The Potato Graip. An antique which became a garden tool unique – Maurice Parkinson

Many years ago, I had an interest in acquiring antique gardening tools. On that basis I attended a local auction and old potato graip was raised for sale by the auctioneer.  The rest is one of immense surprise and good fortune. It was not purchased for use but rather for display but soon after the day of purchase it became one of the best garden tools we have. During gardening workshops, I often have this graip in use, invariably to the surprise of everyone but it quite amazing the tasks that it can assist with. 

The graip’s greatest use is for the collection of the vegetation from borders which have been cut back in early winter. Because the tines are spaced at approx. 1.5 inches, virtually everything can be raked and lifted yet at the same time leaving many smaller pieces which add to the enrichment of the soil and provide for wildlife.

Unfortunately, the soil at Ballyrobert Gardens is very heavy and liable to smearing and compaction. The graip is the perfect solution because the version I have has spiked tines which insert the soil relatively easily The general shape of the implement enables one to prise the soil upwards allowing the soil to open up enabling water to escape and air exchange to improve. When used on lawns in this manner, I provide a top dressing with a coarse sand which is then worked in.

My graip is also perfectly at home when preparing areas of soil for grass seed sowing for lawns etc enabling the easy removal of larger sized stones. It has been used on occasions for cultivating soil in the veg garden.

Remarkably and for the first time this autumn I actually used it to scoop up potatoes which had been dug up and left on the soil surface for a few weeks to allow the heavy soil to be washed off by the rain.

You may be surprised to know that this list represents only some of the jobs that are assigned to it, but it would be interesting to know if others use the potato graip in the garden.

I have yet to meet anyone who has!



Airfield Estate Gardens

Ballintubbert Gardens and House

Ballycommane Garden

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ballyrobert Gardens

Bantry House and Garden

Benvarden Garden

Birr Castle Garden

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Burtown House and Gardens

Colclough Walled Garden

Collon House

Coolaught Walled Garden

Coolwater Garden

Dower House

Festina Lente

Fota House – Victorian Working Garden

Gash Gardens

Glebe Gardens

Glenavon Japanese Garden

Hester Forde Garden – ‘Coosheen Garden’

Hunting Brook Gardens

Irish National Stud and Gardens – The Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Garden

Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum and Gardens

June Blake’s Garden

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Kilgar Gardens

Killruddery House and Gardens

Killyreagh Garden

Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens

Kilravock Garden

Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden

Lodge Park Walled Garden

Loughcrew Gardens

Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Mount Usher Gardens

Oakfield Park Gardens

Old Deanery Garden

Patthana Garden

Rothe House Museum and Garden

Rowallane Garden

Salthill Garden

Seaforde Gardens

Seanabea Cottage

Strokestown Park Gardens

Terra Nova Gardens

Tullynally Castle Gardens

Tyrrelstown House Garden

Woodville Walled Garden

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