It’s that time of year, with ringing bells and holiday tunes in your ears. I usually try to share some ideas for the proverbial question: what do gardeners want for a gift?

I regularly try to write about my tools, which make my work easier, but I feel like I haven’t mentioned my rake in quite some time. It’s a wonder: light-weight, with adjustable width and handle length. This makes it so easy to take to the furthest corners of my yard, or even on a car ride to one of my public garden sites.

I’ve mentioned several times over the years that I mow far more leaves than I rake, but raking is aways needed for nooks and crannies during the fall “leaf harvest”, and for cleaning up weeds and trimmings throughout the gardening season. On a day when I am likely to be working (intermittently) outside throughout the day, I toss it into my garden cart so I have it handy wherever I roam.

I wore out one of these rakes, but easily found another at Gardenscape. This event is scheduled to return to the Dome Arena in 2022, March 10 to 13. The theme is, “Carnival of Colors,” which sounds enticing already.

I am also excited about mowing my leaves next fall with the new cordless electric mower I’ve asked Santa to bring. I currently use an electric mower with a cord for leaves, but the cord is a real pain. Previously I had read that cordless electric mowers weren’t powerful enough to mulch leaves, but a gardening friend on Facebook, @Gardener Sue’s News, recently mentioned how happy she was with hers.

I’ve put in my request for a mower like Sue’s, a Kobalt 80 volt mower with a 6 amp battery, available from Lowes. It’s even on sale right now, so maybe Santa will get a good deal.

I have nearly finished mowing this year’s leaves, and it has seemed like I spend as much time and energy moving the cord around as I do actually mowing. This model is self-propelled, so it will help me push as the mower bag gets heavy.

Another tool I’ve purchased this year is a cordless reciprocating saw for pruning. It has two blades, which move in opposite directions as they cut. It does cut quickly, but the movement of the blades causes the branch I’m cutting to jiggle, reducing efficiency unless I use my other hand to stabilize it. I’m often reaching inside the shrub for pruning cuts, so using both hands isn’t always possible. Still, it is useful, just not as much as I’d hoped. I’m more likely to continue using my long-handled Japanese saw for those cuts inside my shrubs.

Another garden writer mentioned a cordless hand pruner that she liked. I hadn’t previously noticed this piece of equipment. I’m pretty happy with my ratcheting pruner, and my Fiscars pruner and loper, which amplify my strength through a gear mechanism.

Julie Brocklehurst-Woods has been a Master Gardener Volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County since 2002. She enjoys helping all gardeners become successful gardeners, especially helping people identify tools and strategies to prioritize and simplify their gardening tasks. She will answer gardening questions by email: JulieBW48@gmail.com.

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