Be bold this year and buy the gardener on your shopping list a gardening gift. It’s true that gardeners are particular when it comes to their gadgets, but I have some suggestions that are guaranteed to please.
* Garden tool caddies make a great gift. They come as bags, belts and buckets with carrying pouches to hold all your small tools and supplies. I particularly like the kind that fits over a 5-gallon bucket. Pockets hold your pruners, trowels, forks and gloves. The roomy inside holds specialty fertilizers and potting soils or garden trimmings. Put on the lid, and the “bucket organizer” turns into a convenient stool. Add some tools and supplies to your caddy and it makes an awesome gift. If you can’t find these caddies locally, go to www.gardenscapetools.com.
* A wheeled scooter is a back-saving device to sit on while working in the garden. It is a swivel seat on wheels for pushing yourself around. It is useful for tasks lending themselves to sitting and scooting while planting, weeding and mulching.
* Folding wheelbarrows help cart around heavy stuff, and that’s something we all need. Saving our backs with standard wheelbarrows is nice, but they take too much space to store. The solution is a folding wheelbarrow. It is low to the ground for ease of shoveling in rock, gravel and soil. When done, fold it up and store in a tight space. Folding wheelbarrows are available through several Internet garden suppliers.
* Plant stands help gardeners limited on space set potted plants, indoors or outside on the patio. Elevating plants gives them more space for growing and makes them more visually appealing when displayed at various heights. You’ll find multitiered stands are sturdier than single plant stands.
* Gardening tools are treasured by gardeners, especially quality ones. There are certain tools gardeners always need, and worn ones may need replacing. Hand pruners are great for keeping gardens in trim. If your friend is left-handed, give left-handed pruners. I ruined two pair a year until the late Nanyu Tomiyasu gave me a lefty pair 15 years ago — and they are still in good shape.
* Garden spades make a great gift for digging and for turning garden soil. Use one for edging flower beds and spreading mulch. Get fiberglass-handled spades, because they won’t splinter in our climate.
* Watering cans always are needed, so get a unique one the gardener may display on the patio. I like the old-fashioned galvanized cans, like my mother used.
* A garden journal is good for keeping track of what’s going on in the garden. It’s something gardeners rarely buy for themselves, but keeping a journal can solve many problems. Write down plans, plants and garden activities to keep track of accomplishments and failures for future reference; record activities, such as fertilizing, watering and pest control.
* Garden tours are the ultimate gift for gardeners who have everything but never tire of seeing beautiful gardens. Check out gardening events that will happen this spring at the Springs Preserve and purchase passes for them to attend. Go to www.springspreserve.org for those being offered.
* Gardening gloves may seem an uninspired gift, but heavy, thick work gloves keep out cactus and rose thorns, and they hold up to digging in our caliche and gravelly soils.
* Gardening books make for long-lasting gifts. Some favorites are: Sunset’s “Western Garden Book,” “Plants of Dry Climates,” “Desert Gardening — Fruits and Vegetables,” “The Low-Water Flower Gardener” and my book, “Nevada’s Gardening Guide.”
* Houseplants always are appreciated. Any plant, including the ever-popular poinsettia, goes on giving and also purifies the air. There is something about houseplants that seem to comfort people, especially for shut-in gardeners during the winter.
* Landscape lighting kits really dress up gardens, not to mention the safety and security benefits. You’ll find many lighting kits and all you need to install your lighting at your nursery. The larger and more diverse the system, the more it will cost. In this day of conservation, install solar powered lighting kits!
Still stumped at what to give? Visit your nursery. You’ll find several gadgets you’d never think about, or give a gift certificate so friends get what they want.
Finally, give your time to help an older person spruce up his or her yard. Your time will make a gift only you can give.
So fill your shopping list with garden gadgets or plants, and have a merry Christmas.
Linn Mills writes a gardening column each Sunday. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 822-7754.