Holiday gifts for gardeners

Make your holiday gift special for the gardener in your life.

Dashing through the stores in a last-minute holiday rush is a holiday none of us wants. Take a moment and consider gifts for any gardener in your life. If you know what kind of gardening interests them, such as whether they specialize in indoor plants or growing vegetables or perennials, your task has become much easier; however, there are still plenty of ideas that don’t require much information.

Gifts that keep on giving

Purchase a good quality pair of bypass pruners. These have the blades that pass by each other as they are closed. Or it could be a pair of lopping shears that have a ratchet closure. This is like a gear that causes the lopping shears to cut through bigger twigs and branches easier.

Gardening gloves become more important when the gardener is trying to protect the skin on their hands. Ones that allow you to have a firm grim like cotton gloves with the little “grippy” rubbery bumps on the palms and fingers are good for every day work. For heavier work, a pair of leather gloves can be a gardener’s best friend.

Small trowels or shovels are always needed. Choose those with a one-piece, sturdy trowel with a connecting handle that is not welded. Or give them a gift certificate to a local nursery or plant care center. That way, they can decide for themselves!

Soil Testing MailerEducation always fits

Books on their gardening interest can be useful, like growing roses or organic gardening. Consider a subscription to a gardening magazine they don’t have. Take a look at the online Michigan State University Extension Bookstore, especially the Publications page. There is information on roses, growing plants indoors, unusual fruit and a crabapple selection guide, to name just a few. At these prices, you could select several.

Also at the MSU Extension Bookstore, you could buy them the ultimate gift of a personalized soil test and recommendation. This will help them improve whatever they are growing. If the soil is frozen, they will have to experience delayed gratification in the spring. Learn more about soil tests at

Gifts best left “ungifted”

Avoid buying random packs of seeds. Whether they are mainly growing vegetables or flowers, you may not know what they will enjoy. Also, if you are finding them now, more than likely they were packed for 2013. It would be better to buy new seeds packed for 2014 to increase the percentage of germination.

Avoid “garden art” like chubby trolls, flamingos or objects that glow at night unless you are sure they want them. There are dozens of catalogs with thousands of choices, but art is truly in the eye of the beholder. Your “Birth of Venus” could be their lizard-baby deluxe.

Your gift doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful. Giving them something that can be used in an important part of their lives is the real gift.

For more ideas on what to buy the gardener in your life for the holiday season, see the Michigan State University Extension article “Shopping for the gardener on your list.”

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