The Gardener's Holiday Goodies

From whimsical to practical, Garden Clippings digs into gifts for the holidays.

Almost everyone has a gardener on the holiday gift list. A cohort who covets cool tools, a teacher who wants to try topiary, a spouse who daydreams about soil.

The Great Recession notwithstanding,  zones in on our Zone 9 this season and has come up with suggestions for gardeners that cover all budgets.

Seed packets make perfect stocking stuffers while fountains the size of a baby grand piano will take two men to deliver. The eco-conscious will appreciate the rain barrel that collects and recycles water. For those who like to chant “the right tools for the job,” we found sharp saws. As to those daydreaming slackers on your list - - you know who you are - - we’ve rounded up books and ephemera to spur lazy flights of fancy.

$25 and under:

My garden “journal” consists of wrinkled pages torn from magazines and legal pads. A more elegant solution comes in the form of the Moleskine Gardening Journal ($20.00 at Portrait of a Bookstore) or the Cavallini Flora & Fauna Journal ($11.50 at Paper Source).

The nifty little comb-like Gardex LS-1000 Poly Leaf Scoops gadget gathers up leaves, pine needles, thorny plant trimmings, pinkelponkers and weeds. The tool also spreads mulch and peat moss. ($6.99 at amazon.com)

Pick a peck of seed packs: packaged in beautifully illustrated graphics, these envelopes can be presented as a jolly bundle of five wrapped in gingham bow or piece of twine. Stick them in a stocking or present them to a teacher during the eight days of Chanukah. (Prices start at $1.49; available at Whole Foods and Armstrong Garden Center.)

A dull garden tool is more depressing than a blunt butter knife from Ralphs. To keep your edges sharp, check out the handheld 4-in-1 tool sharpener, which works on loppers, scythes, pruning shears and kitchen knives. ($19.95 from Gardener’s Supply Company http://www.gardeners.com/)

The Gardeners mantra: “Yes, we do wash but it’s hard to get the dirt out from under fingernails.” Solve the problem with the German-made Pedag brush. While designed to clean suede shoes, with rubber, nylon and brass bristles, it also scrubs away under-nail grime. ($4.57 at amazon.com). Add a cube of soap (starting at $6.50 at Emerald Forest) and tie up the combo in a velvet gift bag.

Emollient hand cream makes an indulgent stocking stuffer or Chanukah treat. You can find a tube of Naked Bee for $6 at Scentsabilities, while French hand creams priced at $12 and up are sold at Emerald Forest.

$25-$50 range:

It’s whimsical, it’s decorative, it’s the cutest garden gnome I’ve ever seen. ($34, Sheridan Gardens Nursery, Burbank.)

The classic DeWit Tulip Trowel boasts sturdy design with the promise of becoming a much-handled keepsake. ($39.95 at www.gardentoolcompany.com)

For the birds, we found a red-painted Woodshed outdoor birdhouse that combines form and function when perced on high tree limb ($49.00 at www.gardenartisans.us/).

Continuing the aviary theme, a brass bird paperweight sells for $38 at Swag.

Marvelous gardening books serve as inspiration during the off-season. They include:
Life and Love of Trees by Lewis Blackwell. Trees at their most majestic from all over the world. ($40.99)
English Cottage Gardening: For American Gardeners by Margaret Hensel. Righto, we live across the pond, but those Brits really got a hold on us. ($39.70)
The Dry Gardening Handbook by Oliver Filippi. Most gardeners in L.A. now instinctively try to conserve water and favor Mediterranean gardening. This book offers  maps, graphs, and gorgeous images of plants growing wild in California. ($47.64)
(Books are available at Barnes and Noble or by special order from Portrait of a Bookstore.)

A concrete plaque sports a cherub in bas relief with the word “Welcome” and can be hung on a post or garden fence. ($32.00 Sheridan Gardens Nursery).

For the girlie girls, try the velvet shoulder purse with dragonfly beading ($33.00 Scentsabilities)

For the manly man, the Corona razor tooth pruning saw tackles large branches. Equip-ped with 3-Sided teeth and curved blade it sells for ($32.98 at www.coronatoolsusa.com and local hardware stores).

Over $50:

As I write this, it’s pouring rain. We all need rubber Wellingtons now and then, including L.A.. Heck, even Santa has his own version of Wellies. I recommend footwear from UK’s Evercreatures at Funky Wellington Boots. When I checked in with the efficient Brits, they assured me:  If you order now (over 40 designs to choose from) you’ll get them by Christmas. http://www.funky-wellington-boots.co.uk/ ($51.00 approximate U.S. dollars; $31 shipping).

People who live in condos or apartments will appreciate the vintage 40s, cut-crystal perfume bottle with dauber and gold leaf flowers at the top ($79) or a one-of-a-kind vintage handheld art nouveau mirror for a dressing table ($125) (both at Swag).

It’s not very pretty, but the big round plastic rain barrel with a brass spigot at the bottom sure is eco-friendly. The barrel collects rainwater and comes in terra cotta or black ($139.99 at Sheridan Gardens Nursery.)

For pretty, dig the outdoor lantern with scrolled design and birds. Add a giant pillar candle for evenings on the deck. ($128 at Scentsabilities).

Kids and adults can install this small butterfly house. Gray green red yellow or white in cypress with hand-shingled cypress roofs with copper trim. ($52 abirdsworld.com or 877-471-8634)

And if you’re looking for a grand artistic finale, consider the doubled concrete fountain with birds at the rim. To borrow form the late great Robert Palmer, it’s simply irresistible. ($415.00 with additional delivery charge at Sheridan Gardens Nursery.)

Happy holiday hunt. And remember, keep it simple, keep it pretty, keep it alive.


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