“Dibble” your way to the garden

Our good friends, Jennifer and Jim Bumpas, live down the street from us and are always surprising us with their thoughtful gestures: Jennifer with either her delectable baked treats, lovely fresh flowers to perk me up when a stubborn cold virus refused to budge, or a plant I always wanted. While Jim, a passionate wood turner, who I have often found working in their garage, covered with wood dust, has presented me an exclusive, handmade container for Ikebana-type flower arrangements, in addition to several lovely wooden bowls we love to use and display.

But the biggest surprise they have given us recently was by showing up one day with a carefully packed gift bag containing an item that Jim made. We did not have the slightest clue what it was.

Made out of wood, obviously, the conical-shaped object with concentric rings marked around it is – as eventually revealed – a gardener’s tool called the “dibble.” To help understand its versatility, a detailed fact sheet was also included, lest I end up treating this functional yet unique-looking item as an accent for home décor, a thought which fractionally did cross my mind!

A dibble, also known as a dibber or dibbler, is, as the American Heritage Dictionary states, “a pointed gardening implement used to make holes in the soil, especially for planting bulbs or seedlings.” And so it is, as indicated by the shape and sturdiness of the tool, and according to the information that came with it. A dibble has been around for a long time, for the Romans used a fairly similar tool for gardening purposes.

Made of hard maple wood and finished with natural beeswax, the rings on the conical part of the dibble represent 1 inch markings that help in determining the exact planting depth; furthermore, one can drag the dibble along the depth desired with the strong, slip-proof handle to make furrows quickly and accurately, thereby simplifying the life of busy, overworked gardeners.

I am not sure where one can find such a unique tool except to be fortunate enough to have friends like we do, but if you do know of someone who is willing to make a dibble for you, there is a word of caution to bear in mind. Avoid asking a sophisticated artisan how long it took him or her to create a certain piece of their work, because chances are the response might be something like this: “Try making one yourself!”  

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