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Backyard Tales

Backyard Tales

Friendly skies come and go like bees to a blossom this summer. So when the weather strikes fair we get ourselves outside. For those of us with access to green space, there can be herbs that need pruning and ripening fruit to bring in. Weeds that need taming and flowers to appreciate. Timing is important when it comes to growing things, and we like to be prepared.

This season we finally indulged our need for green at the shop, and brought Japanese garden tools maker, Niwaki, into our life goods lineup. Well-suited for beginners and experienced gardeners alike, we picked tools for snipping tomatoes off the vine, pruning those bushes, and nipping basil and mint for cocktails/mocktails with the homies. In classic Omoi style, they're the kind of good-looking, reliable, high quality tools we like having around the house.

Now, sure, it's nice to have the good stuff, but you've still got to put it to use as far as I'm concerned. In my case, I've got a wild Philly backyard I'm in the early stages of reclaiming. It's a LOT of work and will definitely take several seasons to develop. The goods I brought home from our Niwaki lineup have already been put to work, and I'm happy to report it all rules. And plays nicely with my existing garden gear.

Read on to hear what I'm liking, and enjoy the (somewhat obscured) scene from my backyard.


Niwaki Arm Covers

When I was doing my study abroad at Kansai Gaidai in Osaka a king's age ago, there was a gorgeous garden on the campus grounds, and everyone who tended it wore arm covers. I've seen a lot more people wearing arm covers since then. The gist is you protect your skin or your better clothes from sticky resin, from thorns, from weird bugs—a layer of protection from the whole range of possibilities when working in the sun and in the dirt.

Niwaki Hori Hori Trowel

This comes with its own sheath (exciting) and kinda looks like a weapon, BUT it's actually a multi-purpose trowel. Rather than being spade-shaped, its uniform in width and a little long. So you can weed with it, plant and dig up bulbs, and easily handle all your subterranean rummaging. The carbon steel blade runs right into the handle, so it’s tough and strong against your planting soil. Dig dig!

Niwaki Garden Snips
To date, I had only used curved pruning shears, so it was a pleasure to wield the slender blades on this pair. Designed for green growth instead of woodsy pruning, they get right in where you need them. I swear the rubber handle gives you a +3 agility on the handling. Great for deadheading!

Grow Guides: Pruning & Training

Yes, you can trawl the internet for advice, but a good reference book for beginners is NEVER a bad idea (plus you're not tied to an illuminated screen). If you need a guide on how to get started, our selection of Grow Guides offer useful visual primers to develop your gardening practice. There's guides on composting, growing fruit, low maintenance gardening, and more.

PENCO To-Go Sack

Okay, it's a fabric bag made in the style of a paper lunch bag. We already love it. To date, I have used this sack when I wanted to bring a few snacks and drinks with me, quickly, and go. Sometimes I pack them up nice, and other times I just... throw it in the bag.

Niwaki Mainichi Secateurs

It's no joke that Japanese carbon steel is SHARP. That's part of why I like these everyday pruning shears, but what I also like is the way they feel in hand. There's a big chunky latch at the bottom of its comfy rubber handle, and a simple spring mechanism for the cutting action. Efficient and clean.

BAGGU Packable Sun Hat

Not my personal choice for fashion, but in terms of comfort, this a MUST for working under the summer sun. What I like is that when I'm done, I can crumple it up into its own zip pouch and store it with my garden supplies.

Niwaki Kantan Bag

Kantan means easy, convenient. This is a single-strap bucket tote that a lot of us at the shop entertained buying as an everyday fashion bag, it's just so well made. But I was personally sold for its intended use once I saw the reinforced bottom. I was like, OH, I can put my sharp tools in there and then ~tote~ them around as I work.

That's all for now, dear reader. Have a look through our garden section if you like, and enjoy your summer times.

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