Planting blue salvia in the morning. Photo: Judy Bender

Ask any gardener what's the most valuable tool they own and they'll probably say a trowel. That makes sense. You use a trowel for planting a myriad of things, from annuals and perennials to bulbs and even small shrubs. You use it for carving holes in the ground, unearthing weeds, and filling pots with soil. It's the one garden tool you use almost daily. Grumpy has about 10 of them, but this one is my all-time favorite.

It's made by DeWit, a Dutch tool company that's been around since 1898. This particular tool is called a Victorian trowel and I've never encountered one that works better in my crummy clay soil. The large version measures 13.5 inches long with a blade that's 7.25 inches long and 3.25 inches wide. The blade has a rounded front edge and an unusual scooped shape. Here's what a new one looks like.

emVictorian trowel. Photo: WeWit/em

And here's what one looks like hanging in Grumpy's garage after many years of use.

emPhoto: Steve Bender/em

So what makes this particular trowel so good? First, it has a solid ash handle. Wood always feels better in my hand than plastic or metal. Second, the forged, boron-steel blade is made from the same tough material used for fashioning bulldozer blades. Third, the front edge is beveled and sharp, so it effortlessly penetrates hard soil and cuts unwanted roots. Fourth, its scoop shape digs large holes quickly and also enables you to transplant small plants without disturbing their roots.

Finally, it comes with a lifetime guarantee. I wish I did.

Good quality isn't cheap. The Victorian trowel will set you back about $33. But when you consider you'll still be using it 20 years from now (provided you aren't underground by then -- planted by this trowel, of course), that's not so much. Look for the DeWit Victorian trowel at garden centers near you or order online from the Garden Tool Company.

And in case you're wondering, Grumpy doesn't receive a single cent for this endorsement. Not even stamps or cookies.

Coming Up This Sunday -- 10 Terrible Weeds & How To Kill Them With Extreme Prejudice