Wearing my nice, dry gloves while preparing to prune with my orchard saw and good pruners — vital components as the next several months are the perfect time to prune. They make wonderful gifts. (Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)

Wearing my nice, dry gloves while preparing to prune with my orchard saw and good pruners — vital components as the next several months are the perfect time to prune. They make wonderful gifts. (Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)

A GROWING CONCERN: Checking the gardener’s wish list

So the rains are definitely continuing. The frost again descended upon us and the ice skating rink in Port Angeles is up and running. Go on down and have some fun!

This week, Thanksgiving preparations begin as family and friends gather around the table, in person or via Zoom. And then, off to go Christmas shopping we go!

It is so important that this year, more than ever, we support our local stores and vendors as the pandemic has taken its toll.

They have been there for us, so now let’s be there for them!

Since gardening is so popular and we, thankfully, have such a wide range of nifty items and prices, I will rate my top holiday gifts of botanical booty sure to delight any gardener extraordinaire.

1. Atlas gloves, $4 to $12. These gardening gloves breathe, so they don’t stink, and are incredibly flexible and agile — you can button shirts, plant tiny seedlings or handle heavy jobs. I just got a pair of bright orange heavy-lined ones for my birthday.

2. Amaryllis, $4 to $25. A perfect stocking stuffer, a superb party gift, a wonderful present, the joy of amaryllis is in watching the bulb grow and bloom in front of your eyes, culminating in huge multiple 4- to 6-inch trumpet flowers of intense color. Better yet, even the darkest black thumbs can successfully flower (force) an indestructible Amaryllis bulb.

3. Aprons, $5 to $25. Greatly overlooked and by far under used, this gardening tool that, during the rainy, slimy, algae-ridden season, can keep the front of you dry and clean. This is the garb of a professional horticulturist — especially aprons with nifty pockets for pens, pencils, scissors and your Atlas gloves.

4. Great water heads, $19 to $28. Few tools are more appreciated than a Dramm aluminum (not the plastic model) water breaker. Spend the money on this tool, or substitute with a fog-it-nozzle. These all-brass mister heads are ideal for anyone with a greenhouse or for a gardener who sows a lot of seeds or does propagation, because that is precisely what they are used for.

5. Bucket with tool sleeve, $25. A multi-purpose combo, the 5 gallon bucket is perfect for weeds, soil, fertilizer, deadheads or gravel. And the fabulous canvas sleeve holds your Felco pruner, scissors, a hand trowel, a small rake, a weed hoe, Atlas gloves and an orchard saw — an all-in-one, convenient unit with a built-in handle. Be a real Santa, buy and fill all the inserts as well.

6. Orchard saw, $19 to $65. The poor man’s chainsaw, this gardening tool marvel is an absolute must for any person who prunes.

7. Felco pruners, $48 to $69. I just have to include these in any list because they are the No. 1, all around the world best pruners ever. Get left-handed, small bladed, pivot handle or air-powered models. I suggest the fine, ornamental No. 6.

8. Grub hoe (maddox). This tool is a pickaxe on steroids, and it does the work of an athlete on steroids as well. Perfect for cutting a trench, eradicating a clump of crabgrass or destroying a thistle, it pounds up sod and soil. Buy the highest quality available because your muscle is the limit of this tool.

9. Trench shovel. With its long (18-24 inches plus) and thin blade, this shovel is perfect for digging in rocks or around roots, or to dig a deep ball on a plant for transplanting. Make sure to buy one with a rolled stop pad, or the arches of your feet will revolt in pain.

10. Be a friend. The best gift you could give is yourself and a day (or two) of work to someone in need. This truly is in the spirit of Christmas, so please consider this wonderful gift. There are many who are elderly or have fallen on tough times, and a strong hand and back around the garden could be the most thoughtful and appreciated gift possible.

11. Load of soil, mulch or compost. Every gardener on the topsoil-deprived Peninsula would cherish a huge dump load of deep, rich, dark, organic soil. Give the gift few would buy themselves, even though they critically need it.

12. Gift certificate and a day out. A gift certificate for your favorite gardener’s most valued supplier is ideal because a child lives in all of us. Who wouldn’t want to have carte blanche in the candy store known as a nursery or greenhouse? Insist on going along to help load the car and make a day out of it — friends and presents translate to a perfect day.

And 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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