While I love what I call “indoor crafts,” sometimes there’s nothing like digging in the dirt to soothe my soul, and growing things–whether it’s a bonsai, an orchid, or a tomato plant–really is a craft. Most of us gardeners spend the winter months dreaming of summer and plotting for spring, so reward the green thumb in your life with one of these garden gifts. Box of Ladybugs ($40 for 4,500) I have always secretly wanted a box of ladybugs. How cool is that? The mailman drops off a box of thousands of live, beautiful, wish-bestowing ladybugs! And then they clear up your aphid problem. Enough said. (You can even buy them a cozy house.)
West County Gardening Gloves ($20-$30) Every gardener needs a good pair of gloves. I must admit I am partial to West County gardening gloves (shout out to my hometown!), but they are seriously good gloves. Some models are made from recycled plastic bottles; others are reinforced with kevlar for tough jobs. There’s a wide range of sizes for a snug, comfy fit, and even a pair for the little budding gardener in your life. (I can’t wait for until my son is old enough to need a pair.) The comfort and durability make them a no-brainer, the machine-washability is a plus, and the fun, bright colors are the icing on the cake.
Mini Greenhouse ($45 and up up up) Not everyone has room for a greenhouse to extend the growing season (or the pocketbook to buy one), but there are a surprising number of smaller (and cheaper) options, ranging from cold frames to “lean-to” greenhouses to portable greenhouses. Eat your own tomatoes next New Year’s Day (or have fun trying)!
Grobal Self-Watering Pots ($25+) Brookelynn, our in-house hydroponics and bonsai guru, pointed me to these yumdelicious self-watering pots. These can turn anyone into a green thumb! Place one in your living room to add a spot of color or create an installation.
Micro-Tip Scissors ($16) Brookelynn also recommends these Fiskars Micro-Tip Scissors; in her words, they are her “all-time favorite scissors for bonsai and cut flowers.”
Tobisho Pruner ($72) In that vein, my all-time favorite pruner is this traditionally hand-forged Tobisho pruner. It’s not cheap, but after agonizing in the store for 45 minutes, I couldn’t be happier. It is so sharp it makes pruning a pleasure. Hida Tools also has a range of great gardening saws, shears and loppers.
How To Grow More Vegetables ($20) And don’t forget gardening books! This is a modern classic that will have valuable tips for even seasoned gardeners, whether they have a few containers on a roof or a luxurious vegetable garden out back. The plant guy at our local farmer’s market got his recipe for “plant crack” from this book, and I can attest that it does wonders.
Common Landscape of America ($29) While not a gardening book per se, this fascinating history of landscape by Harvard professor John Stilgoe is scholarly but a riveting read. You’ll never look at the world we live in quite the same way again. (His Outside Lies Magic is an even quicker read, but less specifically about gardening.)