Tool Box: A scoop buy from Cape Cod

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THE CAPE COD weeder from New England is a Tool Box favourite. The same people make and export an equally attractive transplanting trowel.

Ten inches of wooden handle and six inches of steel scoop - complete with eight deeply incised depth marks - make it ideal for tackling plants that would be just beyond a conventional trowel's reach. The scoop's shape is equally efficient, being long, slim and curved enough to form a semi-circle at the deepest, broadest point. Defects? The scoop was slightly out of line with the 'neck' that joins it to the handle.

Tidy gardeners will appreciate the leather thong. Typical of the Cape Cod range's simple, practical design ethos, it rules out any excuses for not hanging the trowel up at the end of the day. The price is pounds 12.99 plus pounds 1 for post and packing.

I enjoyed using the trowel. But the neck bent - just a little - when Stuart Gilham, a professional gardener, supplemented my test with a bit of deep digging. He said: 'They all bend, sooner or later.' This one looks very strong, but I wonder how long it will last before joining countless others in the trowels' graveyard.

The trowel can be obtained from Traditional Garden Supply Co, 22 Guildford Park Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5ND (0483 450080).