Like baking and other old school hobbies, gardening is back in a big way – and it’s a lot more fun with the right equipment. Our correspondent Meredith Lepore is getting us all smarter. Read her interview with Blythe Yost, CEO and co-founder of online landscape design company Tilly, who shares expert tips and a list of six essential tools to buy to make starting a garden easy for beginners.
is there an easy way for beginners to start gardening this summer?
There’s something precious and elemental about a garden that makes us visit them regularly, wherever our travels take us. Even though we don’t have one of our own because we’re too intimidated to try it. The Great Lockdown(s) of 2020-21 led to a resurgence in home gardening, along with many other traditional pastimes, like baking bread, doing puzzles, keeping chickens and biking.
“As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.”
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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house plants are easy . . . for the most part
The lust for green in our lives is not a new thing, of course – it took hold long before the coronavirus pandemic. Plants have taken on a life of their own in the last few years, as people have determined that greenery is not only aesthetically chic. It makes our lives better in every way.
Plants give us a sense of purpose and responsibility. They foster the nurturer inside each of us. And unlike a puppy, they don’t need to be taken outside multiple times a day. Anyone can buy a house plant and become a plant parent – and most people can get their adopted greenery to live for at least a few weeks. Unless its an orchid. That’s a whole ‘nother thing.
gardening is hard . . . but totally worth it
But gardening is a horse of a different color than house plant parenthood. It requires a lot more work, patience, determination and work again. But the payoff from taking up gardening as a hobby is monumental. In addition to bragging rights for growing flowers or vegetables or herbs, gardening can do wonders for your mental health.
In a Thrive study of 317 people who participated in table-top gardening sessions, 80% reported better mental health and 93% say they had better confidence and more motivation.
Green thumb with a side of better self-esteem? Yes, please! Where do I sign up?
The best chic gardening tools to buy right now
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But how does one get started in the wide world of gardening? Most of my knowledge of gardening stems from reading the novel “The Secret Garden” as a child. Which, I seem to recall, requires a devastatingly beautiful mansion and enchantment (which you can’t purchase at Home Depot. I’ve looked.)
For those not in possession of either of those elements, however, there’s still hope. We spoke with Blythe Yost, CEO and co-founder of Tilly, the online landscape design company, about how to get started in gardening, and some of the best tools to use.
expert tips on starting a garden this summer
Have a Plan
Think about what you want to achieve in your garden before you jump in! Planning will save you time and money. If you know what you are working towards, it will help ensure you are happy with the final look.
Ensure there will be Sun
It’s important that the location you chose for your plants has the appropriate amount of sunlight. Check the tags of the plants you buy so you know if they need full sun, partial sun, etc. This will be very important to help your garden thrive. For example, veggie gardens need at least six hours of sunlight daily, 8 hours if you’re growing sun lovers like tomatoes and peppers.
Consider putting in irrigation in order to help your plants thrive – or make sure your plants have access to a water source, like a hose!
choose Native plants
Choosing plants that are native to your region will also help your garden thrive. Native plants are comfortable in your region, conditions and will require much less work.
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6 Essential Tools to Make Starting a Garden Easy
With all of those elements in place, though, you are still not a gardener until you have the right tools (and some chic gardening boots from L.L. Bean.)
Here are Yost’s expert recommendations on the best tools to make starting a garden easy.
1. Felco Pruners
These are hands down, my primary garden tool. From deadheading cosmos to fine pruning apple trees, Felco pruners make it super easy to take care of any size garden. I keep a pair in my shed, my trunk (for clients :), and my kitchen drawer for trimming fresh flowers.
BUY NOW: – $52.
2. a Narrow Trowel
Despite being an unusual shape, I find this size trowel the most useful tool for hand planting and weeding. You can break up clodded soil for annual planters or unearth a dandelion taproot with this long thin blade.
BUY NOW: $64.
3. a Spring Rake
Most people think of rakes for fall leaf clean up, but a good spring rake can be useful throughout the seasons. Tease out the thatch in an aging lawn, smooth out the mulch in a freshly dressed bed, or clean up branches and leaves from your fresh pruning job.
BUY NOW: $35.
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4. a Wheelbarrow
Make it easier to move things around your yard with a good wheelbarrow! Like this True Temper wheelbarrow in chic slate grey.
BUY NOW: $290.
5. Gardening Gloves
A good pair of gloves is a must so you can get dirty and protect your hands. These don’t have to be pricey. My favorite pair are these!
BUY NOW: $6.
6 Great Gardening tips and must-have tools for beginners
Those are the words of wisdom from Blythe Yost, CEO and co-founder of online landscape design company Tilly. We’re feeling a lot less intimidated about gardening now that we have her expert tips and recommended essential tools to buy to make starting a garden easy for beginners. What do you think, dear reader? Ready to get your hands dirty?
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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.
This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.
Meredith Lepore is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire Magazine, Women’s Health, InStyle, Architectural Digest, The Observer, and Travel & Leisure. She earned her Masters in journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time, and enjoys reading, jogging, spinning, and playing with her small dog, Otis.