Old Garden Tools

I just love old garden tools. I like using them and I like collecting them. They feel good in the hand, smooth and worn and I know I am holding a piece of gardening history. Every tool has a story to tell, a story I shall never know. But you can always imagine!

When you find old tools in antique centres, on market stalls or at garden or smallholder shows they seem dry and dull and lifeless. It is when I do them up that I feel in touch with the old gardeners who have used them for decades.

I have been amazed to find that for almost every old tool there is a modern equivalent and that today’s versions are often virtually identical. I enjoy trying out tools from my collection and find them just as easy to use. So it seems there are no new ideas in garden implements just new versions of the oldies.

The garden line below was used by Jude, The Undergardener’s Grandfather back in the early years of the twentieth century when he worked a market garden. We use it all the time on our allotment as it is far superior to any available today. It is a design that just could not be improved upon.

On a recent lottie visit we had hoeing and raking to do so I decided to take up my old triangular headed hoe and my “crome”. They worked really well, the sharp tines of the crome breaking down the soil to a fine tilth and with the hoe we could manouvre between winter onions and leeks a treat.

I enjoy trying out these oldies from my collection and I find them easy to use and often more comfortable than their new cousins. Perhaps it is the materials they are crafted from, the hardwood handles honed from local trees and the iron blades and tines. Today’s plastics and stainless steel give less and feel harder and colder. Of course the main difference is that old tools were individually made by craftsmen.

The art of repairing them and bringing them back to life is moat satisfying. I clean up the metal to prevent them getting any rustier and treat the wooden bits to a few coats of linseed oil well rubbed in. The smell brought back memories of my cricketing youth when I used to treat my bat handle in the same way.

Below is one of my pieces in need of some tender loving care, its handle dry and its blade rusted.

And here he is all spick and span!

This batch has been rust-treated, linseeded and given the first of two coats of satin finish varnish.

And here they all are in all their glory, decorating the back wall of our garage.

These two little hand tools are weeders better known as “daisy grubbers”. They seem so well designed with sharp forked tongues, a fulcrum point and beautifully shaped wooden handles, hand turned by a craftsman.

Published by greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

12 replies on “Old Garden Tools”

  1. I adore this post. I guess it’s because we share a passion for gardening and nature. I have a number of antique garden tools that I savor. Some are from England and France, and they remind me of your collection. I really like your idea of displaying your treasures outside. I stand them here and there, but try to protect them from the elements. Nicely done.

  2. My favorite shovel is a small one my mother-in-law gardened with, and our pitch forks came from my son-in-law’s grandfather. I also have an awl that was used by my grandfather. Treasures for sure.

  3. I agree that these beautiful old tools have the memories of old gardeners in them! It must be really rewarding to renovate them and bring them back to usefulness!

Comments are closed.

This Veggie Life

A Vegetarian | Nature Lifestyle Blog

Rambling in the Garden

.....and nurturing my soul

The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond

Garden Dreaming at Châtillon

Consult the genius of the place


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.


Notes from a wildlife-friendly cottage garden


...an emerging social science

The Official Blog of British Wildlife

'The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times' - The Independent. This blog is a member of The UK & Ireland Natural History Bloggers group: www.uknhb.blogspot.com


Home School Gardening

Bishops Meadow Trust

To create and protect a semi-natural wild space for the people of Farnham to enjoy and experience an array of British wildlife in our town

Gardening with Children

The www.gardeningwithchildren.co.uk Blog


birding through the seasons, why birds matter and how to conserve them


with a camera in hand


Transform your outdoor space

Eva's space

My allotment, cooking and other interests

Old School Garden

my gardening life through the year


Trying to live a creative life


trying to live as lightly as possible on our beautiful planet

Good Life Gardening

Nature lovers from Leicester living the good life.


Finding the beautiful in the everyday


Michelle's Allotment

In and Out of My Garden

thoughts from and about my garden


Big plans for a small garden

The Fruity Chicken

Life at the fruity chicken


Off grid living. Self sufficient. "PERMAGANICS RULE".

St Anns Allotments

Nottingham's Grade 2* Listed Allotments and Community Orchard

Manifest Joy Harvests

a journey in suburban vegetable gardening

The Garden Smallholder

Small-Scale Smallholding, A Tiny Farm In A Big Garden


The madness of growing your own

Penny's Garden: a harvest beyond my front door

A novel approach to vegetable gardening


Sustainable living in the Irish countryside.


Master Gardener, amateur photographer, intermediate quilter and lover of day trips around New England


Recent work and work in progress and anything else that interests me


a chaotic cottage gardener

Lens and Pens by Sally

a weekly blog that creates a personal philosophy through photographs and words

Dewdrops and Sunshine

Stories from a sassy and classy Southern farmbelle.

The Pyjama Gardener

Simple Organic Gardening & Seasonal Living

gettin' fresh!

turning dirt into dinner


today the world is created anew

Garden Birds

Notes from a Devon garden


Life Through The Lens

Adapting Pixels

A photography blog showcasing the best photography pictures and videos on the internet

Wildlifegardening's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site


personal observations from the natural world as the search continues for a new approach to conservation.


The Wonders of Life through my Eyes, my Heart, my Soul

%d bloggers like this: