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Last Minute Christmas Gift Tips for the Gardener

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For more information on last minute Christmas gifts catch my article in tomorrow’s Deseret News. What group could be easier to buy for than gardeners? Admit it---who else would get excited over a Christmas gift of a pickup load of manure? Other gifts are even more likely to get an enthusiastic nod from the tiller of the soil who is the recipient of the gift. When you think Christmas gifts for gardeners, think gardening gifts for your favorite gardener. Garden shopping in the spring is like the Christmas rush at most places right now. The safe haven from all of the above frustrations is garden shopping. Since gardening is America’s #1 hobby, it's likely you have a gardener on your gift list. . There are many different kinds of gifts to consider. Tools, plants, books and seeds are just a few of the categories you might consider. For tools the list is almost endless. European gardeners have long known the advantages of digging forks. These are much better tillage instruments than shovels in the flower garden or in the vegetable garden. Turning soil takes less effort and is less likely to make huge clods when turned with a fork. The tool makes it much easier to dig potatoes, carrots or beets as well as prepare the beds. A heavy duty trowel is a garden necessity. The most durable trowels, as with all hand tools, are made of one continuous piece of metal. I've had high quality trowels I have used for years while cheap stamped metal ones usually bend or break the first time you use them. Every gardener needing a couple of types of good pruners. Buy quality brands such as Felco, Corona, Fiskars or Sandvik and you will not be disappointed. They are durable and replacement parts are available. Treat them well and never let them get rusty and they will last a lifetime. There are even models for left handers. A good set of hand pruners will cost about $25 and up while a set of loppers may cost twice that or more depending on the size. Some giant looper that could cut branches up to two inches cost over $100 per pair if your favorite gardener is into heavy duty pruning. (and musclebuilding) Remember they are a lifetime investment for someone who appreciates them. Most gardeners prefer scissor-type pruners to the anvil type. It is difficult to keep anvil pruners (those with a blade on one side and a flat surface on the other) sharp since they are constantly hitting the flat surface. Anvil pruners also tend to crush the stem instead of cutting it cleanly like scissor-type pruners. Larger, more expensive gifts might include a garden caddie (a cart with a seat and a place to store tools) or a garden kneeling bench. Both will save gardeners many weary bones as they carefully tend their plants. Look for those with comfortable seats and nice and wide tires that roll easily. Check for operator comfort. The seat has to be low enough to allow working the ground or a raised bed, but not so low that it cramps your style when you try to stand up. Look for a cart that is lightweight enough to carry in and out of the garage, and built to last. Consider a subscription to some fabulous garden magazines (Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Organic Gardening by Rodale Press, Country Gardens. Buy the current issue as a gift put in a card notifying the recipient of an upcoming gift subscription. These are gift suggestions if your looking for a higher budget item for your favorite gardener. A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants from the American Horticultural Society, over 6000 beautifully illustrated specially commissioned photographs accompany profiles of over 15000 ornamental plants by an international team of more than 40 expert contributors. The Mother of all gardening references. Over 1000 pages. Two great plant CDs include Michael Dirr's Woody Landscape Plants. It's a four-CD set with over 7600 images of plants including their buds, flowers and leaves. Horticopia includes two CDs devoted to trees, shrubs, groundcovers and perennial and annual flowers that includes details on plants, soil conditions and growth rates and the ability to customize lists of bloom times. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office

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