Terrific trowel, super shovel; IN THE GARDEN Garden: What implements do local celebrities really dig? Some reveal their favorites.


Gardeners come in all stripes, and so do their favorite garden tools. Whether gardeners tend acres or inches, are gardening professionals or simply putter in their own personal patches, their choice of tools is as individual as the gardener. An assortment of local celebrities share their favorites:

Denise Koch,

WJZ-TV anchorwoman:

"The lawn mower is my favorite garden tool. I love mowing. It instantly looks better and makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I work up a huge sweat, so I know I'm getting good exercise, and I find it very satisfying. Every year I say we need to get a lawn service and I end up mowing before they come. I like vacuuming and power washing the deck for the same reason. It's instant gratification."

Karen Long,

director of the William Paca

Gardens in Annapolis:

"We have a nurseryman's trowel we use a lot. It's a really big, heavy-duty tool you can use to pull out things with a deep tap root like dandelion, or you can use to plant up to a gallon pot of something. I use it constantly. The other thing we all love around here is the Felco No. 7 pruners. There's a new one with a rotating handle that prevents carpal tunnel syndrome. Our volunteers, several of whom have carpal tunnel, say it really makes a difference."

Dee Hardie,

garden writer and author

of "Hollyhocks, Lambs & Other Passions: A Memoir

of Thornhill Farm":

"My favorite garden tool is a pair of hand clippers I bought at the Chelsea Flower Show [in London]. I don't even know who made them. I use them for everything, especially in clipping back my roses; I'm a rosarian. I've had them about four years and I treasure them."

Kevin McKinney,

chef and owner of the Kennedyville Inn in Kennedyville. McKinney and his wife, Barbara Silcox, grow herbs and vegetables for the restaurant:

"My favorite gardening tool is a paring knife to harvest with," he says.

"Mine is the stirrup hoe," Silcox says. "I hoe, he picks. The stirrup hoe makes weeding so easy, especially if they're little weeds. It just wipes them out. It's long-handled and easy on your back."

"My second favorite tool is 8-by-12 cinder block that I used to build the compost pile," McKinney says. "We have three compost bins out back of the restaurant. We compost all the vegetables and scraps and then we put that back into the garden."

Norm Lewis,

WMAR-TV meteorologist:

"I can grow grass like you wouldn't believe, but I kill everything else. I guess my favorite garden tool would be a four-wheel- drive truck and a chain. I use it to pull the dead bushes out. My next favorite garden tool would be a checkbook to hire a nursery to come in and do it all for me."

John Passaro,

senior vice president of racing surfaces and backstretch operations at Pimlico Race Course, who has been gardening for 40 years:

"My favorite tool is a round-mouth shovel. It's a contractor's tool available at any hardware store. They use them for digging ditches, but I dig all beds [at home] by hand. They're great for transplanting, digging shrubs and for getting down deep in the beds. I sharpen them always. I've got a grinder and I sharpen the edge just like shaving."

Carole Alexander,

director of the House of Ruth:

"This year, my favorite garden tool is rain. And when I water, my dog likes the hose, so it's sometimes hard to make sure the water gets where I want it. After rain, I'd have to say sun. I just don't get enough."

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