One of the nice things about the gardening industry is that gardeners tend to be a very pragmatic lot; fashion or brand does not seem to sway your purchasing decisions. Yet, if you’ve been a serious gardener for any length of time, you can’t help but recognize at least a few established quality brands – names such as Felco and Haws, each a leader in its respective market over decades, and both with representation in this catalog.
It has always been incumbent on us to accurately assess tool performance, and to describe the context in which you would find a particular tool useful. We rarely rely on a vendor’s promotional material; we prefer to test and evaluate each product for ourselves, and ultimately for you. After all, it’s our credibility that is on the line. By the time you reach the end of one of our write-ups, we’d like to have you nodding your head in agreement with what we say.
That’s what has made cataloging the Garden Weasel (page 187) a challenge for us. Yes, it’s the same tool that has been advertised on television since the mid 1970s, keeping company with the Chia Pet and the Clapper. What you may not know about the Garden Weasel is that it was originally designed in Germany, and has been represented continuously in North America by a private family firm, now in its fifth generation. We’ve been guilty of discounting the utility of the tool as a result of its primary marketing strategy; we’ve let the medium become the message.
It really is a tool that works well, and the original still outperforms the imitations from other manufacturers. Although millions have already been sold, we can only hope that there are still a few of you left out there without one. In the future, we’ll try to keep a more open mind about tools that have strange names and are backed by aggressive marketing.
Robin C. Lee