I don’t care what anybody says. Any decent gardening toolkit needs brushes and scrubbers. Scotchbrite pads are great, too, but basic brushes, whiskbrooms, and bottle brushes are essential. Whether you’re trying to check for new growth on a corm without disrupting the roots, cleaning off a mold-encrusted pot, or trying to get that scrap of moss off the inside of a bottle terrarium, a decent selection of brushes will save your sanity in the long run.
And so, starting from the left, we have a standard soft-bristle whisk broom given to me by my father-in-law, used mostly for sweeping up messes. Whether it’s the cat knocking a pot over or your beloved shoving a table and inadvertently smashing a vase, having a good basic broom for gathering debris will save your hands. Oh, it might be dust, but do you really want to sweep up glass fragments with your fingers, too?
To the right of that is a standard bonsai brush, designed for brushing and evening the soil in bonsai trays. It works beautifully for that, but it’s also very effective for dust on glasswork, rust on metalwork, and shooing the cats.
The next two are scrubbers, which get used in gardening more than you think. In particular, the potato scrubber is your friend when washing out pots or other containers, and the combination of accumulated filth and minerals from the local tap water make a crust impermeable to everything other than atomic weaponry. Oh, and if you’re growing potatoes, that scrubber means you can wash your bounty under the garden hose and throw it on the grill right then, too.
Finally, we have the specialist tools. On the far right is a toothbrush, if you have a thing for worrying about the tartar on a Thylacosmilus. Besides its normal use in cleaning Army latrines in Basic Training, the other side can be sharpened and beveled as a scraper and used for chipping off extremely hard mineral deposits from glass without scratching it. The last one, the bottle brush, is the most used of the lot: have you ever tried to clean out test tubes, bud vases, clear plastic tubing, or a sink drain with a rag on a stick? If you have, then you understand why anyone who takes your bottle brush must DIE.
More to follow…