Salisbury Press

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PHOTO BY DIANE DORNGardeners appreciate good quality, practical, useful gifts. PHOTO BY DIANE DORNGardeners appreciate good quality, practical, useful gifts.

Dig these gifts for your favorite gardener

Friday, December 23, 2016 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION Special to The Press in Focus

When shopping for holiday gifts, given that gardening is one of the most popular hobbies nationwide, there is sure to be a gardener or two on your list.

This column isn’t for gardeners, however. It’s for those considerate and well-intentioned friends and loved ones who try their best each year to get their gardening friends the perfect gardening gift. So leave this copy of Focus lying around conspicuously, perhaps with a few items highlighted, and make things easier for those generous souls seeking the ideal present for the gardening enthusiast.

Gardening gifts can be great, but it’s hard to express your enthusiasm for another rain gauge when you already have three, or colorful hand tools that you know will break the first time they hit real soil or the beautiful coffee table book on orchids when your special interest is cactus.

Serious gardeners tend to be practical, so practical gifts are great. A gardener can always use gift certificates to local garden centers so that in the spring when they want to try out every new plant they see, they can actually afford them.

Gift certificates to book stores are wonderful, too, so they can buy the gardening books they want.

Good quality plant markers and plant supports are often in short supply in many gardens and some garden suppliers have a wide selection.

Gardening gloves are good if you know the person’s size, since gloves tend to wear out. Most gardeners will splurge on good garden tools and probably already have what they need.

So unless you know what they need, you might want to stay away from things like pruners and trowels, especially the cheaper ones that break after a few uses.

A great tool is the soil knife, which is handy for many purposes, from planting bulbs, to slicing through sod, to digging out and dividing perennials. Most gardeners say they don’t know what they did without one, so that could be a great gift if someone doesn’t already have one.

Gardeners spend a great deal of time out in the sun, so comfortable gardening hats, sunscreen, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts are useful.

Items that can help with those aches and pains include kneepads or garden kneelers. Gardening soap, nailbrushes and hand creams to help with dirty or dry, cracked hands are always appreciated.

If your gardener is also a bird lover, winter is a great time to get suet feeders and cakes, birdseed or feeders. A small heater for a birdbath will allow them to provide water all season long without worrying about cracking their birdbath.

Some gardeners like to get those cutesy shirts with gardening sayings on them, gardening crafty things to set around, and mugs that look like pots, but that’s not for everyone.

Stocking stuffers could include things like a Penn State soil sample mailing envelope, poison ivy block, rooting hormone, water-retaining powder for potted plants, or floral shears which are great for trimming small plants or preparing cuttings.

There are so many useful, practical or whimsical garden gadgets. If you know the person you are buying for, you can certainly give them a gift that they will use and think of you throughout the gardening season.

Now you’ve got the list. It’s your job to mark what you’d like in this column, add a few things and leave it around for some gift-giver to find.

“Growing Green” is contributed by Lehigh County Extension Office Staff and Master Gardeners. Information: Lehigh County Extension Office, 610-391-9840; Northampton County Extension Office, 610-746-1970