A trowel is a small handheld shovel. It's useful for indoor or pot gardening, for planting flowers and bulbs. A trowel can also help with weeding or working around existing plants. Generally, a trowel has a small curved blade with a handle on one end and the curved sides coming to a point at the other end.
- Besides gardening trowels, there are specialized trowels for brick laying and archeology, but this article focusses on trowels for gardening.
The advantages of a trowel over a full sized shovel are that it's smaller and easier to store, lighter and allows more control, so you are less likely to harm other nearby plants. On the other hand, a trowel is not the best tool for digging "in volume". Another tool would be better for digging a large hole or loosening up the soil for a new garden bed.