My favorite gardener’s present? A friend received a load of well-rotted manure, dumped on a tarp in her driveway with a huge red bow on top. It was accompanied by a note from her husband promising to spread it on the nearby beds. (He followed through.)
Short of that loving extravagance, here are three great suggestions, from large to small, for the gardener in your life. Or, use these ideas as hints for someone who’s wondering what to get you.
OPCOM Farm GrowBox – This complete hydroponic kit is brand new. At a little over three feet long and slightly less than two feet wide, this plastic box comes with its own maneuverable goose-neck LED grow lights, so you could keep it anywhere, from the greenhouse to a table top in the family room. With 50 spots for vegetables, the kit arrives holding everything you need, including a growing matrix and specially coated seeds—all non GMO. This is truly the gift where you “just add water.” From Opcom Farm, $499.
Jayco Gold Leaf Garden Gloves – I first saw these deluxe gloves for sale in May at the Chelsea Flower Show. I tried on all four kinds, but the Gold Leaf Winter Touch is the best for me. If you, or a gardener on your list, are working in the cold and wet—buy these. With a layer of Thinsulate for warmth, and a waterproof membrane, the soft leather on the outside gets wet, but my hands stay warm and dry. Gardener’s Supply sells one size for women and one for men, $40 and $50.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants – Everyone needs a curl-up-and-read book right now. This series of entrancing essays by Robin Wall Kimmerer moves between the worlds of natural science (she holds a PhD in Plant Ecology) and the knowledge of her native heritage (she’s a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation). She brings together these two streams of thought with powerful and poetic observations, often turning accepted “wisdom” on its head. I especially like the indigenous evolution hierarchy where humans step into third place behind plants and animals because we arrived later and have much to learn from them. So, next time you’re enjoying a sunny day in your garden, think about the fact that every plant around you is doing something you can’t possibly attempt—photosynthesizing. Published by Milkweed Editions, $18.