Gardening: For the green thumb on your gift list

Looking for something for the gardener in your life? Head to the local book store. There are numerous shelves of books on gardening from how to improve the soil to how to grow under lights. When choosing a book, remember that the growing zones in Central Alberta range from zone 2 to 3 with a few warmer micro-climates thrown in. A book that discusses growing warmer season plants might not be applicable.

A good pair or two of garden gloves, might be a welcome present as old ones tend to wear out. Different pairs of gloves are used for different activities. Heavier for gloves work well for using a spade but are not practical for finer work such as seeding.

Gardener’s hands are often dry from contact with the earth, plant and moisture. A good hand cream helps keep hands looking presentable.

For those that spend hours weeding, there are two tools that are a must. One is a loop weeder which allows one to cut off the top of weeds just below the soil surface. Its short handle makes it easy to weed in small areas. The other is a short handled digger or a dandelion digger, which works for removing long rooted weeds without disturbing other plants in a vicinity.

Gift certificates to local garden centers can provide hours of fun planning and deciding on what to purchase.

When purchasing gardening tools, choose ones that are light, strong and designed ergonomically. Well-designed garden tools are a joy to use allowing people to accomplish a job quicker and with less effort. The type of tool purchased depends on where it will be used. Rakes, hoes and shovels all come in a variety of designs. Owning every design would clutter up the garage or garden shed, but having a few different models allow for choice and make jobs easier.

A solid, sharp hand trowel is always useful. Strong ones will not bend regardless of what is being dug. A sharp edge makes it easier to pierce the soul or to cut a root. The width of the blade varies with the style of trowel and the size of hole that needs to be dug.

Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes. HAWS watering can, patented in 1885, is still considered one of the best designed watering cans on the market. It is available in the traditional metal or a lighter and less expensive version, hard plastic. Sizes of watering cans range from 1 liter up to 9 liters. Before purchasing the largest one, take into consideration of the weight of the can when full of water; 20 lbs, (9 kilograms).

Gardeners that love to plant early in the season could benefit from polyspun cloth, also called a floating row cover. This light weight cloth allows the sun to penetrate and keeps the plants and soil about 5 degrees warmer than the area not covered. An added benefit is that it acts as a barrier to keep insects, like the Cabbage butterfly from laying eggs on plants.

Peony rings have been used to hold the flowers upright for over a century but they are not the only flower support available. Choose plant supports that will be strong enough to keep, a single stem or complete plant upright. Plant stakes are usually designed to blend into the landscape while trellises tend to support plants and add to the overall landscape design.

Lastly, gardens are for relaxing. Give a comfortable chair or bench that fits the garden’s theme. It will encourage people to sit and enjoy.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Chasetin Morin
Photo from RCMP
Three men accused of assaulting Blackfalds RCMP officer going to trial

RCMP officer shot and wounded one of alleged attackers in December 2019

The Cenovus Energy Inc. logo seen at the company's headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
One-time costs of Husky takeover expected to be about $500 million, says Cenovus CEO

One-time costs of Husky takeover expected to be about $500 million, says Cenovus CEO

This drum circle was one of a multitude of activities held at The Hub on Ross in downtown Red Deer. The facility was permanently closed by the provincial government his week. (Advocate file photo.)
Many Red Deerians react with anger, dismay at closure of The Hub on Ross

Many disabled people can’t afford other recerational options, says guardian

Award-winning Calgary developer Brad Remington stands with Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer at the site of three multi-family condo complexes that are planned for Capstone, west of Carnival Cinemas. (Photo by LANA MICHELIn/Advocate staff).
$36M condo project on its way to Capstone development

Calgary developer plans to create 180 housing units to open in 2022

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Workers at Olymel's Red Deer pork processing plant are among those eligible for a $2-an-hour bonus because of the pandemic.
Red Deer Advocate file photo
Two Olymel workers test positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

Two workers at Olymel’s pork processing facility in Red Deer have tested… Continue reading

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. Health officials north of Toronto say 46 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to a large wedding.THE CANADIAN PRESS AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
46 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding events in Vaughan, Ont., health officials say

46 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding events in Vaughan, Ont., health officials say

A man walks to the lineup for COVID-19 Assessments at Toronto Western Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Alarm bells ring over COVID-19 and long-term care; Ontario sees slowing virus growth

Alarm bells ring over COVID-19 and long-term care; Ontario sees slowing virus growth

French policemen stand next to Notre Dame church after a knife attack, in Nice, France, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. French anti-terrorism prosecutors are investigating a knife attack at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice that killed two people and injured several others. (AP Photo/Alexis Gilli)
Tunisian carrying Qur’an fatally stabs 3 in French church

Tunisian carrying Qur’an fatally stabs 3 in French church

Director Deepa Mehta is pictured in a Toronto hotel room as she promotes "Beeba Boys" during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, Sept. 14, 2014. Toronto-based director Deepa Mehta's upcoming drama "Funny Boy" is Canada's selection in the 2021 Oscars race for best international feature film. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Deepa Mehta’s ‘Funny Boy’ chosen as Canada’s contender for international film Oscar

Deepa Mehta’s ‘Funny Boy’ chosen as Canada’s contender for international film Oscar

The skeleton of a dog buried in a crouched or sitting position is shown in this undated handout photo. This dog's grave, believed to be 7,000 years old, was one of several dug up by archeologists in Siberia and became part of a genetic study on the history of humans and dogs. Co-author Robert Losey from the University of Alberta in Edmonton says the study provides new insight into how far back the relationship between dogs and humans goes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - University of Alberta, Dr. Robert Losey
‘They came with dogs:’ Genomes show canines, humans share long history

‘They came with dogs:’ Genomes show canines, humans share long history

This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells with the nuclei stained red. Sales of medications to treat cancer have nearly tripled in Canada over the past decade, reaching $3.9 billion last year, a report by a federal agency says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, AP, NCI Center for Cancer Research
Cost for cancer-fighting drugs triples in Canada but still no national drug plan

Cost for cancer-fighting drugs triples in Canada but still no national drug plan

Most Read