Our good friends, Jennifer and Jim Bumpas, who live down the street from us are always surprising us with their thoughtful gestures: Jennifer with her delectable baked treats, lovely fresh flowers to perk me up when a stubborn cold refuses to budge, or a plant I’ve always wanted. While Jim, who is a passionate wood turner, whom I have often found working in their garage covered with wood dust, has given me an exclusive, handmade container for Ikebana-type flower arrangements, in addition to several beautiful wooden bowls we love to use and display. But, the biggest surprise they have given us recently came one day within a carefully packed gift bag. It contained an item Jim had made and we did not have the slightest idea as to what it was.
Made out of wood, obviously, the conical-shaped object with concentric rings marked around it is – as eventually revealed – was a gardener’s tool called the “dibble;” and 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; the thought 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, esp. for planting bulbs or seedlings.” 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 one inch markings that facilitate 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 the busy, overworked gardener.
I am not sure as to where one can find such a unique tool except to be fortunate enough to have friends like we do. If you do know of someone who is willing to make a dibble for you, a word of caution – avoid asking a sophisticated artisan as to how long it took him or her to create a certain piece of their work. Chances are, they might respond: “Try making one yourself”!