by Nancy Denison, Advanced Extension Master Gardener
Welcome to the HallowThanksMas season…time to start shopping and eating and being grateful…. but not necessarily in that order. I did a bit of research to see what’s out there for those who like to play in the dirt. Here are some fun ideas for holiday gift giving, now or anytime in the near future.
We always like a good pair of gardening gloves and I go back and forth about spending a lot of money for ones that might last a whole season or just a bag of cheap ones. The Holiday Gift Guide from Fine Gardening Magazine recommends “Foxgloves” which claim to be comfortable and durable and $21-36.00 per pair at Foxglovesinc.com. Then there are the claw finger garden gloves from Amazon by several different companies. These are usable for digging without tools…(” a set of tools in each hand”), are breathable and only $7.00 a pair.
When it’s really mucky or chilly out, I wear my Bogs but I have been thinking of a pair of slip on boots such as “Sloggers” recommended by Julie and Melissa at Garden Goods. These are colorful and look like they would do the trick for around $45. Unfortunately, they were out of my size. Other brands I found online were Ariat, Ugg, Asgard, Dksuko, The Muck Boot Company and WTW.
Succulents are still very popular, whether in a wreath, topiary or vase. Fine Gardening Gift Guide shows a ceramic succulent planter with multiple openings for various small plants. It’s distributed by exaco.com.
Melissa from Garden Goods suggested Dramm compact pruners and shears; good for deadheading and fine trimming. I like that idea of smaller tools since I sliced my finger open this summer in my deadheading frenzy. To go along with pruning is a collapsible garden bag to collect the cuttings. Other ideas from Garden Goods include wind chimes, window bird feeders, SPF hats, seed packs for stocking stuffers, and bulbs for winter color (amaryllis, paper whites).
From the HGTV web site were gifts of a seed savers exchange membership (seedsavers.com), Fiskars garden bucket caddy, with room for tools and trimmings, the beautiful book, The Encyclopedia of Flowers by Makoto Azuma (amazon.com), and ready-made raised garden beds.
Happy dreaming, happy shopping!
by Kellie Parks, Extension Master Gardener
Here are my suggestions to get you started on holiday shopping for the gardener in your life.
- Stihl pruners https://www.stihlusa.com/products/hand-tools/hand-pruners/pp30/ I don’t think Stihl is a common brand choice for the average gardener’s pruners, but I’ve had mine for 15 years, and they still get the job done easily. I confess that I am not great at taking care of my garden tools (Oil? What’s oil?), but these babies have taken my neglect in stride.
- Goatskin gloves https://www.gardeners.com/buy/womens-bellingham-goatskin-work-gardening-gloves/8596120.html#start=81 I am definitely NOT a glove wearer. My hands get sweaty and I can’t feel the soil. But when I have a LOT of earth work to do, this is my go-to glove. I’ve had cloth, cow leather, rubber, hybrid, you name it, and these are by far my favorite. They are soft and thin enough to fit close to my hands without being clingy, allow me to feel what I’m doing, and seem to manage my bizarre hand perspiration well.
- Teaming with Microbes, by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis http://www.timberpress.com/books/teaming_microbes/lowenfels/9781604691139 I can’t remember now where I first heard about this book, but if I had to guess I would say it was from Craig Shaaf of Golden Rule Farm in Kaleva. I haven’t yet purchased it, but it is on my list this year (Hint, hint. Husband, are you reading this…?) It is definitely anti-chemical soil additive, which isn’t for everyone. But I think any gardener can benefit from more information about how “to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web—the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants”.
- Home made bee hotel https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/building_and_managing_bee_hotels_for_wild_bees_e3337 For those with better crafting skills than I, this would be a great DIY gift. We all know that our beloved pollinators can use all the support they can get these days, and this project gives them a head start on setting up housekeeping.
- Garden apron https://www.etsy.com/search?q=garden%20apron I can NEVER remember to bring a harvesting/weeding container with me to the garden. But maybe I can remember to put on a cute, lightweight apron and save on wear and tear and disfigurement of my clothes (upturned t-shirt hem basket, anyone??)
- Baker Creek Catalog https://www.rareseeds.com/2019-whole-seed-catalog-pre-order-usa-canada-and-mexico-/ I will forever be an advocate of Baker Creek and their tireless work to preserve the historic foodstuffs of the world. Not only are their catalogs bursting with interesting, unusual, hard-to-find varieties of everything under the sun, they are beautiful to look at as well. This is the catalog that I get most excited about upon its arrival in my mailbox.
- Hori Hori knife https://www.barebonesliving.com/store/products/garden-tools/the-ultimate-tool I usually use my trusty trowel for transplanting, hacking at roots, and digging weeds, but I drool over these hori hori knives every time I see one. They just seem so useful, and this one in particular is so beautiful. A gardener can’t have too many tools, can she?
- Gorilla Tub/Tub Trug http://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/gorilla-tubs/ I LOVE my Tub Trugs! They’ve had a name change apparently, but are still the same multicolored, flexible, lightweight, tough multitasker. Mine gets used for so much more than just carrying weeds and harvesting: outdoor toy bin, soccer goal, impromptu dog water bowl, ice bucket for chilling beverages…
- Floret flower seed collection https://shop.floretflowers.com/collections/gift-collections A dear friend from high school introduced me to Floret a couple of years ago. I have always been more of a vegetable/herb gardener than ornamental/flower type of gal, but the Floret website and books have lured me to bumping up my flower growing game. Truly eye candy for any gardener.