Gardeners don't want for much. Other than a little healthy plant lust, they're a pretty contented lot.
While there are all sorts of gadgets and gizmos aimed at the dirt-digging demographic, I'll bet that 90% of them are useless or unnecessary. Heck, when I was a budget-crunched college student my gardening tool of choice was an old butter knife. I kid you not.
Recently one of my favorite gardening tools is an old stiff broom. Judging from the teal color of the handle, it's from the 80's, the straw shortened and slanted from use. You'd be surprised what I can do with it. And when it disappeared for awhile, I anguished and mourned the loss. Turns out my husband stored it so deep in the shed I couldn't find it. I did a little happy dance when it was found.
If you think that brooms and butter knives might underwhelm the gardeners in your life, here in Part One, I'll list what I think are useful and thoughtful gifts that gardeners would really appreciate this holiday season.
PART ONE: The Good
- Soil Scoop: Trowels are very personal, what works for one might not work for another. But the Soil Scoop is more universal; my preferred tool for planting containers. Useful for digging, weed-scraping and potting up plants, but what really wins me over is the curved shape that follows the contours of the container as you fill in with potting soil. It manages what could be a big mess and conserves precious potting soil.
- Gloves: You can never have enough gloves, and there are so many good ones on the market now. Rubber coated ones keep our fingers from getting wet and cold. Heavy leather ones protect our hands from thorns and sharp debris. Colorful gloves in stretchy fabrics make more delicate work easy while keeping us stylish.
- Hand Creams: For when we forget to wear aforementioned gloves. Assorted balms and unguents for our dirt-creased and chapped hands, the thicker and more luxurious the better.
- Load of Crap: Forget those diamond commercials. Compost, manure and other soil amendments delivered by the truckload are what really sets our hearts to racing.
- Containers: A gal (or guy) can never have too many pots, although my husband will beg to differ. But now there are so many innovative containers for growing edible and ornamentals in all sorts of challenging situations. Collapsible containers that save space when not being used. Vertical growing containers when space is also scarce. I could go on and on.
- Books: For winter time dreaming. And for practical advice during the growing season. There are lots of great books on growing edibles right now, like Grocery Gardening by Jean Ann Van Krevelen or Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy, and so many more. Regional gardening books by Lone Pine Publishing that cater to local gardening conditions across the country are valuable tools for getting it just right, right where you are. Cookbooks like P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes From the Garden to help cook what we grow.
- Memberships: Botanical gardens, arboretums, and plant societies all offer memberships with various levels of benefits. Educational as well as inspirational, they can be renewed every year, thus making your shopping a no-brainer.
- Seeds: They're tiny but mighty. Awe and wonder in the smallest of packages. And cheap.
There you have it. Eight great gifts for gardeners. Stay tuned for Parts Two and Three where I'll discuss worthless gifts, bad ideas and the silly and outlandish.