Bellevue House National Historic Site of Canada

A Guide to the Gardens

Garden Tools and Techniques

Carrying Water to the Garden
Carrying Water to the Garden
©Parks Canada / Brian Morin

Where possible, only period tools and historic techniques are used in planting and maintaining the gardens. The scythe is used to trim most of the grass in the orchard and ornamental grounds. Major digging is done using the spade, a heavy version of the tool still in use today. With squares measured off using a heavy line, plantings are completed with a trowel, a dibble, or a simple wooden stick. Branches are trimmed using a billhook.

One of the period techniques that we cannot use is the burning of twigs and other woody material, however, composting deals with the soft waste. Regular additions of rotted manure maintain the fertility and condition of the soil so that fertilizers are not required.