The Niwashi

This time of year I multitask- meaning cocktail hour is also a planting hour.  It takes a long time for me to plant one hour at a time-but I like this arrangement.  I like taking the time to reflect on what I am doing-this is a luxury.  Buck sometimes comes to keep me company, or help out a little .(how amusing to me that he does not like dirt on his hands or raindrops on his glasses; he’d rather walk on top of the low limestone walls than on the grass.)   My architect is urban through and through-but he will help out if I ask;  ask I did yesterday.  One small bed I plant is always rife with wiry maple tree roots; its a headache digging those roots out before I plant.  I managed to talk him into this job, as I had a new tool, a gift from a good friend and client.  Buck cannot resist a new tool, still in its box, that he’s never tried before, so I knew  he’d fall for it.
The Niwashi is an amazing tool.  My friend bought one while on a trip to New Zealand-she says its the only tool she uses in her garden.  She ordered one for me. It has turned out to be such a  fabulous present.  When I saw what fast work Buck was making of a tiresome chore, I had to try it myself.  Obviously I have never gardened with a really sharp tool.  Light, razor sharp, angled perfectly to cut weeds on top or roots underneath the soil surface-where has this tool been all my gardening life? �
I was ready to plant in no time; the Niwashi made it possible for me to plant with my hands.  I vastly prefer this method to using a trowel. So properly prepped soil is a must.  This 4.5 inch tricolor geranium is rooted top to bottom, but not rootbound-perfect to plant. It will transplant easily, and readily take hold.  Though my scheme this year is orange and red violet , I like a little leavening.  This geranium has a gorgeous cream based leaf with hints of my colors. Some variegated foliage is difficult to pair with green leaved plants; not this one.  The orange flower is a modest bonus-but its the leaves I love.  I have seen it called “Skies of Italy”-there’s some romance.�
The driveway bottom bed is planted and watered, as is 1/2 of the top bed, in no time.  Thanks a million, Jane.  For those of you who might want to check out all of their tools,�
Last year’s scheme was entirely dictated by a pair of baby pink fuchsia standards called “Ballerina”. I liked the whole thing just fine.  But what’s not to love about being able to do things differently?


  1. I am thrilled that you like the Niwashi as much as I do. It makes quick work of all those pesky roots and weeds and it stays sharp forever. The Japanese are so clever when it comes to tools.
    PS…I have one for Buck…he needs his own personal one.

  2. I feel the same way about my Korean hand hoe!

  3. me? urban? there are several classes of dirt and some i don’t mind at all. but i have never developed your fondness for the real ‘dirt’ dirt. as for the rain on my glasses, when you wear glasses for a living – oh never mind. good post.

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