Christmas Gift Ideas for Gardeners.
How to choose the best gift for gardener's.
I don’t know about you but one of our main criteria for choosing Cjristmas gifts these days is to try and find something special, local, and healthy for the planet. Like many gardeners we think there is a lot to be said for supporting small independent businesses rather than the huge multi nationals who can probably manage without us. And hopefully you will forgive us if we give ourselves a little plug…. As a business run by 2 sisters it doesn’t come much smaller than Poddy and Black! However please be assured that for everything else in our little list of the best gardening gifts we have no connections or financial rewards for this information – its all genuine recommendations from 2 English women gardeners.
Gardening Tools and stuff for the garden.
What sort of practical gifts can you choose that will look lovely under the Christmas tree? As long as you aren’t in the market for a ride-on lawn mower there’s all sorts of brilliant little gadgets and garden tools, here’s a few of our “wouldn’t be without” ideas.
We discovered Niwaki hand tools rather late in life, but now we have them we really wouldn’t swap some of their garden tools for anything else. We both have the famous Hori Hori knife, a brilliant multipurpose tool that goes out with us into our respective gardens every time we set foot outside. With its wooden handle and carbon steel blade here is always something that needs a little bit of Hori work!
We both have secateurs or snips too. Vanessa’s much loved but little cared for yellow handle classic secateur has featured in many a post (usually getting lost and then found again!), while Justine keeps hers in tip top condition by following the Niwaki advice about using their oil, sharpening stone and crean mate for removing rust (fingers crossed Santa has spotted I need one of these!). And Justine loves their Golden Spade …small and light but incredibly sharp, she’s a huge fan!
Carrier Company is a great little workwear brand from Norfolk who manage to make everything in the UK and they also feature on our list of gifts for gardeners . One of their iconic garden pieces is their Classic Carrier, nearly a meter square of hard wearing jute it has handles on each corner and is used to collect your trimmings when you are doing a bit of tidying or pruning. Justine gave me one a couple of years ago for Christmas and I seem to remember saying I didn’t know how I had managed before I had one!
Something else gardeners always need in the garden are plant supports! One of Justine’s best gardening gifts last year was a tall, metal obelisk for her Sweet Peas. Supports for all sorts of perennials are needed too in the growing season and you can get some lovely ones. We have had them from many places but our “go to” websites are Harrod Horticultural and Lavender and Leeks. Not an easy gift to wrap though and they might not fit under the Christmas tree…!!
Things to wear in the garden.
Foot wear in the garden is a subject we have talked about at length, but then we would wouldn’t we?! It was the search for that perfect gardening shoe that lead us to start Poddy and Black in the first place. We wanted comfy, waterproof, stylish garden shoes with a bit of colour rather than boring old black wellies or old lace up walking boots!
We think we have got it just right for the home gardener. Our boots and shoes are exceptionally comfy to wear but very practical too, many of our customers use them for a myriad of uses and they become the dog walking shoes, the feeding the chickens shoes, the nipping to the post office shoes, or a dash to the pub in the rain shoes!! And being made from tree grown rubber they are the sustainable option too! If you aren't sure how to choose the right style then head to our blog How to choose Gardening Shoes for some inspiration as we think they make a great gift for gardeners.
Gloves and Socks! ALL gardeners want warm feet and protected hands! Vanessa wears Gold Leaf Dry Touch Gloves. In their distinctive yellow leather these gardening gloves are a little bit more expensive than your average but at about £20 a pair totally worth it! Considering how much time we spend with our hands in the dirt a pair of well fitting, comfortable and warm gloves isn’t too much to ask. Vanessa has had multiple pairs of these gardening gloves over the years, she was first given them as a leaving present from work and hasn’t looked back.
A great Christmas gift or stocking filler would be a pair of bright, warm socks! Our Alpaca Short Boot Socks are perfect for this time of year. Alpaca wool is an incredibly strong fibre as well as being super soft. It is Lanolin free and so has natural hypo-allergenic and antiseptic qualities, which means they can be worn for days and days (or weeks in Justine’s case!) without getting smelly feet!
And to ensure even warmer and more comfortable feet, a pair of Poddy & Black Wool Felt Insoles will do the job nicely!
A good pair of gardening trousers is an essential in our wardrobes. We are both fans of Carrier Company trousers. Vanessa loves her Carrier Work Trousers – pure cotton drill they button at the side and are totally comfy for kneeling and working in the garden. I don’t bother to wear knee pads these days and so they get completely muddy but wash brilliantly getting softer and more comfy as the months roll by. Justine lives in the Women’s Dungarees most of the time, made from that same cotton drill as the Work Trousers, they have softened over time but are tough enough to withstand long days in the garden. Carrier trousers come in a range of gorgeous colours too so make a perfect gardening gift. When the weather starts to get more challenging, Justine also uses a pair of Genus Gardening Trousers. She likes the high waist band that protects her back and the padded knees. The fabric is stretchy for easy movement and showerproof, and there is room for long-johns underneath when it gets very cold! They also have stab-resistant pockets for gardening tools such as secateurs and knives, which is great if you are forever putting them down and loosing them!
The gift of a good read - about gardening.
There are days when you just cant get out into the garden and so every gardener loves to have something to read. Having a garden is a lifelong project, its never “ done” , and every year we can find something new to work on. And the gift of a good read is one that shows you have thought about the recipient for the long term, in our view its a really thougthful gift.
Some of Vanessa’s favourites are;
The RHS Allotment Handbook – Don’t worry if they haven’t got an allotment this book contains a wealth of advice about how to grow trees, fruit, vegetable and herbs and contains information about growing in pots for every variety so it’s a great Chritmas gift for a new gardener, for someone with a tiny balcony or yard and will inspire them for years to come as and when they can get a slightly bigger patch.
This year Vanessa started to create a wildflower meadow in her new garden and THIS book by James Hewetson-Brown has been an essential part of the journey. Loads of lovely photos showing the different situations and effects you can create plus full technical details about what to do and when.
A very old pair of books in Vanessa’s library are the mini volumes of Plants for Places and What Plant When published as a pair by the RHS…..she has had these 2 little books since she had her very first garden in the late 1980’s and they are still the go-to source of information when a new spot needs filling. They supply enough basic information to let you make decisions about what to try depending on location, soil type, colour and size etc. These are her “can’t live without them” books and make a wonderful gift for gardeners.
Some of Justine’s favourites are;
My Real Garden by Anne Marie Powell and Tamsin Westhorpe was written to raise funds for the Greenfingers Charity and is a collection of true stories and photos of real life gardens from across the globe, it contains hints and tips about gardening conundrums from professional and amateurs alike and is a real heart warmer as their stories unfold about how gardening helped them through the pandemic and life in general.
Justine has been buying the Lia Leendertz Almanac for years now and might explain how she knows so much other stuff about the months of the year and the traditions that can be followed as the season unfold. She finds this a really mindful book and a source of inspiration on a wide range of complementary topics such as recipes, folklore and holiday traditions. A great choice for the Nature Lover in your life and a very thoughtful gift.
Other books she loves are usually about flowers and growing them to cut for the house, or to give to friends. She has quite a collection and often dips into them for reference or inspiration. One at the top of her Christmas list this year is the recently released “The Flower Hunter” by Lucy Hunter. Not only an artist and floral arranging wizard, but Lucy Hunter is also a great storyteller and the book has received much praise already!
We both enjoy a good magazine! And a magazine subscription really is the gift that keeps on giving. One of our favourites would be Wildflower magazine, its a small independent, and only published quarterly, but is a beautiful quality and such a treat as it covers a range of gorgeous subjects like travel, food, interiors and art, as well as gardens.
Experiences and other gifts.
What if you have reached “peak stuff” and you want to give a Christmas gift that is an experience or something to do. An old favourite of course would be to buy an annual subscription to the RHS so your loved one can visit their local garden as often as they please and get early ( and reduced price) access to those lovely flower shows in the summer….Tatton and Malvern shows are our faves! Or how about buying an annual subscription to the local wildlife charity; The Wildlife Trusts represents 46 independent wildlife charities across the UK so you will certainly find one near you .
Something we both really enjoyed this summer were organised garden tours. We went with TOD Garden Tours which are run by Rosie Irving and Michael Marriott. Their combined horticultural knowledge is second to none. Rosie taught Plants and Planting Design and now works in the TV industry on numerous gardening programmes. Michael was Head Rosarian at David Austin Roses for more than 35 years and has lectured extensively around the world. They are both great fun and always happy to answer any questions during the garden visits. They have just opened the bookings for next years tours and this would be a very special gift for a keen gardener. You can find the website here.
But if you are looking for something a little more personal look out for your local flower grower. Flowers from the Farm is a national organisation who represent the fast growing interest in taking a planet friendly approach to the gift of fresh cut flowers and is supporting the development of a network of small scale environmentally friendly growers – we have met several of them at garden shows and events over the last few years and its always a joy to see the quality and variety of blooms they are growing at small scale. One of our local growers here in Shropshire, Wall Flowers, offers lovely pick your own experiences and also does classes about tying bouquet’s, creating Christmas wreaths and the like…..a gift voucher for one such experience would be very welcome in many gardener’s christmas stocking!
Maybe you are looking for a new gardener gift?! Someone who would like to give it a go but not quite sure where to start. We have come across a few small businesses this year who are geared up for helping the novice gardener. The Rose Press Garden are a seed and plant supplier offering subscriptions. Their seeds are sent out at the right time of year and have all the necessary instructions with them to help you get started. The owner, Lizzie, also has loads of "how to" videos on her Instagram page taking you step by step in the sowing and planting stages so there is always help at hand!
Dahlia Beach is another great supplier of collections of Dahlias and Seeds so you can create colourful beds with help and instructions along the way. Andie from Dahlia Beach also does great videos to help the novice gardener get it right first time! We think learning from experienced gardeners can be one of the best gardening gifts so check these out.
Our final suggestion is to send some real flowers to the gardener in your life. Following on from the section about responsible flower growing in the UK one of our favourite flower delivery companies is Smith and Munson, if you have received their beautiful tulips or lillies in the recycled cardboard tubes you will know what a pleasure it is to receive their flowers. As well as delivering one-off gifts they also offer a subscription service….how lovely to know you have their gorgeous flowers coming every month of the year……what a thougthful gift that would be a real boost as we go into the cold dark months of January and February!
That’s it from us here at Poddy and Black, we hope we’ve managed to inspire you to find a perfect gift for the gardener in your life!