It seems too early as I write this, but shops are brimming with Christmas goodies and decor. Combine that with the fact that as we age, it takes longer to accomplish most anything. Put two and two together, and — wow, better get deciding on holiday gifts!
So with that in mind, I’ve been visiting various local stores, picking up gift ideas for gardeners.
Every few years, Sunset puts out a new edition of its “Sunset Western Garden Book.” My older one has been a great reference, but I’ll probably buy (or ask for) the new update just because it’s such an easy reference, whether for the experienced or new gardener.
Items most used and appreciated include a quality pair of hand pruners — ones that fit the user’s hand, whether large or small, left or right handed. I prefer Felco or Corona brands, and they have a tremendous selection. Coastal Farm & Ranch in East Wenatchee has Corona, as does Stan’s Merry Mart in Wenatchee and most likely some other stores.
Quality loppers — those longer-handled jobs — are also very useful and come in various sizes and quality.
For smaller gifts, weeders, trowels and garden gloves are up there at the top of the list if usefulness is a consideration. Folks with arthritis appreciate those with large hand grips. I admit I have a bias on garden gloves, as Master Gardeners sell Atlas gloves. We do it because we think they’re great — flexible, breathable, comfortable and in several sizes. Our helpful secretaries at the WSU/Chelan Extension office at 400 Washington St. in Wenatchee, sell them for us.
Permanent plant labels save lots of later plant guessing. A name can be etched into soft aluminum or copper tags. My daughter even adds the planting date.
Green Velcro plant ties are double-sided and wide, making them less likely to bite into soft stems. I reuse them year after year to help support tomato stems.
When asking gardeners about what they recommend, one friend said her Toro battery-operated edger/weeder combo is convenient and very easy to operate.
During the same discussion, the subject of all-purpose tools arose, with the opinion that rather than being useful for several purposes, most are instead a multi-useless tool. So be choosy.
Walk along Wenatchee Avenue downtown and several stores have garden-type items.
The Kitchen Sync and Gilded Lily have cookbooks with interesting ideas for preparing tomatoes, vegetables and fruits, as well as nice vegetable-themed tiles, aprons and other kitchen items. The Kitchen Sync is donating 10 percent to Master Gardeners on sales of garden-related items, including fun bird-shaped, painted tin watering cans, dry-erase boards for the garden shed and wool felt bird houses that are actually water resistant.
The Garden Porch offers an impressive array of huge glazed plant containers — small ones, too. And you can find many sizes and shapes of galvanized tin pots, for planting or just as decor. Their bentwood garden bench and chairs would look pretty spiffy next spring out on the patio or in a comfy garden setting.
In addition to places already mentioned, check your favorite agriculture supply stores, garden nurseries and big-box stores.
Enjoy browsing for gifts and may your holiday season be warm and merry.
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears regularly in the At Home section. Mary Fran McClure is one of three columnists featured.