Every December, gardening magazines run articles about what to get the gardener on your list. They are often accompanied by beautifully photographed garden trinkets and doodads. Speaking as professional gardeners, we can tell you that 90 percent of those things will never get used. Instead, let us suggest a few things that the gardeners on your list would love to receive.
2. A soil knife (alternately known as a farmer’s knife, gardener’s knife, or hori-hori).
Really serious gardeners know that good tools make your life easier. Our go-to is the A.M. Leonard soil knife. Use the pointy end to dig holes and get at tap-rooted weeds. The straight side can be scraped across the ground like a hoe to removed shallow weeds, and the serrated edge cuts cuts tough roots to loosen them up when planting. Plus it’s orange, so you’re less likely to lose it. It replaces trowels, dandelion weeders, and any number of uni-tasking tools. Every gardener should have one.
3. Felco pruners.
Simply the best freaking pruners in the world. They function beautifully, and they’re easy to take apart should you need to replace the blade. They’ll cost about three times the amount a cheap pair of pruners do, but once you’ve used them, you’ll never use anything else. We prefer the number 2 (the original), but if you’re buying for a leftie, consider the number 9. Add a sharpening stone, and you’re a gardener’s new best friend.
Possibly Terry Spotts’s favorite book ever, Dirr’s is the bible for woody plants. This new edition combines Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Dirr’s Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates with loads of new info. Serious gardeners will love the identification details, hardiness info, and photography that shows trees’ winter habit, bark pattern, and fall color.
This series of pick-and-choose projects is ideal for newer gardeners. The projects walk newbies through nearly every aspect of creating a garden, and even experienced gardeners can find lots of inspiration. Plus, the watercolor illustrations are awesome.
We picked CBG because we love it (and it’s close by), but membership to any botanical garden is a super gift. And–bonus!–memberships are reciprocal, so Chicago Botanic Garden members get free admission to 200 other botanic gardens, too. (We’ve used ours at Missouri Botanical Garden.)
So there you have it–six gifts that will thrill any gardener you know. (Call us at 317-356-8808 to set up that Spotts Garden Service visit; seriously, it will win you huge points with your gardening friends.) Happy shopping!