THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Charles Dowding Uses Copper Tools
Charles Dowding, from his book on Vegetable Gardening, on why he uses copper tools in the garden…
“My favourite tools are made of copper, or to be precise they are 95 per cent copper and 5 per cent tin … the metal is strong, not magnetic and does not rust. This is a keen advantage for trowels, hoes and spades where smooth, sharp blades make for effortless use, and there is no need for regular cleaning or oiling to protect the metal.
“Although the copper alloy is a little less hard than iron, and might suffer in soils with flint or large amounts of stone, the tools are designed to endure. I have found copper trowels last better than ones made of hard stainless steel, which often snap after a year or two, at a weak point near the handle.”
We met Charles Dowding at his own garden in Somerset last year – read about our excellent visit here.
His market garden produces a huge amount of vegetables and fruit for a local box scheme, all organically grown, incredibly tasty and really it is produced with very minimal input. His system is based around spending more time doing what is important – growing the vegetables, making sure the soil is undisturbed, rich, full of life, which then allows him to harvest the best vitamin filled crops.
But we love what he says above, in the quote from his book. The tools are designed to endure. It is simple, clear and brave – and it all comes from long experience using them.
We get people ask us a lot of questions about the copper tools, about how good they are. We love them, use them regularly (alongside this Diggy Diggy Knife) and highly recommend them. But we are at pains to say to people that copper tools are not a magic bullet – you are not suddenly going to become an amazing gardener just by owning them! (Sorry to break it to you guys, but there are no magic bullets, or magic beans. But there are magic mushrooms. Perhaps that says something about the world…?)
If you are looking for great tools to use in the garden, you won’t go wrong with the copper tools. We say so. Charles Dowding says so (and he is a fantastic resource for a No Dig Organic Home & Garden)
But as with any copper tools, you do need to make sure you get outside and use them!
Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …
Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …
Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.