By Stephanie Cavanaugh
WITH TWO DAYS left before Christmas—and a sprint to Hanukkah’s end—the traditional mad dash for last-minute gifts is on. Lucky you to have a gardener in your life: There’s plenty to be scooped up at the local big-box or hardware store. Let your fingers do some Internet walking before you head out, to make sure what you want is still available.
Step up the pruning with Gonicc 8″ Professional Ratchet Anvil Pruning Shears, which one reviewer called “the Rolls Royce of pruning shears.” Certainly, the words “ratchet” and “anvil” set side by side sound serious. With 15,699 reviewers handing out 4½ stars on Amazon, they seem like a good bet. Maybe Amazon can get you a pair overnight.
Or, just head to a hardware or big-box store for anything from Fiskars. Known for its wide range of excellent tools, they now offer a cool “designer stainless steel pruner and snip set,” in several snazzy, easier-to-find-in-the-shrubbish colors and patterns. Available at Walmart for $17.
The fancy-pants gardener would appreciate the silvery cultivator and soil scoop set at Pottery Barn, for $49.50. You might toss in white goatskin gauntlets, which will look gorgeous on your hands, so Martha Stewart, until you use them in the garden. $69.
Hearing one too many groans from the pea patch? A stool helps when the joints creak. This one, at Ace Hardware, for $23, includes an attached bin for tools, gloves, mosquito repellent, and Band-Aids.
Even better—but arriving post-Christmas—is one from Uncommon Goods. This clever fold-up gardening stool has divided pockets for stashing tools: In theory, you use the tool and put it right in the pouch, never losing a secateur again. This depends on putting the tool back, which I would personally do at least twice before dropping it . . . somewhere. It also has a cool military vibe in olive-green canvas with black piping. $46. The thought of accessorizing with a pith helmet crosses my mind.
When was the last time you saw more than, say, five stars in the night sky? For city folk, as a rule, that requires a schlep to the country. Aha! The solution from Bliss Lights, which makes an array of excellent laser lights, is the blue Starport USB Laser Projector, which will sprinkle a galaxy over a 50-by-50-foot area—garden or terrace, even the living room ceiling. Now, we all know that light travels fast, but not fast enough for Christmas delivery: The projector is $15 at Target, but online only.
Speaking of lights. I love my grow light. With my big bird of paradise and hibiscus filling a dark corner of the dining room, they need a serious boost of faux sunshine to survive the winter. I have no idea what brand my grow light is—it was a gift received years ago—but Sansi makes a similar model, but with two heads for $22, and available at Lowe’s stores. The full-spectrum light has a flexible stem with a clip so it can be attached and angled any which way. Plus! It illuminates the corner like a night in Miami.
I miss my herbs and stepping onto the back porch of an evening, clipping a little basil or thyme. If you spend a bundle on fresh herbs between December and April, an AeroGarden will scratch that itch. The sleek planter, with herb seeds included and an attached grow light, is a nifty little item for the kitchen countertop. $119 at Walmart, with similar models available at Kohls, Macy’s and various hardware stores.
Memberships or admission tickets to public gardens, arboreta and gardening events make excellent holiday gifts for gardeners. How about the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Light Show, which runs through January 1? The 452-acre park, a wonderland of lights, is $25 per adult, with advance reservations a must. An annual pass to DC’s Dumbarton Oaks would be a kvelling experience for any plant lover. An individual season pass is $75, or take the family for $110. Also in DC, a family pass for Hillwood, the estate and gardens of Marjorie Merriweather Post, is just $85, and you can take your pup for a Sunday stroll. The Philadelphia Flower Show, anyone? The Grandmother of All Flower Shows isn’t until March—but you can get tickets in advance, starting at $38.50 for adults.
And that’s a wrap! See you next year.