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Some holiday gift ideas for gardeners

December 04, 2007|By ANNETTE IPSAN

If buying a gift for a gardening gal or guy on your Christmas list has you stumped, take heart.

I have a dozen suggestions that will make them smile.

Every gardener I know is on a quest for the perfect gardening gloves.

My personal quest ended when I discovered gloves by West County. They are comfortable, have reinforced palms and fingertips, adjust to fit, last for years and are machine washable. What's not to love?

Kneeling pads are a godsend to gardeners. Anyone who has spent time on their knees weeding, planting or cultivating will sing the praises of any cushioning on their tender kneecaps. Choose a sturdy, thick kneepad or one that's oversized for extra comfort.

A step up is a folding kneeler/bench hybrid that gives you support whether you are sitting or kneeling. Flipped one way, it's a kneepad with metal arms to help you get up and down. Flipped the other way, it's a cushy bench that lets you work comfortably while sitting.

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Newer gardening tools with ergonomic designs make great gifts, too.

Larger molded foam handles are easier on your hands as are ratcheting pruners and loppers. One of my new favorites is a Black & Decker hand pruner with a rolling mechanism in the handle that minimizes hand fatigue.

Watering wands are thoughtful gifts, extending gardeners' reach into hanging baskets, containers and hard-to-reach areas. The gentle watering they provide is preferred by professionals. Look for a sturdy metal wand with a cutoff valve.

Does your favorite gardener like houseplants? Introduce them to a new plant or add a favorite to their collection. Phalaenopsis orchids are embarrassingly easy to grow, yet impress everyone with their exotic flowers and three-month bloom times. For a beginner, try a goof-proof pothos or Norfolk pine.

Gardening books are always appreciated. Find a book on your friend's favorite plants or passion. Or, give them a classic such as the witty "The Essential Earthman," by Henry Mitchell. Used book stores are a treasure trove of fine gardening tomes.

If you want a gift that keeps on giving, consider a subscription to a gardening magazine such as Horticulture or Fine Gardening. They will think of you with every issue.

Take your gift on the road by giving a trip to a local botanical garden.

Many public gardens' conservatories or displays are open year-round and have a full calendar of events. A gift card for a trip to Brookside Gardens near Baltimore (www.mc-mncppc.org/parks/brookside or 202-225-8333) or Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia (www.longwoodgardens.org or 610-388-1000) is sure to please. Or, offer a trek to Washington, D.C., to the U.S. National Arboretum (www.usna.usda.gov or 202-245-2726) or the U.S. Botanic Garden (www.usbg.gov or 202-225-8333).

Longwood Gardens offers a new gift option with a garden pass that includes year-round admission to the gardens, plus discounts and advance notice of special events.

If you are long on well-wishes but short on cash, get creative. Give your gardening friend a coupon for one free hour of weeding or leaf raking.

Share seeds collected from your own garden or cuttings from a favorite houseplant. Or, get crafty with a terra cotta pot filled with gardener's soap, lotion or plant tags.

So, where will you find all these wonderful gifts for your gardening friends? Start with your local nurseries. Home improvement stores, gardening catalogs and Web sites are good sources, too. Try Gardener's Supply at www.gardeners.com or 1-888-833-1412 or Lee Valley at www.leevalley.com or 1-800-267-8735.

Still stumped? Give your gardening friend a gift certificate or gift card to a local nursery. Then he or she can have the fun of picking a perfect gift while strolling through a favorite haven.

Gardening gifts abound. Enjoy the pleasure that comes from finding the perfect holiday gift to make your gardening friend's green thumb a little greener.

Thank you for blessing me with your good questions and positive feedback in my first year as an Extension educator. It truly has been a wonderful year for which I am grateful. I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays.

ยท The University of Maryland does not endorse any specific product or vendor listed.

Annette Ipsan is the Extension educator for horticulture and the Master Gardener program in Washington County for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. She can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1604, or by e-mail at aipsan@umd.edu

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