Gifts for the Gardener in Your Life

San Antonio Express News
Sunday, December 19, 2004

Christmas watering canIf a gardener is on your gift list, did you ever luck out! With input from our own Bexar County Master Gardeners, we compiled the following wish list, and it seems almost endless! Remember that gardening is the No 1. hobby in American society, so there is a good chance that many of the people on your Christmas list would love a gardening-related gift.

For the birding enthusiasts, a nice suet feeder with additional suet blocks would be nice. Birdseed globes, birdseed ornaments, seed wreaths, and edible bird feeder kits are available also. Bird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and themes. Birdbaths, along with hummingbird feeders, and birdhouses all make popular choices. Add a bird feeder and that would complete your gift. Our “feathered” friends are always a joy to watch.

Garden tools, both large and small, are always a welcome gift. Every gardener, from the dabbler to the determined, needs a good set of hand pruners. Bypass or anvil pruners are both available. A heavy-duty trowel is a necessity. Trowels allow for precision digging in small spaces and they are perfect for installing bedding plants. The most durable trowel is constructed of a singular piece of continuous metal. A soil scoop has a deep bowl-shaped head with serrated edges and a sharp pointed tip. The versatile scoop can do everything from digging holes to weeding in tight spaces. A general-purpose gardening shear will be a welcome addition to any gardener’s toolbox. A hand circle hoe, short or long-handled, makes weeding a breeze. Ergonomically designed garden tools will decrease gardening strain and injury.

Nothing can be more frustrating to the busy gardener than having started a project, then having to stop to search for the appropriate tools. A holster or tool belt (with an extra pocket for a portable phone) will make a nice addition. A basket filled with an assortment of gardening tools would make the endless chores in the garden easier. A new file to sharpen garden tools is a useful item for the gardener on your list. Ask for it in the tool section at the home improvement center or nursery. These “step-savers” make the chores in the garden more efficient. Be sure to add hand salve and beeswax lip balm for the weary gardeners’ hands and lips.

Garden gloves protect the hands. They are available in cotton, stretchy synthetics, sheepskin, and rubber. When buying gloves, look for specific men and women sizes. Cuffs prevent material from getting inside the glove. “Rose” gloves are stiffer, yet flexible, and will not allow thorns to penetrate through the material. They are nice for any gardener that needs protection beyond the wrists.
To make watering chores easier, think about a drip irrigation kit available at nurseries or home improvement centers. A watering wand that has a coiled cord will aid the gardener with containers.

A wheelbarrow or garden cart provides transportation for everything from compost to trees. Wheelbarrows make shoveling material both in and out, fairly simple, but they can become heavy and tip over easily. Garden carts have two wheels for stability. Look for quality and strength if you are considering purchasing a large shovel, fork, hoe, rake, etc. With these items, you usually “get what you pay for.” For example, an inexpensive fork is constructed of a weaker metal. The tongs or teeth will easily bend, and in some circumstances even break, when encountering larger rocks imbedded in our caliche-blessed soils.

The goal of gardening is to create a beautiful, peaceful retreat, and the following are sure to help. A decorative thermometer and clock will accent the garden and patio and provide useful functions. A decorative rain gauge will allow the gardener to keep track of the rainfall. A wind chime adds a whimsical touch, and the music of the chimes evokes pleasant memories. Windsocks are fun and very popular. They come in a variety of fanciful shapes, colors, sizes and characters that dance with the wind. A practical accessory that adds whimsy to the garden is a faucet figure. They are usually made of brass and require no additional plumbing. A reflective gazing ball placed inconspicuously within a bed lends a magical quality to the surroundings. They reflect sun and moonlight, providing an entirely different perspective of the garden. Garden benches, as well as outdoor furniture in general (what about a hammock!); provide a welcome site for rest, fellowship and contemplation. All are available in a variety of styles to suit the gardener’s taste. Yard art is available in a variety of themes, colors, and materials, be it gaudy or tasteful–from the famous pink flamingo to small concrete forest animals, ceramic garden plaques, and decorative footstones. A potting bench provides a handy space for the gardener to store materials and a working area. An herb drying rack is ideal for the herb enthusiast. Bold beautiful ceramic garden plaques add beauty and whimsy to the garden. A garden chiminea is ideal for the garden, deck or patio. A trellis or arbor is ideal for the gardeners’ favorite “climbers.”

Fountains or water features are popular for their soothing effect. They can be very simple or as elaborate as you like. A simple tabletop water fountain can provide hours of enjoyment.

The easiest person in the world to buy for is a gardener, but just in case you are still puzzled, here are a few more ideas: indoor terrariums, waterproof decorative windowsill pots with saucers, vases or urns, sun catchers, a flower press, colorful rubber garden clogs, knee pads, a drying rack for the herb enthusiast–the list goes on and on! Last but not least, give a gift certificate from a nursery so that your gardener can purchase their favorite plants. The living plant itself is the “crown jewel” in the life of a gardener. Happy holidays to all!!!

This article was written by Extension staff with Texas Cooperative Extension in Bexar County.


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