I know. I know. It’s the same thing every year on every website, but truly, I want to make sure my gardener friends get something they’ve always wanted under their Christmas tree.
Gardeners deserve good tools. With good tools, I can work faster and more efficiently. At the top of my list is CobraHead’s Brook and Hunter digging fork. Last fall, I dug Bermuda grass out of a new bed with only this wonderful tool. It took one afternoon, and I removed every piece of grass. If I’d used a gas motor cultivator, broken, rooting pieces of Bermuda would abound. Further, tied up with a bow, this fork would look mighty sexy, and if you bought it for your favorite gardener, who knows what you might receive in return.
Other tools I love are those from Bulldog Tools in England. Earlier in the year, they sent me some of their hand tools to try, and I love both the Alan Titchmarsh hand trowel and the evergreen transplanting trowel. By the way, Clarington Forge tools are marketed as Bulldog in England. They are all made in England, but shipped here from California so they will quickly come, and they are made of the highest quality.
One of the best trowels for digging in tough soil (and who in Oklahoma doesn’t have tough soil?) is this stainless steel garden trowel made in Iowa.
Right now, some crop row covers would make nice stocking stuffers. I bought two for my lettuce and spinach, but I’m too scared to go look and see if I’m too late. We’ve had a couple of hard freezes. Another great stocking stuffer is Botanical Interests’ gardener scrubbing soap which I reviewed last summer. It is gently cleansing and smells nice. If you have a newbie gardener, try tucking a few seeds in their stocking like zinnas, Grandpa Ott’s morning glory, cosmos and tithonia. Or, if they want to be a veggie gardener, try Bloomsdale long standing spinach, black-seeded Simpson lettuce and French breakfast radishes. These are all easy to grow, and as for the veggies, end of February is when you plant them here.
I took off my fake nails the other day because it occurred to me maybe putting chemicals on my nails every two weeks kinda defeats the purpose of growing vegetables and other plants organically. I can’t prove this, but it feels right. Still, you know how I like gloves. I enjoy my Ethels, Woman’s Work, and Bear Wallow Protectors. All are fine gloves and suited to different tasks, but they also all have gauntlets, which protect the arm and prevent soil from getting into the glove. For me, this is an essential element. Flexible, fabric Ethels are cool in the summer, and you know hot it is in the south come summertime. Woman’s Work are very tough, and I’m liking their pretty new paisley number. Bear Wallow kept me thorn free through the demise and removal of Rosa ‘New Dawn’.
Speaking of roses, if you’re a gardener who loves them, there are certain rose essentials. I’ve already mentioned the Bear Wallow gloves above, but let me lead you down the primrose path of rose gardener goodness.
First, you need some good pruners. Roses respond to good pruning and deadheading practices. I like my classic Felco F-2 pruners, but my friend, Jim, from Charleston has been trying to get me to try Okatsune Pruners, and I might someday. Incidentally, while researching I found this excellent article on Japanese garden tools. Corona Tools sent me some pruners and loppers last spring, and I adore the two-handed bypass pruners because they are short enough to help me to get inside the rose bush without snagging myself on a prickle. When you have 90 or so bushes, this is important.
I also want to try Fiskars 9124 professional pruning shears, and I’ll probably ask for them in connection with the articles I write for their company. If you click around on their site, you can find several more I’ve written, and I have two on Christmas trees and bonsai coming soon.
Can you ever have enough pruners? No. Am I a greedy Gertrude? Possibly.
Let’s talk shovels. In Oklahoma and much of Texas, the soil lacks a little something called humus (not the garbanzo bean hummus), but the wonderful stuff which makes soil livable for plants, earthworms and other creepy crawlies. So, until your garden soil looks like chocolate cake, you won’t be able to do much with a spade, which is a kind of square shovel the British have taken to new heights. You are going to laugh, but my favorite shovel was from Wal-Mart. Okay, stop laughing. Several years ago, they teamed up with Better Homes and Gardens and had this line of gardening tools, seeds and other garden accoutrements. I bought two short D-handled shovels, and I’ve finally worn them out. I’m on the lookout for a decent shovel which is lightweight and also shorter and has the D-handle. My husband hates this type of shovel because he is 5’11,” but I am 5’4″ and 3/4. I’m still looking, and I’ll let you know when I find one. Earlier, I said my favorite hoe was the WOLF-Garten draw hoe, and my hand weeders are discussed here. My feelings haven’t changed a jot.
If you’re feeling virtuous, and Susan, I know you are, why not buy some honeybees or the ultimate, a gardener’s gift basket, which includes seeds, chickens and rabbits from Heifer International? Or, extend a giving hand across the miles for someone by making a no interest loan to them through Kiva.org. You can even buy gift cards so that your loved one can choose to whom they want to loan money. These are presents you’ll never forget. One year, we bought a goat through Heifer and gave it to HH’s parents. In fact, all of their grown children bought from Heifer that year, and a water buffalo, chickens, a goat and a cow were all purchased.
I hope this lengthy list gave you a few ideas outside the box for gardeners. We don’t all want creepy gnomes. In fact, gnomes give me the willies, and now I know why after reading How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will). I always suspected they were after us, and Chuck Sambuchino proves it.