Hoe. Hoe. Hoe. Sounds jolly when you say it in December; not so much when it’s gardening season and once again you’ve let the weeds creep into your peonies, or allowed those unruly lily of the valley to run amok (they’re pretty—and smell great—but very sneaky). That was the state of things at my house, yet I couldn’t bear the idea of one more Saturday spent on all fours trying to claw the garden back into shape with a three-tined hand cultivator (must-have but not for every weeding).
Fortune intervened, however, on a visit to the rose garden at the New York Botanical Garden. Roaming around jealously, I spied a staffer quickly slicing weeds from the beds, all the while standing… and apparently not too grumpy. She was using a long-handled triangular hoe, which this novice hadn’t seen before. She shared, without noticeable condescension, that it was not a special tool for licensed botanists but a pretty basic one I could get at the hardware store.
So I did, and that has made all the difference. My humble weeder is a lot like this one, and there’s a lot to love about it. Above all, it’s super basic and effective. Nothing to plug in, gas up, or fuss over. The triangular cutting area lets you go deep enough through roots without disturbing a lot of soil above, and you can angle the tool to get into small spaces and around the base of plants you want to free up in overgrown areas. The blade is also offset just enough to get it down and through the bed without any awkward (or shoulder-straining) maneuvers. Even better, the long handle means I can eradicate errant grasses and other pesky growth without stooping, and the soft grip area at the top is easy on my hands and helps avoid blisters during a marathon session.
Of course, I can’t promise that this addition to your garden arsenal will make digging weeds your go-to weekend sport. But it certainly could help you find more joy in keeping your garden healthy and beautiful all season long.