What to give a gardener for Christmas: 2011

I’m often asked “what would be a great gift idea for the gardener on my Christmas list?” Hoo Boy! I have a list. Yes I do! Right now, if you hustle, your local independent garden centers (not the big boxes) have specialty, gorgeous, ginormous Amaryllis bulbs -often already potted up and starting to send up foliage or blooms. These glorious bulbs keep gardeners SANE in Dec/Jan/Feb. Trust me on this.


Paperwhite narcissus? I am not a fan of these. Yup, pretty as can be but the smell of them sends me screaming into the street or makes me toss these into the compost pile. Be careful who you give them to. I am looking for varieties to recommend that have little or not fragrance (will keep you updated).


I’m all in favor of giving your favorite gardener a gift certificate to a local nursery. Especially a gift certificate for something memorable and enduring, say, a small, dwarf fruit tree. My favorites are the espaliered trees, where several varieties of one fruit are grafted onto on main trunk. Apples and pears make great espaliers. Expect to pay $40-$75 for these. Espaliers are well suited for small gardens since they can be situated in very narrow places, areas less than 12 inches wide or in a generous sized pot. And edible gardens are HOT.


Tools: I have some I heartily recommend: The Hoe Dag, a Hori Hori knife (Japanese farmer’s knife) and Nitrile gloves or Ethel Gloves. Nitriles are awesome since they cost about $5-$6 a pair, you can have several pair stashed around the garden, in the car, etc. I have several pair of Ethel Gloves because they are beautiful and they’ve held up very very well for me. Call your local True Value hardware for the Fiskar’s Big Grip Hori Hori/Garden Knife ($10) And the fabulous American made HOE DAG! Your favorite gardener will thank you.