Some suggestions for gardeners on your Christmas list

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 23, 2011

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — Last minute shopping for the gardener can be quite a challenge, especially for those who seem to have everything. In an effort to relieve holiday stress, Master Gardener volunteers have provided a list of their favorite gift ideas that is sure to please the avid gardener.
Below is a list of gifts from stocking stuffers to major purchases to consider for the home gardener or for those who have an interest in gardening.
Good pruners: A standard gift, but avid gardeners always need a spare set of good hand pruners. This is a welcome gift, as a stocking stuffer, especially among those who grow fruit trees, grapes, roses or other plants requiring high maintenance. Most garden centers carry replacement parts and blades for better quality pruning shears. Small loppers and a folding saw should also be considered.
Battery-powered pole pruner: Black and Decker has developed an inexpensive battery operated pole saw that is excellent for minor pole pruning jobs around the home. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery and comes with its own carrying bag. Costs vary, but the saw is usually under $120.
Rust-proof wheel barrow: A reliable wheel barrow is a must for avid gardeners. Wheel barrows with two wheels are excellent because they are perfectly balanced. Consider those with polyethylene bodies that are rust-proof.
Garden magazine subscriptions: Although garden books are always a safe bet for gardeners; garden magazine subscriptions are more interesting — Fine Gardening, Carolina Gardening and Horticulture. These are perfect gifts for the armchair gardener.
Orchids: An exotic that threatens most, these plants have gained popularity over the past few years. The blooms can last up to three months. Most require little care. The plant itself is not the most appealing, but the blooms can be mesmerizing.
Small garden tiller: A Master Gardener favorite is the Mantis tiller or the Stihl MM55. Both available locally, these tillers are very small and lightweight. But pound for pound, these are a must for the avid or beginning gardener. A bit pricey, over $300, but worth the cost for those who are constantly working in small gardens or flower beds.
Water timer and other irrigation tools: Water timers save time and prevent water waste by over-watering. Professional drip systems are almost fool proof, designed for the average home gardener, but local irrigation specialists can design and install them for both floral and vegetable gardens.
Other Christmas gift items Master Gardeners prefer: gardening gloves, gift certificates for equipment maintenance, Amazon gift card for gardening books, interesting pots or containers, birdhouses, concrete statuary and wind chimes.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970 Facebook or online at