I learned a new word while investigating the latest Christmas gifts for gardeners. Martha Stewart recommends five essential tools for gardeners, and topping the list is a secateur.
Now don’t laugh, but I’ve never heard of a secateur. Could it be you need a secateur after your firsteur wears out? Lucky for me, Martha explains that a secateur is a pruning shears or hand pruner. Leave it to Martha to elevate a pruning shears to a new sophistication.
A pruning shears is definitely on the wish list of every gardener who doesn’t have a well-made version. The following are additional Christmas gift ideas for the gardener in your life.
- Comprehensive houseplant books that list nearly all indoor plant varieties, their botanical names and care.
- Clay pots in assorted sizes.
- Drainage saucers. Different grades of plastic are available, so treat your gardener to the heavier-duty models in assorted sizes.
- Fertilizers labeled specifically for African violets, cactuses or orchids, plus all-purpose types.
- Rooting hormone to propagate plants from cuttings.
- Systemic houseplant insecticide for long-lasting insect protection.
- Insecticidal soap and neem oil for safe, effective knockdown of insect flare-ups.
- Upstairs and downstairs watering cans for houseplants located on different home levels.
- Terrarium kit.
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For lawn and landscape
- Hand-held lawnmower blade sharpening tools for a crisp-cut lawn.
- Heavy-duty sprinklers with metal, non-plastic parts for longer life.
- A fertilizer spreader with adjustable settings for fertilizer and grass seed.
- Fountains or water features for restful additions to landscapes.
- Sundials or statuary to add interest to plantings.
- Hose guides to steer water hose around edges of flower beds and landscapes.
- Heavy-duty pruning loppers plus hand-held shears. Treat gardeners to quality tools, which perform better than bargain brands and can last a lifetime.
- Dandelion digger for spot-removal of lawn weeds.
- Hose-end sprayer for applying herbicides or insecticides.
- Books with landscape ideas.
- A ball of heavy twine, sturdy wooden stakes, and yardsticks for both ends of the row to measure and space vegetables, while keeping rows straight during planting.
- Wooden or plastic stakes or markers to identify newly seeded rows.
- Soaker hoses to prevent foliage diseases and conserve water.
- Galvanized pails to harvest and wash vegetables.
- A high-quality hoe with superior metal that will maintain a sharp cutting edge.
- Pump sprayer to apply fungicides and insecticides to vegetables.
- Raised bed construction kit.
Fruit tree growers
- Pole pruners to reduce tree height.
- An apple picker to reach upper fruits, which is a small wire basket with fingers located on a long pole.
- Tree wraps to protect trunks from winter sunscald and animal injury.
- Fruit tree spray to combat insects and diseases.
- Watering wands with attached nozzles to reach hanging baskets and containers, or to hand-water flower beds. Choose high-quality metal types instead of plastic.
- Plant lights to start bedding plants indoors from seed. Fluorescents, LEDs or special plant lights are all effective.
- Seed-starting kits and germination heat mats.
- Rain barrels to collect soft rainwater by downspouts.
- Potting bench, which can be a simple wooden or metal workbench located outdoors along a garage wall.
- Timed release fertilizers like Osmocote for season-long feeding of outdoor containers.
- Metal or plastic labels for writing plant names to identify perennials.
Gardeners of all types
- Amaryllis bulbs, with their huge, easy-to-grow flowers.
- Gift certificates to locally owned garden centers.
- A membership in a local garden club.
- A gift membership in the North Dakota, South Dakota or Minnesota state horticultural societies. Membership information is available online.
- A subscription to Northern Gardener, a premier magazine with information adapted to our Northern growing region, published by the Minnesota State Horticulture society.
- Any gardening books.
- Wind chimes.
- Bench to sit in yard and enjoy yard and landscape.
- Extra tools, rakes, shovels, cultivators, watering cans and gloves.
- Rain gauge.
- Twist-ties on a roll for attaching vines, flowers or plants to trellises or supports.
- Rabbit and deer repellent.
- Trellis for flowering vines.
Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.