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Holiday Ideas for Your Favorite Gardener

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

Keep small garden tools handy while doing those outdoor chores in a lightweight, adjustable, washable “tool holster.” The “Gardener’s Phone Pak” holds a cell phone (or trowel), pruning sheers, and other small items.

One Master Gardener suggested a magazine subscription to “Fine Gardening.” The articles are short and concise; the pictures stunning. Subscriptions can be obtained at www.finegardening.com.

Two other very attractive magazines are “Garden Gate” with plant articles and tips, and “Birds & Blooms” that feature feathered friends as well as gardening. Contact “Garden Gate” at 1-800-341-4769, www.GardenGateMagazine.com and “Birds & Blooms,” at 1-800-344-6913, www.birdsandblooms.com.

Need a gift for a neighbor, an elderly garden enthusiast, or someone with limited driving ability? Consider a gift membership in a garden club or environmental group. Choose one to which you already belong or would like to join so you can provide transportation and companionship along the way.

Another MG suggestion is “Bear Claw Leaf Scoops,” 15-inch square paddles resembling bear claws for scooping up fallen leaves. With this fun accessory, maybe even the kids will pitch in to help.

A journal for noting garden dates, plantings, etc., is also an excellent gift. A deluxe volume titled “A Gardener’s Journal” has space for ten years’ (yes, ten years!) 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 could be the ultimate garden gift—a load of good mulch or well-aged compost. Consider including a “gift certificate” for spreading it as well. For the fireplace, what about a bundle of kindling wood from local markets?

Other master gardeners are partial to worm castings—a great soil amendment. Fitting nicely under the tree, a 12 qt. bag can be purchased at local home improvement stores. A liquid formulation of worm tea is good for potted plants, too.

Check out our local nurseries for the makings of the perfect gift basket. For a new gardener, you might include the “Sunset Western Garden Book” plus hand tools and a moisture meter. For a special someone, look for wind chimes, sundials, statuary, or bird feeders.

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 (“SharkBite”) 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 be quickly removed by snapping the push-to-connect 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.

Happy Holidays from UCCE Central Sierra Master Gardeners.

Vera Strader is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Tuolumne County who is a longtime and dedicated garden shopper.

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