Saturday, October 20, 2018
Home and Garden

Diggin’ Florida Dirt: Gardeners share suggestions for holiday gifts

If I had to choose just one garden tool to be shipwrecked with on an uninhabited island, it would be my Felco 2 pruners. They clip anything up to about a half-inch diameter — even thicker when I push it, which I do.

Even my daughter marveled when I quickly snipped a path for her through the backyard jungle. "Wow — you make it look so easy!"

My Felcos have been such a boon to my quality of life, I actually put them back where they belong. Almost always!

Many of you extolled their virtues back in 2011, when I first asked for your holiday gift suggestions for gardeners. I’d never heard of Felcos, didn’t know they were a thing, but thanks to you (and Mom, who took your advice and gave me the best Christmas present ever) I’m now armed and dangerous. They’re not cheap — about $60 at, but well worth it.

Since then, I have solicited holiday gift suggestions for gardeners and non-gardeners a few times and, based on the feedback, you appreciate the honest, from-the-trenches advice.

The following are fresh-for-2017 ideas — apparently, we’ve all been fighting weeds! — and a couple old favorites from previous columns.

Jan Allyn, Largo

Lazy longtime gardener

The Cobrahead tool for weeding works wonders, especially when digging for our nemesis, torpedograss, Jan says. "I couldn’t do without it." $24.95 at

Joanne Drake, Seminole

Pinellas Master Gardener

"Gardening for Florida’s Butterflies Book," by Pinellas County chief park ranger Pamela F. Traas, is a 36-page guide illustrated with photographs. "To see the butterflies nickering just outside the dining room window really gets conversations going for children and adults," Joanne says.

Great Outdoors Pub Co; $16.95

She also recommends a subscription to Birds & Blooms magazine for both children and adults: "The photos help children identify the birds that visit their yards or parks." $10/year, publishes bi-monthly

Robert Bowden, Orlando

Gardener, author, director Harry P. Leu Gardens

Gardening is tough enough without having to keep track of multiple tools, Robert says.

"This Cultivator and Loop Hoe from A.M. Leonard is a beauty with a long reach handle. I have given these to gardening friends as birthday and Christmas presents." $35 at

Lori Pacheco,
Gainesville, Ga.

Longtime gardener

For the loved one with leaf issues, Tip Bag means no more wrestling with floppy trash bags. It’s a free-standing, reusable collect-all. Lori got the large size. $25 and $30 at

Steve Sanford, Tampa

President of PLANTZ since 2004

PLANTZ, known locally for home, office and landscape plant design and management, now delivers large Florida- and Hawaiian-grown foliage plants nationwide. "It’s a great way to share some Florida sunshine with friends up north," Steve says. Prices vary;

Peggy Sherman,
Forest Hills

Longtime gardener

Everyone loves a dumptruck! Gorilla Carts wagons have a dump stick that makes pouring on the love easy. "We had lots of dirt to move and this was a real help," Peggy says. "You could fill one with annuals and tie a bow around the entire package for a great gift that needs no wrapping!" $70 to $129 at Home Depot

Allen Boatman, Lutz

Professional horticulturist and ESE agriculture instructor

The long-handled Hula Hoe aerates, mulches and cultivates. "Best weeding tool I have found, besides my hands," says Allen. $30 at

Chip Fulp, North Tampa

Longtime gardener

Tatorman’s seeder and planter (two different tools) are perfect for gardeners who have trouble bending, stooping or getting down on hands and knees. "Just the exact thing senior gardeners have problems doing," Chip says. $50 and $100,

Past recommendations

Florida Gardening magazine subscription (publisher also offers localized subscriptions for 19 other states.) $19.95-$24.95, one year (6-9 issues depending on state), 1-888-265-3600 or

Garden supplies such as potting soil, seeds and pot, and a gift certificate to a local nursery or garden center

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Here’s hoping you enjoy growth, green and gratitude this year. Happy holidays!

Contact Penny Carnathan at [email protected]; visit her blog,, and join the chat on Facebook, Diggin Florida Dirt.