My Old Red Wheelbarrow

My Wheelbarrow (2008)
I like my old red wheelbarrow.

I bought it back in 1987. Yes, 25 years ago this spring.

I look at it now and can hardly believe that I've used the same wheelbarrow for 25 years. In all that time, it has served faithfully. It still has all its original parts except for a new tire that I bought 10 years ago, and maybe one or two new nuts on the bolts that hold the barrow to the handles.

I've hauled rocks, plants, top soil, mulch, compost, pavers, garden refuse and more in my red wheelbarrow. I've moved it to three different gardens. I've loaded it to the max a time or two with my gardening dreams and wishes.

A few times I've gotten sideways on a slope and dumped the whole load, but for the most part, my wheelbarrow and I have worked well together and have gotten a lot done.

Every time I see an old wheelbarrow that someone has converted to a planter, I think that I should get an old wheelbarrow and do the same.
Wheelbarrow planter at Dragonfly Farms Nursery
Sometimes, I've look at my old wheelbarrow, my 25 year old wheelbarrow, and wonder if it has become that old wheelbarrow that I should use as a planter now. I could fill it with top soil, plant it with little plants, decorate it with my growing collection of fairy sized garden ornaments and make quite a nice fairy garden.

But is my wheelbarrow really ready for retirement, ready to be re-purposed into a fairy garden planter?

No. I always decide that my wheelbarrow still has a lot of good years left in it. It's strong, doesn't wobble, and hasn't rusted through. There's a lot of work that it can still do, and thankfully, I'm still able to do most of that work, too.

So it won't be that wheelbarrow garden I've always wanted. For that, I'll need to find another old wheelbarrow, one that I'm not quite as attached to.

Did you know you could get attached to your gardening tools?

You can.

You can admit to me that you're attached to your Felco pruners with the clip on holster and tell me that you always clip it to the side pocket of your pants every time you step out into the garden. I won't wonder about you or laugh.

You can admit to me that you'll leave three trowels in plain sight while you spend 30 minutes looking for your favorite trowel because that trowel just seems to make the whole experience of gardening that much better. I'll understand.

After all, I have Felco pruners in a holster that I've had for a dozen years. I also have a favorite trowel, and even a favorite hoe, not to mention a lovely, barely broken in 25 year old red wheelbarrow that I can't imagine gardening without.

P.S. -- Nice try, but I'm not about to tell you which hoe is my favorite hoe. That secret is going to the grave with me, and maybe the hoe will, too.


  1. That's understandable.I've been using the same garden spade for about 15 years. A relative of mine bought me a new one, but I still use my old one.

  2. I have a very similar red wheelbarrow! Also with a replacement wheel (and it needs another now). Some years ago my dad had to put a wood brace across between the legs since someone used to carry too much in it. That doesn't happen anymore since that someone tries to be more cautious in her hauling. Your barrow has many good years left in it.

  3. carol, i have several old wheelbarrows in the back, that you may choose from. they have been propped up against a building left by the previous owner. Everytime i look at the 3 of them, i think, I'm going to keep those to make gardens in but haven't done it. We only have about 60 more days till we can garden.

  4. That wheelbarrow is not at all ready for retirement! We have two wheelbarrow planters, both had rusted out, and they do make for some fine and fun planting up. Maybe you will stumble upon an old one in a shop or something that you can use. Old Red still has some years left in her/him. We love our felcos and the hori hori knife, even though there is a shed full of other tools.

  5. What a wonderful treasure and in red, too! No your wheelbarrow is not ready to be a planter! Btw, you can't find old wheelbarrows anymore! I know because I have tried to find them....thinking of planting them up.

  6. I have a similar red wheelbarrow and I have a rusted out metal barrow. I put both to good use during the summer. I have thought about planting out the rusted one but then I use it. I am not sure if I am ready to plant it yet. It does come in handy and since it is already rusted out I don't have to worry about it rusting and it never has a flat tire.

  7. We have a great old yellow wheelbarrow that has been around for over 25 years too. Never event thought about replacing it YET.

    Funny how we hang on to those favorite things - I have a cultivator that I bought at an auction 15 years ago that had to have been 50 years old then - still love it's wooden handle and rusty tines.

  8. I've got an old wheelbarrow out front that was given to me by neighbors to use as a planter. It's had wildflowers & grasses planted in it for several years now. I believe I'll empty it and replant it with succulents this spring.

  9. I have a wheelbarrow, put together from parts, by my son-in-law. They left it here when they moved to North Dakota.
    It's a planter now, with agaves...the deer don't eat them, but they continually pull them up.
    My true love was may fiberglass garden cart. It finally has too many, big holes from throwing big rocks into it. Very sad.
    But, I got a new..but, different..cart for Christmas. I hope I grow to love it as much. Time will tell.
    So, yes. Loving one's garden tools, is something I completely understand.

  10. i love old thigs like that. We had an old one that we gave to our daughter. Maybe she'll usfe it for a planter. I would like to have old red wagon for that purpose.

  11. Wow amazing to have your faithful friend all this time.

    I love it .

  12. Oh, yes, Felcos in the holster -- we are attached at the hip -- literally. I wear my holster so much, that my pants pockets on the right side all have this strange worn spot on them, or are torn completely through. I wear it so much that it just feels natural, and I have to laugh when I catch myself in a store with my Felcos still attached at the hip.

  13. I still use my old wheelbarrow occasionally, I guess it depends on what I need it for since it has some rusted-out holes in the bottom!

    My trustiest garden implement is my kneeler since I can't garden without it. I've had a couple of prettier ones given to me over the years but I love the original which is cracked vinyl and leaking stuffing but it's my favorite.

  14. I can't imagine getting 25 years of service out of a wheelbarrow!
    Mine get daily use, and don't last more than a few years, even with repairs and part replacements.
    I do have a pickup truck that I've been driving since 2000, and that is as long as I've ever had a tool that saw daily use.


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