Gardening: Tool Box: French Dragon takes pole position

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The Independent Online
MY MEDIEVAL Welsh ancestors include archers who helped to defeat the French at Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt. Camembert and claret help to explain why the relationship now is far more cordial than it was in the Middle Ages.

Another good thing to cross the Channel is the Dragon Continental One-Pole System. The name wins no prizes for brevity but this simple, robust, versatile, value- for-money implement merits careful consideration as gardeners tool up for another season. The basic element is a beech pole - there is a choice of lengths - with a patented, spring-loaded locking device at one end. To this can be clamped a wide-ranging variety of well-made steel tool heads, some of which could be mistaken for weapons wielded during the aforementioned differences of opinion.

The shorter of the poles is listed at pounds 8.95. Heads are priced from pounds 4.95 for the mattock hoe and soil rake to pounds 10.95 for the garden plough. The lawn rake ( pounds 7.95) won its spurs scarifying some moss-mottled grass.

I like this product and applaud the idea of making several heads fit one handle. But the concept is not unique, so consider alternatives from the likes of Gardena before opening your wallet.

Jarvis-France, PO Box 7, Emsworth, Hampshire P010 7UB (0243 378059).