Make us your home page

Diggin' Florida Dirt: Stumped for a gift? Gardeners are easy to buy for

Yeah, yeah, yeah — it's better to give than to receive. I give, and I get all tingly. I get and guess what? I get all tingly. ¶ Nongardeners love giving gardeners gifts — we're so easy! — and, of course, we appreciate every thoughtful present. But. An azalea will never make it in my yard (thank you for trying, sweet husband), and a purple fish sculpture just ain't gonna swim in Janice Vogt's shabby-chic cottage garden. Looking for some last-minute gifts for gardeners on your list? Here, from the mouths of bay area gardening gurus, is what we really want. (Best default gift: pruners. Everyone can use another pair, no matter how many we have. Don't question; it's a gardener thing.)

Kimberly Hutton

"One of my favorite gifts was the little weeding stool that my husband gave me many years ago. You know the type; it has a little storage area under the seat and wheels.

"It was sitting by the front door, ready for me to take to work, and my son spotted it. He opened the storage area, and there was a map of Tampa in there.

"You have big weed dreams, don't you, Mom?" he chuckled.

"Indeed, I do."

Kim also recommends the book on tape she got last year from garden director Laurie Walker. An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear is one in a series featuring botanist detective Maisie Dobbs.

Christene Roy

"This year, I'd like plenty of new, sharp garden clippers, one of which will be designated for cutting the heads off lubbers (Eastern lubber grasshoppers) next spring. … Does Santa know what a good, good gardener I've been this year?"

I hope so, Christene.

Will Womack

Felco hand pruners. Find them online from $40 to $60.

"They're Swiss-made pruners, the best in the world," Will says (no mincing words here!).

"Mine always seem to get borrowed by an employee and not returned. … They're one of the indicators someone's a pro — do they use Felcos?"

Will says replacement parts are available and you can work on them, so they'll last forever — a bonus for all those forgetful employees.

Tom Wolfe

"The best gift I received was a golf cart, which I use to move plants, mulch, and composite on my 2 ½ acres," Tom says. "With the time I save with this cart, I have more time to devote to more gardening and landscaping."

Someone really loves you, Tom. I'm not even going to research the price. If you can afford a golf cart, you don't care.

Chip Fulp

"My hands-down favorite garden gift ever is the adjustable rake (you can adjust the width spread of the rake head). One of my grandsons got it for me. I didn't use it for the longest time, thinking it would be a cheap gimmick tool. Boy, was I wrong!

"Big Lots and Harbor Freight sell them for $10. They do wear out, but for 10 bucks, who cares?"

Frances Mallett

For a budget-conscious gift any gardener will love — and a gift that will keep giving — Frances says get thee to Park Seed (

Look for Gaillardia (blanketflower), which sells for $2.75.

"Arizona Sun is an award-winning variety that brings lots of color to your garden, and it reseeds every year. It's a perpetual gift of color.

"Another plant that produces every year is New Zealand spinach. It will provide years of delicious, nutritious spinach for your table."

Park Seed also sells Coco One Steps, biodegradable pods that get your seeds off to the right start.

"They are sold in packages of 100 for $13.95. I love them for giving my seeds a jump start — plant a seed, add water and watch them grow."

Sydney Park Brown

"My favorite gardening book of the year is Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin," Sydney says. "It has great information on types of succulents and their care and hundreds of beautiful color images of how to use them in containers."

The publisher is Timber Press, which reports that a book published just last month, The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World, is also proving popular.

Charles Burgess

"My favorite was a Christmas gift in the 1970s, a bromeliad — Ae. pineliana minuta — all blushed up red.

"Given to me at the same time was a platter of duck l'orange," he says. But, aaah, regrets! "I'd just arrived on a plane from Cincinnati after a long day. Crashed immediately on arrival. Both gifts were appreciated but enjoyed only later. Faux pas!"

Susan Gillespie

"What's at the top of my super-duper wish list is a shed. Closer to reality is a picnic table, the old-fashioned wooden one from childhood memories."

Best gift from the past? A sun-face stake by artist Don Drumm ( It came from her sister Cindi.

"He's not primarily known as a garden art artist, but I just love his suns," Susan says.

Cynthia "Meems" Glover

"The Troy Bilt chipper-shredder was a gift to review — not a Christmas gift — but it is a jewel of a mulcher of limbs and branches. I would ask for one if I didn't already have one."

Forget the diamonds, guys. We want a chipper.

Find more great ideas on Facebook at DigginFloridaDirt. Read more columns at; email Penny at

Diggin' Florida Dirt: Stumped for a gift? Gardeners are easy to buy for 12/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2016 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours