Pet Peeve #1

– Posted in: Miscellaneous
11 comments

Normally I’m a big fan of Target, but this time they’ve got it all wrong. Fifty bucks for the Sarah Hilton Folk Art Garden Tools? I don’t think so. We’re talking one flimsy looking trowel and a hand cultivator (does anyone really use those things?) “hand painted by artist Sarah Hilton.” We real gardeners know that if anyone actually used these tools, the hand painting would be smeared with dirt after the first session, if the trowel head hadn’t snapped off first. It’s so obvious this was designed–and marketed–by non-gardeners for non-gardeners. I pity any newbie just starting out who pulls out their plastic for this junk. Just think what $50 could get you in tools from Lee Valley, and they’d last you a lifetime. Sheesh.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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bill September 2, 2004, 5:45 pm

I run through these little spades and cultivators rather fast too; so I’ve learned to go for the sturdiest ones I can find.

But this past weekend I did see one of those hand-painted ones displayed out on someone’s deck along with some other knick-knacks. It made a nice display. Around our house we don’t seem to do well with arranging interesting displays. Usually we just have piles of stuff that need to be put away or don’t have any place to go. But I do admire it when other people take the time to make nice little arrangements of interesting objects to show off.

jenn September 1, 2004, 8:14 pm

I am the destroyer of garden spades. Those little ones? In my semi-rocky clay soil? I was going through two a year. Just digging, mind you, prying nothing more substantial than the home soil.

Mark bought me a ‘spensive hand spade this past year, and to date it hasn’t quailed at anything I’ve asked of it. (Mostly they bend, then break.)

As for cultivators, I have a medium handled one that I like to use as a ‘reacher’ to bring out the fall leaves from my wildly tangled borders. That’s about all I use it for, tho.

Kathy September 1, 2004, 12:29 pm

“by your own admission you had not personally inspected them.” No, I didn’t. I couldn’t even find them in my local Target. But they looked exactly (minus the paint job) like a set of hand tools I once owned that did not last very long.

“What is wrong with being surrounded by objects that surpass the mundane and ordinary.” There is nothing wrong with it. I’m all for it, when the price charged approximates the value given. I did not know that proceeds from the sale of these tools are donated to charity. If that is true, then the price of $50 is more understandable. I personally find great aesthetic satisfaction in a sturdy, well-constructed tool that has obviously been well-used and treasured. To me, it doesn’t make sense to decorate a handle that’s going to get covered with dirt. So, I don’t want to pay $50 for two tools that normally, without the paint, would sell for $15, tops, and wouldn’t last more than a year. It doesn’t give me enough value for my money. A broom would make more sense, as the decorated part wouldn’t be obliterated by dirt.

I don’t think of myself as negative and dour, but as the mother of a large family I’ve come to highly appreciate anything that is durable and gives good value for the price, and I’ve seen too many merely decorative things get ruined. (Actually, I haven’t seen it–it always happens when my back is turned, and “Not me” always does it.) It wasn’t a snap judgment. I did think about it. And I thought, “This is too expensive for what it is.”

pat September 1, 2004, 11:59 am

Re: Pet Peeve #1
As an avid gardener, designer and amateur artist I was surprised to see your negative critique of Sarah Hilton’s garden tool even though by your own admission you had not personally inspected them. My pet peeve is people who make snap judgments without knowledge or thought. What is wrong with being surrounded by objects that surpass the mundane and ordinary. A while ago I purchased a broom hand-painted by Sarah Hilton and each and every time I use it I can’t help but smile. Life is too short to be so negative and dour and critical of others’ creative endeavours.
P.S. I really do use a hand cultivator and wouldn’t be without it.

jenn August 27, 2004, 9:52 pm

Thank you, Sara, for that bit of enlightenment. Next time please don’t YELL. It’s really not neccessary.

I was just dropping into comments to enthuse about Lee Valley. Just love their catalogs, and the tools are as rugged as they come. Everyone should check them out.

sara herring August 17, 2004, 8:10 pm

DEAR K. PURDY,
TOO BAD YOU MADE A STATEMENT BEFORE YOU KNEW THE FACTS. THOSE ITEMS YOU MENTIONED DONE BY SARA HILTON MOST CERTAINLY HAVE A PURPOSE. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO HER SAT. CLASS FOR ADULT STUDENTS WITH DOWN SYNDROME. THIS HELPS TO DEFRAY THE COST OF HER ART STUDENTS. SO, YOU MIGHT NOT SEE THE PURPOSE, BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU, SHE SELLS THESE ITEMS AND 100% GOES TO THE CLASS. YOU SAID THE ITEMS WERE NOT STURDY, BUT I PURCHASED ONE AND HAVE USED IT ALL SEASON. IT LOOKS SMART, HAS HELD UP WELL TO REPEATED USE, AND IS A BIT OF WHIMSY IN MY GARDEN. WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH THAT?I WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE PURCHASES FROM S.H., SINCE I ENJOY HER FOLK ART AND KNOW IT IS FOR A CAUSE. IN THE FUTURE, DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE ANOTHER’S WORK OF ART. IT IS UNFAIR AND MEAN SPIRITED. HAPPY GARDENING!!

sara herring August 17, 2004, 8:10 pm

DEAR K. PURDY,
TOO BAD YOU MADE A STATEMENT BEFORE YOU KNEW THE FACTS. THOSE ITEMS YOU MENTIONED DONE BY SARA HILTON MOST CERTAINLY HAVE A PURPOSE. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO HER SAT. CLASS FOR ADULT STUDENTS WITH DOWN SYNDROME. THIS HELPS TO DEFRAY THE COST OF HER ART STUDENTS. SO, YOU MIGHT NOT SEE THE PURPOSE, BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU, SHE SELLS THESE ITEMS AND 100% GOES TO THE CLASS. YOU SAID THE ITEMS WERE NOT STURDY, BUT I PURCHASED ONE AND HAVE USED IT ALL SEASON. IT LOOKS SMART, HAS HELD UP WELL TO REPEATED USE, AND IS A BIT OF WHIMSY IN MY GARDEN. WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH THAT?I WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE PURCHASES FROM S.H., SINCE I ENJOY HER FOLK ART AND KNOW IT IS FOR A CAUSE. IN THE FUTURE, DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE ANOTHER’S WORK OF ART. IT IS UNFAIR AND MEAN SPIRITED. HAPPY GARDENING!!

Alice Nelson August 11, 2004, 10:00 am

Speaking of weeds, I allow a few milkweed to grow out near my compost pile in hopes some milkweed caterpillars soon will apear. None this year;too cold,I think. Also, in the middle of my garden, I allow one clump of buttercup – 18″wide x 20″ high. It gives a nice spot of yellow out there, but I have to be sure to deadhead it, or I would have a whole garden of buttercups. Now there’s a thought! Same thing with one clump of St.Johnswort
But the globe thistle is close to becoming a weed!

Alice Nelson July 29, 2004, 1:42 pm

Well, my inexpensive Walmart and Mennard’s tools are still holding up, and they’re not fancy. Yes, who needs fancy? Except I do have a cute little non-functional hand painted spade stuck upside down in my flowers ( not for real use) – just a bit of whimsy. Those little flower pots are good for table favors or table decorations – I do those, too on occasion, but that’s all. I’ve got a miniature planting table with tiny pots and tools on my kitchen table. To each his own!

bill July 27, 2004, 12:20 pm

I bet their market is people looking for gifts. They think “Oh, she’s a gardener. She will like this.”

Judith July 27, 2004, 12:01 pm

Haven’t seen it since the walmart killed the kmart but it was probably designed by the same folks who made those pink ‘tool kits for ladies’ with the cheap breakable toolettes. Marketing seems to have taken on a life of its own, divorced from the actual lives of the people it is trying to sell to. As witness teeny windowsill herb gardens with packages of outdated seed and miniscule clay pots no self respecting plant could live in. Give me a good farm store any day. And I too love tools (and books) I’ve gotten from Lee Valley.