The Japanese make stuff really well, so when another of our roving reporters (thanks Tamara) tipped us off about a Japanese brand she’s seen at Grow London, I was keen to research it. The brand is Niwake, which means garden tree in Japanese, and it’s fabulous. It started off as a site selling Japanese tripod ladders and garden tools but now it has grown to import all sorts of other great stuff only found in Japan and really hard to find anywhere else.
If you have a bit of a weakness for cool gardening tools, knives and scissors, then go hide your credit card now, because you’ll be tempted….
Firstly, there’s all the fabulous scissors…what IS it about scissors? I don’t think you can ever have too many pairs. There’s a useful intro page on the website that highlights the brand’s ‘hero’ products, such as the fabric snips at £21 (above left) and the the secateurs from £34 (above right) and I’m hankering after the Wakasaya garden scissors £25, above centre.
I’ve coincidentally got the ingenious tripod ladder, £159 which I bought years ago from Architectural Plants, in Sussex, who were the first people in the UK to stock Niwaki products. Should you need a garden ladder, this really is spectacularly good. It’s light- I can carry it in one hand- very stable, due to its clever wide-based design and very robust.
These kitchen scissors above, at £28, are so beautiful, far too elegant for hanging around my kitchen, but I’m hoping they will add a touch of Japanese calmness and refinement.
When I was in Japan recently I remember loving the giant shuro brushes, £9.00 -so artfully bound together – and the leaf pans, £17.50, that all the gardeners I saw used to brush up clippings in their tiny green spaces. I’m thrilled you can now get them here, because rubbish jobs like sweeping and brushing are much nicer to do with beautiful tools <totalfact>.
But my favourite idea on the site is the magnetic scissors at £5.00. Small and with friendly chunky plastic handles, the scissors slot into a carrot shaped holder that acts like a fridge magnet, handy for the kitchen, the studio or any workshop environment.
There are also very fancy kitchen knives, and for stationery geeks, you can buy the Mitsubushi Hi-Uni pencil set which I’ve never seen outside of a Tokyo Itoya store, I know! Exciting times.
The Niwaki site is here, but remember, I warned you…