Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Best Gifts for Gardeners – Practical, unusual and creative holiday surprises

I live with a family of non-gardeners. As the holiday time approaches, I can see my husband and grown children looking at me speculatively, gift-buying puzzlement in their eyes “What shall I get her that she’ ll really like?”

So this year, instead of making them guess, I’m sharing my wish list. And I hope it helps you too. Perhaps there’s something here that will intrigue you, whether you are shopping for a gardener, or you are the one putting out not-so-subtle hints-like that dog-eared mail order catalog you’ve opened to brightly marked pages and casually left on the kitchen counter.

Warm Waterproof Garden Gloves -Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing- I should know. After several seasons of gardening in Oregon’s notoriously cold rain, I’ve worn through the fingers of my West County waterproof gloves ($32). I need another pair. They really do keep your hands warm and dry.A bit bulky, but that’s OK. Most cold weather jobs are not fine and fancy.

A Gift Certificate for Green Heron Tools – This company specializes in tools, clothing and accessories sized for women working in all aspects of horticulture – from an easy-to-connect tractor hitch (Delta Rapid Hitch Systems, $859) to ARS needle nose pruners ($21) that are perfect for work in the greenhouse, everything has been tested for ease of use.

Gopher-stopping Bulb Baskets – More time than money? (Yes, kids,your mom still loves home-made.) Construct a couple of eight-inch square containers out of galvanized hardware cloth ($1.98 a foot for half-inch mesh, 48 inches wide). Stitch five sides together with flexible wire. Buried in the soil, these baskets can protect one lily, a handful of crocus or any other vulnerable bulbs that voles and gophers find so delicious. A chicken wire netted top will allow smaller bulbs to grow through but foil digging squirrels.

* A Pile of #### -Yes, please! I can picture a large red bow on a unit (that’s eight cubic yards- my garden is big) of well rotted cow manure ($120 delivered) organic if possible on a tarp in my driveway. For the perfect gift, I’d love a couple hours of hired labor ($100). A tidy crew (wearing Santa hats) would move my top dressing into small piles around the garden beds. I’ll do the spreading, thank you very, very much.

Happy holidays. May your coming year be filled with time for the important connections- to yourself, to those around you, and to the natural world.