Garden Gnome
This “unique” garden gnome might not be for everyone, but there are lots of gardeners who would love one. Photo by Doug Oster

Gardening Green with Doug 

Gift Ideas for Gardeners They Will Actually Love

By Doug Oster


December 16, 2020

So you’re racking your brain trying to figure out what to get your favorite gardener for the holidays, and time is of the essence.

It’s a subject I’ve covered annually for three decades, and in all those years, I can tell you wholeheartedly that a gift certificate for seeds or garden supplies at a favorite local nursery is all we need. I know it’s impersonal, but it assures that the gift will actually get used.

I never wore the tool apron I received one year, and of the 10 five-cent seed packages in my stocking, three were planted…reluctantly.

You see, gardeners can be very specific about what they want to grow. Visions of plants and seed varieties fill our heads every time we walk through the garden. We fantasize about next year’s vegetable patch. We love discovering the perfect spot for that new shrub. And we might have an epiphany about perennial additions to the landscape. 

And we would rather not feel obligated to forgo those dreams and ideas for the sake of planting a well-intentioned gift.

Garden Shears
Dramm ColorPoint Compact Pruners are well made, sharp and easy to find in the garden. Submitted photo
Auger and drill
The Power Planter Bulb Auger & Bed Planter Tool attaches to a power drill and makes gardening a little easier. Photo by Doug Oster

Tool Gift Ideas

Gardeners can always use tools though. When searching for something, buy the best you can afford. I use some of my grandparents' garden tools. Anything you buy should be designed to be passed to the next generation. There are lots of tool kits out there, but remember, you get what you pay for.

A good pair of pruners is a necessity, and gardeners can always use another. I’ve got one pair to grab from the windowsill when running out to the garden. Another is in a faux mailbox in front of the vegetable garden and yet another hangs in my tool shed.

Many professional gardeners' holsters will reveal the red handles of Felco pruners (often #2). There are lots of models — some even to help gardeners who don’t possess the grip they once had. The parts are replaceable and the tool should last for a lifetime or longer.

Besides the Felco, Dramm ColorPoint pruners are stowed throughout my garden. These are compact, lightweight, sharp and I love how their mechanism stays in place when either open or closed. They come in a variety of cool colors so you can easily find them if left in the garden.

One of my most invaluable tools in the garden is the Power Planter Bulb Planting Auger & Bedding Plant Tool (3”x7”). Attach it to a power drill and it makes quick work of bulb planting. It can be also used to dig lots of planting holes. I’ve used an auger for decades, but this product is by far the best, in my experience. The hexagonal shaft is a nice touch, preventing any slippage during use.


Greenhouses Make Great Gifts

Every gardener wants to extend the season, and there are a variety of greenhouses out there that won’t break the bank. It’s fun to get things going a little earlier or keep something alive a little longer. You can find some made out of plastic for under $100. Fancier versions will cost just over $500. Permanent structures will cost thousands. Local garden centers will have something that will work with any budget. A gift like this should also include a promise to help set it up.

The Chef’n Microgreen Grower is the perfect gift for any gardener who loves to harvest in the winter. Photo by Doug Oster
There are many styles of Aerogardens on the market for gardeners who would love to get something growing inside the winter. Submitted photo
Sloggers garden shoes are waterproof, comfortable and slip on and off. Submitted photo

Other Gardener Gift Ideas

I’ve had so much winter fun with this Chef’n Microgreen Grower. It comes with everything needed to grow some microgreens on a windowsill. No need for special lighting — just plant and harvest in a few days. I actually have two: My favorite crop is radishes, but after the seeds (which come with the grower) are used, there are a wide variety of plants you can use it to grow that are tasty and nutritious.

No gardener would turn their nose up at an amaryllis, some hyacinth or paperwhite bulbs. Well, maybe paperwhites as these white flowers have an intense, unique fragrance. They can be bought already potted or as bulbs ready to be planted.

Angels, gnomes, fairies, roosters, cherubs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, ducks, whirligigs and a host of other garden ornaments are fair game too. Just be sure to match the piece to the gardener’s taste, or lack of taste, as in my case.

It's a safe bet that your gardener longs to grow something all year long. AeroGarden has a wide range of self-contained units that include lighting. The range in size from tabletop to large, full-sized growing systems.

Sloggers are another great gift idea. They're waterproof, comfortable garden shoes that slip on and off if you need to run inside for something. They hold up well to years of garden work. I wear mine all time, they are that comfortable.

One of the best parts of gardening is giving things to friends and family. Now you can return the favor.


Doug Oster writes a weekly column for The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter. He also the host of The Organic Gardener Radio Show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio 1020AM. 

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