Christmas is a little over a month away which means that it is time to venture out and find the perfect present for the gardener in your life.
The novice gardener will enjoy receiving good tools that will make chores easier.
Start with a good set of hand pruners. They should be light, sharp and easy to use. Felco hand pruners are considered to be the top of the line. While these tools cost more than other brands they fit the criteria, come in a variety of designs and last for years. They retail for about $50.
Good hand tools also take the pain out of gardening. Choose a trowel that is sturdy and will not bend, break or collapse in hard soil.
The handle should fit the hand comfortably. Padded or wooden handles are preferable to cold metal ones. With this tool, price is not always the telling feature. Some of the more economical trowels work best.
Gardeners often have a variety of trowels as different designs and sizes work for different projects.
Weeding is a job that few enjoy but it must be done to ensure that the garden thrives. A few different tools can make the job easier. A hand weeder that works like a small hoe allows for quick weeding and aeration between plants. This type of tool is available in many designs from an open C to a circle or triangle. All work well.
Dandelion forks work to remove pesky taproots without digging up the surrounding soil and plants. The forks are narrow and can be placed next to the root, loosening it and making it easier to remove.
Hand forks and cultivators are also favourites. Like the trowel they must be sturdy enough to withstand hard packed soil.
Gardeners can often be spotted by the condition of their hands. This doesn’t have to be the case as there are many different gloves and creams available. Gloves work well if they are a good fit. A heavier pair of leather cloves or ones with leather palms are good for heavier tasks such as raking and using a spade. These same gloves might be awkward when weeding a garden.
For jobs that require fine motor skills choose gloves that fit tightly and small objects can be felt through the cloth.
One variety that is now on the market is called Fox Gloves.
They look like a dress clove out of the 1950’s except they come in bright colours and are made out of SUPPLEX and LYCRA. The tight weave along with the flexibility enable people to garden and keep their hands clean. These gloves are also water resistant.
Good creams and soaps are a must to keep the hands clean and hydrated.
There are many different ones on the market available in garden centres and specialty stores. Browse and find scents that appeal to you.
A simple kneeling pad protects the knees from all sharp and rough objects that might be on the ground.
As the knees hurt less when using a kneeling pad, it is possible to garden on your knees for a longer period of time.
Hornets and wasps can discourage even the most ardent gardener. A gift of a trap or deterrent will be welcomed with open arms.
It need not be a complicated affair. A fake hornet nest will discourage many stinging insects from setting up a nest in the vicinity.
These are only a few practical gifts for a novice gardener to make their hobby more enjoyable. Many more ideas are available in local stores or on the internet.
Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist and educator living in Rocky Mountain House. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org