A GROWING CONCERN: Black Friday holiday gifts for gardeners

I BELIEVE, NOW more than ever, we are looking forward to the holidays and assessing what this time of year means to not only ourselves, but how it relates to our friends and family.

As we have become more isolated from those we love, we think about them more in relevant ways.

Well, your gardener friends are always thinking about their yard and garden, with that thought in mind — the gift-giving season is just days away.

Black Friday is approaching fast.

Let’s show those horticulturists we love just how much we understand them.

To help you to this end, here is my all time holiday gift list:

1. Amaryllis bulbs — a natural wonder! I have recommended these magnificent botanical wonders for decades; but this year more than ever.

They are fail-safe when it comes to being able to grow these beauties.

So regardless of one’s ability, skill or number of “black thumbs,” anyone of any age will be successful.

They are both gorgeous and seductive in the way they grow, building up awaited anticipation as their “Jack and the Beanstalk” growth accelerates.

This bulb, by far, is the best stocking stuffer ever, so get plenty and enjoy a great holiday science project since most likely you will be sitting home anyway.

2. Felco pruners. They are the best tool professional gardeners use.

The Felco No.2 is a normal, heavy duty, all-purpose pruner and also comes in a left-handed model.

The No. 6 is a perfect ornamental blade, ideal for flower work, and is preferred by women for its smaller size and lighter weight.

Other versions have swivel handles, especially great for elderly gardeners or those with arthritis because of reduced strain on the wrist.

3. Dramm water breaker. These water heads are full flow (fast watering) and soft flow (gentle on plants) at the same time.

One head for seedlings, transplants, trees, cutting or pots.

Absolutely get the aluminum head and water wand (handle 16 inches to 22 inches is ideal).

4. Sweeper nozzle. I ran across this for the first time last June.

This nozzle is the poor man’s power washer.

The nozzle is brass and has a wedge cut groove, which increases velocity and fans the water out into a wide, thin-edged stream.

It is perfect for walkways, driveway cracks, washing off tools and machines, and spraying down anything.

Put it on an 18 inch water wand and with hip high grip, the nozzle is only inches from the ground.

5. Atlas rubber dipped gloves.

These gardening gloves breathe, so they don’t stink, and are incredibly flexible and agile. You can still button shirts, plant tiny seedlings or handle heavy tools and equipment.

You can even find bright-orange, heavy-lined pairs that can easily be found when dropped or misplaced.

6. Orchard saw. I cannot sing enough praises about the orchard saw, the poor man’s chainsaw.

These curved saws are designed to be up in the trees, quickly cutting off branches in the hardest to reach areas.

Stihl has pruning saws that fold or fit into a sheath. Buy two, including the smaller retractable blade variety that can fit in a pocket. It can save you hours of labor when you are pruning trees or bushes.

7. A good garden cart. Choose one with air-inflated tires and heavy duty side racks.

Few devices are as handy to me as my sturdy garden cart.

Get one that can handle at least 250 pounds of firewood, bags of soil, rocks and concrete, and are all easily mixed and moved about the yard.

I love to fill them with six to eight buckets of mulch, compost, soil and fertilizer — a virtual rolling soil machine.

8. Nice, new 5-gallon buckets. Buckets are my extra pair of hands, giving aid to most chores.

It takes weed and litter in manageable quantities, while transporting mulch or soil to extremely hard to reach places, and weight ratios you can handle.

Be it mixing fertilizer, transporting lime or holding hand tools, you can never have too many buckets.

Also, buy that super cool sleeve that is made to go around the bucket with all those neat pockets for hand tools.

9. Germination inhibitors. With strange names like Ron-star, X-L, and Chipco, how can you resist giving a 40,000 square application of weed-free existence?

Weeds are everywhere, but germination blockers, including organic varieties, work miracles by preventing weed seed from sprouting.

10. Gift certificates to local nurseries. Here is a gift that comes packaged with future fun.

Seek out your favorite plant vendor and purchase a gift certificate.

Then, on one of those cold January days, you and your fellow gardener can make an afternoon of shopping.

Along with coffee or lunch, stroll through aisle after aisle as the lucky one gets to select the perfect plant.

11. American Horticultural Society plant identification encyclopedia (check out Millennium and special editions).

This book is the definitive authority on plant identification and reference.

Filled with more than 6,000 color photos and more than 20,000 plants, this reference source includes listings of cultivars and other various varieties.

It’s an incredibly useful text and also goes through important plant information.

At 3.5-inches thick, this is a book to be reckoned with and a must have in your library.

12. Olympic gardening book. I could say I have saved the best for last, but with this list, that may not be true.

The very first Olympic gardening book is filled with information dealing only with our Peninsula.

Chapters compiled by many local experts (including myself) punctuate this book, and include usages for exotic and native plants.

Also included is an all-in product and service listing for the Olympic Peninsula.

This list should allow you to be the perfect garden Santa Claus but remember: You may know the perfect gift that is not on this list — embellish!

But however you waiver, please … stay well all.

________

Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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