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A Gardening Life – January 20th

It came to my attention today that the company that makes the Monopoly game wants to retire one of the classic playing pieces in order to add a new one. They’ve asked people to go on their Facebook page and vote for which classic icon must be saved. The way this will work, of course, is that the playing piece that gets the least votes will be retired.

When I last checked the wheelbarrow was in danger. How can this be? People would rather have a useless flat iron or an old shoe instead of a wheelbarrow? Clearly there aren’t enough gardeners who are voting.

Would you rather be indoors, heating an iron on your wood-fired cook stove, or out in the garden wheeling new plants to the location where they will grow? No contest, right?

Although this challange is all in good fun, the reality is that the tool that was useful in one era is useless in another. My mother and I prize a flat iron that belonged to my great grandmother. Yes, my grandmother’s mother used this iron to not only smooth the family’s clothes, but also the sheets that lined the inside of the Colorado prairie sod house where they lived. Once a year those sheets were taken down, boiled, hung to dry, ironed, and finally tacked up against the sod walls for another twelve months.

Today my mother uses this iron as a doorstop. I value it as a historical and family touchstone, but there is no way that it’s a useful tool. The wheelbarrow, on the other hand, is handled almost daily during the growing season. Even now, in the dead of winter, we use it to carry firewood from the woodpile to the kitchen door.

Some tools are both classic and essential. Some become doorstops.

We have two wheelbarrows and two garden carts and wouldn't be without any of them.

Sharing The Wealth
These are tools that many gardeners consider to be essential:

  • Wheelbarrow
  • At least one pair of by-pass pruners (hint: you get what you pay for look for good ones such as Corona, Felco or Fiskars )
  • Several trowels (leave them near where they will be used)
  • One or more shovels with a pointed blade (See some great ones here)
  • A spading fork
  • Lopers with bypass blades
  • Garden Gloves
  • Versatile Weeding tool

Save the wheelbarrow! Vote on the Monopoly Facebook page.

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