Garden Essentials

After 25+ years of intensive gardening, I have accumulated quite an inventory of books, tools and other items necessary to tackle just about any residential gardening project. I'd like to share my favorite items and offer easy Amazon shopping links below.

Full disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates program, and will earn a small commission if you click through any of the “buy on Amazon” buttons below and choose to make a purchase. 

Okatsune Bypass Pruners

Unlike other pruners in my tool bag, these Japanese pruners continue to work smoothly year after year. They are comfortable to grip, make precise, sharp cuts and can be easily opened and closed with only one hand with just a flick of the latch on my thigh.

Garrett Wade Pruning Saw

Cut back large clumps of dried ornamental grasses and prune small to medium tree and shrub branches with ease. Smooth folding mechanism protects sharp teeth and makes for a compact tool to easily fit in the garden bag.


DeWit Perennial Planter/Dutch Spade

I've owned this tool for about 20 years and it rarely leaves my side. Its simplicity is what makes this tool so useful. Easily pry weeds out of the ground, loosen compacted soil, or bore perfect planting holes with a twisting motion. Lifetime guarantee!

A.M. leonard 24" soil moisture meter

Professional moisture meter reaches deep to the bottom of tree and shrub root balls, accurately measuring soil moisture. This tool is an absolute must-have to maintain proper soil moisture levels for new large plantings. It's more accurate than your finger!

allsop Wheel-easy cart

Check out the video on the Amazon page for this product. It has so many uses around the garden and is so much more practical than a traditional wheelbarrow or garden cart! Moving mulch and compost has never been easier.

GardenMate 3-pack, 23 gal. waste bags

Save money with these reusable garden bags. Lightweight and collapsible for easy storage. Perfect for collecting lawn and garden clean-up. (Note, we still use paper lawn bags when collecting excess lawn clippings that are not being turned into compost.)

sago brothers plant and flower clips

Tidy up the unruly children in the garden with these plant clips. I use them to secure tall plants to garden stakes and to train climbers up a trellis. They attach easily and can quickly be adjusted as plants grow. No matter how many I have, I always need more!

The following electric and battery powered lawn tools are highly effective and do their job without the nasty gasoline emissions which is important for sustaining wildlife in The Big Little  Garden (click on photo for more details on

Sun Joe Leaf Mulcher

Instead of hauling bags of leaves to the curb every Fall, we shred them and return the nutrient-rich mulch to the garden. A 3-6" blanket of leaf mulch is a great way to insulate tender perennials and newly planted shrubs and trees. Native bees also appreciate the opportunity to nest in lofty mulch over the Winter months. In the Spring, I gently pull the mulch away, leaving 1-2" in place to decompose and become that year's natural fertilizer.

EGO String trimmer

We purchased this at the same time as the EGO lawn mower and are really happy with it. It's quiet, edges very well and doesn't spew gasoline fumes all over the garden, which is a must. The "power-load" feature makes refilling the string a snap. A neighbor recently borrowed our trimmer and was highly impressed with its performance. It uses the same rechargeable battery as the EGO lawn mower detailed on this page.

EGO 21" Lawn Mower

We love our battery-powered lawn mower. It's light-weight and easy to use, and just as powerful as our old gas guzzling mower. Bag or mulch grass clippings. This unit is so quiet, neighbors can't even hear it when running. Rechargeable battery is good for two mowings and recharges quickly. I love how it folds and can be stood on end for easy storage!

A selection of some of the most influential gardening books in my library. These are my "go-to" books for inspiration, ideas and reference. (click any book for more details and to purchase on