Hands tell you a lot about a person and garden gloves will help to save the skin beauty. Mine look far older than my years, thanks to excessive gardening and very little nurturing. This isn’t something that bothers me in the slightest, so I have never been a dedicated wearer of garden gloves. I like to feel the soil and the texture of the plants and dislike the restriction of heavy gloves. On meeting a gardener, I’m always delighted to shake a rather rough and soil ingrained hand - its a great way of knowing that you’ve met another of your kind. However, I’m honest enough to say that there have been times when I wish I had been wearing garden gloves: when the phone rings and you are covered in soil, when someone brings me out a biscuit or when I stumble across a nettle.
After encountering just some of the new squad of gardening gloves on the market, most of my excuses not to wear them are null and void. Over the past few years, the garden glove market has changed dramatically and there are many pairs that allow you to enjoy that ‘naked gardening experience’ while offering your hands
protection. I am now a convert.
Some garden gloves are so fine that you can easily write labels and unpick knots in string, and still prick out your seedlings. If you resorted to surgical or washing-up gloves for these jobs in the past, then you can safely
leave them under the sink from now on. The range of half-nitrile garden gloves, half-fabric gloves offer a certain amount of waterproofing and allow hands to breath, so it’s a welcome goodbye to sweaty palms.
Picking my best gardening gloves was really tough, as it comes down to how much you want to spend and how often you lose your gloves: are you the sort of gardener that can’t manage to keep a pair of garden gloves for more than a season? If so, you might be better off with a slightly cheaper pair. I like the idea of being able to machine wash them, as one reason I’ve given up with gloves in the past is that they’ve become too soil encrusted.
One thing’s for sure, though - the quality and range on offer is exceptional. I was spoilt for choice. I predict that this year could see the redundancy of a fair few nail brushes.
Best gardening gloves
1 You’ll be in no danger of losing these bright Lady Gardener gloves by Briers. The palms are made of soft leather and the back a slightly elasticated fabric.TheVelcrowrist strap aids easy removal and they are hand washable. It’s a shame that the garden gloves are stapled on to the packaging as this leaves a slightmark. The thickest of our whole selection - a durable glove, great forweeding or pruning.Only available inmedium.
Priced at £8.99.
2 The Atlas Nitrile Touch garden gloves offer you a second skin.The atlas nitrile touch gloves, available in a range of colours, are seamless with a nylon back that allowhands to breath. Palms and fingertips are coated withwaterproof nitrile,which offers good grip. Atlas nitrile touch gloves have a generous cuff and is available in small, medium or large. Ideal for light weeding, propagationwork and labelling. Atlas nitrile touch gloves’ll out perform most surgical and washing-up gloves.Machine washable.
Priced at £6.95.
3 The Ethel gardening gloves are very individual and attractive, and there is a choice of patterns. Made of a two-way stretch fabric with a rubberised grip, reinforced fingertips and a synthetic leather palm.The extended cuff is great and they really are comfy. I had to wear the large - the small really are small. Washed well in the machine, which is a real bonus. Perfect for the very clean gardener.
Priced at £12.99.
4 Showa 370 Assembly Grip garden gloves are the finest and lightest of them all. Ideal for fine work.The
fingertips and palms are coated with waterproof nitrile. Available in an amazing range of sizes from XS to XXL. Ideal for servicing strimmers and mowers as they offer a high resistance to oil. I don’t think they would stand up to hours of weeding but they are handy for precision work - perhaps have another pair at the ready. Priced at £6.99.
5 The Dry Touch pair take gardening gloves to another level and are endorsed by the RHS.You need to look after these fully lined, fine-leather, water-resistant gloves by allowing themto dry naturally.The ladies pairwere a little small, but I do have large hands. I wish they had a slightly longer cuff. The Dry Touch garden gloves is a wonderful gift and gloves you won’t want to lose.Not fine enough for labelwriting, but offer
warmth on a cold day and would be great for pruning. Will last for years. Ladies and gents, priced at £17.99.
6 TheWeedmaster Plus glove sizes are generous so a man may fit the medium. In four colours, they’re
perfect for weeding as the palms and fingertips have a waterproof nitrile coating.The rest of the glove is a
stretchy breathable cotton and the Velcro seal on the cuff allows you towear themtight to avoid debris falling
in. Handwash only.They’re such great value, they’re my EDITOR’S CHOICE - I’d be happy to buy a couple of pairs a year.
Priced at £4.99.
Tamsin Westhorpe, Editor The English Garden magazine