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The best gardening gifts are those which make the green-fingered grower in your life light up with possibilities and potential. Whether they’re fondest of planting, harvesting, barbequing or sun lounging, they deserve gadgets which reward their passion for nature and the outdoors. Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting products out there which make perfect presents for eager gardeners.
There are lots of great safety and maintenance gifts which give protection to gardeners when they’re working with blades, heat or thorns. Or opt for something less practical but full of personality, perhaps, such as comedy gnomes, unusual gadgets, themed growing kits (grown your own cocktails, plant a bonsai tree, etc) and giant backyard games.
For serenity seeking gardeners, there are water features, hammocks, summer houses, swinging love seats and gorgeous greenhouses. Whatever their or your preferences, if you look in the right places, you’re guaranteed to find superb outdoor gadgets. We’ve put together a list of the best gardening gifts online to help you find the right ones.
1. Butterfly Mix Seed Balls
Butterfly mix seed balls are the gardening equivalent of a really fantastic stocking filler or ‘mini’ gift. They are very affordable, widely available and have a big impact (particularly in comparison with their low cost). They come in a tin containing 10-15 small clusters of wildflower seeds. The idea is if you scatter these seed balls about the back garden and add water, beautiful wildflowers will spring up in their place.
As the seeds are specially selected for their ability to attract butterflies, anybody who uses them should, theoretically, get a whole new set of backyard visitors once they’re in full bloom. The great thing about these butterfly mix seed balls is they don’t need maintenance. Each ball already contains compost, clay and a sprinkle of chilli powder to deter pests while they grow.
2. Gardening Claw Gloves
You know all about traditional gardening gloves, but do you know about gardening claw gloves? Well, we’re here to show you something new. Gardening claw gloves are much like regular gloves except for one of each pair has plastic tipped fingers. These plastic ‘claws’ are intended to act like mini trowels so wearers can rake and dig while close to the soil.
Pulling weeds by hand and having trouble with a terribly tough root? You could get up and fetch your spade or, if you’ve got gardening claw gloves, simply use the tools already on your fingers to dig up the soil. If you’re going to buy gloves like these for yourself or a loved one, make sure they’ve got a waterproof coating and a thick exterior to protect against thorns.
3. Cool Cocktails Seed Kit
Make gardening fun again with a cool cocktails seed kit. These growing kits are part of a burgeoning trend for themed planting. You might have seen others designed for chilli lovers, butterfly enthusiasts, succulent fans and more. Cocktail themed growing kits provide all the necessary equipment (including seeds) to grow garnishes for popular drinks.
For instance, common seed varieties include peppermint, lemon balm, lime basil, anise hyssop, cucamelon; all plants which taste great paired with cocktails. The kits come with growing pots, compost, plant labels and, in some cases, propagator powders or liquids to speed up the process and help the plant produce a yield faster. They make great gardening gifts for anybody who likes their planting and sowing to come with a reward.
4. I Love Gardening Gift Box Puzzle
We promised you interesting gardening gifts, so we’ve made sure to pick out a varied selection. This next product is not strictly for the garden, but we think it’d make a wonderful addition to a hot and summery day anyways. The ‘I Love Gardening’ Gift Box is a dream for anybody who loves puzzles. It’s a 500 piece jigsaw which pokes gentle fun at suburban gardens and allotments.
The more you look at the finished puzzle, the more details you see. If we say there is a fire truck, a beanstalk and an old lady being lofted into the sky by a runaway lawnmower, you’ll know this is not a serious and sincere gift. It’s wonderfully mischievous and more than a little naughty in places; pore over it, complete it and maybe even frame it once you’re done.
5. Funny Gardening Mug
To another less than serious gardening gift idea: the funny gardening mug. Let’s face it, whether you’re an older person who loves birdwatching or a tough young grower who gets excited about landscaping projects; we all love a novelty mug. They make wonderful gifts because they’re very affordable, highly practical and can be chosen to suit your favourite person’s humour and character.
Some of our favourites are the herb themed mugs with funny puns on their outsides. For instance, ‘I’m kind a big dill’’ or ‘It’s party thyme.’ Are you going to change the world with a gift like this? No, but you are going to put a big smile on somebody’s face. It’s also worth mentioning these funny gardening mugs are perfect for Secret Santa exchanges.
6. Aero Garden Hydroponic Herb Grower
We can’t get enough of these next gadgets. They can be quite pricey but the things they do are impressive. The aero garden hydroponic herb grower is an ‘all in one’ growing kit that functions more like a miniature greenhouse than a plant pot. It sits on the windowsill like a plant pot, but the growing tray automates irrigation, oxygenation and fertilisation.
The idea is you can plant your seeds, place the pot on a windowsill and it takes care of everything your herbs could ever need to grow strong. Even watering is automatic and set to the schedule you choose; there’s an arm which extends over the pot and provides water at regular intervals. It is one of the easiest ways we know to start and maintain an herb garden.
7. Vertical Wall Planter
Sometimes, the best gardening gifts are those which allow an outdoor space to be used in a new way. Take vertical wall planters, for example. They’re simply constructed and easy to install but they can add extra dimensions to a backyard. Got a drab and lifeless exterior wall that’s in need of colour? Spruce it up by going vertical.
Most wall planters need only a nail or screw and can be hung in minutes. Our favourite products are the multiple planters which come with a dripping pipe on the top. Users just connect the hose to their tap and water is fed through the pipe and used to irrigate vertically growing plants. The best thing is it’s very controlled; it’s a ‘dripping system’ so plants won’t ever get oversaturated or flooded.
8. Gardening Apron
If you’re stuck for gardening gifts this year, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality gardening apron. They come in a huge variety of styles, so you’re bound to find a fit and design which matches your needs perfectly. Whether you opt for a pretty design or the toughest, most rugged features, we recommend an apron with a multi-pocket on the front and a ‘click clip’ fastener (rather than just ties).
Think about it. You’ve just come in from the garden. Your fingers are very muddy and slippery with soil; it’s going to be much easier to use a ‘click clip’ with messy hands than it is to untie a knot or three. It comes down to preference, ultimately, but we do like the convenience of slipping a gardening apron off almost hands-free after a planting session.
9. Lawn Aerator Shoes
Lawn aerator shoes don’t look cool but that doesn’t stop them from being some of the best gardening gifts around. We like them because they make a typically dull job quicker and easier. Does anybody enjoy manually aerating their lawn? We didn’t think so. Fortunately, these shoes have aeration spikes on the soles. Users simply need to walk across a lawn or patch of soil to aerate it as they move.
They’re easy to use. Just slip your feet (while wearing shoes) underneath the row of fabric straps and pull them tight to secure the aerators. Then, walk about the garden to produce small holes which allow additional oxygen and nutrients to enter the soil. Aeration is an important part of keeping soil – particularly beneath compacted lawns – breathable, well-fed and capable of taking on water.
10. Rolling Composter
Compost tumblers or ‘rolling composters’ are large gadgets and they can be pricey which makes them more of an ‘investment’ gift for the gardener you love. In the long term, they have the potential to transform outdoor habits and improve eco-friendly credentials. They make great gifts for all environmentally conscious families but, for older gardeners, they can be particularly impactful.
Unlike regular compost bins which are, simply, smell proof containers for organic materials (kitchen scraps, garden cuttings, etc), rolling composters have a big handle on the side. Instead of aerating the pile manually with a rake or fork, users can just turn this handle and rotate the barrel without getting up close and personal. By removing manual force, these gadgets enable every type of gardener to create high-quality compost in half the time.
11. Gardening Tool Belt
Like outdoor aprons, gardening tool belts come in just about any colour and design you can think of. This means they’re a good gardening gift; you can find a tool belt to match any personality or taste. When shopping for a product like this, utility is the most important so prioritise tool belts with lots of pockets and adjustable straps.
While leather aprons look stylish, they can be expensive and prone to damage, hence the ‘distressed’ aesthetic so common to leather items. From a practical perspective, we recommend the nylon aprons. They’re highly waterproof, flexible enough to allow for unrestricted movement but still durable. You’re unlikely to get rips or tears in a high-quality nylon tool belt even when working among thorns and tough terrains.
12. Easy Reach Pruner
Many gardening gadgets are designed with mobility in mind. After all, not everybody finds it easy to carry out the essential maintenance work a backyard needs. Older gardeners and those with impaired mobility can benefit from products like the easy reach pruner which puts a pair of pruning blades on an extendable pole. The shears are at one end and there’s a control mechanism at the other, making a sort of ‘grabber’ device.
In hard to reach spots, use the long pole to get access and the mechanism on the handle to control the pruning blades at the other end. Whether you’ve got low mobility or can’t reach a particular part of the garden, this gadget can help. Carbon steel blades ensure every cut is clean and doesn’t cause any damage to plants. Typically, these easy reach pruners can cut stems up to a thickness of approximately 7.5mm.
easy reach pruner
13. Gardeners Tool Cart and Seat
If the gardener in your life doesn’t have a gardener’s tool cart and seat, you may have found the perfect gift. We love these gadgets because they expertly combine two of our favourite things – practicality and comfort. They’re as simple as they sound; you get a moveable container (usually on wheels) with a moulded lid designed for impromptu sitting.
Like many of the best gardening gifts, this product enhances the joy of being outdoors. Whether pruning, shearing, planting or weeding, you can have both a comfy rest area and your favourite tools close to hand. Some tool carts are simpler than others, with small wheels and no extendable pull handle. Others are a little more sophisticated and can be used as rolling (self-propelled) ‘vehicles’ across short distances.
14. Cut Resistant Gardening Gloves
It’s surprising how many gardening gloves aren’t designed to be cut resistant when you consider the number of blades available to the average gardener. Most are made of very tough, thick materials but there’s a difference between rugged material and a cut-proof construction. In fact, there’s even a professional standard of cut resistance for products designed to work in this way.
For the most cut resistant gardening gloves, look for level five products. These are the toughest and most capable of withstanding cutting forces from pruners, shears, mowers, pocketknives and even axes. Wear a pair of these whenever you’re handling a blade and there’s never any need to worry about accidents. As these products are made from super strong elastic nylon, they provide protection without compromising on manoeuvrability.
15. Professional Secateurs Set
The big benefit of secateurs sold as ‘professional’ over standard secateurs is their practically unbreakable design. These gadgets are extremely tough. They have extra strong forged aluminium blades to create some of the hardiest clippers you’ll ever use. Other than their strength, they’re much the same as regular garden secateurs. You can use them to prune branches up to a diameter of 22m on trees, bushes, shrubs and flowers.
One of our favourite features – and one we recommend – is a sap groove. This is a small channel which directs sticky sap away from the cutting surfaces. It reduces the risk of rusting and helps to keep the secateurs’ blades clean. It’s a small detail but the kind of practical addition which makes some products a bit more functional than others.
16. Electric Propagator
Electric propagators are wonderful gadgets and, often, a lot less expensive than may you think. These nifty growing trays come with an inbuilt heating system which accelerates germination and allows heat-loving plants to grow successfully in colder climates. Tomatoes, for example, love the sun and can struggle to reach full strength when humidity and temperatures are on the low side.
With a plug-in electric propagator, it’s no problem. Set the growing tray on a windowsill and it’ll provide your seedlings with constant warmth of around 16-19 degrees centigrade. For those in colder locations who don’t have access to a greenhouse, these gadgets are one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to grow plants with particular needs.
17. Funny Gardening T-Shirt
If you know a gardener who’s got all the best tools and gadgets already, you could delight them with a funny gardening T-shirt. How about a ‘Lawn Enforcement’ T-shirt to ensure everybody knows who’s boss in the backyard. Or a ‘Master of Mowology’ shirt because it sounds cool (to us, anyway) and it’s a funny, silly way to show off those growing skills.
Funny gardening T-shirts are another product which can be matched to a friend or relative’s personality or sense of humour, making them a top gift. Just make to pick the right size and get a shirt that’s easy to machine wash in case they take it out into the yard. The last thing you want is lasting soil or grilling stains on a top T-shirt.
18. Garden Herb Growing Kit
There are lots of great herb growing kits on the market right now. Some of our favourite products come with wooden or metal planters which are an ideal fit for traditional rustic kitchens and greenhouses. The advantage of buying an ‘all in one kit’ is you get everything you need to grow the herbs successfully. You don’t need to buy anything else.
Most kits come with plant pots or a planter tray, peat growing plugs and seeds like basil, coriander, chives and parsley. You normally get markers and labels too so you can easily distinguish your seedlings even before they sprout. This is important because, often, herbs have slightly different watering requirements. For a beginner gardener, we think these affordable kits are a valuable introduction to planting and growing.
19. Gardening Hand Cream Set
Few things are as tough on the hands as regular planting and pruning. Even if you don’t have to deal with thorns, repeated exposure to wet, rough and dirty conditions is enough to draw moisture out of the skin and leave them feeling abrasive. So, if you know a gardener with rough, tough hands, you could gift them a gardening hand cream set this year.
Some of the best ingredients to look out for – the ones which flood the skin with moisture to replace what’s been lost – are shea butter, glycerine, lanoline and petroleum jelly. These ingredients are all recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. One other ingredient which we like, though it’s not quite as common, is matcha tea extract. It’s an antioxidant which has prolonged moisturising and hydrating effects.
20. ‘Gardening Through the Year’ Book
The final gardening gift on our list is an educational choice. It’s a popular guide called ‘Gardening Through the Year’ which gives gardeners all the information they need to plant and grow successfully in any season. It includes truly beautiful illustrations alongside its thousands of tips on plant care, pruning, pond maintenance, creating lawns and more.
The ‘To Do’ list, ‘Last Chance’ reminders and ‘Get Ahead’ tips change according to the time of year and weather conditions, so this book is very comprehensive. If you run into trouble with carrots or can’t find the right time to sow cabbages, you’ll find help in this high-quality guide. Just make sure you get it back if you lend it to your friends. It’ll quickly become your gardening bible.
If you need more gardening gift ideas why not check out our article on 100 gifts for gardeners here. For a great website also for gardening gifts is Uncommongoods.com
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Paul Nicolaides is a Landscape architect and garden builder with over 30 years experience in designing, building and maintaining gardens. Contemplating just how important garden space is for nature and recreation he created 'Cool Garden Gadgets' to explore the best gadgets for enhancing outside spaces. From outdoor dining ideas to the latest garden technology we break it down for you here.