Ideas for holiday gifts for gardeners

By Barbara Damrosch
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 1, 2010; 9:50 AM

Ask good gardeners what gifts they'd like for the December holidays, and they'll probably say, "Come help me clean out my toolshed and haul away all the crummy, useless gadgets I never use." So that's one idea. Here are nine others for gift-givers who can't resist buying something and wrapping it up.

The book I want under my tree

Joan Dye Gussow is one of the wisest, funniest writers around. Her memoir "Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life and Vegetables" (Chelsea Green) is hot off the press. $18.

Nursery cart

The best thing for hauling pots or flats is a flat cart, the kind that the pros use. From $99 at www.growerssupply.com .

Weeding knife

I've been using an old kitchen knife for years to get weeds out of tight cracks, prune root balls and other little outdoor jobs. However, I'd rather have a sturdy knife made just for gardeners. Walt Nicke sells a sturdy Japanese weeder knife for $34.50 and a potting knife for $29.95, for freeing intractable root-bound plants from their pots. Available at www.gardentalk.com .

An outdoor oven for the gardener-cook

For a splurge, check out Forno Bravo's fully assembled Italian wood-fired pizza oven, for turning garden produce into pizza on the spot. $2,050 at www.fornobravo.com .

Fruits in pots

Give a fruit lover without an orchard a fruit tree for the windowsill, greenhouse or sunroom. Logee's Tropical Plants, a long-respected nursery founded in 1892, has a great selection, from Meyer lemons and Key limes to hardy kiwis and figs. Available at www.logees.com .


English wooden garden trugs may be picturesque, but for practicality, nothing beats these plastic tubs with handles. They're so flexible that you can fill four of them with weeds, then grab two in each hand and head for the compost pile. I also use them for harvesting vegetables. Johnny's Selected Seeds features them in three colors and three sizes. $11.50-$16.75 at www.johnnyseeds.com .

Seeds for stockings

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds has 18 special collections, including the Terrace Container Garden ($19.95 for 2,215 seeds) and the Culinary Basil Garden ($18.95 for 2,100 seeds). Available at www.kitchengardenseeds.com .

Gardening gloves

You can never have too many. My husband swears by a spandex glove, found at most hardware stores, with palms and fingers coated in a type of latex called nitrile. It's thin and flexible, for finger dexterity, and resists punctures from rose thorns and sharp tools. Womanswork has a fantastic line of gloves for many purposes that fit women's hands. $8-$32 at www.womanswork.com .

Hand relief

Even gardeners who brag about their calluses sometimes need to clean up nice. For someone who can't keep her gloves on, give a gift certificate to a local nail salon.

localliving@washpost.com Damrosch is a freelance writer and the author of "The Garden Primer."

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