Gift ideas for the gardeners on your shopping list
The holidays are right around the corner, and if there are gardeners on your shopping list, here are some suggestions to make their Christmas wishes come true.
Every gardener would love a new pair of high-quality pruners. Bypass-type pruners are the best bet. Their two curved blades work like a scissors to make a nice clean cut. Ratchet-type pruners often have one straight blade that cuts against a flattened blade. They don't make the same clean cut as bypass pruners, but they are a great choice for gardeners with arthritis or weak hands.
Quality pruners are available in a range of sizes so there are even types for gardeners with small or large hands. And, there are also models for left-handed gardeners.
A gift not as sexy as new pruners but every bit as appreciated is a new hose, as long as it's a great hose. Give one that is flexible and never kinks so it is easy to pull about the landscape. And one with top-quality fittings on both ends so it never leaks. And safe to drink from so parched gardeners can quench their thirsts anywhere in the garden. That's a hose a gardener would love Santa to bring.
Gardeners are happiest when their green thumbs are busy so give them a gift they can grow. Amaryllis bulbs, a microgreens growing kit or a collection of succulents are all great ideas.
Growing an amaryllis bulb takes little skill and its magnificent flowers brighten the dreariest winter day. Buy the largest bulb you can afford to give the biggest and most flowers. Make the gift even better by including a small bag of potting mix and a pot just slightly wider in diameter than the bulb.
Growing microgreens indoors is easy. They add a boost of nutrition and flavor to smoothies, fresh salads and sandwiches. Microgreen kits are inexpensive and contain everything, except light and water, to get started.
Succulents are still very trendy and as long as the gardener on your list has a sunny spot where their gift can grow, there is an enormous selection of indoor succulents. Fuzzy leaved types like the panda plant, varieties that grow in little rosettes like the black rose or spiky gems like the zebra plant are all beautiful options.
If the gardener on your list is a hosta or day lily collector, consider giving him permanent plant markers to help him label their precious plants. Science-loving gardeners will love a microscope that can be attached to their mobile phones. It aligns with the camera lens to examine plants and insects closely and photograph their discoveries.
And speaking of mobile phones, why not take one of their favorite gardening photos and have it made into a phone case? Or put it on a coffee mug?
Gift cards are always welcome gifts. Give gift cards for a favorite garden center, seed catalog or garden accessory catalog. Don't forget gift cards to bookstores -- most of the gardeners I know love to read about gardening, especially in the winter.
If a time-starved or an elderly gardener is on your list, consider giving a gift certificate for time. Promise to give a few hours doing spring cleanup, planting perennials, pruning shrubs or weeding. The gift card I get most excited about receiving is to my local landscape supply company. A load or two of mulch is my favorite gardening gift.
• Diana Stoll is a horticulturist, garden writer and speaker. She blogs at gardenwithdiana.com.