Jamee Gregory's Garden Essentials
by jamee gregory
A gardener is only as good as his or her tools. Start with the basics: a Felco pruner, a sturdy shovel, a spade, a trowel, a good length of hose, and a watering can. Next, prepare for work in the sun with sturdy gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, knee pads, and clothing that covers. Finally, stock up on compost and fertilizer, clip your favorite images for inspiration, visit local nurseries, and get ready to plant.
My garden books, which always serve as inspiration, are some of my favorite tools. David Austin’s English Roses; Rosemary Verey’s English Country Gardens; Garden Style by Penelope Hobhouse; Summer Notebook by Carolyne Roehm; The Lattice Gardener by William Mulligan; Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine White; and Sissinghurst by Anne Scott-James—each offer a distinct perspective and help shape my vision.
My basic bible—The Dictionary of Garden Plants, published in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society—is a must-have for every plant-aholic; I constantly reference my dog-eared copy. Pictures of plants appear alphabetically, with growing tips and light requirements. Whether you enter flower shows or wander through your local grower’s aisles, this helpful collection, published in paperback, will serve as guide and best friend.
When it comes to selecting tools, opt for a stylish set, like my current must-haves: William Morris printed tools, straight from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Seriously efficient, they make toiling in your garden beds an elegant experience and a secret pleasure.
Protective gear can be just as important as the right tools. Along with brightly colored Ray-Bans and an orange straw hat, my face is covered with a protective layer of La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50; there’s no need to suffer sunburn while working. You can avoid Lyme disease by keeping ankles covered with white socks, which will highlight hitchhiking ticks. And nothing beats waterproof Wellington boots or Swedish clogs for winding one’s way through damp perennial borders early in the morning (which is when your flowers should be cut).
I always carry my favorite Sussex trug, a traditional oval-shaped basket with a handle, for carting my blossoms, which frees both hands for bending branches and snipping buds. A practical carrier can also make life easier by holding items like twist ties for staking, which ensures errant vines can be instantly secured. Once armed, a well-equipped gardener can safely tackle any project at hand.
photography by josh lehrer