When we look at the history of gardening tools, it is of course directly related to the history of gardens itself. While the growing of plants, fruits and vegetables is as old as mankind itself, ornamental gardens were first seen in the Egyptian tomb paintings of 1500 BC.
The hanging gardens of Babylon are hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are evidences of gardens in Athens in 350 BC. Later gardens also appeared in Rome and then Spain around the 4th century. Separate garden traditions also evolved in China and Japan.
Naturally, with the growth of these gardens, there must have been some garden tools or implements that were used to maintain the gardens.
When looking at the history of gardening tools, it is probably useful to examine the most common tools.
Watering pots & cans: Watering pots and cans have been used from time immemorial. However, it is believed that the watering poles with multiple holes in the delivery sprout were invented in the middle ages to mimic rain falling down on plants.
Cutting & pruning tools (shears): Shears date back to 50 century BC. Shears have been an important tool for the formal garden, to trim bushes into geometric shapes, since Roman times.
Trowels, forks & rakes: Trowels and rakes were used in the 18th centuries, mainly to clean garden leaves and rakes.
Garden knives: Knives have been used for a long time. Garden knives have come in different shapes and sizes through out the ages.
Hand or Wheel barrows: Barrows have been one of the oldest carrying devices invented by man. There are two generally two types of barrows; either a Hand-barrow (carried at both ends) or a Wheel-barrow (carried at one end wheel on the other).
Lawn mowers: Lawn mowers are a relatively newer invention. They were invented by Edward Budding in 1830. As scything through the grass, took a lot of men, Budding worked on the problem from an engineering perspective. He took the concept of trapping the grass between two blades, much like a scissor and enhanced it to come up with a lawn mower.
So there you have it – a brief history of gardening tools.