Holiday Gifts For Gardeners

If you missed the boat this year, forget about giving the same old garden gloves or trowel set and offer something more imaginative. Here are my top recommendations for the best holiday gifts for gardeners.

1.  Among the new tools I’ve pounced upon are ratcheted loppers with telescoping handles that extend at the push of a button, and ratchet pruners. Both forestall that wrist and thumb pain that becomes so common as we age. Gardeners who suffer from arthritis will find they can last longer, with less pain, by selecting tools that are specifically designed to substitute leverage for strength.

2. . It’s hard to go wrong by purchasing gift certificates for a gardener’s favorite local plant nursery. Such gifts are really more than the plants themselves, since the gardener gets to spend a pleasant spring morning outdoors, choosing exactly what tickles his or her fancy.

3.  Cash toward longed-for garden ornaments, structures, antiques, gates, fences, etc., mean a lot to gardeners, since such items are usually chosen as focal points after much soul-searching, and may represent more to the gardener than meets the eye. They are also costly, so the recipient will be grateful for the contribution you make. Gifts like this will be seen every day and the giver(s) remembered for their thoughtfulness.

4. How about paying for a month of gardener coaching or an online gardening class? A prepaid consultation with a landscape designer? A weekend’s worth of labor? A backhoe rental? Or installing a deer exclosure?

5. Garden books make welcome presents, though well-meaning friends and relatives of long-term gardeners are taking a chance by making a selection themselves. A better choice might be a gift certificate to a bookstore, or to Amazon, where an armload of used books can be purchased for a pittance. Since the information in gardening books rarely goes out of date (except, perhaps, for pesticides, preservatives, and pests), think about buying a collection of early books by garden writers, landscape designers, or photographers whose works your gardener admires.

6. Another option is art-quality picture books or videos of famous gardens from around the world. Even dyed-in-the-wool hands-on dirt gardeners enjoy being transported on an imaginary tour in the dead of winter. I particularly enjoy movies that feature beautiful gardens, such as Howard’s End, or My House in Umbria, even though the story may not be about the garden itself.

7.Garden tours abound locally in warm weather months, hosted by garden clubs, art and historical societies, and museums. Internationally, commercial tour operators who specialize in garden tours to far-off places, such as London, Paris Thailand, China, and South America offer trips year-round. Tickets to tours, near or far, will be warmly received.