Gifts for gardeners

Gifts for gardeners
By Holly Hayes)

Gardeners are easy to please. Just give them a gift certificate to their favorite nursery or garden center and they're good to go. But a special tool will get you remembered every time it gets used.

Hori-hori knife. This is a Japanese garden knife that will quickly make itself the go-to tool in the garden. Serrated on one edge and straight-sharp on the other, it can poke holes for plants, prune roots, get stubborn weeds out of driveway cracks and even help open those tough bags of potting mix. This version comes with its own leather holder that can be clipped on a belt or jeans pocket. About $24.

Felco pruners. These are considered the gold standard of pruning shears. Yes, you can buy less expensive models, but these will last forever with the proper care. Swiss-made, razor sharp and comfortable to use. They can be cleaned and sharpened over and over and all of the component parts can be replaced if needed. $50.

Felco holster. Spring for the little leather holster to go with the Felco pruners. Clips on a belt or jeans pocket to keep them handy in the garden. Looks cool, too! Around $11.

Pruning saw. With major pruning season (roses, fruit trees, etc.) looming, what gardener wouldn't want a new pruning saw? This one, from Corona, folds into the handle for safety and is super sharp - it has three-sided razor teeth - to make nice clean cuts on small to medium branches and canes. The blade is replaceable. About $20.

Small-scale pruners. These are great for small jobs like tending houseplants, snipping herbs for use in the kitchen and cutting flowers from the garden. And they're cute! $17.

Foxglove gauntlet gloves. This is a new offering from Foxgloves that has a goatskin leather palm and synthetic suede gauntlet that protects your hands and forearms from anything thorny - think roses, bougainvillea, citrus. The fingertip areas are reinforced for long wear. Note: These gloves won't start showing up in stores until December. $34.

Foxglove Grip. I love the addition of the little silicone grip "dots" on these form-fitting, Supplex nylon gloves. And the colors will put a smile on any gardener's face: fuchsia pink, tulip red, iris purple, spring green - and on and on. There's also black for the more conservative folks on your list. $25.

"Gardening Month by Month in Northern California." This is a great garden journal that has lots of space to write in reminders about what to do and when. Can't remember when you put in those bulbs? There's a spot to note it. When should you fertilize the roses? It's in there. The wisteria should get pruned when? Write it down. Even small gardens have timetables and deadlines and this helps you keep track. By Bob Tanem and Don Williamson, Lone Pine Press, $15.95.

Cat-lover's gift. Pick a pretty pot and load it up with stuff of a feline's fantasy: seeds for catnip and gourmet cat grasses, a catnip toy (encased in a plastic baggie so it stays fresh), small pruners (not for the cat) and add a gift certificate to a nursery or garden center (also not for the cat). Voila! A perfect present for a gardener lover who also loves a cat. Seeds, under $3 per package; small pruners, $17; catnip toy, $2; glazed pot and saucer, $6.

The tool bag. Tough-as-nails ballistic nylon handled bag has plenty of pockets for tools, seeds and other gardening essentials. $59 (comes with trowel, fork and a weeding tool).

All of the items are available online through a variety of sources.

Specifically, the tool bag and small-scale pruners are from Smith & Hawken. Pruning saws are available pretty much everywhere (OSH, Lowe's, Home Depot). For the Felco pruners, holster, hori hori knife and Foxgloves, folks would need to visit an independent nursery (not a big-box store).

You can find more information about gardening by going to To contact San Jose Mercury News gardening expert Holly Hayes email her at

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