74.5 ° F
Full Weather
Sponsored By:

Christmas Ideas For Gardeners

Looking for gift ideas for that special plant person? Here are some local Master Gardener suggestions—ranging from the truckload to the stocking-sized.

To keep small garden tools handy while doing those outdoor chores—a lightweight, adjustable, washable “tool holster” is just the thing. It’s actually called a “Gardener’s PhonePak” and it holds a cell phone (or trowel), pruning shears, and other small items.

Carolee James, one of the Past-Presidents of the Tuolumne County Master Gardeners, suggests a magazine subscription. She has narrowed her mail down to just one special green-thumber magazine, “Fine Gardening.” Subscriptions can be obtained at, 1-800-888-8268.

Two other very attractive magazines are “Garden Gate” with plant articles and tips, and “Birds & Blooms,” that feature feathered friends as well as gardening. Neither publication carries advertising, a welcome change. Contact “Garden Gate” at 1-800-341-4769,; and “Birds & Blooms,” at 1-800-344-6913,”

Another Tuolumne County Master Gardener, suggests “Bear Claws,” 15-inch square paddles resembling bear claws for scooping up fallen leaves on the way to the garden or compost pile. With this accessory, maybe even the kids will pitch in to help. Shop your local garden supplier or check on-line.

Joan Bergsund, a former Master Gardener of Tuolumne County, suggests a journal for noting garden dates, plantings, etc. Check bookstores or nurseries. A deluxe volume titled “A Gardener’s Journal” has space for ten years (yes, ten years!) of records on each page. This makes comparisons and reminders from year to year a snap. There are also pages for recording garden layout, harvesting records, and more.

Another idea from Joan could be the ultimate garden gift—a load of good mulch or well-aged compost for a low price if you pick it up yourself; more for delivery. Consider including a “gift certificate” for spreading it as well. For the fireplace, she also recommends a bundle of kindling wood from local markets.

Sharon Dunbar and Mary Evans, also Master Gardener Past-Presidents, are partial to worm castings—a great soil amendment they say. Fitting nicely under the tree, a 12 qt. bag is can be purchased at local home improvement stores.   There’s also a liquid formulation of worm tea.   It’s good for potted plants too.

Check out any of our local nurseries for the makings of the perfect gift basket. For a new gardener, you might include the “Sunset Western Garden Book”. For new and experienced gardeners consider the ‘Sharing the Knowledge” book written by the U.C.C.E. Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County. You might want to include hand tools and a moisture meter. For a special someone, look for wind chimes, sundials, statuary, or bird feeders to complete the perfect basket.

Less glamorous but extremely useful is a watering wand with an adjustable head. My favorite has a curved end for reaching hanging pots; the nozzle can be adjusted from a jet stream for hosing off insects to a gentle mist for ferns.

Down to small items for the stocking?   A brass shutoff adapter is a big name for a small miracle. One section of this adapter screws into the hose end and the other to your watering wand, sprinkler, or sprayer. The sprayer or other device can then be quickly removed by simply snapping the sections apart, eliminating the need to twist and unscrew.   A good quality brass hose shutoff valve is another great help, easier to use and longer lasting than plastic ones. Look in hardware stores and garden centers.

While shopping for gardening friends, who knows, you may find that special accessory for another special someone—you.   Happy Holidays from University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County.


Vera Strader is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Tuolumne County who is a longtime and dedicated garden shopper. “ Sharing the Knowledge” book written by the U.C.C.E. Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County can be found at Mountain Book Store (at the junction) in Sonora and also at the U.C.C.E. office located on 52 North Washington Str. also in Sonora. U.C.C.E. office phone number is (209) 533-5695.