Bartlett on Gardening: Gifts for Gardeners

Once again ‘tis the season of gift giving. It may seem that the gardeners on your list have everything needed to get the job done, but do they really? Let’s check their toolboxes. Are the bypass pruners past their prime? Would a kneeling pad be welcomed? Do they have the essentials?

I frequently mention the importance of checking soil pH. A pH meter may be the perfect addition to your gardener's kit.​​

​One gadget every gardener needs is a rain gauge. Unless you live next to the weather station, the official measurement probably does not reflect the precipitation in your garden. Keeping up with rainfall is important in deciding when, whether and how much to irrigate.

​​I often tramp through wet grass to tend my flowers. For me, waterproof footwear is another essential. My husband goes for basic rubber boots while I prefer to slip into Sloggers. These come in clever, colorful patterns, making them fun as well as


Even if your gardener is not into roses, a pair of gauntlets may be in order. These protect the forearms from more than thorns. We wear them while pruning or dealing with ​​evil weeds such as green briar.

Pruning tools do get dull. If you want to get a new bypass model, consider those with an ergonomic design. These really reduce the stress on the gardener’s hands. There are reasonably priced sharpening gizmos as well.

A long-handled weeding tool is another idea. I notice that the ground gets lower every year!

This is a great time to replace any rusty, worn-out garden tool with a new one. I treasure the digging fork my husband got for me one year because the tines on the ​​one I bought bent after one use.

​​​Are there any unique offerings in a big box? You bet. I spotted my favorite five-bladed ​​herb scissors in Walmart for a third of what you’d pay from a catalog source. I saw colorful cyclamen blooming in pots in Lowe’s garden center. These showy cool-season flowers can live in gardens here. They are early spring bloomers. Plant the corms in spring for bloom next year.

Amaryllis abound. These bulbs offer lovely indoor interest in winter and can be transplanted outdoors for years of enjoyment.

​​My all-time favorite gardening gift was a gel knee pad. I have ​​ had it 15 years and carry it with me everywhere.

​Don’t despair on finding your gardener a gift in a garden center near you.

Master gardener Ann Bartlett never lets lack of anything stop her from trying plants in the ornamental beds around her home. She knows where to buy it.

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