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I was given this trowel as a birthday present last year. I can confidently say that this is something I would NEVER have bought for myself - as the retail for this trowel is around the £15 mark.
What I loved about it though was (and is) the sheer indulgence and luxury for such a mundane gardening item.
The trowel comes in a rigid cardboard box, which is smooth to the touch and oozing "designer" from every part. The lid folds right the way over the box and you really feel like you are opening a treasure chest!
Once open you are in the presence of the trowel ... it lies there in the box for your adoration, whilst Sophie Conran beams at you from the underside of the lid, to explain to you all about your purchase (or if you're as lucky as me, your gift).
What you may not know (I didn't!) is that Ms. Conran is both a designer and a gardener - she explains how her need for comfort and effective use of garden tools led her to design these extra special tools, specifically this trowel, which are unashamedly aimed at women gardeners, talking about tools being made to be more suitable for smaller hands, and - as she signs off - reminding us that "the better the tools, the easier the job".
Anyway, onto the main event - the trowel. Around the handle was a tag with specific information about the design concepts behind the trowel, which reads: "I couldn't help noticing that whenever I would dig, half the soil fell off the back of the trowel, making each job take longer. The gently curving backstops of my trowel prevent this from happening - one less frustration in my day". You really feel Sophie's pain reading this...!
This trowel differs from other trowels I've ever had more than anything by its shape. I would describe it more as a scoop... it's rounded up at the sides and at the back (towards the handle). The depth of the trowel is around 2cm so it's no insignificant deviation from a standard trowel - or certainly, what I'm used to!
The handle is beautifully rounded - waxed beechwood - and the handle is joined to the stainless steel head of the trowel by a brass section. There is quality and class throughout this product.
In use I was actually expecting this to be quite unwieldy and cumbersome, as it has a fairly "chunky" appearance, but in fact Sophie has indeed got her design spot on. It's surprisingly light to use and is brilliant for digging small holes for plants when you need to actually remove soil to set to one side. After using the trowel throughout the end of last summer and all through this spring and summer so far, the trowel has retained it's impressive appearance. The main scoop is still shiny and it still looks like new. Maybe I do treat it that bit more carefully because it feels so luxurious - who knows?
I might have had a little snigger at Sophie bemoaning her day being ruined by the soil falling from her trowel, but I have to say, when you've used this trowel, her comments - and obviously the thought behind the design - are actually right on the money.