History of Gardening Tools

When we consider the history of gardening tools, we must remember that it is closely linked to the history of gardens. Plants, fruits, and vegetables have been grown since the dawn of time, but attractive gardens were first depicted in Egyptian tomb paintings around 1500 BC.

Babylon’s hanging gardens are deemed one of the world’s seven wonders. In 350 BC, there exist records of gardens in Athens. Around the fourth century, gardens appeared in Rome and then Spain. China and Japan have their own garden traditions.

With the expansion of these gardens, it’s only natural that various garden tools or equipment were utilised to keep them in good shape.

When researching the history of gardening equipment, it’s generally a good idea to start with the most prevalent ones.

These include:

Watering pots & cans

Pots and cans for watering have been used since the dawn of mankind. Watering poles with several holes in the delivery sprout, on the other hand, are thought to have been devised in the Middle Ages to resemble rain dropping down on plants.

Cutting & pruning tools (shears)

Hampshire Cultural Trust, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shears have been around since the 50th century BC. Since Roman times, shears have been an important tool in the formal garden for trimming bushes into geometric patterns.

Trowels, forks & rakes: Trowels and rakes were used in the 18th centuries, mainly to clean garden leaves and rakes.

Garden Knives: Knives have been around a long time. Throughout history, garden knives have evolved in a variety of designs and sizes.

Hand or Wheel barrows: Barrows, whether hand or wheeled, are one of man’s oldest modes of transportation. Hand-barrows (held on both ends) and Wheel-barrows are the two most common forms of barrows.

Lawn Mowers: Mowers for the lawn are a relatively new invention. Edwin Beard Budding came up with the idea around 1830. Because scything through the grass required a large number of men, Budding approached the problem from an engineering standpoint. He improved on the concept of trapping grass between two blades, similar to a scissor, to create a lawn mower.

So there you have it: a quick rundown of gardening tools’ history.