Every gardener has her favorite tool (Lillian gravitates towards the spade, Susannah the hand-mattock), and when we stop and think...why? It all comes down to the feeling that you get when you pick it up.
A well-made tool is balanced and beautiful, natural and nuanced, potent and powerful. This is a deeply human feeling, the same one that the huntress feels for the sling, the poet feels for the pen, or the warrior for the sword. When acknowledged, it gives an almost mystical majesty to the most mundane tasks and it is that feeling which often makes a tool a "favorite". Sneeboer tools have it in...spades.
Hand-forged in Holland from rust-resistant stainless steel with simple, beautiful hand-turned hardwood handles, these tools are as hardy as they are handsome. The 4th generation Dutch line also has a deep commitment to maximizing both aesthetic and functionality—which means classic tools get subtle, thoughtful updates (anyone who has ever had a shovel handle break off in clay will respect the lancet-shaped unions on the long handled tools) or pared down their essential forms (no plastic parts...anywhere).
This commitment gives these tools the perfect combination of being "the best versions of our favorites" and capable of inviting the spark of personal innovation. While we always used to clear the leaves under the hellebore with our fingers, now we use a hand rake.
While our love affair with the humble shovel (yes, we are the sorts of people who have love affairs with shovels) is everlasting, we've also fallen hard for the Great Dixter Spade. Enough length for great leverage—you can still step down with force on the head's flat edges—but the shorter handle is a dream for digging without standing or for working in our raised beds.
And while we got the Children's Gardening Fork with our littlest Olmsteads in mind, its smooth-bored tines and nimble disposition have us reaching for it for everything from separating and transporting divided thyme to heeling in delicate bulbs.
These tools make it so you don't have to play favorites. Every single one is the kind of tool that elevates the feeling of hands-in-the-dirt to its holiest.
And speaking of holy...after a day in the sun and soil, with its the accompanying bouquet of sweat, dirt, and sunscreen, there is no more jubilant feeling than getting truly clean. It looks like this: A hot shower, a good scrub with a long-handled bath brush (especially crucial if you leave the garden thinking about ticks/feeling positively creepy-crawly like we do), a fluffy rub down with a clean towel, and sitting on a chair where we can gaze on the day's good work with a cold glass of something on one hand and our beloved tools to the other, right where we can see them. We'll put them away later.