Great Gifts for Gardeners
If you’ve got a gardener on your holiday gift list, you’re in luck! Gardeners are down-to-earth (pun intended), and easy to shop for because they love anything that helps them enhance their landscape. I asked some avid gardeners about gifts on their wish list this year, and here is just a sample of great gift ideas for gardeners.
Gloves: Gardeners can never have enough gloves. Master Gardener Dortha Stinson told me, “I wear so many types of gardening gloves that they are always on my wish list. My family never takes me seriously when I ask for gloves and I have yet to receive a gift pair.” Women gardeners are always looking for gloves that fit their smaller hands, are durable, pliable and reinforced at the finger tips. Popular types include washable suede cowhide, gripping, nitrile, canvas and cotton jersey. Katz Garden Gloves (katzgardengloves.com) and Fox Gloves (foxglovesinc.com) are good online sources.
Pruning Shears: Most gardeners never go outside without a hand pruner tucked in a pocket. Bypass pruners are preferred because they make a sharp, clean cut using two blades that bypass each other like a pair of scissors. The top-of-the-line pruner is a Felco, adored by many gardeners (including myself). The Felco is more expensive than most, costing around $65, but you can get discounts online. If you purchase a Felco directly from the manufacturer, you receive a lifetime limited warranty. The Felco 2 is the most popular, but the Felco 6 is a little more comfortable for those with small hands. Lee Valley Gardening Tools (leevalley.com) also has a nice selection of pruners and other gardening tools. If you decide to buy a pruner for your gardener, tie a colorful ribbon on the end. More pruners are lost out in the yard than any other tool!
Utility Knifes: A utility knife or soil knife is great for cutting small roots and dividing perennials; it can also be used as a narrow trowel. The Oxo Good Grip Garden Knife and the A.M. Leonard Soil Knife (amleo.com) are highly rated and include a sheath you can attach to your belt. Also check out Smokey Mountain Knife Works (smkw.com) for a great selection.
Rain Gauge: Gardeners are obsessed with measuring precipitation to know if their plants are getting enough moisture. The Stratus 4” rain gauge is top-of-the-line and is also the official gauge of the Community Collective Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) – a collaboration of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation. Give the gift of a Stratus rain gauge and include information on joining CoCoRaHS (cocorahs.org) and charting rainfall in our area. You can order the rain gauge at weatheryourway.com or rainmanweather.com for around $30.
Knee Pads: As gardeners age, they really appreciate items that protect their knees and back. Knee pads or a kneeling bench (which can be used as a seat or flipped over to kneel on) are excellent gifts for older gardeners or those with arthritis or other disabilities.
Gift Basket: Your gardener will be ready to fight heat and pests in the coming spring if you put together a gift basket filled with protective items such as sun screen, bug spray, citronella candles, poison ivy block, gel to sooth the itching of insect bites and hand soaps and creams to pamper over-used hands. Add a garden hat and long-sleeve shirt with UV protection and you will help your gardener beat the elements throughout the coming year.
Plants: Yes, it really is all about the plants. Every gardener appreciates the gift of a new plant or a pretty pot to put it in. If your gardener loves camellias, purchase ‘Yuletide,’ which blooms during the holidays. Not sure what to buy? Get a gift certificate to a local nursery and let your gardener select his or her own plants.
Garden Bling: A great garden has a “feel” created by the structures, focal points and interesting pieces of art you find in the space. Urns, statuary, wind chimes, benches, gazing balls and antique tools all add to the personality of the garden. You can find pieces at local nurseries, antique shops, online and through catalogs like Frontgate.
Gifts to Attract Wildlife: Gardeners know that wildlife makes a garden come to life. Bird baths, bird feeders and birdhouses are always coveted. One friend enjoyed receiving a charming butterfly hibernation house purchased from Wild Birds Unlimited. Another gardener said the most romantic gift she ever received from her husband was a bluebird house for Valentine’s Day!
Gadgets: For the gardener who loves the latest in technology, consider the EasyBloom Plant Sensor, promoted as the “#1 Best-Selling Garden Tool” in the country. The sensor measures sunlight, temperature, water and fertilizer needs. It seems to be a tool that beginners love but veteran gardeners can do without. A soil pH meter is a valuable tool that accurately measures soil pH (acidity). This is important to determine what nutrients need to be added to garden beds for plants to thrive. Gardening applications for smart phones are popular and inexpensive. Apps cover everything from locating garden supplies at area stores to organizing your “to do” list of garden tasks. The iPhone even offers a “Repel Mosquito” app that transmits a high frequency unbearable to mosquitoes!
Books, Magazines and Memberships: Garden journals and good reference books on any aspect of gardening are always treasured gifts. Month-By-Month Gardening in Georgia by Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener and Proven Plants: Southern Garden by Erica Glasener are good choices for information on gardening in the South. A monthly subscription to a favorite magazine like Georgia Gardening, Fine Gardening, Southern Living or Horticulture will be appreciated as well. If you want to inspire your gardener, give a one-year membership ($60) to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Big Stuff! Every gardener I know would love to have a Mantis Tiller/Cultivator. This light-weight tool cuts through compacted soil and makes tilling a garden bed so much easier than using a shovel. It retails for about $350 but you can get some good deals on eBay. A greenhouse is one of those items gardeners dream about to store tender plants during the winter and propagate plants all year. You can get a small hobby greenhouse for around $150 or spend thousands on a commercial greenhouse. How about considering a new potting bench, compost bin, potting shed or an ornamental pond kit?
Still stumped for a great gift for a gardener? Donate your labor in the garden! Every gardener appreciates someone who will help weed, mow and dig holes. Just go get a truck load of composted horse manure and spread it in your gardener’s planting beds. You’ll be a hero! For more gift ideas for gardeners, check out my blog, ‘Garden Views’ at fayettewoman.com.