Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

A few garden gifts - a snickersnee, a kneeler, a Quick-connect and a clipper

 Those of you who are regular readers of Weeds and Wisdom are undoubtedly aware of how politically incorrect I am, so don't feel insulted if I talk about Christmas as if none of you were Buddhists or Jews or Muslims or Atheists. It's that time of year when I like to write a column about what to get your gardening friends for Christmas.

I’m a gardener who loves to weed, but I suspect most of your gardening friends find weeding a pain in the… back, so a container of Preen would make an ideal gift. Preen's little yellow pellets prevent weed seeds from germinating. The first time I bought Preen, I got a very small container, not trusting the advertisement. It worked beautifully. I filled all the cracks between my flagstones and they remained weed-free for the whole summer. What a treat! Preen really works, not on weeds that are already there, but on the weed seeds that want to pop up in undesirable places. That's a comforting thought when you know that a single dandelion can let 15,000 seeds fly through the air or that when lambs quarters grow into pigweeds they produces over 72,000 seeds. The second time I bought Preen I bought a VERY LARGE container. You can find this product in the gardening section of hardware stores or buy it online at

I can’t live without my favorite ratchet tools, the small clipper, the medium clipper and the Maxi lopper. They’re all made by Florian Pruning tools. (1-800-2753618 Florian holds the patent on the Ratchet Cut action, which is far superior to the ratchet tools made by other companies that may cost half as much, but don't even do half the job.

Hank gave me my giant snickersnee (his name for a lopper) about 30 years ago. It enables even old women like me to cut through really large branches. In case you're unfamiliar with the ratchet mechanism, let me explain how it works. Cut into a branch that's too big, move the lopper's green handle (there's one red, one green) back and the ratchet falls into another notch, allowing you to take a second bite, then if necessary, a third, and you find yourself cutting through a branch as big as your arm. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

I used that lopper so much that it finally stopped ratcheting, so I sent it back to Florian this past August and then forgot about it until I needed to cut down this year’s Christmas tree, a small cedar growing in the lower sheep pasture. Having not heard from the company, I sent an email and got a nice email back saying yes, they had the lopper but didn’t know how to reach me. Sad to say, they also informed me that it was irreparable, but could be replaced for $94.50. I guess that’s a bargain since it retails for $130 and mine had held up for 30 years!

OOPS! I just realized that my Florian catalog was ancient so I went on the Internet to check Florian’s prices. The Maxi lopper (not included in the photo above) now costs $188.95. Well, you’re probably not as penny-pinching as I am, and that lopper is a bargain at any price. The mini lopper only costs $88.95 and the small pruner just $32.50 Either one would make a great gift. I plan to get my big lopper repaired in the spring, so I cut down my little cedar with a saw.

Another item I can't live without which has a very reasonable price is a kneeler, a waterproof foam pad. I am fortunate that although I have a bad back I have excellent knees. They're a must (good knees) for weeding, harvesting vegetables, opening bottom drawers, even making beds. All the garden catalogs have kneelers. I think even hardware stores carry them.

If you're looking for stocking stuffers, there's nothing quite as handy as the Quick Connect. These brass hose connections don't cost a lot, so get at least two so you can "mix and match" so to speak. Screw one end of a Quick Connect into your hose and the other end into a faucet or the sprinkler or another hose and you'll never have to screw around again as the Quick Connect needs just a little pull or push to attach or disattach.

A good garden book is always a treat for the holidays. My favorites are so old I thought they might be out of print so I went to Amazon and was delighted to find GARDEN SECRETS by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and Diane E. Bilderback. This is by far the best book on raising vegetables so if your garden friends have vegetable gardens they will love this down-to-earth guide on planting, growing and harvesting them. It is chuck full of unusual facts and great suggestions. .

Amazon didn’t have my other favorite book, GREEN THOUGHTS by Eleanor Perenyi, an absolutely delightful writer, but they did have a newer version of GREEN THOUGHTS written not only by Ms. Perenyi, but also by Michael Pollen and Allen Lacy. These two authors are both fine writers but I don’t think they could possibly improve on Ms. Perenyi’s engaging style and humor.

Obviously I have to mention WEEDS AND WISDOM and MOTHER NATURE’S WIT AND WISDOM by yours truly which can be ordered on my Web Log (my preferred name for a blog) and selling for $15.00 each including shipping.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Love my kneeler - and it's not just for gardeners; it sees much use from the handyman of the house when he or she needs to be on the hard floor to repair something. And I'm with you - nothing beats a good book...