This post is was inspired by some of the worst gifts, given with love and misguided ideas on what a gardener values obviously, I have received over the years. Saying this feels really ungrateful as the people who bought them for me really did care and had taken time out to get me what they believed were things id find useful etc but the reality was I never did find that radio shaped like a watering can useful and would actually have valued a watering can far more.
So in the spirit of helping non gardening folks to present their loved ones with gifts that will bring huge smiles to their faces upon opening them, that they will treasure for years to come I give you my top selections for gifts for gardeners!
First up is a company I have spoken about in the past who produces high quality gloves. Having not only got 4 pairs of their range for myself, I have also bought them as presents for others and would heartily endorse not only their usefulness but also their longevity! Over the years I’ve tried out practically every glove on the market, these are the only ones that even used on a daily basis in some really taxing conditions haven’t worn out and despite getting wet, muddy, scraped along concrete, stabbed by brambles and rose thorns haven’t given up the ghost!
I only wish I’d been more sensible earlier this year when in a rush I forgot to put them on whilst using my saw, slipped and did myself considerable damage. If id been wearing my gloves the outcome would have been very different!
Don’t tell dad but he’s getting a pair of the winter touch!
They have a full range for every condition, use and hand size and can be found here or from any good quality Garden centre
Next up is a decent pair of secateurs!
I was given my first set of Felco’s by my mum and dad for passing my RHS, they have literally been the best present anyone has ever given me! They are now 20 years old and still going strong. About twice a year I take them apart, clean them, sharpen the blade, oil everything, put them back together. So easy! In between times they get a squirt of WD40 and I have a little diamond sharpening stone to just keep the blade on top form. I use N0. 7’s as it helps to prevent R.S.I. an important point if you use them as much as me but each and every one of their products is made to last! They even have secateurs especially for left handed people.
If your budget doesn’t quite run to these then consider the holster or diamond sharpening stone. After all, diamonds are forever, right!
This next one is something I’ve been trialling out from the lovely people at
Burgon & Ball
Now as we all know, their name is a by-line for class, design and well built, well proportioned tools. For the last 15 years I’ve had my favourite spade, I chose it myself as a birthday present and its been great but since receiving the Burgon & Ball ‘Groundbreaker’ its sat abandoned and unloved in the potting shed! So fickle!
I genuinely did not expect to be so taken with this chap but its well balanced, with a lovely ash handle. The head itself has a decent tread on it allowing you to really give it a good kick if you’re splitting and dividing perennials. The sharp pointed head is also an advantage in this situation. I also tried it out digging holes, thinking it might not be as good as my larger straight headed spade, it excelled!
Available in 2 sizes, mine has a 90KG breaking strain, the larger has a 100KG.
These 3 things are something I use on a daily basis and I consider them to be gardening essentials but what else could you get for the gardener in your life?
Clay or Terracotta Pots
A gardener can literally never have too many!
For seasonal displays, bulbs, treasured plants, we all love a good pot. For me personally I like just a plain old clay or terracotta one but the loved one in your life may prefer them glazed or ornate.
I adore them for displaying auriculas in, there is nothing finer, especially if they are old pots. There is a charm to the slight wonkiness of an old handthrown clay pot that the modern ones just can’t achieve and I’m always on the lookout for old ones for sale.
There is also the environmental impact to be considered, I’m not suggesting we should all go and burn the plastic pots we’ve accumulated over the years. Keep using them, use them till they fall to pieces, then recycle if you can, but when you do replace go for pots that are hopefully locally made and as sustainable as possible.
For non gardening folk this may seem like a really odd one but trust me, your gardening friends and relatives will love you…
Yes, seriously nothing makes us gardening folks happier than a ton of well rotted manure to spread on our borders!
Now depending on where you live this can be either tricky to organise or easy but if getting hold of genuine manure from stables or farmers isn’t an option in the middle of a city your local Garden or DIY chain will have bags of the stuff. The advantage of getting this is the quality will be consistent and you know it will be well rotted and ready to spread. It will also be bagged into easy to handle quantities.
and lastly a bit of shameless self promotion…
Courses and workshops
Buy your loved one the gift of knowledge and experience! Send them on a day out to learn a new skill!
In recent years it has become a bit of a thing to buy not things but experiences and having been the recipient of a few of these things I can tell you the memory of it stays with you in a way that a plastic radio shaped like a watering can never will.
Buying someone a workshop day is a gift that keeps on giving for years to come, whatever their passion.
I run an Apple pruning workshop with experienced arborist Nick Black to give people all the skills they need to renovate old trees, identify disease and how to treat and how to prune young maiden trees so they get the best start in life.
You can find all the details here, Columbine Hall Apple pruning workshops
There are many other types of courses and workshops available though all over the country, just a quick internet search away.
If you wanted to you could even take them to see one of the many light displays held in various gardens over the country over the Christmas period, with mulled wine or hot chocolate and cinnamon donuts involved too… this is of course my preference on snacks it’s not obligatory.
I hope you will find this a useful guide to what to buy the gardener in your life and here’s hoping that you too get whatever it is your heart desires with friends and family coming top of the list!