DOESN’T EVERYONE love a custom-made stocking filled with goodies picked out just for them? Such collections are as fun to gather and give as they are to receive. Start with a garden-worthy container, then load it up with some of these treats and surprises:
Lightweight, polyethylene Tubtrugs from Gardener’s Supply (http://www.gardeners.com/) make a perfect stocking for any gardener on your list. They’re useful for hauling and storing, and come in Christmas red and green. Add a colander for rinsing and draining just-picked vegetables or straining compost. The colander ($14.95) is lightweight and bendable, and it fits inside the 7- or 11-gallon trugs ($12.95 and $16.95 respectively).
If you prefer a more upscale stocking, the Solid-Copper Patina Hose Pot ($229-$249) from Frontgate (www.frontgate.com) is a beautiful thing. Crafted in Turkey, it holds up to 150 feet of smoothly coiled hose — when it isn’t holding holiday cheer.
Or go for style and gift them with a new-to-the-market “hover” pot made in Vancouver, B.C., by Pot Inc. (http://potinc.ca/). These shallow, lightweight, aluminum and steel bowls are an update to hanging baskets. Their minimalist shape and lively colors are fresh and modern. They’d look great planted up in succulents or dwarf grasses ($115 to $245, in six colors and five sizes).
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Now pile a selection of gifts into the “stocking” of your choice to delight any gardener on your list:
We all need encouragement to get outside this time of year, so add a vase or two to tempt gardeners to clip fragrant greenery or a berry-laden branch to bring indoors. West Elm’s Flared Top Collection of handblown vases come in luscious colors and an assortment of sizes perfect to display the simplest botanicals now, and mixed bouquets in summer ($19-$24; www.westelm.com).
Keep your favorite gardener’s toes warm and dry, even during bouts of winter gardening, with Heat Holders. Billed as the “sock sensation of England,” the soft, loopy texture isn’t itchy like wool, and wicks away moisture. Not a bad thing in our soggy climate. Order at www.heatholders.com, where you’ll find video testimonials raving about “the warmest socks in the world” (11.99-$19.99 a pair). In solids, stripes, kid sizes and longer lengths to slip inside your wellies.
A book or two for long winter evenings: The new, highly readable illustrated edition of “Dear Friend and Gardener: Letters on Life and Gardening,” (Frances Lincoln Ltd., $29.95) is a compilation of letters between horticulture luminaries Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto, with a forward by Fergus Garrett. Elizabeth (“Eat, Pray, Love”) Gilbert’s satisfyingly fat historical novel with a botanist heroine is titled “The Signature of All Things: A Novel” (Viking, $28.95).
Tuck in a gift certificate to the kind of regional nursery that makes every gardener’s heart beat harder, like Far Reaches Farm (www.farreachesfarm.com) in Port Townsend or Joy Creek Nursery (www.joycreek.com) in Scappoose, Ore.
Top it all off with a gift of light. Restoration Hardware’s Starry String Lights are battery operated and wrap around branches and trunks, arbors and gates. No worry about outlets or sufficient sun power for solar lights. Choose between amber or silver, and lengths from 5 to 100 feet ($12 to $89; www.restorationhardware.com). These tiny magical lights will illuminate the garden in the dark of winter and on summer nights; the gardener on your list will thank you year-round.
Valerie Easton is a Seattle freelance writer. Check out her blog at www.valeaston.com.