I love my little Leyats!

I’m usually not much for product promotion or endorsement, but so few people seem to know about these spiffy little Swiss-made nippers, seems deserving of a post. Leyat Sàrl is a long-time manufacturer of sécateurs (I love that word – sounds way more dramatic/awesome than “pruners.” Hee!).

Leyat pruners come in all sizes and are pretty popular in orchard and vineyard circles, but I can’t say I’ve seen them at many retailers. I found an old pair of the little ones and have been toting them around for several years, never quite sure where they came from, thus terrified of losing them. While ordering some power Felcos for our blueberry pruning endeavors (three acres-worth – and that’s another story entirely), the online purveyor also carried these same little pruners I thought I’d never find again.

This is why they’re awesome:

They fit into your pocket and do not fall out.

I do plant walks for i.d. classes and garden tours all the darn time. I’m always grabbing a flower or leaf of whatever I’m talking about, and it’s handy to reach into my back pocket or jacket pocket and nip the stem (versus accidentally yanking the entire plant out of the ground while trying to get the stem to break, which tends to appall students and garden visitors).
I have a shoebox full of Felcos and Coronas, but these are my go-to bypass snips for either the purpose described above, or light work such as deadheading. Of course I’llwhip out the bigger pruners for more challenging tasks.

The stainless steel blade takes well to sharpening, and the bright color helps me keep track of them. I’m not a fan of plastic moving parts, but the little square closure has hung in there on my old pair.
They are in stock on a few online sales sites – my shiny new ones came from The Pruner Warehouse – several bright colors in stock, plus on sale for $16.99.. Sold out now! Guess some folks took my advice. Try www.landscapetools.com – they’re $20.10 though. The official model is “Leyat HLB1 Bypass Pruner HLB1”.

Bought a pair for a friend as well!
Bought a pair for a friend as well!

The Winter Weekend Garden Warrior

As Garden Professors, we are very careful regarding product endorsements. Actually, much energy is spent trying to bring to light weird/crappy/useless/money-wasting gardening products.

But when we feel strongly about the usefulness, quality, and utility of a product, it is our duty to pass that information along as well.

I didn’t mean to be a walking advertisement last weekend.

We were in the final throes of getting our garden cut back; Joel was laughing that I “needed another set of hands” when I came around the corner.  “Not with my fabulous Firehose Work Pants from Duluth Trading Company, I don’t!”  Thus the inspiration for this post.

All products noted are, variously: warm, waterproof, full of pockets, sharp, indestructible, dependable, and/or delicious.

I *heart* My NRG Pro Transplanter

[Disclaimer: I do not endorse any particular product over another, nor do I receive ANY compensation (darn it), free stuff, etc. from any companies, whether recommending or dissing their product.] 

Seeing Linda’s favorite mulch fork prompted this post – scroll on down past the Great Root Debate (rowr)!  I remember first laying eyes on this beauty at a local garden center…shiny stainless steel,comfy chartreuse handle, large step area, nice and solid…”I must have eet!” But it’s the functionality that makes me reach for it every weekend. I’m tall (6′) and was a bit concerned that the short handle would compromise my leverage. Not the case! The round handle allows you to grip it most anywhere, reducing repetitive stress on wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. The unique tapered blade – probably 5″ across at the tip – make it perfect for working around established plantings, removing king-sized gobs of crabgrass, and ideal for planting 1 gallon or smaller perennials or annuals.  I must have dug 400 holes in the frenzy of planting that followed our agreeing (idiots!!!) to be on the local garden tour this summer. But I was darn comfortable and stylish while doing it. These puppies have been on the market for a few years, so this may not be news to you. But I just had to share my affection – two thumbs up. Wish they made a mulch fork!


It’s a nice sunny September day in Seattle and I’m in my happy place.  What better topic to match my mood than mulch?

For those of you not familiar with my fixation on woody mulches, I’ll refer you to an article in MasterGardener Magazine here.  Briefly, I am a fan of coarse, chunky organic mulch, particularly arborist wood chips or other chipped material from trees and shrubs.

Rather than send this material off to the landfill, it’s so much better to use it as a protective layer on top of your landscape soil.  It’s a cheap, natural way to protect and nourish your plants, and provides a great habitat for beneficial insects and microorganisms.

Practically speaking, how does one move a mountain of mulch?  Shovels don’t work well, and compost forks have too much space between tines.  My favorite tool is the mulching fork.  It’s relatively lightweight, well balanced, and makes quick work of wood chips.


Sometimes you’ll find twigs in your mulch pile, or might have your own woody prunings that you’d like to use as mulch.  My second favorite tool is my electric chipper/shredder.  It’s powerful enough to deal with small branches and twigs and helps me create a more uniform mulch. Plus, I reuse my yard waste and keep the nutrients on site rather than throwing them away.

I don’t own stock in either of these products (my faculty salary doesn’t exactly allow me to be an investment tycoon). They’re just a few of my favorite things…