I’m not one to go nuts with the gardening products since a lot of required gardening materials are either one-time buys (like good shears), tools and containers that can be purchased used, or items that can be fashioned from recycled materials (i.e. plastic water bottles) — I am the queen of the plastic water bottle.
Of course I also know it’s nice to buy things now and again. And I don’t know what happened but it’s like suddenly designers have clued into the fact that there are gardeners out there who like pretty things. The gardening world recently took a great aesthetic leap forward from out of the Den for Men Dark Green, and the Everything in Sunflowers and Cute Kitties looks of the late 80s that has been dominating mainstream gardening product design while the rest of the world has moved on.
Here’s a list of nine, affordable gifts for gardeners that make sense at any time of year.
1. Herb Wild Root-a-Maker Natural Rooting Powder – $8.00 I quietly squealed inside when I first came across this item at the Richter’s booth at Canada Blooms. I use rooting powder pretty regularly for taking cuttings. While you can root cuttings without powder, go homemade with willow sticks, or go chemical with any number of assorted products, I really like that Richter’s has provided a natural, powder alternative to the usual stuff. I would suggest wrapping this up with a bottle of neem oil, some cuttings from your own plants, or perhaps making up a “Cuttings Kit.” Otherwise it’s sort of like, “Here’s your jar of rooting hormone!”
2. Hanging Bubble Vases – $12.95 I love these little bubble vases, perfect for rooting cuttings or holding little cut flowers from the garden.
3. Teeny Tiny Cactus Garden – $12.50 I am so easily suckered by teeny, tiny cactus seedlings. It’s fun to plant a packet of seeds and see what comes up. Sure you can just get a packet of mixed cactus seeds and package it up in a used candy tin with a bit of cactus soil and a sprinkling of gravel but…
100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants – $19.95 Lorraine Johnson is one of my favorite gardening writers because she shares the same passion and enthusiasm for gardening as an act that can make a lot of positive change in the world and in individual lives. While I have enjoyed many of her books, the Canadian edition of this one gets the most play in my home. The quick reference charts at the back of the book make choosing native plants for your specific conditions super easy and fun rather than a hand-wringing chore.
When gardening with native plants, finding plants that are suitable to your location is key so be sure to purchase the right edition for your region.
5. Tasche Tote Bag – $19.95 I love this bag and have promoted it a few times. I purchased my hot pink bag on sale at a local designer store. It’s big enough to hold tools, seeds, and more. I love that it is made of plastic and can be wiped or hosed off, unlike my canvas tool bag that has become completely coated in dirt and grime.
6. Pour & Store Watering Can – $24.99 Sure you can use just about anything that holds water as a make-shift watering can (try a plastic water bottle with holes drilled into the lid) but this can is cool. The can features a repositionable rose and a body that folds up tight for easy storage — my favourite 50 cent thrift store purchased watering can doesn’t do that.
7. Carnivorous Plant Windowsill Garden – $28.75 Giving the gift of living plants can be a bit tricky since it can mean saddling your friend with the on-going care of plants that might not be their bag. I recommend this one for a more advanced gardener who is also into the more unusual and strange.
8. Lee Valley Heating Mat – $29.50 I know you’re looking at this and thinking, “Ya that looks exciting” but believe me the seed-starter or cutting-rooter in your life will love it! I used to think that a $30 heating mat was another smart way to sucker 30 bucks from my wallet but it turns out they really are useful. Many seeds have a hard time germinating without bottom heat. While it is easy enough to keep the air warm enough for plants during those last days of winter, it can be hard to keep the soil warm enough for the time required to germinate a tomato or root a geranium. I have also found this mat really useful for overwintering fussy plants that suffer from “cold feet.”
9. Diablo Rain Catcher – $48.00 Renee turned me onto this product a few months ago. They are a great water-saving alternative for apartment-dwellers like myself who do not have a downspout or the space for a proper rainbarrel systrem. Admitedly, a large bowl will do the trick, but these raincatchers are a lot more stylish, space efficient and easier to use than running outside with a bunch of bowls whenever the forecast threatens rain (I actually do this!). Sadly they are out of my price league but I figured they might make a great gift for someone willing to foot the hefty price-tag.