By Therese Ciesinski, GardenSMART In the Dirt newsletter editor
It’s the rare plant lover that wouldn’t be excited to find a gardening-related present under the tree, even if she or he can’t use it until spring. I own and use the items on this list, so I can vouch for their utility and recommend them without reservation. (Disclaimer: I neither work for, nor am compensated by any of the companies for recommending their products.) Happy gift giving!
It’s the largest item on this list, but don’t bother to wrap it. Just stick on a bow and go. The HERShovel™ is a spade/shovel hybrid designed specifically (and scientifically) to fit women’s bodies and the way they work. With a tempered steel blade, ash handle, and comfortable D-grip, it is lighter and stronger than most other shovels, and ergonomically designed to reduce strain and effort. Comes in 3 lengths. Made in the USA. $66, Greenherontools.com
2. Easy Arrangers
Know someone whose flower arranging skills leave something to be desired? Here’s your stocking stuffer. The bendable, rustproof woven wire circle fits over the opening of the vase. Insert the stems in the holes between the wires (hint: start at the center, with the largest or most striking bloom), and fill in until you’re out of flowers. They’re great for keeping arrangements visually balanced and floppers like tulips from congregating to one side of the vase. Three sizes: 4”, 5”, and 6”. Approximately $11/set of 3, from Amazon.com.
3. Potted flower bulbs
My go-to gift to cure the post-holiday blues, because once the holiday decorations are put away, let’s face it, a house looks kind of drab. When they bloom in January and February, paperwhites, amaryllis, and hyacinths add color and scent. For the gardeners in my life, I give a bulb kit with pot, bulb(s), and potting soil for a do-it-yourself winter project. For non-gardeners, I pot everything up and present it tied with a bow and growing instructions. Bulbs, pots, and mix are available at most garden centers. Prices range from $1.00 for one paperwhite bulb, to $16 for a big amaryllis bulb.
4. Garda Dibble™
A single dibble makes a single hole. The lightweight Garda Dibble™ makes multiple holes at once. Gardeners will love the way this tool makes seed sowing fly. With 16 removable pegs for making holes in growing mix, your broccoli and tomatoes will be started in no time. Sturdy and easy to clean, too. $20 each. Gardadibble.com
5. Fiskars Softtouch® Micro-tip® Pruning Snip
Pruners get all the glory, but a sharp pair of floral snips comes in handy both indoors and out for clipping off dead foliage, deadheading, shortening stems for bouquets, and shaping houseplants. These Softtouch snips are light and comfortable to use, with a spring-action designed to reduce hand strain. Awarded the Arthritis Foundation® Ease of Use Commendation. 6” long. $13 each. Sold at many garden centers, also at www2.fiskars.com.
By Susan Martin for Proven Winners,
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
When you head to the garden center this spring, you'll find more patterned flowers than ever before. All those stripes, speckles and pinwheels are dazzling but it takes a little know-how to pair them with other flowers in container recipes. Here are five creative ways to design spectacular container recipes using patterned flowers.
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