We all know the saying 'a bad workman always blames his tools', but I guess it's easy to forget the other side of the coin – just how helpful the right tool, for the right job, can be.
It's easy to slip off a shoe to knock in a picture hook rather than rummage around in a tool kit to find the hammer that is lurking somewhere in the bottom.
But fortunately this lackadaisical behaviour doesn't extend to gardening tools.
At least not any more...
The most important thing to look for in a garden tool is suitability for use.
It doesn't matter how shiny and attractive something is, if it doesn't do the job it's designed to do it isn't much use.
As well as being the right tool for the job it's equally important that it is comfortable to use.
This is essential for professional gardeners, for whom a spade, fork or trowel is like a second skin and in constant use, but it is no less important for the domestic gardener, where an uncomfortable tool, used infrequently, can lead to strains and sprains.
And as important as both of these is longevity Apply this thinking to most of the purchases made in life and by and large you end up with good quality kit that lasts a long time, so that even if it costs a little more to begin with you soon get your moneys worth.
A good introduction to the Sneeboer range would be a garden spade and garden fork. The heads of these tools are forged from stainless steel, making them supremely strong but also almost completely impervious to rust, and the ash handles are beautifully tactile, light yet robust – and after a few years of gardening use they develop a lovely smooth patina.
Sneeboer make their tools with long handles, not solely for the benefit of six-foot-two blokes. These longer handles alleviate pressure on the spine and create a lot more digging power in the garden by creating a longer lever to work with. The garden and digging forks are cleverly designed with flattened tines, rather than rounded or square, which help to turn over the soil more effectively.
The Heart-Shaped Trowel is a fabulous bit of kit, with a keen edge that is great for weeding and planting. And being heart shaped it makes a lovely gift for the gardener in your life.
The Hand Rake is great for clearing up in and around plants, and is especially good for raking out diseased leaves from underneath roses, and the Long Handled Half Moon Hoe means you can weed borders with ease without stepping on the soil.
Sneeboer have realised that there are numerous old tool designs that existed for perfectly good reasons; they did the job for which they were designed and did it better than anything else.
The Long Handled Bulb Planter and the Dandelion Spade – are great tools, especially if, you'd rather not use chemicals to keep the dandelions from your lawn.
The Long Handled Fork and Mattock is a firm favourite, combining two hard working tools that are the perfect combination for clearing rough ground and breaking up hard and compacted soil.
Sneeboer tools you have today will last a lifetime of gardening, and that they may well become family heirlooms too – but in the meantime enjoy using them. Providing you can stop your gardening friends borrowing them!