Put a little springtime under the tree with gifts for the gardener
You’re making your holiday shopping list and checking it twice, and here are some gift ideas for the gardeners in your life.
Books for the gardener
The new book “Gifts From the Garden” combines the beauty of the bounty with the skills of the crafter for the green-fingered DIYer who wants to make the most of harvests throughout the year.
From the edible to the decorative, author Debora Robertson shows how to make a unique something for every occasion — potted bulbs in teacups, personalized seed packets, herbal teas, floral-scented lip balms and indulgent body scrubs. Using fruits, veggies and nuts, she shows how to make spice rubs and fresh pesto, chile jams and tomato chutneys — gifts from the heart of your kitchen. $24.95; www.amazon.com.
The 222nd edition of the 2014 “Old Farmer’s Almanac” entertains and inspires throughout the year. In addition to gardening tips and plant profiles, the periodical features pie recipes and then ideas on how to lose the pounds after eating all those homemade desserts, $6.99. The “Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids” with magical pumpkins, towering beanstalks, Salsa princesses, buzzing hummingbirds, bug costumes and friendly farm animals is $9.95. Available at garden centers nationwide or www.almanac.com or 877-717-8924.
Wild and wondeful
Cornell introduces young and old to the wonders of birding, including:
u “Cornell Guide to Bird Sounds: Master Set for North America.” This comprehensive guide features nearly 5,000 soundtracks for 735 North American bird species. Download includes MP3 sound files and photographs. $49.99, or get files preloaded on a flash drive, $64.99.
u Cornell Lab Beginner Bird-watching Kit. This kit, available from Optics Planet, includes introductory binoculars recommended by lab staff, six months free access to a lab online bird ID course, and other great accessories, $199.
Available at www.birds.cornell.edu or 800-843-2573.
If flower-arranging makes you feel uneasy, the Easy Arranger removes all that anxiety. The elegant hand-woven wire grid is placed on top of a vase and gently pressed down around the outer edge. Each petal of the crown then serves as a compartment for a stem and guides the user to perfect placement. Add flowers between the wires to make flowers stay where you want them. The bendable, reusable and decorative grid in 5-, 6- and 8-inch diameter sizes, can be used over a variety of vases and other vessels. Holiday special, $6 from The Gardener’s Workshop; www.shoptgw.com or 888-977-7159.
Out in the garden, you can take out carpets of weeds in one swipe, using the Japanese hand hoe. Forged of high carbon steel, it maintains a sharp edge. Holiday special, $19.95, www.shoptgw.com or 888-977-7159.
Treat your special gardening friend to a David Austin gift voucher. Request that the confirmation, complete with 120-page “Handbooks of Roses” catalog, come straight to you for gift-giving. The roses will be shipped in spring at the right time for planting as bare rootstock. www.DavidAustinRoses.com or 800-328-8893.
Tools and storage
The Gardeners Hand Tool Gift Set from Joseph Bentley contains the small tools that are used most often by gardeners of all skills — trowel, transplanting trowel and hand fork. All three tools have carefully finished solid oak wooden handles and polished stainless steel heads. The tools are presented in a wooden seed box and nestled in shaved wood, $39.99 in gardening stores and at HomeDepot.com, Amazon.com and Sears.com.
Easy access to organized gear is the dream of every gardener, athlete, outdoor enthusiast or homeowner with too little space. Boulder-based Studio-Shed.com offers prefabricated single room structures designed for use as garden sheds and storage, as well as backyard home offices, art and music studios and more. Cost for an 8-by-10 Studio Shed storage model with unfinished interior and block/metal siding starts at $6,300, plus installation and shipping, starting at $900 each. Less expensive Small Shed DIY Kits are also available. www.Studio-Shed.com or 888-900-3933.
The Green Cycler is a clean, odorless kitchen countertop solution that turns kitchen scraps into ‘black gold’ for the garden in a matter of days rather than weeks and months, $99-$139. www.thegreencycler.com or 855-432-6866.
The new WildlifeCam takes up-close and personal photos of the four-legged wildlife — and winged wildlife, too — that visit your yard. The motion-activated camera, high-resolution, 8-megapixel digital photos capture candid moments of wildlife in stunning, full-color detail. The built-in flash makes it possible to take photos of animals in low light — or even capture nighttime visitors such as raccoons and deer. In addition to the single photo mode, the cam can also make digital videos with sound. $99.95 at wildlife stores and at www.Wingscapes.com or 888-811-9464.
For the birds
Give your best birding friends a basket of treats meant for their feathered friends. Fill a basket with a trio of special blends that include sunflower meats, peanuts, safflower and pecans or sunflower meats infused with fiery hot habanero chilies to keep the squirrels away. A nutberry blend combines all of nature’s best in one bag — fruits with insect suet kibbles and whole kernel sunflower meats. $12.99-$17.99 per 5-pound bag.
Or, stock a basket with a suet cake feeder and the cakes to go in it — $1.69-$1.99. Cole’s Wild Bird seeds and foods available at wildlife stores and garden centers; find a retailer at www.coleswildbird.com or 770-426-8882.
Watching wild birds from the window is especially sweet in winter. For close encounters with interesting birds of all kinds, consider The Winner Multi-Purpose Window Feeder, $35.99, which attaches to the outside of windows with three suction cup mounts and holds up to a 1⁄2 pound of seed, suet or fruit. Another possibility is Dorothy’s Cardinal Feeder, $59.99, designed to attach to a post or a hook; this 13-inch feeder is topped by a height-adjustable, 15-inch clear-view dome that protects birds and feed. www.DrollYankees.com or 800-352-9164.
A hummingbird swing with a shimmering copper finish is perfect for the territorial hummingbirds, which will use it as a perch to watch over their food source, according to birding experts. The red glass bead attracts hummingbirds, $16.99. National Wildlife Federation at www.nwf.org or 800-822-9919.
The bird seed wreath is perfect as a holiday treat for backyard birds. Made with black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, colored safflower and red millet, this 81⁄2-inch wreath weighs a hearty 21⁄2 pounds, $19.99. National Wildlife Federation at www.nwf.org or 800-822-9919.