IT DOESN’T take much to keep a gardener happy at Christmas – some seed catalogues and a new pair of gloves should be enough to get them looking ahead to spring.
But if you want to go the extra mile and buy the green-fingered person in your life a gift they’ll really enjoy, here are some suggestions.
A Cutting Patch, £74.95-£79.95
These cut flower seedling collections have been designed to produce several vases of fresh flowers a week, from June until October. The Hardy Annual collection of 112 seedlings includes plants such as Euphorbia oblongata and Calendula ‘Indian Prince’. You’ll receive a gift card and the seedlings themselves will be sent out in April or May.
Garden Shows & Visits
There’s nothing gardeners like better than seeing what other gardeners are getting up to. The Royal Horticultural Society’s shows range from the Malvern Spring Show to the Chelsea Flower Show (www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events) while dates for Gardening Scotland (www.gardeningscotland.com) have been confirmed as 31 May-2 June 2013. Another great gift is the Yellow Book (£5.50, plus £2p&p, www.scotlandsgardens.org) which contains information about all of the gardens which open for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Special Seed Collection
For the time-served gardener who is looking for a new challenge, this collection of seeds comes straight from Kew Gardens and features some star plants. One example is Meconopsis grandis, the Himalayan Blue Poppy, which has large flowers four inches across and will prove a talking point in any garden.
National Garden Gift Voucher, £5-£50
Far from being an unimaginative gift, these vouchers allow gardeners to buy exactly what they want for their outdoor space. The vouchers are accepted at more than 2,000 leading gardening outlets across the UK on something like 90,000 different products.
The Dedicated Gardener
Sneeboer Tool Maintenance Kit, £26.95
This kit, left, contains linseed oil, a whetstone, storage tin and wire brush, which should help to keep all parts of your tools, from the handles to the blades, in tip-top shape.
Sophie Conran Potting Sieve, £16.95
Designed by Sophie Conran for Burgon & Ball, this potting sieve, above, will ensure that a perfect fine layer of compost is sprinkled over seeds.
Haws Leather Tool Apron, £44.99
The perfect accessory for the traditionalist, this leather apron is made to last and comes complete with four pockets for carrying tools.
Classic Barometer & Thermometer Set, £60
Keep a step ahead of the weather with this set, which provides you with an accurate record of temperature and air pressure throughout the day.
Cuttings Tube Set, £14.95
There’s something of the Victorian potting shed about this set, below, which lets you propagate the old fashioned way. The eight glass phials are held in place by a cast iron frame, letting you raise plants from cuttings.
The Kitchen Gardener
Instant Garden Gift Vouchers, from £24.99
If you know someone who’s new to gardening then one of these boxes of baby organic vegetable and herb plants delivered direct to their door could be the perfect present. You’ll be sent a gift voucher and the plants will be delivered in spring – collections include the Window Box Garden and Children’s Garden.
James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution Seeds, from £1.85
This seed collection contains lots of unusual veg, including Chop Suey Greens, Callaloo, Cucamelon and Electric Daisies – edible flowers that apparently have a fizzy ‘space dust’-like effect when eaten.
The Mulberry Crate, £40
A long-term investment, this mulberry tree comes with a jar of mulberry jam and a bottle of mulberry syrup to enjoy while you wait for your first harvest. There are lots of other fruity options to choose from, including the Berry Box, Quince Crate and Nut Case.
Terracotta Rhubarb Forcer, £74.95
If you’ve read about forced rhubarb but never had the chance to try it, this traditional frost-proof pot, right, made from Yorkshire natural red clay will help you to produce early, sweet rhubarb stems at home.
Vegetable Storage Rack, £30
Keep your home-grown produce in good condition with these stackable shelves – root vegetables such as potatoes which don’t like the light can go at the bottom and veg which you use most frequently at the top.
The Wildlife Gardener
Wildflower Seeds, from £2.50
Native wildflowers are not only beautiful, they provide food and shelter for a wide range of wildlife. The Bee, Bird & Butterfly mix, right, includes biennials and perennials such as foxglove, field scabious and red campion.
Apex Classic Nestbox, £13.25
Watching birds is one of the great pleasures of the garden and this nestbox will hopefully encourage more to visit. Made in the UK using FSC timber.
Solitary Bee Hive, £24.50
This hive, left, has been designed specifically to attract non-swarming bees like the Red Mason bee, providing a habitat that has become harder to find in modern gardens.
Collins Complete Guide to British Garden Wildlife, £16.99
This photographic guide will help you identify the wildlife in your garden. It covers birds, mammals, insects, spiders, trees, wild flowers, fungi and pond life.
Farmer Phil’s Great British Bird Basket, £34.95
This bird food hamper comes packed with British-grown seed mix, a metal feeder, seed-filled coconuts and a nesting spiral.
The Pampered Gardener
Gardeners Hand Soap, £4.95
This bar has organic nettle leaf extract, lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils, plus nettle leaves and finely ground pumice to gently exfoliate skin and remove ground-in dirt.
Gardener’s Therapies Outdoor Tap Scrub Wash,£7.50
An unusual take on getting your hands clean – this specially formulated hand wash can be left hanging on your outdoor tap, even in the coldest of weathers. Other useful items in the range are a Facial Sun Stick (£2.95) and Liquid Glove Barrier Cream (£7.95).
RHS Gardeners’ Therapy Relaxing Bath Soak, £10.50
Recover from your gardening exertions with this nourishing bath soak which comes enriched with moisturising almond protein and soothing cucumber.
Freshly Cut Grass Candle, £8.50
Enjoy the fresh fragrance of cut grass without any of the hard work. Other scents which gardeners should enjoy include Blue Hyacinth, Daffodils & Dandelions and Sweetpea.