Green Hands — "Green Hands"
Green Hands
The Column Archive
2000 Columns

2001 Columns:

2002 Columns
2003 Columns
2004 Columns
2005 Columns
2006 columns
2007 columns
What's New
CHC Home
Gifts for the Gardener

Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 30 November 2001 (formatting changed for the Web)

Give plants! But not just anything. I keep a whole shelf of nursery catalogs; anyone could figure out the places I like because their catalogs are worn and have notes in the margins. Gift certificates to those places would always be great. Or to a local nursery that's big enough you can always find something you want, and where you can see what you're getting. Winter-blooming houseplants help a gardener make it through till spring: Amaryllis, Paperwhite Narcissus, and Christmas Cactuses are the easiest.

Another winter essential is garden books. Don't give how-to books unless you know what the gardener needs; otherwise you run the risk of getting something too basic. Good bets are picture books of gorgeous gardens, and books in which gardeners tell stories about their experiences. Also a whole book on a favorite plant; for example I have one on Hostas, one on Campanulas, one on mosses, and one on hardy roses.

There are always more tools to try. My all-time favorite so far is the soil scoop, which puts much less strain on the wrist than a trowel does. And equipment — tops in this category is my shredder-chipper: fallen branches and leaves quickly become useful garden mulch with this monster. (Get a powerful one.)

A garden shed to store everything in is a necessity for a gardener. It can't be too big; the contents will expand to fill the space available. In my case, everything has overflowed into the basement, the laundry room, and the front porch. One of the things I keep on the front porch is a pretty basket full of hand tools: trowel, hand cultivator-claw, clippers, a dandelion weeder.... I have another set of the same tools in the back yard, in the garden shed. But I got tired of having to go get the tool I needed from the other side of the yard all the time. Duplicates are a great timesaver.

A good-looking wooden compost frame is a thoughtful gift — one of those things people tend not to buy for themselves, because it's an unnecessary expense — one only someone who really cares would give. Compost? A gift involving that messy stuff? Ah, but it's so great to get that sloppy pile, which is so essential, corralled so that it's a bit more attractive.



BooksTimber Press

Tools and Equipment

Next Date

© Copyright 2001 Catherine Holmes Clark