Friday, August 7, 2015

Garden Bloggers Fling - Welcome Evening at Lee Valley


I had said I would do a series of posts on the Garden Bloggers Fling and, wouldn't you know it, the summer has just been so busy, especially in the garden, that time has been in short supply.  Yes, I'm sure you're all shocked :)

The welcome party for the Garden Bloggers Fling was at Lee Valley Tools in downtown Toronto:

Lee Valley Tools on King Street West in Toronto

There were delicious drinks & yummy foods – I’m never one to pass up on that!

Service with a bit of pizzazz
 
But what this event was really about, for me anyhow, were the tools – so many wonderful gardening items everywhere.  I think I stood staring at the drip irrigation display for at least 20 minutes thinking of the many areas of my garden that would benefit from this sprayer or that dripper.

Drip Irrigation Display
 
When I saw the books in this tub, I couldn't help but laugh:


 
"What's Wrong with my Vegetable Garden" - now that's a catchy title if I ever heard one!

For those of you who have not heard of Lee Valley, they are a Canadian company that specializes in high end garden & woodworking tools.  They are also my go-to source when it comes to cabinet hardware - no kidding.  They have an amazing selection and I usually find their prices are better than the local box stores.

Other than cabinet hardware, I have purchased drip supplies (only 4 of my beds have drip right now, but that is going to change, hopefully by the end of this year) as well as a few kitchen items from them.  They often have unique products that you can't easily find elsewhere.  We needed something to hold kindling for our wood-burning fireplace and I coveted this coal scuttle for a long time before I finally purchased it a couple of years ago:

Ye Ol' Coal (or in our case kindling) Scuttle
 
I had not, however, purchased any gardening tools from them.  I would often oogle them in their catalogue (which they still send out), but I just couldn’t justify spending over $60 on a pair of Swiss pruners when my $20 pair from Home Depot worked just fine.  Like a lot of high quality tools, however, I probably wouldn’t say that if I actually owned a pair (Felco pruners…I’m looking at you!).  It’s the whole “once you have it, you can’t live without it” phenomenon, much like a good set of kitchen knives.

One item that really caught my eye was the mini-weed torch.

Added to my shopping list
 
We have several rocky areas, including a culvert, that have constant weed issues, not to mention our front walkway.  I can see how dealing with all the weeds would be something I actually enjoyed doing with that thing...instant gratification at it's best.  Perennial weeds may take a bit longer to deal with, but the actual process would be so quick (and satisfying) that I don't think that's too much of an issue.

The folks at Lee Vallery were nothing short of welcoming & incredibly generous.  I mean INCREDIBLY generous.  After years of making them for my kids parties, for once I was the one receiving a “goodie bag”.  And chocked full of goodies it was:

Lee Valley Goodie Bag
 
All of that PLUS a $50 gift card...didn’t I say they were generous?  Those tools are all constructed with solid beech and stainless steel.  I’ve hung them in the shed, but haven’t used them yet – they’re so gorgeous, it’s almost a shame to get them dirty.

Although I do need to get more drip supplies, the gift card has been earmarked for the mini-weed torch, which I'll pick up the next time I'm in Burlington or I may order it online if they have another free shipping event.  And no, I am not affiliated with Lee Valley in any way and they have no idea who I am...just so you know.

One of these days I’ll put down my $10 trowel but not quite yet.  I’m going to let my new set of tools be my reward for getting the veg areas of the garden finished – fencing, mulching, compost area – all of it.  Then I will do the ceremonial ground breaking with my shiny, new tools.  How’s that for incentive!

Till next time...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

18 comments:

  1. Felco pruners are nice, but my favorite upgrade ever was the Wilcox trowels. I can't even use a regular trowel anymore. You wouldn't think a trowel makes or breaks your day, but they do.

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    1. Just looked up your Wilcox trowel - it does look nice! That's the thing when it comes to most well made tools...it's practically impossible to go back to the cheapies once you've tried them.

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  2. I love Lee Valley. I've used their gardening and woodworking tools for years. It sounds like a great visit!

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    1. It was great, especially as I had never been to the downtown location before. I do drop by their Burlington store every once in a while and even if I am only there to get a couple of small things, I end up spending a good chunk of time browsing all the displays...and usually walk away with a mental note on at least one or two things that I have to add to my "want" list.

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  3. I love looking through their catalogs. I'd REALLY love seeing the store! Or maybe not. Depends on whether or not my charge card could handle it! Ha!!
    So happy you got to go there and get such a great goody bag to boot!

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    1. Well, Sue, if you ever happen to come north of the border, I would be MORE than happy to do Lee Valley jaunt...I bet we could keep each others spending in check. Or maybe not - in fact, I have a feeling it would be quite the opposite ;)

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  4. Lee Valley originated in Ottawa and the main store is just 20 minutes or so from my office. I frequent it regularly. I cannot express how much I absolutely LOVE their products. I can't believe I didn't know the Fling was in Toronto this year ... sounds like I missed a lot of fun.

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    1. Lucky you! I'll have to remember that the next time I'm out towards Ottawa - I usually find that a stores original location is usually just that little bit better than other locations, so that would definitely be worth a stop.

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  5. They were certainly generous with all the goodies and the welcome party. I ordered from my gift certificate soon after we got home (think I missed the free shipping though). I got one of the ratcheting loppers and a cooling neck scarf (which I keep forgetting to use).

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    1. Oh, that sounds great - I've always wanted a ratcheting lopper. And isn't that the way it is with some things - that always happens to me with my hat...by the time I remember that I should put one on, it's time to go back inside.

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  6. Sounds like a great event and what a wonderful spot for the welcome party. It's a good thing there isn't a store like that anywhere near me, I would be there all the time. Terrific goodie basket, they were very generous. Can't wait to hear more about the fling.

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    1. It was like Christmas in June...only better as no one ever thinks of giving me gardening supplies at Christmas ;)

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  7. Sounds like a really good time. The weed flamer is a good idea but you might want to think about upgrading a level to the Weed Flamer model. It requires a standard propane tank but can handle bigger jobs (I'm thinking culverts, walkways). Have to schlep around a propane tank (or put it on a dolly) but that is what your husband is for. He carries the tank, you flame away at those weeds.

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    1. Hee hee - the picture of me flaming weeds with my husband in tow made me chuckle...he's responsible for weed wacker duty and I think that is more than enough for him as he just recently hinted that he didn't particularly enjoy doing that job (but unfortunately he is stuck with it!).

      I actually considered the larger model and my neighbor has already said that's the one she is getting. But I know me - if I had to hook up and lug around a big tank, especially around the culvert which is in a fairly steep ditch area, I probably wouldn't end up doing it all that often. The smaller one is more of a grab & go type model & the 1 lb. tank is supposed to last 1-2 hours. The areas I'm looking at aren't that large, so I'm thinking one tank would easily last at least half the summer. Of course, I'll only know if I made the right decision once I use it. I'll make sure to do a post about it then.

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  8. I'm sorry I missed this great adventure, since I LOVE Lee Valley. And now I love Toronto, too.

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    1. It's such a great store & I'm sure you would have really enjoyed it. But on the bright side, they do still issue a print catalogue...which I'm sure you already get, right? I must say that I enjoy their catalogue *almost* as much as going to the store. Not the most environmentally friendly thing, I know, but I do love browsing while curled up on the couch & a laptop is just not the same thing ;)

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  9. I'm a big Lee Valley fan, so was delighted (over the moon) when they agreed to be a sponsor for the Toronto Fling. So glad you enjoyed yourself. I can't walk out of the store without buying something, and, like you, have accumulated a number of special things in my home or garden of the years that originated at Lee Valley.

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    1. I had only ever been to their Pine Valley & Burlington locations, so was quite excited to go to their downtown store. And big kudos to you Helen for arranging our evening there - I couldn't imagine a more appropriate place to host the welcome event.

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