The holidays can be a discouraging time for gardeners. Everywhere you turn, another tree has been cut down, chestnuts are roasting rather...

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The holidays can be a discouraging time for gardeners. Everywhere you turn, another tree has been cut down, chestnuts are roasting rather than sprouting, and Jack Frost is nipping at the rose petals. Consider the ache of not being able to work the soggy soil or feel the energy of the chlorophyll-enhancing sun.

But this is also a season of hope. You have the power to bring the gleam back to the eye of your gardening loved one. Encourage a turning toward the Earth with these practical gifts, sure to germinate the spirit of anticipation of greener days ahead.

Hori Hori, $17.99-$25.99: You will “dig dig” this favorite Japanese weeding and planting implement. It has a broad 6-inch blade (in carbon or stainless steel) with one serrated edge, and comes with a sheath. Available at Hardwick & Sons, 4214 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle, and some garden centers.

AeroGarden, $149: An indoor growing system for the gardening chef who can’t stand to be without fresh herbs. Plants grow “aeroponically,” with only water, nutrients and light. System comes with starter herb-seed “pods.” Available at Sur la Table.

Giant Poly Tunnel Cloche, $34.98: Flexible hoops covered with heavy plastic create a cloche (French for bell, an early type of this device) under which you can dry out the soil in early spring and get a jump on planting heat-loving crops. Available at

Ultimate Cold Frame, $49.95: Harden off transplants or grow winter salad greens in a cold frame. Often handmade from old windows and bricks, this one has a tubular metal frame and plastic covering with a large zippered vent. Available at

Compost Tea Maker, $199: Feed and inoculate the garden with a natural-micro-organism tea. Seattle-based Soil Soup has assembled a 6.5-gallon compost tea maker that includes a “bio blender” bucket and pump, starter bag of worm castings, nutrient solution and instructions. Available at

Bio Dome Seed Starter, $14.27: A seed flat with a miniature greenhouse cover will conjure up next season’s starts even before the mailbox sprouts seed catalogs. Many nurseries carry some version of this system, which includes seed trays and a clear plastic cover. Park Seed Co.’s “bio dome” has a vented cover and extra-deep soil cells for better root development. Available at

Memberships, $25 and up: Support a worthy horticultural nonprofit and your loved one’s interests. Help save the trees with Plant Amnesty, support community gardens with P-Patch Trust, or promote native plants with Washington Native Plant Society. At,,

Fruit trees, $20 and up: Buy an apple, plum or pear tree now for planting in late winter. Local fruit-tree experts at Raintree Nursery offer hundreds of varieties and will ship the tree to you at the appropriate time. Available at

Northwest Flower & Garden Show Tickets, $13-$65: This huge show opens Feb. 14 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, but tickets are already on sale. Available at local garden centers or

Weather Station, $17.95-$159.95: Wireless weather stations put temperature, humidity, forecasts and even moon phases on your shelf in a handsome digital display. Some connect to your personal computer. Available at

Winter Gardening Gloves, $5.99-$29.95: From thin, nitrile-coated gloves with nonstick grips to waterproof, insulated gloves for wet chores, new garden hand wear offers more choices than ever. Available at garden centers, hardware stores and

Yard-and-food-waste bin, $25 and up: Begin making your garden more self-sustaining by composting yard clippings and food waste onsite. The city of Seattle sells discounted bins to residents, while commercial units are available at garden centers. Available at

Holidoo, $20: Feed your compost bin with a bucket of composted manure from the zoo animals, or save it to mulch your spring plantings. Available at Woodland Park Zoo store.

Bill Thorness is a freelance garden writer in Seattle: