Christmas gifts for the gardener

The Christmas season is fast approaching and you may be at a loss for the perfect gift for that gardener on your gift list. This column will provide some suggestions for the gardener in your life, or keep it and use as your own wish list.
With the nasty weather of winter, the garden often is far from our minds, but Christmas can be a great time to help the gardener get through the long cold winter and delight them with gift they can use for years to come.
Some of the stores and nurseries still have items that would make perfect Christmas gifts. How about that garden ornament, bird bath, or fountain that someone special has been wishing they could have.
There still are some basic water garden kits left in stock, which can range in size from a small water feature fountain to a large pond.
A starter kit or components for a water garden can get the pond enthusiast planning over the winter. Also, with a container and a water pump and a few additional supplies, you easily can construct your own one-of-a-kind water fountain.
What better way to customize the garden then with your own fountain design? Check the library for books on how to construct and design your own water garden or fountain.
Gardening reference books are a favourite of any gardener I know. The following listed are the titles I highly recommend as they give you information that’s pertinent to our growing conditions in Canada.
These books also are of great value as almost all of the information in them can be used locally. Reader’s Digest “An Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada” or “1001 Hints and Tips for your Garden” are great books to start or complete your gardening library.
The series of books from Lois Hole’s Gardening Series include titles like “Lois Hole’s Perennial Favorites,” “Lois Hole’s Bedding Plant Favorites,” “Lois Hole’s Vegetable Favorites,” and “Lois Hole’s Favorite Roses.”
These books are all written by Hole, who is a long-time gardener and greenhouse grower in Edmonton. Included in the books are plants that will grow in most of Canada—accompanied by great pictures, descriptions, and growing instructions.
These books are a super bargain at $19.95 and are available at many retailers, including some grocery stores, across the district.
Another great book is “The Joy of Gardening” by Dick Raymond. This is a comprehensive guide for guaranteed success in vegetable gardening.
I have all of the titles mentioned above in my collection, and these titles are the best in my collection. Any gardener would agree, and love to receive any one of them this year.
But if you cannot decide on a title, how about a gardener’s journal or diary? There are many on the market today, all with different features and layouts—just pick one to suit your needs.
Or how about a subscription to a gardening magazine? I highly recommend “Canadian Gardening” as a great magazine with all Canadian content for gardens all over Canada.
The correct gardening tools are a must in the garden. My favorites—and what I consider must haves—are as follows:
1. A good garden hoe
Mine is stainless steel and will last a lifetime, but good quality steel also is acceptable. My hoe has a five-inch wide head, which is much better at weeding between the plants than a larger one.
2. A hand-held garden trowel
This tool gets a great deal of work, so look for one that is cast and constructed in one piece. Ones with the handle welded to the trowel usually break after one season.
I have two—one that’s long and about two inches wide for getting down around the roots of weeds and a four-inch wide one for digging planting holes.
3. A planting shovel
This is a shovel about 36-40 inches tall with a long narrow blade that is about 12 inches long. I have one of these and it is the second-most used tool in my garden.
I use it for planting perennials, shrubs, trees, and vegetables, for separating and dividing perennials, digging holes and trenches, and mixing my composter, just to name a few jobs it can do.
I love my planting shovel and have become very accustomed to having it readily available for any digging job.
4. The Hi Mo Digger
A tool used for weeding around plants, it was designed in Asia and has been around for centuries. I have both a hand version and one on a long pole. It has a triangular blade about eight inches long.
This tool is the best for loosening up soil, especially clay, and pulling at the roots of weeds. I even plant small perennials and annuals in the holes I have made with this tool.
This tool is sold under other names, as well, but look for a funny-looking elongated triangular blade with a slight twist in it. The design of the blade makes it easy to use for those with weak wrists or arms while the long pole version is good for those with back problems.
The gardener on your list will think this is the best gift they have ever received.
Well, now that I’ve given you some great ideas for the gardener in your life, you better get shopping. If all else fails, there are always gift certificates from your local nursery that can be used for plants in the spring.
I know as an avid gardener I would love to receive any of the suggestions. Hint! Hint!

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