As much as I’d love to play Santa to everyone who reads this column, that’s just not practical. But what I can do is put together a list of some of the gardening tools and related items that I think you or the gardeners on your own gift-list might enjoy. Here are my picks.
Gloves: I don’t think that a gardener can have too many gloves, so they’ll always be on my list. Search the internet and you’ll find plenty to choose from. There are summer-weight gloves, cold-weather gloves, gloves for pruning roses. For a stocking stuffer, try “mud gloves.” With their nitrile-coated fingers, these inexpensive gloves are super lightweight and flexible; easy to tuck into a stocking or even hang on the tree.
Trugs: Lightweight, waterproof, and durable, the trug is a gardening workhorse. Available in a rainbow of colors, they’re also great to use inside the house and fun to give as a gift. You can also turn a trug into a gift basket, filling it with other gardening items. (gardners.com)
Coil Hose: I haven’t tried one of these yet, but I’ve gotten tired of lugging heavy hoses around the yard and garden and trying to keep them from kinking. These also come in fun colors. This is going on my wish list! (amazon.com/gardeners.com)
When I first signed up for membership at Longwood Gardens about twenty years ago, it seemed like an extravagance. I wondered if I would really visit frequently enough to make my membership pay. It turns out that I do. Being a member of a public garden or arboretum means that you can visit any time. And you will, because you can! Some garden memberships include guest passes. But possibly the best thing I’ve found through being a Longwood Gardens member is that I feel connected to my community, my “home turf,” in a way I didn’t expect. There’s a sense of ownership and pride in the gardens, conservatory, and landscape — without doing any of the work! Here’s a sampling of locations in the region:
In Chester County: Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square) $85
Jenkins Arboretum (Devon) $50In Philadelphia:
Morris Arboretum (Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia) $65
In Delaware County: Chanticleer Gardens (Radnor) $40 for a season pass (May 28-November 4, 2018)
Tyler Arboretum (Media) $60In Bucks County
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (New Hope) $40 (Senior $30)
Birdseed hangers: Birdseed is pressed into decorative shapes, from pears to eggs to cupcakes, with loops attached for easy hanging from outdoor trees. You can even get a five-foot string of “lights.” Each string has ten “bulbs” in blue, red, green, and yellow. Adorable! There’s also a sconce filled with fall-colored stalks of a variety of grains. Really pretty! Help feathered friends get through the winter. (gardeners.com)
Mason Bee House: Native mason bees are pollinators. Unlike honeybees, pollinating is all that mason bees do. Also unlike honeybees, which require a lot of knowledge and care on your part to maintain healthy hives, mason bees will be happy if you just hang up a bee “condo” for them. (gardeners.com) Or, go a step further and visit Crown Bees where you’ll find information, instructional videos, and how to harvest and share cocoons. You can also buy kits to raise leafcutter bees, which are also excellent pollinators. (crownbees.com)
Mason Jar Indoor Gardens: Here’s yet another use for the multi-talented mason jar: self-watering window planters. Herb Garden: choose from organic Genovese Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Flat Leaf Parsley, Sage, and non-GMO Common Mint. Edible Flower Garden: choose from non-GMO Pansy, Zinnia, or English Daisy. (uncommongoods.com)
Windowsill Art: You might want to team up a mason jar garden with a copy of “Windowsill Art.” In this charming little book, author Nancy Ross Hugo provides dozens of ideas and how-to information for creating “one-of-a-kind natural arrangements to celebrate the seasons.”
Pam Baxter is an avid organic vegetable gardener who lives in Kimberton. Direct e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send mail to P.O. Box 80, Kimberton, PA 19442. Share your gardening stories on Facebook at “Chester County Roots.” And check out Pam’s new book for children and families: Big Life Lessons from Nature’s Little Secrets. Available at amazon.com.