Garden Tool Burial Ground

Yesterday I checked around online to see if I could rent a metal detector.  I thought perhaps they’d be available at Home Depot or Lowe’s or some other equipment rental place. 

No luck. 

Around here, people like to use metal detectors to look for old bullets from the War of Northern Aggression Civil War, since quite a bit of fighting took place in these here parts.  But I thought it would be useful to put one to work in my garden in order to discover the locations of all the tools I have misplaced over the years.

This is the tool I lose most frequently:

Fishtail Weeder. Photo credit:

I would have posted a picture of my own fishtail weeder if I had one.  But alas, my latest weeder went MIA last week.  Dropped to the ground in a moment of distraction, it lay unretrieved by its careless owner, who had gone into the house for a cool beverage and then never resumed her labors.   Though the owner even made a mental note of the weeder’s location before retiring to the house, unfortunately her frontal lobe malfunctioned and the memory and weeder both remain at large!

(Oops, I accidentally slipped into third person.  I have read that this can happen to bloggers who’ve been at it for awhile, who gradually begin to forget that their online persona is, in fact, not a separate entity.)

Anyhow, I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I probably have between six and ten fishtail weeders scattered about my garden…hidden beneath ivy, buried in my compost pile, stuck in dense thickets of shrub suckers….or (what I really suspect) carried off my tiny Garden Sprites to use in their little underground homes ala The Borrowers.

Now that I find out metal detectors aren’t available for rental, I figure my only other hope of finding all my tools is some sort of hypnotism.  If a Qualified Hypnotist could take me through some sort of Regression Therapy so that I could relive the moments where I have dropped my fishtail weeder to the ground, perhaps those memories would emerge from the dark, mildewy labyrinth of my brain and I’d be able to find my tools!

Come to think of it, a metal detector or hypnotist would also be very useful for helping me locate my Renault Le Car Matchbox Car that I lost in my parents’ backyard in 1979.

32 thoughts on “Garden Tool Burial Ground

  1. Oh, you laugh about the Matchbox car. Fifteen years ago, I moved into a house where both the owners’ kids and all of the kids in the neighborhood apparently mulched the flowerbeds with broken toys. Every time I’d dig, I’d come across…parts. Horrible, mutilated, dog- and baby-chewed parts. I felt like a horticultural Herbert West when I’d dig them up and try to figure out what part went to what toy, and how long it had been buried. (A few looked as if they’d been in the ground for so long that Carbon-14 tests wouldn’t work any longer, and I’d have to go straight to strontium-rubidium dating.)

    • That’s funny. I haven’t found any buried toy parts in my yard, but I do have this mysterious spot in one of my garden beds where the soil is all slimy and it just STINKS when you dig there. I don’t know if somebody buried their long-lost pet there or what. I checked my plat and no sewage runs through there either. Maybe its a portal to an alternate zombie-filled reality or something. Anyway, I planted some toad lilies there and they seem to like it.

    • In the future, try painting the handles of your tools day-glow pink. It gives you a fighting chance of seeing them. Also everything is within 18″ of the last place you saw it,if you can remember where that was.

  2. I wish I could help you find your lost tools…it is painful to have a favored implement and then, not. Mr. Diggy just developed a crack in his blade after over 10 years of yeoman service, I feel like I am losing a friend. Maybe one of those retractable-cable keychains that the rockabilly kids put their keys on? I found this one on Amazon: it has a 48″ stainless steel cable, that should be plenty of slack to use the tool while the caribiner keeps it safely and findably attached about your person. Just put the key ring through the hole in the handle of the tool. No more Lost Things for your Tinker Fairies!

    • Thanks, Calvin. That looks like a nifty device. Does it retract automatically, though? Because if it does I have visions of myself letting go of my weeder and then having it sucked violently back up toward me and jabbing me in the eye!

      • Some of them pull out and stop, and then pull out and retract like those old-fashioned flappity-flap window shades on a spindle. Worth a try, anyhoo, and well cheaper than a quality tool. And what if there is risk, Mary? I suspect you of devil may care attitude, and while it is truly only fun until someone loses an eye, I say: EYEPATCH. Think about it.

  3. Several years ago, I bought a National Geographic metal detector for my grandson. I suggested that his grandfather toss some coins out for him to find – my husband’s comment was, “I’ll let him find the metal clips from the greenhouse!” A wind had blown the greenhouse apart and the clips were missing. Most of them were found. Like a fool, I let the grandson take the metal detector home – I have often wished I still had it! Good Luck!

  4. This brings back the painful memory of having lost a pair of Felco pruners some years ago. I looked for them for months (especially in the winter when I thought their BRIGHT RED HANDLES would jump out at me in the dreary landscape). Knowing that lost objects usually show up the day after you buy their replacement, I decided I would just have to buy a new pair of Felcos and the old ones would then show themselves! They never did. Since that day, I got in the habit of always putting those shears in my back pocket. Yes, I know its’ a safety hazard to have pointy things sticking out of your back pocket – but – I’ve never lost another pair!
    I like to think that the gardener who lives here after me will uncover them, and have a good chuckle. I think they might have been too heavy for the Garden Borrowers to lug home. I’m sure they’re enjoying all the Matchbox cars and Legos my boys have lost in the garden over the years, however!

    • Vicki, so sorry to hear about your Felcos. Luckily I have not lost mine yet (give it time) but I am guilty of leaving them out in the rain a few times. I literally despise myself when I discover I’ve left them out in the elements, and I feel anguish and remorse when I observe the blades developing layers of rust. Ugh!

  5. Hahahaha…that’s the best part about my annual spring clean-up, when I chop back all the grasses and perennials at the beginning of the season…I find all (well, most) of the tools and gadgets that got swallowed up the previous season!

  6. I’ve lost a few tools in the garden as well. Usually they are often found, though not necessarily before the following spring when the ground is relatively bare.

    At least you didn’t commit the goof my spouse and I were guilty of after returning from a hike a few years ago. Namely, we drove off with her good camera on the roof of the car. A good samaritan saw us do this and was following us in his own car, honking and trying to get our attention. We kept looking at each other and saying, “What is wrong with that guy? Jeez, what a jerk!”

    When we realized what had happened we tried searching in the underbrush along the road, but it was too late.

  7. Last year I lost a brand new hori-hori knife, most likely under newspaper and mulch in my black raspberry patch. That’s my most disappointing tool loss to date, but it doesn’t compare in weirdness with the day my husband dropped the pruners in the middle of the mock orange and we never found them again. Not to this day. Good luck with your search.

  8. Perfect! Although I lose my tools more so in my garage when I become sidetracked, rather than my yard. I did find my husband’s cell phone in my garden the other day. He should be thankful we’ve had such dry weather in the midwest. It works!
    Thank you for the post,
    -R.T. Wolfe

  9. In 2003 the Southeastern Flower Show theme was laughter in the garden. Our garden title was “Who’s Been Eating the Pansies?” and featured a seven foot tall dragon and her baby made by a local Atlanta artist out of rusty garden tools. The concept we came up with was that all of those lost tools go somewhere and she is what happens to them. I will post two links and you can search and find to see if she has your weeder as part of her body.

  10. I don’t know if you have Hobby Town USA or Sunbelt Tool Rental but both of those are national chains that rent metal detectors. In the neighborhood I lived in within Atlanta city limits there were lots of treasure hunters because it was a “War Between the States” route and the land owner was said to have buried gold as the war advanced. Many people with detectors would knock on our door and ask to access the property looking for the gold. I was digging to plant a Japanese Maple and found an underground vault – you can imagine how my heart was beating – turned out to be an old outhouse. NOT the treasure I thought it would be!

    • Laughing, and crying for you! The best thing I’ve found in my garden (in Stamford, CT) was a beautiful arrowhead made of quartz (tip intact) and a beginning of an arrowhead also of quartz. Unfortunately a friend who was holding the arrowhead dropped it, and the tip broke off. I hope the Native who carved it at least brought home a rabbit for dinner.

  11. some urchin in my garden loves sunglasses…..once in a while I find them again, months later, sun melted. I’ve trained myself to always put my felcos back in my garden pouch, I never leave home without it!

  12. Nadine and Debbie are on the right track. Paint! There is some glo-in-the dark paint you can use. Just go out at night, and, bingo! there is your missing garden implement.

  13. Surely there is a bullet-hunting Civil War enthusiast in your neighborhood or among your acquaintance that you could borrow a metal detector from. Or maybe they’d even be willing to take a break from the battlefield and do a tool hunt instead.

  14. I left a comment that never got moderated. I think only I can see it because I linked a few photos to it. It was about our tool stealing sculpture in the Southeasten Flower Show. Did you get it?

    • Heather, I am so sorry. Yes, I did get it. I never check for comments under moderation because I thought I had disabled that feature. But maybe it got sent ther because of the photos. Apologies!

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