Holiday Gifts for the Gardener, by Diane Haines

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:06

    Penn State Master Gardener Volunteer Trainee It’s that time of year again when we make up our list of holiday gifts for family and friends. Are you stumped by the gardeners on your list? If so, use the following guidelines for ideas about gardening gift items. When selecting gardening gifts, basic concepts such as age, abilities, type of gardening, and experience of the gardener should be considered. For the beginner, basic hand tools are a good place to start and you should not buy the most expensive tools until you know that the novice really likes gardening. Basic garden hand tools such as trowels, spading forks, hoes, round ended shovels, bow rakes, shears, and watering cans would be appropriate for the adult beginner or a younger gardener. For the more experienced gardener you might consider upgrades of existing tools or power garden tools. Many times the experienced gardener may be working with tools which have outlasted their usefulness and have become bent or broken beyond repair and a gift of higher quality might be appropriate. Power tools give the more experienced or ambitious gardener the promise of time saved on long or heavy jobs. Chain saws, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, chipper-shredders, tillers, and string trimmers are examples of useful gifts. A few words of caution here though. First, be sure that the gardener has the abilities and is of the correct age to handle these more powerful tools. Second, always save the receipt of these larger purchases and let the recipient of the gift know you have it, just in case there’s a problem or the tool needs to be returned. Gifts items that would be appropriate for all the gardeners on your list include a wide variety of books, handbooks, kits, gift cards, and coupons. Gardening books are available on many topics and interests and across a range of reading levels. Also available are field guides and how to books. Along this line, consider making a personalized handbook of magazine and newspaper clippings (or copies of clippings and articles) along with a list of gardening internet sites. Added to this might be a list of gardening catalogs which can be ordered by you or the gardener according to gardening interests. These catalogs may also be useful for future gardening gifts or wish lists. Kits made by you of tool care items such as clean old rags, boiled linseed oil, medium sandpaper, sharpening stones, metal files, wire brushes, and steel wool pads, along with instructions for use would be an appropriate gift. Another kit idea would be self care items such as hats, bandanas, gloves, suntan lotion, and bug lotion. Gift cards issued by hardware and gardening supply stores are always welcome along with coupons issued by the gift giver for promises to work with the gardener in the year ahead. A word of caution here: be sure to be very specific, keep a copy of such coupons for yourself, and do follow through on your promises. Examples might be: one hour of raking leaves in October or one hour of garden clean up in May. As you can see, the gardener on your list will welcome a wide range of gifts that are easily attainable and will be most appreciated for many years to come.