Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Think 'easy' for last minute Christmas gardening gifts

A week today it's Christmas Day so that leaves less than a week to get those last minute gifts! Fortunately, there are still places to shop where you won't get your shins kicked or your toes stood on and come back to find that you have a parking ticket on the windscreen!
Garden centres are generally much calmer places than the shopping centre or many high streets and there is an amazing array of original gifts on sale there too!
With time running short, and so much to do before the big day, I thought you might like a few last minute gift ideas for gardeners.
There has, as we all know, been a massive growth in growing your own food and this has brought many new comers to gardening. Fortunately, there are sure-fire products and varieties that deliver the all-important success that any first-timer craves! A collection of easy to grow and long season cropping vegetable seeds would be a good choice. I would especially recommend runner beans, tomatoes, courgettes, mixed salad leaves, parsley and courgettes. Strawberry runners, or better still raspberry canes, would make a great gift and both can be grown successfully on the patio in containers. Where there is more space, perhaps a self fertile dwarf plum, pear or apple tree is the answer? Of course, whether we are buying for first time gardeners or old hands, stainless steel tools are a delight to use and, if looked after well, may last a lifetime too. Similarly good quality watering cans, such as the excellent Haws range, make great gifts but can be a bit difficult to wrap!
Keen gardeners will always value sharp cutting tools. They are a pleasure to handle. Felco, the professional's choice of secateurs, will definitely last a lifetime and more. They may seem expensive but not when compared to the number of cheaper ones that are required to last the same period of time.
A blunt knife is far more likely to lead to injury than a sharp one. Why? A blunt one requires more pressure and is more difficult to control and that can lead to slips. So a knife that keeps a good edge is a safer knife! Victorinox make excellent knives for cutting, pruning, grafting or even budding plants. Forget all the gadgets that are attached to pocket knifes, it is the main blade and the quality of the steel that counts!

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