden centers, hardware stores, big-box stores and other brick-and-mortar and online retailers. I keep a pair each by my front and back doors, in the garage, the garden shed, the car and even the kitchen (they're great for opening jars!). Bonus: They're machine-washable. Available in various lengths and colors, individually, and in pairs and multipacks. Prices average $3 to $6 apiece; currently $18.15 for a six pack at amazon.com.
Spinning orb garden sprinkler
Spinning orb garden sprinkler. Whether you see this ornamental globe as a functional sprinkler or as garden décor, it's guaranteed to make you happy. Made by hand, each of these artisan sprinklers is fashioned of individually blown glass and polished copper. As the globes revolve, they shoot streams of water to irrigate your plants. It's a true marriage of form and function. $240; hoppysgardenart.com.
Gorilla Cart. Some husbands come home with flowers and candy on Mother's Day; mine showed up with a four-wheeled Gorilla Cart (he knows me so well). Gone are the days of balancing a laden one-wheeled barrow only to have it get stuck in the grass and tip over. There are several models available, among them the brand-new GCG4, which is as steady as they come. It has a comfortable handle, a strong, tough bed design, and 360-degree swivel pneumatic tires that make it super easy to steer and change directions - even when going backward. Its quick-release dumping system allows for easy unloading of mulch, soil or whatever you're lugging, and it has a four-cubic-foot, 600-pound capacity. $79.00; gorillacarts.com.
Root slayer carbon steel shovel
Root Slayer carbon-steel shovel. This V-shaped, serrated 13-by-10.5-inch carbon-steel blade slices through soil to lift out weeds and roots with little effort. I find it a bit heavier than an ordinary long-handled spade, but its ergonomic handle makes it easy to manipulate. $49.99; thegrommet.com.
Arrow T50 staple gun
Arrow T50 staple gun. A longtime toolbox staple, the iconic T50 has been making easy work of reupholstering chairs and hanging holiday lights for 50 years, but it has a place in the garden shed. I use the one-handed, heavy-duty staple gun to secure landscape fabric to raised beds, fasten thin lattice panels, and attach chicken wire and bird netting to stakes. $25.99; arrowfastener.com.
Car-Go Apron. I bought a new car over the winter and cringed at the thought of spilling soil all over the back - as I typically do - when gardening season rolled around. Enter this full-coverage cargo liner that protects floors, side walls and the back of the rear seats. It's sturdy, water- and tear-proof, and folds up for easy storage when not in use. $19.95-$49.95, depending on size (refer to the online chart to guide you to the size suited for your car's make, model and year); thegrommet.com.