You know all the Christmas gift suggestions we see in gardening magazines this time of year? Far too often they’re new gadgets, the need for which is definitely in question, and I imagine them causing a lot of poor gardeners to have to strain to look pleased at gift-opening time. Or aesthetically they’re – let’s just say an acquired taste, which leads to more unhappy gift recipients.
So I decided to ask someone who sells gifts for gardeners, lots of ‘em, and find out what people really buy – what a notion! Here at Homestead that person is “hardgoods” buyer Michele Cordrey, who rattled off a list of popular gifts that shocked me with their usefulness and attractiveness. In fact, I’ll be sending her list to all my friends and family with the “Hint!” implied. Here it is:
- Gardening clogs and carry-alls
- Gardening hats and tool aprons
- Rain chains
- Always popular are tools, especially hand tools, especially hand pruners, and especially Felcos and Coronas. (Family members, take special note!)
- Bird houses and feeders are the top gift item in the whole “hardgoods” department, great for gardeners and nature-lovers of all types. Michelle’s favorite brands are Woodlink and Droll Yankee (which makes the strongest, easiest-to-clean tube feeder of them all, she says). Also, to attract the largest birds that are around in the winter (like cardinals), include their preferred type feeder – one that holds the food on a flat surface, not in a vertical tube.
- Unusual gift for the birds? A sack of Homestead llama hair for nesting. Really, they love this stuff!
- These incredibly useful weather instruments measure light, humidity, temperature and rain. Michelle recommends the Conant brand items for their durability and accuracy. I’ve been dying for a rain guage ever since I started listening to gardening guru Margaret Roach’s podcast, in which she tosses off the exact numbers and fractions of inches that her garden received in the previous week. Even experienced gardeners are prone to overestimating rainfall, and I’m pretty sure I’m in that camp.
- The Garden Hopper seat/scooter is popular.
- Michelle’s favorite watering can is the Oxo, because it’s so well balanced. Now would a nongardening gift-giver ever think to ask about this feature? I think not!
- A “Compost Keeper” for the kitchen.
- For outdoor composting operations, Michelle likes the Tumbleweed brand.
- The tough rain barrels made by Cascata and Achla.
- Dramm wands.
- Gift certificates never disappoint.
Great list, Michelle. No new gadgets, just lots of well-made essentials.