Sunday, December 11, 2011

Foxgloves, Samurai Shark and More Top Garden Gifts

What is the best gardening gift?  Top garden gifts need not break the bank. 

High fashion doesn't cost much in the garden. Those hot pink gloves aren't just for looks.  Foxgloves, which are available online, are the perfect  gift for a gardener.  While appearing dainty, they're tough and functional.  Foxgloves aren't waterproof so use disposable latex gloves for wet and messy plantings.  Mine have lasted for five years and innumerable machine washes.  They still retain their bright color and elasticity.  Continuous use only increases their soft and light qualities.

Foxgloves come in a variety of bright colors and two lengths, one to the elbow for" formal" chores and the more casual wrist model.  Best of all, they're light and breathable with unbelievable dexterity--perfect for bulb planting.  The newest colors this season are red and black.  Imagine cutting back the shasta daisies outfitted in elbow length black gloves.  Sure to impress the neighbors!

The secret to owning the sharpest tools was passed on to me by a friendly surgeon. He'd certainly be the resident expert.  The Samurai Shark Knife Sharpener, for under twenty bucks, comes with two knife sharpeners and the best pair of tungsten steel bladed kitchen shears in the northern hemishpere.  The most attractive feature is how easy and safe this tool is. Scrape the edge of a spade, or a hand trimmer between the reverse "v" shark shape of the hand held Samurai sharpener, and the tool operates as if new.  Dr. Mike knows sharpeners.  No electricity and little effort required.  Used dull tools are as restored as if new in a few seconds, extending the life of tools for years.

If it's been a good year, a digital camera is a superb gift.  Use your camera as a tool to document the peaches and pits of the yard for future reference and chronicle what needs to be moved or thinned out.  

It's a pleasure scrolling through winter photos on a hot July day, or admiring spring azaleas in August. 

Need a little something for the gardener?

1.  Hand clippers.  They're always in demand.  Fiskars makes a pretty pink handled version and donates some of the proceeds to breast cancer research.  The trouble with these tools is that they're easy to lose, toppling out of shallow pockets.  The pink handle is easier to locate on the ground.  The dollar store has a pointed nose floral clipper that does a nice job and fits well in side pockets.
2.  Gnomes.  Never know where they'll pop up!  These guys are good luck and always fun.  Little kids like to search for them in the yard. 
3.  Stepping stones.  Handmade are the best. I still have the watermelon striped stepping stone made as a Brownie craft by my youngest child.  Have the kids make decorative garden stones for a grandparent or other gardening relative.

Stepping Stone Falls   Flint, Michigan
Better yet, take grandma and the kids for a quick road trip to Stepping Stone Falls near Flint.  It's a short walk to the man made falls with a lovely view of Mott Lake and the Flint River.
The gift of time and memories is always the most cherished.

4.  Garden certificates:  Those to the local garden shop are always welcome.  Still, the most precious are the hand-made certificates promising an hour or two of assistance in the yard to be redeemed at a future date. 

Presents tailored to the individual show care and attention to detail.  The "gift that keeps on giving" is the one that is used or admired for years to come. 


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