Give 'Em The Green Stuff: Gifts For Gardeners

Give 'Em The Green Stuff: Gifts For Gardeners

It is difficult to make a wrong choice selecting gifts for gardeners. Gardeners love everything to do with gardening, from seeds and plants to tools, gadgets and books.

Even longtime gardeners may not have the new ergonomically designed tools. Anyone who spends hours gripping a trowel or a pair of pruners would appreciate the new tools designed to prevent hand fatigue or muscle cramps.

Kris Baker, manager of the Medford Valley View Nursery, recommends the Fiskars Power Gear bypass pruner. This ergonomic pruner has a twisting handle which turns with your hand when you bear down.($29.95) She also says everyone should have a folding pruning saw (under $20).

OXO, the brand that revolutionized kitchen tools, has turned to the garden with their Good Grips Gel-e Garden Essentials Set. The set includes a regular trowel, a transplanting trowel and a cultivator with soft grips, all three for less than $10.

Another alternative is the tools designed by Natural Radius Grip (NRG). They have ergonomically designed, oversized, curved, metal handles bathed in a soft, lime green vinyl, that is not only comfortable, but would be difficult to lose in the garden. This company makes every type of hand tool and prices range from $12.95 up.

Dieter Trost of Southern Oregon Nursery in Medford recommends their new transplanting shovel. The wooden handle ends in a perfect circle of lime green vinyl covered wood, with another vinyl patch on the wooden shaft. ($39.99) The design makes lifting dirt as comfortable as is possible.

Ever heard of a hori-hori knife? Kris Baker says they sell a lot of them to professional landscapers. A traditional bonsai tool used to dig stunted trees from crevices in the wild, the knife has a 6-inch concave blade with one serrated edge, making it useful for digging, weeding, transplanting, dividing and cutting. Prices range from $19.99 to $34.99.

The tool has enthusiastic users. "If they lose it, they immediately come back for another one," says Trost.

Trost also recommends investing in the OHOE. Created by a local inventor, this hoe has two stainless steel discs that lie flat, hold a sharp edge and get in close under plants to cut off weeds with much less exertion than traditional hoes. ($28.99.)

Mention books and Baker says everyone should have the two gardening "bibles," the Sunset Western Gardening Book and The Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley by the Jackson County Master Gardener's Association. About the latter she says "It's great, especially for people who have recently moved here to understand our climate."

Another inspirational book is The Winter Garden by Val Bourne. Full of photos, it details how to plan for a garden that is beautiful even when half—covered with snow.

Ever wanted to grow orchids? In Thee Garden in Medford carries the new Forever Lasting Flower. This is a small orchid plant, with a lovely porcelain version of the flower attached, so you always have one flower on your plant and you'll know exactly what the flower looks like. These easy-to-grow orchids are under $9.

Gift baskets are always appreciated. Instead of a basket, some of the new colorful rubber boots or a nice ceramic planter make good gift containers. Fill with unusual seed packets, maybe a small container of rooting hormone or fish fertilizer, some hand tools, a seed sorter, or good gardening gloves. Rose gloves with extended sleeves to cover the forearm are always handy for dealing with thorny plants and now come in microfiber.

But if you really want to splurge, there is the Aero Garden ($149), described as "the world's first kitchen garden appliance." Featured at Lady Bug Indoor Gardens in Medford, this is a small, fully automatic hydroponic garden, where plants grow in liquid instead of dirt.

"It pretty much does everything for you," explains sales clerk Christopher Blanchard. "All you have to do is turn it on and add water, and it blinks to let you know when it is low on water or nutrients."

It comes with packages of seeds and nutrients. The most popular are the herb selections, allowing you to grow fresh herbs year round right on your countertop. But you can also grow lettuces, cherry tomatoes and strawberries. Can you imagine fresh strawberry shortcake next Christmas?

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