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Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Gardening Geek's Guide to Gift Giving

With just two months to go until Christmas, I'm already picking up hints from my mom and others that I should be putting together a list of what I want for Christmas. Hints like, "what do you want for Christmas?"

Let's not rush the seasons. I just harvested the last of the peppers and a few more tomatoes today!

But since the stores are already putting the Christmas candy out right next to the Halloween goodies, I decided it isn't too early to provide a list of gift suggestions for other gardeners. I've included only items I already own and have experience using and any links to sources are provided freely without compensation to me in any way.

A Gardening Geek's Guide to Gift Giving

1. Felco pruners. It is so much easier to dead head, gather flowers to bring indoors, or cut back that occasional stray or dead branch when you have a good, sharp pair of pruners. I personally use a No. 8 Felco pruner, and I own the holster, too.

2. Hand digging hoe. This is still my tool of choice for digging out sod or hoeing up a small area. If you get one, remember the good ones are nice and sharp.

3. Cape Cod Weeder. I once thought the hand digging hoe was "it" for weeding in the flower beds until Annie in Austin tipped me off about the Cape Cod Weeder. I had to try it, because there are very few gardening tools I won't try at least once. I'm glad I did because now it's my favorite tool for weeding.

4. A good trowel. I've mentioned before that any hobby or vocation involving tools is much more enjoyable if you use well-made tools, and gardening is no exception. If you can splurge, get a good trowel, one that won't bend or rest, and is easy on the hands. It doesn't have to be this one, but get a good one. And while you are at it, get a matching hand cultivator.

5. Hand scrubbing brushes. If you like to garden bare-handed, these brushes really do a good job of getting the ground dirt off your hands.

6. Garden trug. Yolanda Elizabet has the trug I really want, but this one that I have is good for carrying a big load of vegetables in from the garden. (If you go to that site, you'll have to enter "garden trug" in the search to find it, no direct link was available). Since this trug is made of plastic, it is easy to keep clean. Mine is over ten years old and seems to be indestructible.

7. Garden clogs. I got my first pair of these garden clogs 15 years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of Crocs. Now I have three pair and don't ever want to go without them. And yes, for me, this is the only brand, the one with the plaid insert!

8. A chipper/shredder. I was very happy to find this electric model last year, as I hated the gas-powered one that I had before this one. It's easy to roll around to wherever you want to use it, easy to use, and easy to store. If you have a lot of garden refuse and compost bins, you might also enjoy an afternoon or two of chipping and shredding.

9. A garden journal. Yes, a simple notebook would work for a garden journal, and if you aren't sure you'll keep up a journal, get a simple notebook. But if you keep a garden journal already or think you would faithfully update one, consider this one. It has room for ten years worth of notes, so it is easy to compare what you did from year to year. I started mine in 2001 and so in a few years, I'm going to need another one.

10. A good hoe. Don't make me choose which hoe is the perfect hoe to give a gardener. They all are good in their own way. If you really want to give someone a hoe, or want to buy one for yourself, leave me a comment or send me an email on what type of gardening you do, and I'll be happy to make some suggestions.

So there you have it, some of my ideas for gifts for the gardener, based on my own experience and what I use in the garden. I'm not in cahoots with any of these companies that I've linked to, I just like these things for gardening and thought others might, too.

Now I need to think about what I don't have so I can come up with a list to give my family. Any suggestions? What gift would you give a gardener for Christmas?


(It's nearly Halloween and daisies are still blooming in my garden... they are in for a surprise on Monday, when we are supposed to have a good frost.

Tomorrow... hand made gifts for gardeners, that anyone can make.)

17 comments:

Leslie said...

I recently got this OXO digging fork and am liking it a lot.

Meems said...

what a nice list and thanks for taking the time to create it. i will have to purchase a pair of the clogs. even though i have been wearing them for many, many years and keep a pair at the front and the back... i am always up for another pair. kind of like my shoes, i guess... never can have enough.

the one thing i couldn't live without is my wheelbarrow. i've had the same one for 23 years ...it is a lifesaver and a workhorse for hauling all my garden "stuff".

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is nice that you mention the Garden Journal. Dearly Beloved and I are reading his Grandfathers journals from the 50's - 70's. He used a journal similar to the one you mention. It will indeed be a gift idea for me. :)

Ki said...

How about a good pruning saw? We just bought a new one with many cutting angles in the teeth and it cuts so much cleaner and faster than our old one ever did. Well worth paying extra for the ease of use and it's better for the plant as well because the smooth cut heals faster.

I'm amazed that you still can harvest a trug full of veggies at this late date.

LostRoses said...

I actually couldn't garden without a . Of course this might be a gift for someone of a certain age and with creaky knees but I've used one of these for about 10 years and I love it. It's got handles you can haul yourself up with, and turns over to make a handy bench or stepstool, too. In fact, I do need one of these for Christmas, I loaned mine to Adorable Daughter-in-Law and I don't have the heart to take it back!

LostRoses said...

Garden Kneeler

If this doesn't work, I give up! It's a garden kneeler.

Zoey said...

Carol,
Thanks so much for this post.

Last year I wanted to get some Felco pruners, but just never got around to it. I used your link and ordered them just now. I printed a receipt and left it on DH's desk with a little note thanking him for the Christmas gift. :)

No more pruner lock up every time I try to cut!!

Carolyn gail said...

Great ideas, Carol. I would add my garden fettish -gloves. Not just any gloves but unusual, special gloves. For instance I have a pair of really long gloves for handling roses that have thorns and they're great ! I've been given gloves as presents and they've lasted well beyond the "garden variety " we use on a daily basis.

Another great gift would be a good book on gardening, something unusual.

Instead of those kneeling benches and pads which have to be moved so often I prefer a good pair of knee pads.

Indoor plants and bulbs are great as well.

And finally, one of the oldest but still most desirable hoes is the Korean hoe that dates back to the Iron age.

jodi said...

Mmmmm...whatever would we do without Lee Valley, Carol? We have similar affections for that company, you and I, although I've found that Lee Valleys own secateurs are just as good as Felcos, and about a 5th of the price.
you've also given me food for thought in doing my own Christmas gift suggestion posting--I do a garden column to that effect every year, and it's not too early to be researching interesting ideas.

jocelyn said...

I depend on my long handled spade for planting, transplanting, moving mulch and compost, and turning soil. Mine has a smaller (about 10" wide), pointed blade.

Other gift ideas include a subscription to a garden magazine, or a membership to a local botanical garden or arboretum.

Anthony said...

Nice list, although I prefer to get things like Gardening Books and Magazines for the Holidays. This way I don't have to wait until spring to get some use out of them.

Sort of like getting a bicycle for Christmas as a kid. Not much fun if it's snowing outside. :)

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

Two things. One, it pains me to see all the Christmas stuff in the stores already. Two, I just cut and pasted your list into e-mail and sent it to my husband. YAY! Thank you! ~A :-)

OldRoses said...

I'm getting tired of muddy knees. How about one of those kneeling pad thingies?

Wrenna said...

Nothing beats a gift certificate to your favorite online garden supplies and plants/bulbs. If everyone in my family would give me one of those I would think I had died and gone to heaven.

Kathy said...

You neglected to mention that Lee Valley has a wishlist feature. It's more kludgy than Amazon's but it does work.

Carol said...

Leslie... that looks interesting as does their entire line of gardening tools.

Meems... I love my wheelbarrow, too, and I would guess I've had it for 20 years, long enough to have had to replace the tire at least once. I think with wheelbarrows, we get used to the one we have, and then no other one is quite right.

Lisa at Greenbow... I read your comment with envy. I would have LOVED to have had a gardening journal from one of my grandparents or my Dad. I do post daily diary entries from my grandmother's diaries written in the 1920's. Have you seen that blog? Click on "Grandma's Diaries" on the sidebar if you haven't.

Ki... Don't be too amazed by that trug of veggies, I had been lax about harvesting for several weeks. I agree about the pruning saw. I had a good one but lost it one day. Something about leaving it on the bumper of the truck when I was hauling away some big branches.

LostRoses... I don't have one of those but I'm tempted. Now, it doesn't make you look old does it, using it as a crutch to pull yourself up like that?

Zoey... My Felco's have never locked up on me! I hope you like them.

Carolyn Gail... Those are all great ideas. I actually had gloves on the list but took them off because there are sooo many kinds out there, a gardener really has to choose those for themselves, I think.

Jodi... I do like Lee Valley, and wish they had an outlet somewhere near here. I'd love to see your list when it is done. Does your column show up on the Internet?

Jocelyn... Great ideas!

Anthony... I know what you mean. I've gotten a hoe for Christmas and then I can't use it for months.

Angela (cottage magpie)... I know, Christmas stuff in the store makes me feel like I am behind on getting Christmas gifts, and I haven't even finished cleaning up the garden.

OldRoses... See LostRoses' comments. I still get dirty knees, even with kneeling pads. I don't know how that happens, but it does.

Wrenna... If I got a gift cerficate, it would take me forever to choose what to buy!

Kathy... I didn't know that, I'll have to check it out.

Thanks all for the additional gift ideas and comments!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

David in Greensboro, NC said...

I want one of those garden journals. My blog started out as a garden journal, but I try to make it entertaining and sometimes practical stuff doesn't make it in there.