Looking for some Christmas inspiration? Stumped for what to buy the gardener in your life? We’ve asked the keen gardeners amongst our staff and come up with a short-list of suggestions that we think might help you pick some welcome and useful seasonal presents.
What gardener can do without this most essential of tools? The truth is, many of us have had the same pair for years and they really aren’t as sharp or effective as they used to be. A shiny new pair would be just the job. When buying secateurs, think about the person who will use them: Do they have large or smaller hands? Will they usually be doing a little light pruning or getting stuck into heavier jobs? Both of these factors could influence the size you buy and, potentially, how stiff/strong the mechanism is. We have a range of secateurs in our Titchfield Centre so please do pop by to browse or seek advice. Did you know you can even get left-handed secateurs? We don’t sell them, unfortunately, as there isn’t much demand, but they are available online.
(If your gardener already has decent secateurs, consider buying them a sharpening stone and some WD40 so they can give them a good overhaul instead: we love this little video by Alan Titchmarsh on how to do it )
Hold on – hear us out on this! Yes, a bag of compost is not the most romantic gift in the world but – for a gardener – it’s quite possibly the most useful. We all get through compost quickly, especially in the spring when it’s time to plant and pot on, so a bag or two now will be much appreciated. Why not think beyond standard multi-purpose? There are specialist composts available for roses, citruses, and orchids, with extra water-retaining ingredients for hanging baskets and pots, for seedlings or for mature plants, and ericaceous compost for plants that prefer a slightly acid soil (like azaleas and camellias). (We do admit that it might not be practical to gift wrap this one!)
However large or small your garden, it’s Murphy’s Law that the one tool you need you left in your Potting Shed, so you’re forever nipping back to collect things. A tool belt could be just the answer! We’d advise going with a ‘small is beautiful’ approach; nobody needs something that holds every single garden tool they own when they try to bend down or reach up to work. A small belt or pouch that holds one or two essential items and leaves hands free to carry pots or push mowers is probably just right. There are a range of options out there, and in colours and styles that won’t have you feeling like you just walked off a building site!
“I’m just nipping out to water the tomatoes/ dead head the roses /insert phrase of your choice here…” All gardeners do it. We think of something that we can just do between these rain showers and we’re off. Trouble is, we either find we’ve gone outside in our slippers (again), or the heavens have opened by the time we’ve found our gardening boots. We all need a pair of slip on, outdoor appropriate shoes that can sit by the back door for just such occasions. There are lots of clog-type styles around, but we love the floral colours and superior durability offered by Back Door Shoes. They are based in Wimborne in Dorset and are taking orders for Christmas delivery now (and before 15th December)!
After a hard day’s pruning and digging, a gardener’s hands could do with a little TLC so you can’t go wrong with a gift of some lovely hand cream. Some will be delighted with a delicious floral scent, while others would prefer something more utilitarian and unscented (something like Vaseline Intensive Care or E45, for example). If your gardener shies away from anything nearly as decadent, you might convince them with a tube of Neutrogena. Designed for the hard-working hands of Norwegian fisherman, it acts a bit more like a barrier cream, to help protect as well as nourish (nothing decadent about that!).
If you’re feeling creative, you could even make your own: try this Calendula cream recipe from fellow gardener Sarah Raven.
If you really can’t think what the perfect gift might be, why not consider some gift vouchers instead? They are a great way to ensure that your gift goes towards something really useful and appreciated. At Hambrooks, we have our own gift vouchers, available as beautiful tokens and starting at just £5. For gardeners who don’t live close to our Centre, we also stock National Garden Gift vouchers, which can be used in thousands of centres across the country (including ours!).