A Top Edge
There can be few more satisfying sights in a garden than a neatly edged lawn. Whether abutting a path or driveway, edging a formal border or surrounding the base of a favourite tree, the pulse begins to slow and in one's mind's eye a sense of order is restored to our otherwise chaotic and troubling lives.
Although the traditional English garden is often symbolised by miles of arrow-straight lawn edges, there can be few more time consuming and frankly mind-numbing tasks for a gardener. Many of my female gardening friends often say (with a dismissive flick of the wrist) 'oh dear me no, my husband always deals with the lawn' and move on to discuss the exciting planting plans that will frame his perfectly striped, geometric efforts!
The simple garden edger (sometimes referred to as half moon edger, edging iron or edging knife) must be one of the easiest garden tools to operate. Just place on the line of the edge you wish to cut and press down hard with either your left or right foot. Some edgers (along with other digging tools) utilise a 'tread' on the top of the blade which can not only make the job easier, but also save on your gardening boots! However, although these treads can be very useful with shallow cuts, you will need an edger without treads if you intend to make deep edges as the tread will damage your lawn if you push it into the turf.
Your edger will be required to slice through the grass, its roots and the topsoil and so developing a sharp edge will certainly make life easier. I would never recommend that you manually sharpen the edge of your own lawn edger as this can weaken the blade's strength, but with regular use the edge will sharpen naturally over time and will be as good as any pre-sharpened tool.
As with all good garden tools the best edgers are solid forged and made from one piece of good steel. Bulldog Tools (as is often the case) make a very good solid forged edger which, though fairly heavy will last for many, many years. Handles are available in both the traditional 'T' (my favourite for this tool) and YD, but like a spade this will be down to your personal preference. If weight is an issue then lightweight edgers are available including one from Fiskars (the new name for Wilkinson Sword) which has a stainless steel blade and lightweight shaft - it is however worth noting that the lighter the edger, the more force will be needed to cut the turf. You may also consider that a stainless steel bladed edger is likely to reduce soil adhesion although in my experience epoxy coated tool blades perform just as well.
My own Bulldog edging iron is one of the most used garden tools in the shed and has been honed to a sharp edge over the years due to the sandy, stone filled loam in my garden.
So with England winning the ICC Twenty20 World Cup at the weekend make sure you always hit a 'top edge' in your garden!
The Quality Garden Tools range of edgers can be found at: www.qualitygardentools.com/hand-tools/cultivation-tools/edging-knifes-irons/viewcategory
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