2018, December 2018

Gifts for Gardeners


It’s the holidays again, and a few of you may have gardeners on your holiday shopping list that you still need to buy for. (Or maybe you are that gardener, in which case feel free to share this post with someone who might need some help – I won’t tell!) I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things in case it helps make the decisions easier…


There are a few tools that I would never want to be without, and I’ll bet the gardener in your life will love them too. (And by the way, no one is paying me to recommend these items, nor am I getting a commission. They are just my favorites.)

soil knife

-A soil knife, by A.M. Leonard. This implement brings to mind the scene in Crocodile Dundee when he says, “That’s not a knoife… THIS is a knoife!” This “knoife” is so much more, though. Yes, it makes opening bags of soil a snap, and cuts through twine like butter, and makes you feel quite unstoppable, but it also can be used as a trowel in a pinch, and has handy measurements built into the blade. Get the sheath, too. Your back pocket will thank you. To order one, click here.


-A set of Felcos. These pruners are rugged, well made, and you can replace most of the parts when they wear out, making them an incredibly good value. There are several sizes, so read the description when ordering. Or, better yet, buy them from your local garden center who can help you. Don’t fret about choosing the wrong ones, though, because even the “wrong” size is better than most pruners. They make leftie versions, too. Click here for a link to the basic sized ones.

cape cod

-A Cape Cod Weeder. This tool looks so simple, but it is absolutely the best thing for digging out weeds. When the blade is run just under the soil’s surface, it shears the weeds off at the roots so all you have to do is wipe them away. And the sharp point is incredible if you hook it under a dandelion root or a Ranunculus knot and tug. It’s a small instrument, but it’s got GUTS. There is also a version made for lefties. I recommend spraying the handle red at some point because it comes in a natural wood color and can easily get misplaced. For a link, click here.


You may have noticed that all these things come from A.M. Leonard. I’m sure they are available from other places, too. But I have always had a great experience with A.M. Leonard.


There’s nothing like a beautiful gardening magazine to get a gardener’s juices flowing, so I am listing my favorites here. They also have the added benefit of being great last minute gifts. And they last all year!  So, without further ado…

Garden Gate Magazine. This comes out six times a year, and is a great magazine for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike. It has lots of design ideas, clearly presented.

The English Garden. While all the recommendations may not pertain to us in the Northeast, most will, and even so, the pictures are so beautiful you will forgive them.

Gardens Illustrated. Same comment as The English Garden. This is eye candy at its best.

Garden Design Magazine. This magazine probably isn’t for the absolute beginner, as it is very design-centric. I keep every issue as they are beautiful and inspirational and it would seem a sin to throw them away.


Another great last-minute item, memberships often offer not only a great magazine but also programs, events, and other educational opportunities. Some of them have reciprocal garden privileges around the world, too.

New England Wildflower Society. I have been a member here for many years and got my Certificate in Native Plant Horticulture and Design through them. As well as a fantastic flagship garden called Garden in the Woods, they sell native plants, offer many educational opportunities both onsite and through the internet, and have a wonderful plant database called Go Botany. They are extremely knowledgeable and are on the forefront of native issues and a membership is a great gift to anyone interested in natives.

The Wild Seed Project.  This membership is worth it for the publication alone. It comes out once a year and is filled with great articles about native plants.

Local gardens. There are so many gardens out there, and every locality has a hidden gem somewhere. Four that I like, that are within a couple of hours drive of Seacoast NH are Fuller Gardens in North Hampton, NH, Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in Boyleston, MA,  Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens  in Boothbay, Maine, ans last but definitely not least, the magical Bedrock Gardens, a favorite in Lee, NH.

I hope this has been helpful. Happy shopping!


Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens


Fuller Gardens


Tower hill
Tower Hill Botanical Gardens


Bedrock Gardens