Bloggers’ picks – the best Christmas gifts for gardeners
I’ve asked a range of leading garden influencers and bloggers to recommend the best gifts for gardeners. I set a price limit of under £50.
And by gardeners, of course, I mean ‘anyone who loves their garden.’
Note: There are affiliate links to Amazon in this post, which means I may get a small fee if you buy. But it doesn’t affect the price you pay. I’ve also given alternative buying options wherever practical.
For gardeners struggling with weeds…
That means most of us! I’m starting with Alison Levey’s suggestion for a practical Christmas gift for gardeners. Alison writes The Blackberry Garden blog. She describes herself as an ‘obsessional amateur’ and writes about her garden, garden visits and garden related subjects.
Alison suggested a Sneeboer ‘wrotter’ – ‘a great name and an extremely handy-looking tool. You can never have too many weeding tools.’
Gifts for gardeners who travel a lot…
Michael Perry (Mr Plant Geek) emailed me from China with his suggestion for plant lovers who travel alot. Michael is a ‘plant hunter’, horticultural new product developer, TV presenter and social media expert. His blog posts over the last year have come from China, New York, Japan and more.
‘Gifts for gardeners? There’s just one obvious choice for me – the Plant Messiah book by Carlos Magdalena!’ says Michael. It’s sub-titled ‘adventures in search of the world’s rarest species. ‘I’m sure you know it. It’s an indulgent storybook about some of the world’s most amazing plants and, in some cases, how they were saved! Whilst I am travelling so much I can’t always be around plants, but this book, I CAN!!!’
Michael also has his own range of gardening clothes and accessories, including the Rude Botany range. These are t-shirts and more with slightly ‘rude’ (or even quite rude) sounding botanical names. They’d make good Christmas presents, too.
Christmas gifts for the veg grower
Firstly, a gift suggestion from Michelle Chapman of Vegplotting. She started blogging about her allotment in 2007, but soon found that the blog grew beyond that. Vegplotting now covers most aspects of gardening and grow-your-own, as well as food, travel, lifestyle and her home town of Chippenham.
‘A Christmas gift?’ she said. ‘That’s a no-brainer. It’s the Haws 5 litre metal slimcan watering can. My colour choice would be Claret to match Santa’s jacket, though there’s plenty of other colours to suit every gardener’s taste.’
‘It’s great quality, not too heavy when full, British made and the kind of thing I wouldn’t buy (I’d go for much cheaper). But I’d be ridiculously delighted if someone bought this for me. What’s not to like? I already have the wellies to match ;).’
Richard Chivers is also an allotmenteer blogger. His blog, Sharpen Your Spades, is a family, allotment and kitchen garden blog. He says that a new fork or spade would always be welcome under the tree, but he has several other suggestions.
‘A seed packet organiser is invaluable for all my packets of seeds – I was given one similar to this by Burgon & Ball.’
Richard reminded me to include children when you’re thinking of gifts for gardeners. ‘I bought a very nice child size tool set for my daughter Ava earlier this year. Its been fantastic for making her feel part of the gardening – something that’s her own. Unfortunately it came from Wilko and I don’t think they do it anymore. It was £10.’
(I’ve had a look for children’s gardening tools on Wilko, but couldn’t find any. However, they may return next summer. The only children’s gardening tools I’ve personally used with children are Kent & Stowe Kids Range.)
Gifts for gardeners who loves to preserve & pickle…
If you’re looking for gifts for gardeners who cook, preserve and pickle, then introduce them to brewing grow-your-own. Brew-your-own used to be 1970s hippy, but it’s now twenty-twenties hipster. Nick Moyle is one of the Two Thirsty Gardeners, who blog about growing your own and turning it into wine, beer, lager and more.
Their book, Brew It Yourself, distills (ha-ha) all their best recipes and would be a great Christmas present in itself. I thought it would be mainly aimed at men, but my jam-making and pickling female friends seized upon it (see this review of Brew It Yourself on my YouTube channel.)
And Nick’s suggestion for the gardener that brews, pickles and preserves is ‘a nice selection of Kilner jars and bottles.’
‘I always find that no matter what you’ve been making, the resulting drinks always seem to taste nicer if they’re presented in a lovely bottle,’ he says. ‘And Kilner jars are the best for infusing. If you get a small selection as a gift then, if you’re lucky, you might get a filled one in return.’
The professional gardener’s present
David Marsden is a professional gardener, and writes The Anxious Gardener, winner of the 2015 Garden Media Guild blog of the year.
‘As a working gardener, friends and family almost always buy me gardening related gifts,’ he says. ‘So, a present which has nothing whatsoever to do with the garden would be a delight. Having said that, I rarely spend much on decent work-clothes, so a strong pair of multi-pocketed work trousers, with knee-pad pockets too, would be very welcome. Or else a bottle of excellent single malt.’
Gifts for the owner of a large garden
Anne Wareham, the Thinkingardens blogger and author of The Deckchair Gardener says that she’d like a new strimmer. She and her husband, photographer Charles own Veddw, a major garden in Monmouthshire.
According to Alan Titchmarsh, Veddw is one of the ten best British gardens and the hedges alone at Veddw are worth a visit. So strimmers are an important part of Anne’s gardening armoury.
I told her I’d met a parenting blogger who’d moved into a house with a well planted garden. The blogger knew nothing about gardens and had no time (children, job, blog etc…) So she and her partner strimmed the garden all over in autumn, down to the ground in some places. ‘And it sprang up just as good the next year,’ she said.
Anne says that this is very much their approach at Veddw (though I suspect a very much higher level of expertise lies behind it). Certainly there are lots of useful gardening short-cuts in The Deckchair Gardener – it would make a good present for gardeners who’d like to do less and enjoy their gardens more.
Anne wouldn’t be drawn on which brand of strimmer she’d like, as she hasn’t bought one recently.
Gifts for the crafty or thrifty garden lover
Emma Varnam is a top crochet, knitting and design blogger and author of several books on knitting and crochet. Her Christmas present suggestion is an enamel mug with a delightful mug cosy you can make yourself.
She’s created a mug cosy pattern, which you can find on her blog (it’s free).
‘Enamel mugs are perfect for drinking that warming cuppa in the garden as they are more robust than our favourite china,’ she says. ‘However it is always a great idea to have a mug cosy to protect your fingers from the heat of the enamel and keep your delectable brew warmer for longer.’
‘Make the mug cosy with chunky yarn and purchase a lovely Falcon enamelware mug. You can often find enamel mugs in charity shops.’
Emma’s latest book Granny Squares Home – 20 Crochet Projects with a Vintage Vibe would also be an excellent present for a craft-loving garden or interiors addict.
For the community gardener…
Sarah Venn is a horticulturalist, garden writer, blogger and founder of the community garden Edible Bristol, a community food growing movement across 30 parks and public spaces in Bristol. She blogs at the Physic Blogger
‘My suggestion for anyone working in a community garden for Xmas would be this Thermos Mondial flask from Thermos,’ she says. ‘Tea is the most important thing in community gardens at this time of year. This flask holds 1.8 litres, and, as with all Thermos products, really holds the heat of the liquid. I think even if you were just getting involved with a garden this would be the ideal way of convincing people (not that you ever need to do that much convincing), that you’re serious about becoming a part of the community!
It has two mugs (useful for sharing). ‘Whilst not glamorous, it’s definitely needed for most of the year!’
For the urban cottage gardener
Julie Quinn writes The London Cottage Garden blog about small urban gardens where colour and profusion are important. ‘If I was thinking of gifts for gardeners, I’d choose the Collier Campbell Archive book for two reasons.
‘Firstly the designs of Sarah and Susan are a history of our baby boomer lives in patterns and colours. They follow in the tradition of William Morris, and since the 1960s their fabrics have influenced fashion and interior decorative design: 1960s Liberty florals, 1970s Jaeger dresses and 1980s Habitat sofas in a Bedouin stripe. ‘
‘Secondly this book full of vibrant patterns is an inspiration to a cottage style gardener – so many different colour combinations and all pleasing to the eye. Whether your taste is a soft tapestry of pastels or deep earthy tones of North Africa, you will find a page in this book that speaks to you.’
The Collier Campbell Archive can also be bought at the Fashion & Textile Museum shop.
My own suggestions for gifts for gardeners…
I’ve mentioned several of my own favourite gifts for gardeners, but I’d like to add one more. I think most garden-lovers would really enjoy Monty Don’s book, Down to Earth. (And the Amazon price is particularly good at the time of writing). I’d particularly recommend it if you know someone who is just starting out gardening, although I think we can all learn from it.
Inspiration for your Christmas decorating
The garden can be a wonderful source of Christmas decorations. And anything you pick from the garden can be thrown on the compost heap or into the green waste bin for recycling after New Year. So see here for zero waste Christmas decorations from the garden.
And here is how to make a beautifully simple twig wreath. Or if you’ve been craving one of those huge wreaths that cost so much, you can make one yourself with a child’s hoola hoop and stuff from the garden.
And see here for a super-fast, very pretty Christmas table decoration from garden ivy and fruit from your fruitbowl.
Finally, flashing garden lights or garden lights that are left on all night can cause problems for wildlife. But you can still make your garden look festive with these wildlife friendly decorations for the garden.
One last word on gifts for gardeners…
You will have noticed that no-one has mentioned hand cream. Just saying!
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