Holiday Gift Guide for Gardeners – 2017
It’s that time of year again … time to find the perfect holiday gift for that special gardener in your life! Whether that person is an experienced gardener with a garden shed full of tools or is just starting out and has only a few trowels to work with, there’s something in our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for everyone.
To make it easy, we’ve broken out our recommendations based on price and level of gardening experience.
Click on a category to be taken to that list:
Growing – Helping you grow a better garden
For The Gardener Who Has Everything – Unusual, different or new
They’ll Dig This! – Digging tools of all kinds
More Power To Ya – Power tools to make gardening easier
Time to Trim the Tree – Cutting & pruning tools
Gardening Basics – Gloves, hoses and more
Stocking Stuffers – Small gifts that gardeners will appreciate
And, by the way, we’ve personally tested and reviewed each of these products. Just search our site for any of these products to read the full review.
What do YOU want this year??
Everything you need to start growing tomatoes! The Tomato Success Kit, a self-watering planter and support cage available exclusively from Gardener’s Supply, grows “bigger, healthier tomatoes” and is “garden-tested and guaranteed.” The 4-gallon reservoir means that you don’t have to water as often and the fill spout is large enough to make filling the reservoir a breeze. Of all the tomato growing kits or planters we’ve tested, this is the one we like best.
How brilliant are seedsheets? Each kind comes with a weed-blocking sheet with pouches for different seeds. You plant the entire sheet, water it, and watch it grow! It not only takes the guesswork out of gardening, it makes it a lot easier.
In addition to the herb garden, there are options such as grow your own salad, caprese garden, tacos, hot sauce, and cocktails. There are also larger sheets for bigger gardens, containers for container gardening, and options to buy containers with the sheets, so you (or the person you’re buying for), is ready to go!
Know someone tech-savvy who also loves gardening? There’s an app for that! No, really – you can control this watering system from a phone app or from a computer. The Melnor RainCloud Smart Water Timer 4-Valve System lessens the chance of human error and makes watering much easier, especially while you’re at work or on vacation (it’s designed to give you control of watering from anywhere). And with four valves, you have plenty of options for adding watering zones in your garden.
If you want to grow vines up a pole or post, or in a narrow space on a wall, then the Scroll Trellis is the perfect solution. It’s durable, easy to install and vines quickly scramble up it to cover both the trellis and the underlying structure. Try it with clematis, mandevilla, morning glory, snail vine (Vigna caracalla) and other twining or clinging vines; all will grow quickly and need no extra support.
The PotLifter is definitely one of those “I didn’t know I needed this but now that I have it I can’t imagine how I managed without it” products. It’s incredibly well-engineered, made with quality materials, and makes a difficult job easy. If you find yourself trying to move containers or other heavy gardening items, the PotLifter is a must-have.
The GreenStalk planter is a nice solution to a common problem – effectively and efficiently growing plants in a small space. It’s well-designed, easy to use, allows you to grow a huge number of plants in a very small area, and keeps those plants evenly watered. Just stack the planters (3 or 5 levels, depending on the model), plant in the extra deep pockets, and then water from the reservoir on top. The unique watering system really does water each level evenly. I grew 30 different pepper plants in mine and had a bumper crop!
$169.95, free shipping
The Root Slayer is an exceptional shovel, with a wide step, large grip, ripsaw teeth, and and “inverted V” cutting blade tip. A multi-purpose tool, it eliminates the need for other implements, such as hatchets, pry-bars, saws, loppers, and clippers when digging in a root-riddled area. It’s no surprise that it won the 2017 Green Thumb Award for the Most Innovative Garden Tool.
$48.49, free shipping
With a unique inverted-V point, wide steps, sharp edges and an ergonomic handle, this is definitely not your typical garden edger! Use it not only to create those crisp edges for your garden beds, driveway, and walks, but also for a plethora of other garden tasks – it’ll stand up to nearly anything you can throw at it.
$49.99, free shipping
Pretty much anything that fits onto the GardenGlide’s 28.5-inch pan can be pulled across the ground, up to a maximum of 200 lbs. Unlike a wheelbarrow or garden cart, you don’t need to lift items into it (just roll them onto the pan), there are no tires to inflate, it won’t make tire marks in your garden, and it won’t tip over. Plus, because it’s flat it’s easy to store (no more taking up half your garage with a wheelbarrow!
$45.20, free shipping
An incredibly versatile tool that will take the place of several others, the Lesche Digging Tool is made in the USA with heat-treated steel that can be used not only for digging, but for prying up paving stones, moving rocks, digging through gravel, and so much more. The serrated edge cuts through tough stuff while the flat edge slices cleanly. It even comes in a left-handed version.
A digging knife is an essential tool for certain tasks—planting bulbs and extracting wild onions, dandelions, and tree seedlings are a few examples. If you garden in heavy soils, it might just be the one tool you won’t want to live without. The A.M. Leonard Classic Soil Knife’s design is similar to others on the market, but the thoughtful details set it apart.
It may look strange, but this tool is useful for all sorts of things, such as transplanting seedlings and digging up deeply-rooted plants. Strong yet lightweight, tough and well balanced, the DeWit Rock’n Root Trowel comes in handy for many gardening chores, especially in tight spaces. And with a lifetime guarantee, it’s great value.
The Earth Talon shovel is another tool with a unique design; it has a “talon” on the end of the blade that gives it excellent penetration in hard, rocky soil (meaning that it takes less energy to dig). The shovel is well-built, comfortable to use, and does what it’s meant to do incredibly well. In my husband’s words, “This is the best shovel I’ve ever used for trenching and digging in hard soil.”
A compact, lightweight, battery-powered blower that makes those annoying sweeping and cleaning tasks easier and faster. This is not a heavy-duty leaf blower but if you want a convenient tool to clear off your deck, patio, garden beds, etc., then it’s a good option. I use it all the time and my yard has never looked tidier!
This is one of the best string trimmers we’ve tested. It has plenty of power, is quiet, is a supreme edger, and has longer battery run times than we expected. It’s well-balanced and the cutting head and adjustable length shaft make it easy to get into tight spots and areas you can’t reached with a fixed length shaft string trimmer. The shoulder belt makes a big difference in minimizing body fatigue and the universal battery box that accepts all of Redback’s 40 V batteries is another plus.
We really like the Sun Joe 40V Lithium Ion battery powered 8-Inch Cordless Pole Chainsaw – plain and simple. The power to weight ratio is great, making the saw powerful but not too heavy (particularly if wearing the shoulder strap). It makes very clean cuts and the fit and finish suggest quality throughout. The motor has plenty of power to cut through the thickest woods (up to the saw’s maximum cutting diameter), including incredibly hard deadwood. A single tool to tighten the front cover nut, chain tensioner screw, and telescoping cam lock is a real plus (one tool beats the heck out of many).
The Breez R2 is incredibly lightweight, quiet, easy to maneuver, and the world’s first propane-powered cultivator on the market. It’s stable, well-designed, easy to transport and sturdy, with little vibration while in use. Plus, it’s a beast in the garden, with plenty of power to tackle almost anything. If you had to choose just one tiller for the average garden, this would be the one.
We can’t say enough positive things about the Redback 40V 4.0 Li-Ion Chainsaw (106068). It has all the necessary power to cut through anything from small brush to 10.5” logs, making it comparable to a consumer-grade, gasoline-powered chainsaw. It’s lightweight, easy to use, has a plethora of built-in safety features and is sturdy enough to tackle just about anything. We recommend it without any reservations – it’s simply the best cordless chainsaw we’ve tested to date.
Looking for a cordless, battery powered leaf blower to handle those really tough landscape and lawn jobs? The Troy-Bilt TB4300 might be just what the doctor ordered. With its 40V, 4.0Ah (Amp hour) Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
$169.99 or $249.99 for the kit
This is one heck of a heavy-duty, telescoping, compound-action lopper. The handles stay put and the blades cut cleanly through even the toughest wood with ease. The cutting head is heavy when the handles are extended to full length but the extra weight is more than made up for by the extreme cutting power.
I have to admit, this is one of my favorite short stick-style pruners. It’s strong, nimble, lightweight, makes precision cuts and held up to most of the toughest pruning I could put it through. I really liked the locking pruning head; it stayed put and gave me a great deal of flexibility whether pruning above my head or at ground level. The blades stayed factory sharp, the cutting head spring stayed in place, the “Activation Ball” and center of the stick handle were perfectly placed and designed, and the range of motion of the cutting head was awesome. All in all a great tool.
This is a quality tool that easily cuts through branches up to ¾” in diameter and makes regular garden pruning tasks a pleasure (although I suppose that depends on how much you enjoy pruning!).
The Florian pruner makes clean cuts in everything from soft stems to hardwood, and is an excellent all-round pruning tool that’s the only pruning shear you’ll need.
ARS General Purpose Hand Pruner
This is a fantastic everyday, go-to choice for lighter duty gardening work. The pruners are sharp, comfortable, lightweight and cut beautifully. There’s very little in my garden that I can’t easily cut with these pruning shears, although I wouldn’t try cutting anything over 1/2 inch. And at this price point they’re a great value. For more options, see our review of the Best Pruning Shears.
ARS Rotating Handle Pruning Shears
ARS produces some of the best pruning tools on the market (in my opinion they’re even better than Felco). These have a rotating handle (practically a must-have if you do a lot of pruning) but are also available with a regular handle and come in three sizes. I love the single-handed “squeeze-open-lock system”, incredibly hard blades (meaning less sharpening required), and easy availability of spare parts. These are my go-to pruning shears and are well worth the price. For other good pruning shear options, see our review of the Best Hand Pruners / Pruning Shears.
The easiest way to sow seeds for intensive cropping or square foot gardening. Plus, it’s fun to use! If you have limited space in which to grow vegetables, or prefer not to weed, then this is a great option. This method of gardening involves sowing plants close together to crowd out weeds and produce a healthy crop in a minimal amount of space. Great for gardeners with small yards or gardens!
The innovative One Touch valve is a vast improvement over other options, the wand is lightweight and easy to handle, and the hose nozzle provides a lot of water in a gentle stream that won’t damage plants. Although there is a washer already in the rain wand, we recommend inserting another high-quality, rubber washer into the connection point (such as this one from Gilmour) to prevent any leaks.
$19.81 (16″), $26.37 (30″)
Bionic ReliefGrip Gardening Gloves
A lot of thought has clearly gone into the design of Bionic ReliefGrip gardening gloves. They’re tough yet supple, comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and keep your hands clean and protected. For general gardening tasks, these are my go-to gloves. Definitely a top-notch pair of gloves!
Foxgloves gardening gloves have been around for many years and are wonderful for everyday common gardening chores, such as planting, transplanting seedlings, weeding, pruning, and harvesting. The tight fit lets you feel thin transplants or wiry roots, they’re easy to clean and last for a long time. Foxgloves also make excellent gifts for gardening friends – fancy yet essential.
The Aeroflex hose is kink free (yes, really!), lightweight but very durable, and easy to coil or store away. Plus, unlike other expandable hoses, it stretches to a full-size 5/8 inch diameter and 50 feet in length. With a 5-year warranty and no signs of wear after almost a year of extensive use in the garden, it’s clearly built to last.
This is by far the best hose I have ever used or owned, and while it’s on the more expensive side I would definitely invest in another one if need be – it’s worth every penny. The bright colors make it easy to spot in your yard, reducing tripping hazards. The rubber is strong like tires, and lasts through all kinds of weather. It has crush proof, nickel plated couplings, resists kinks (it’s virtually kink-free), and coils easily. Plus, the ColorStorm can take pressures up to 129 PSI (most homes don’t go above 80), stays flexible down to -250 F and can be used with hot water up to 1600 F. This isn’t your typical garden hose…it’s much better.
After spending time working in the garden, I usually come inside with hands covered with dirt (and even under my fingernails, although I wear gardening gloves). So it’s nice to have a soap that can remove that dirt easily without stripping all the oils from your skin (because who wants dry, cracked hands?). Some of my favorites are Blueberry Pumice soap from Goatboy Soaps, Rosemary Mint with Cornmeal soap from Saipua, and Basil Poppyseed soap from Botanical Interests. All are good scrubbing soaps that leave your hands soft and moisturized.
There are many companies that grow and carry wonderful vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, including organic and heirloom varieties. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary (and why not?!), here are some online sources that we recommend.
>> Where to Buy Seeds Online