Are there any gardeners on your gift list? Would you like to make your own, garden-centric wish list for the holiday season? Here are a few great, reasonably-priced items any gardener would be happy to have. (Including me, in case anyone is wondering.)
The Dramm brass hose swivel may seem like a small thing, but it makes a big difference when you're hand watering. How many times have you walked through your garden, watering plants, and had to stop every few steps to un-kink your hose? It's not only annoying; a kinked hose can damage herbaceous plants when it springs back into shape. The Dramm swivel attaches between your hose and your nozzle or watering wand to let the hose move in the direction you want, following your movement of the wand or nozzle. At under $20, this practical, durable, thoughtful gift is available from online retailers, independent garden centers, and big box stores.
Bloembagz fabric growing containers are made from 100% recycled materials and come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. The bags are porous and allow air to reach your plants' roots (that's a good thing). They also fold flat for easy storage when not in use. Because they're lightweight, it's easy to move them around the garden until you find the perfect spot for whatever you're growing. Bloembagz designs include railing planters, special potato planters (with a clever access panel at the base), and several sizes of pocket planters for strawberries and herbs. Whether you want to grow tomatoes in a three-gallon planter bag or lettuces in a mini raised bed, Boembagz offers flexible designs at reasonable prices. Check the Bloembagz website to find a local distributor.
The smart soil separator from Nature's Footprint fits into containers with interior bottom diameters of five to seven inches. The reusable, semi-flexible plastic piece has a basket-weave center section that allows excess water to pass through the soil and creates airspace at the bottom of your pot. Lightweight and easy to use, the smart soil separator takes the place of pebbles, pottery shards, and landscape cloth, which growers now realize do more harm than good. The airspace created by the soil separator improves both drainage and root health. At under $10 for a two-pack, they make great stocking stuffers. You can find them at several online retailers.
Great Big Plants makes a line of fertilizers, compost extracts, and soil amendments that improve both soil nutrition and texture. After more than twenty years of serving the commercial growing industry, Great Big Plants has designed a line-up of products for the home gardener. Formulas include special blends for potted plants, tomatoes, and roses, and all are certified organic. Manufactured in the USA, the full line of products is available from various online stores. Small containers start at $4 and range to $100 for 2.5 gallon bottles.
Gardeners are practical people, by and large, who'll appreciate thoughtful gifts that make their gardening efforts easier and more successful. Fill someone's stocking with these suggestions for a very happy holiday season and a happy growing season to follow.
Ellen Zachos is the owner of Acme Plant Stuff (www.acmeplant.com), a garden design, installation, and maintenance company in NYC specializing in rooftop gardens and indoor plants. She is the author of numerous magazine articles and six books and also blogs at www.downanddirtygardening.com. Ellen is a Harvard graduate and an instructor at the New York Botanical Garden. She lectures at garden shows and events across the country.