Your gardening friends will love these holiday tools and events — but maybe rethink the manure stocking-stuffer.
HO HO HO la la! Here are my “Ciscoe Picks” of guaranteed-to-please Christmas presents for the gardening friends in your life:
Stainless-steel digging spade: This is the digging tool that TV partner Meeghan Black and I showed many times on our show. It’s the best tool for moving and dividing perennials, and useful for most any digging job. There are many quality brands. Find a sturdy one that has a stainless-steel blade and a one-piece hardwood handle. It’s worth spending a bit extra for this one: Your special gardener will treasure it, and it will last forever. Meeghan found the one I gave her as a wedding gift so attractive, she wanted to hang it as a wall decoration rather than use it in the garden.
Felco #8 (righty) and #9 (lefty) hand pruners and holster: A top-quality pruner is to the gardener as a six-gun was to cowboys in the Old West. I never work in the garden without my Felcos. I’ve tested a gazillion brands, but none has ever come close to Felco hand pruners when it comes to quality, dependability and comfort. They have Swiss steel blades that stay razor-sharp, all-replaceable parts and ergonomically curved handles. While you’re at it, don’t forget to include a leather clip-on holster. That way, the pruners are always handy, and your gardening friend can practice quick-draws in between clipping.
For the bird-loving gardener: Consider a self-heating birdbath so the winter birds always have a fresh source of water. It’s a perfect way to implement an avian spa in the garden, but it does need a source of electricity nearby. Not only will your gardening friend thank you, but the birds will be grateful as well.
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Diggit Hori Garden Knife: This hand tool will become your gardening friend’s favorite weeding tool. The knifelike stainless-steel blade is practically indestructible and is the perfect shape for digging out deep-rooted dandelions or rooting out pesky red-leaved clovers. Best of all, it comes with a bright yellow rubberized handle, making it comfortable to hold and almost impossible to lose. It’s available in most nurseries and garden centers or online at diggitgardentools.com.
Gardening shoes: Nothing makes gardening in winter as miserable as cold, wet feet. Yet an unbelievable number of us garden in old, worn-out hiking shoes that are so full of holes, we might as well be gardening in flip-flops. Put an end to frozen toes by giving a pair of top-quality gardening shoes. My two favorite brands are The Original Muck Boot Company, and Bogs Footwear. Both offer a variety of high- and low-cut styles that are insulated, 100 percent waterproof and durable enough to withstand the hardest gardening tasks. They’re so cool-looking, don’t be surprised if you discover your gardening friend wearing them while dining with you at a fancy restaurant.
For an experience, you can’t beat tickets to the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival: Incredible display gardens, outstanding seminars, great shopping and much more make tickets the perfect gift. It runs Feb. 7-11 at the Washington State Convention Center and is a nice reminder that spring is on its way. You can buy tickets online at gardenshow.com, or at almost any nursery in Western Washington. For someone really special, consider a pair of tickets to the Opening Night Party & Auction the evening of Feb. 6. The gala offers a “first look” at the display gardens, along with delicious food and entertainment. (Hopefully, the gift recipient will bring you along.)
Finally, don’t make the mistake of giving your gardening sweetheart the clichéd truckload of washed cow manure. If the recipient misconstrues your kind gesture as a comment about him or her, you’ll literally be in deep doo-doo, because you’ll need to spread it as mulch right away. If the manure remains in a giant heap, the essence of “farm” will be a pungent reminder of your less-than-brilliant choice for a holiday present!