Brass Frond Earrings $45 US: This Australian jewelry designer makes gorgeous and sustainably produced wearable art that is inspired by nature. Her work reminds me of walking along a beach or through a field picking up little bits of water-worn glass and pebbles or beautiful leaves and putting them in my pocket to be rediscovered later. I love everything she makes and splurged on a pair of these simple oxidized silver twig earrings a few months ago so I can personally attest to the quality of her work.
Water Right’s Ultra-light Drinking Water Safe Polyurethane Hose $59.95 US: No, it’s not cheap, but it is worth the investment. I was convinced to take the plunge back in September when I had the chance to hold one in Margaret Roach’s garden. I could not believe how light, yet sturdy it was. A local shop had them on sale and I was lucky to get the last in my preferred colour, olive, as they had very nearly sold out the previous day to attendees at our workshop who were also sold upon seeing them in real life.
Besides being light-weight and easy to pick up and move around the garden, they are also safe for drinking. This year, Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, released their findings on a study they conducted testing popular garden tools for chemical content. They tested the water left inside hoses that had been sitting in the sun for several days and found that many contained high concentrations of phthalates and BPA, and some contained smaller amounts of lead. Hoses that are made from natural rubber or Polyurethane (as this one is) are considered safe and free of these chemicals.
DeWitt Dutch Trowel $18.95 US I used to have two very sturdy, but surprisingly cheap trowels. I couldn’t tell you the brand: Davin picked them up for me well over a decade ago. I kept one at my community garden plot and another at home, but somehow, between the move and travelling back and forth between my various former gardens to transplant perennials to the new space, I managed to lose both.
A few months ago I found myself in desperate need of a good hand trowel and Tindara Orchids sent me the DeWitt brand, claiming it is the best of the best. The claim is that neither the tip nor the handle will bend and is guaranteed for a lifetime. Considering what I’ve put this trowel through already, I have to agree: I can’t imagine that it will ever bend. The tip itself is incredibly sharp. Scary sharp. It can cut through anything. My only complaint is that the steel will rust so I can’t keep it outside indefinitely stuck into the edge of a raised bed as I did with my former trowels. That’s a small concession to make really for a tool that I may still be using 20 years from now, should I not lose it.
Dibber by Burgon & Ball $31.65 US: Including a dibble aka dibbler aka dibber has become a gift guide tradition around here. I have to admit that this year’s choice frightens me…. kind of a lot… as it looks uncomfortably like one of the frightening gynaecological interments in David Cronenberg’s film “Dead Ringers.” That said, I have no doubt that this stainless steel and hardwood tool of a thousand names would make planting bulbs a breeze.
Organic Mechanics Premium Blend Potting Soil $9.99US: I know good dirt seems like a strange gift to give, but I’d be overjoyed if this fine-quality soil showed up in my stocking on Xmas day.
Growing Dome $6250.00 US: Every year I like to throw in one fantasy/dream gift, and this amazing 15-foot geodesic greenhouse is my choice for the year. Imagine producing year-round crops in this beauty? I’m not convinced it could even fit in my narrow, urban backyard but one can dream. On the other hand, you may have just the space for it.
Give the Gift of Choice $Up to You: I think I know my gardening friends well, and yet I am still not comfortable choosing plants or seeds to gift them. My concern is always that it won’t be what they truly want or need and that I will be saddling them with a plant that is so loaded with sentiment that they will never be able to get rid of it. Most good nurseries now offer Gift Certificates, which is a really great alternative to buying a plant. The best part is that the plant they inevitably choose will carry all of that great sentiment without the guilt. Here’s a few ideas:
- Avant Gardens has an amazing selection of oddities, but I especially like their succulents. (Their gift certificate is shown above)
- Brushwood has an amazing stock of unusual flowering vines.
- Garden Import is a Canadian company that specializes in unusual bulbs, perennials, and clematis.
- Cubits Organic Seeds. They also have a Seed of the Month Club.
- The Hudson Valley Seed Library has gift memberships in a range of price points. Plus their beautiful packaging makes them feel extra gifty.